Plácido Domingo announces Operalia winners

Important prizes and big cheques have been handed out at the final Plácido Domingo’s singing competition Operalia, with first place jointly awarded to Lise Davidsen and Ioan Hotea. The event took place on Sunday at London’s Royal Opera House – the first time the competition has visited the UK in its 22-year history.

Norwegian soprano Davidsen recently graduated from The Royal Danish Opera Academy in Copenhagen, and has already appeared with the Norwegian National Opera as Susanna in Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna. Her chosen aria for the final was Wagner’s Dich, teure Halle from Tannhäuser.

Hotea, a tenor singer and native of Romania, has upcoming roles as Dorvil in La scala di seta in Liège and as Ferrando in Così fan tutte in Wiesbaden. He selected Donizetti’s Ah mes from La fille du régiment and Serrano’s La roca fría del calvario from La Dolorosa as his arias.

Davidsen also took home the Audience and Birgit Nilsson prizes, while Hotea collected the Don Plácido Domingo, Senior, Prize of Zarzuela. Their total winnings totalled USD45,000 (€41,000) and USD40,000 respectively.

Second prizes of USD20,000 went to New Zealand’s Darren Pene Pati and South Korea’s Hye Sang Park, while third place was jointly shared by Edward Parks from the USA and South African Noluvuyiso Mpofu. Kiandra Howarth, an Australian soprano, won the Culturarte Prize and with it USD10,000.

Other finalists included French tenor Julien Behr, South African bass-baritone Bongani Justice Kubheka, American soprano Andrea Carroll and American baritone Tobias Greenhalgh.

Earlier in the preliminary rounds 40 quarterfinalists were whittled down to a final 11, with entrants representing 21 countries. Domingo himself directed the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in the final, and then took on the role of master of ceremonies in the prize giving.