Four Russian singers in fight for Operalia main prizes

Four Russian singers are among 13 finalists in the International Operalia Competition, being held in Moscow for the first time in its almost 20-year-long history.

The finalists in the Operalia contest, the brainchild of the great tenor Placido Domingo, were named during Thursday’s semi-finals at Moscow’s Stanislavsky and Nimirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre, which is hosting the competition. Tenor Sergey Polyakov, soprano Olga Pudova, baritone Konstantin Shushakov and tenor Khachatur Badalyan were selected by the competition jury along with nine more singers from Poland, the USA, South Korea, Moldova, Argentina, Chile and South Africa.

This year the selection committee received more than 800 applications from aspiring participants. Just 41 singers from 20 ountries, including nine participants from Russia, were chosen to showcase their skills and fight it out for Operalia’s main prize.

Unlike many other musical competitions, this one has a tough structure. Its schedule doesn’t feature any gala performances or official speeches. The competition runs over just four days. The first round spans two days, leaving 18 participants by the wayside. The second round, the semi-final, took place on Thursday, and eliminated a further 10 singers. The final battle, traditionally conducted by maestro Placido Domingo himself, will take place on Sunday July 24.

The prize money totals $175,000. As well as exciting career offers, the top winners will take home $30,000, while the second prize winners will receive $20,000 and those in third place will be awarded $10,000. A total of six singers – three men and three women – will receive these prestigious awards. 

Apart from the main prizes, the contest also distributes special awards. Russia’s great opera singers Galina Vishnevskaya and Dmitry Khvorostovsky are among the jury, headed by Placido Domingo, who does not vote.

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