American tenor Rene Barbera and South African soprano Pretty Yende have won the top honors at one of the world’s most prestigious international singing forums, Operalia.
Held in the Russian capital for the first time in its 20-year history, the competition created by the legendary Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo brought together some of the world’s most promising singers of all voice categories, from 18 to 30 years of age.
Although Russian singers did not take home the coveted $30,000 top award, Russian baritone Konstantin Shushakov and soprano Olga Busuioc from Moldavia have picked up Two Second Prizes of $20,000, while another Russian soprano, Olga Pudova, has won the Third Prize of $10,000.
Winning a prize, however, is clearly not the be-all and end-all of Operalia. The competition also marks the beginning of each singer’s creative union with Operalia. Given that the jury is comprised for the most part of opera house directors, the jury members often invite the singers to perform in future productions in their theaters. Plácido Domingo himself, as a singer, conductor and director of the opera companies of Los Angeles and Washington, DC, takes a sincere interest in the career development of Operalia singers.