Saturday, July 29, 2017

Barihunk Leon Kim wins two prizes at Operalia Competition; Boris Prýgl takes Nilsson Prize

Korean barihunk Leon Kim

Korean barihunk Leon Kim walked away with both the Third Place prize and the Rolex Audience Prize at the 2017 Operalia Competition. Bass-barihunk Boris Prýgl also won the Birgit Nilsson Prize for the best singer of Wagner/Strauss repertory.

This year three baritones made it to final fourteen of the Operalia Competition, including South Korean Leon Kim, American Emmett O'Hanlon and Boris Prygl from the Czech Republic. Leon Kim was also one of the five finalists in the Zarzuela competition. The event was held at the Astana Opera in Kazakhstan. First prize is US $30,000, Second Prize is $20,000 and Thrid Prize is $10,000.

The last low male voices to win were bass-baritone Ao Li from China, who took the top men's prize in 2013 and Mongolian bass Enkhbatyn Amartüvshin, who took top honors the previous year.

The winner of the 2017 Pepita Embil Prize of Zarzuela for female voice is Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia and the winner of the Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Prize of Zarzuela for male voice is Italian tenor Marco Ciaponi.

The 2017 Culturarte Prize went to Korean soprano Sooyeon Lee.

Boris Prýgl
The 2017 Birgit Nilsson Prize for the repertoire of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner went to bass-baritone Boris Prýgl for male voice and to soprano Oksana Sekerin for female voice.

The winner of Third Place prize went to Korean baritone Leon Kim for male voice and Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak for female voice.

The winner of Second Place for male voice went to Italian tenor Davide Giusti and to Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan for female voice.

The Grand Prize winner for male voice went to South African tenor Levy Sekgapane and for female voice Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia.

The Rolex Audience Prize went to South Korean baritone Leon Kim and for female voice Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak.

The 2014 Operalia Competition became known as the "Baritone Blackout," as 11 of the 40 competitors were baritones, but not a single baritone made it to the final round. No low male voice won any of the fourteen prizes handed out that year. This was in spite of the low voice competitors including some amazing talents, including Igor Bakan, Aleksey Bogdanov, Alexandre Duhamel, Dan Kempson, Alexey Lavrov, Alex Lawrence, Shea Owens, Damien Pass, Pavel Shmulevich, Anatoli Sivko and Ivan Thirion. 

Past Operalia winners have included Anthony Roth Costanzo, Lise Davidsen, Ainhoa Arteta, Nina Stemme, Brian Asawa, José Cura, Elizabeth Futral, Eric Owens, Janai Brugger, Erwin Schrott, Joyce DiDonato, Rolando Villazon, Joseph Calleja, Susanna Phillips, Ailyn Perez, Olga Peretyatko and Sonya Yoncheva.

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