Young opera stars awarded in Popp competition

On May 3-8, the Reduta Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava hosted a week-long contest of opera music singers called the " Lucia Popp Vocal Competition" to support young opera singers starting in their careers. The contest was held in honor of what would have been the 60th birthday of deceased Slovak opera singer Lucia Popp, who started her career 35 years ago and for time performed abroad on illustrious world stages like the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Covent Garden in London and Grand Opera in Paris. Her success was followed by a talented generation of Bratislava opera singers including Edita Grúberová, Gabriela Beňačková, Sergej Kopčák, Magdaléna Hajóssyová and many others.


Winners and honorees of the 2nd International Lucia Popp Vocal Competition held in Bratislava the Reduta Theatre.
photo: Katarína Krajčovičová

On May 3-8, the Reduta Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava hosted a week-long contest of opera music singers called the " Lucia Popp Vocal Competition" to support young opera singers starting in their careers. The contest was held in honor of what would have been the 60th birthday of deceased Slovak opera singer Lucia Popp, who started her career 35 years ago and for time performed abroad on illustrious world stages like the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Covent Garden in London and Grand Opera in Paris. Her success was followed by a talented generation of Bratislava opera singers including Edita Grúberová, Gabriela Beňačková, Sergej Kopčák, Magdaléna Hajóssyová and many others.

Twelve finalists showed their art to an international jury led by Professor to the Vienna State Conservatory Eugeny Nesterenko and president of the contest, Peter Dvorský on May 8. Eva Blahová, Professor to the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava, Ralf Doring, professor to the Academy of Music and Art in Vienna, Magdaléna Hajóssyová, soloist to the German State Opera Berlin, professor in Prague and Berlin, Mariano Horak from the Artistic Agency Caecilia of Switzerland, Juraj Hrubant, director of the Slovak National Theatre, Ľudovít Marcinger, professor to the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava and Alfred Willander, musicologist from Austria were also judges. The finalists themselves had been selected from among 65 participants from 20 countries.

The contest jury awarded young singers in separate male and female categories. First prize was won by Stanislav Trifonow from Belarus and Martina Zadro from Croatia who said that, for her, winning the contest was a dream. Second prize was given to Martin Gurbaľ and Klaudia Dernerová, both from Slovakia, and third prize was awarded to Štefan Kocán from Slovakia, who won also the Audience Prize, and Tomoka Masuda from Japan.

Dvorský stated that this contest fielded talent on a very high level, even higher then last year. Professor to the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava Eva Blahová said that she was surprised in the international interest of this second annunal contest held on Bratislava, but is pleased that that Bratislava has managed to create conditions for opera comparable to the top places around the world.

The contest was organised by National Music Centre along with the Slovak National Theatre Opera, Culture Centre of the City of Bratislava, The Slovak Philharmonic, Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava and State Conservatory.

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