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Placido Domingo presides over Operalia winners in Verona, Italy

August 26, 2013|By David Ng
  • Placido Domingo, shown in Madrid in July, recently presided over his annual Operalia competition in Verona, Italy.
Placido Domingo, shown in Madrid in July, recently presided over his annual… (Dominique Faget / AFP/Getty…)

Plácido Domingo was in Verona, Italy, for the past seven days presiding over his annual Operalia competition, which honors young singers at the beginning of their professional careers. On Sunday the winners of the 2013 competition were announced, with the top prizes going to singers from Russia and China.

The top prize was shared by Aida Garifullina, a soprano from Russia, and Ao Li, a bass-baritone from China. The winners, who are both 25 years old, will each receive a prize of $30,000. The second place honors went to French soprano Julie Fuchs and Italian baritone Simone Piazzola, who will each receive a prize of $20,000.

Among the winners were singers who have ties to Los Angeles Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Tenor Benjamin Bliss, a recent alumnus of the program, won the top male Zarzuela prize, while soprano Hae Ji Chang, a current member of the program, took the top female Zarzuela award.

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Soprano Tracy Cox, who is also a member of the program, received the Birgit Nilsson Prize for repertoire featuring music by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

L.A. Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program began in 2006 with a $2 million donation from philanthropist Flora Thornton. (It was then known as the Domingo-Thornton program.) In May the company announced it had received $4.3 million in new gifts for the program from the Colburn Foundation, and Eugene and Marilyn Stein.

Last year's Operalia competition was held in Beijing. The annual competition was founded by Domingo in 1993 and has helped to launch the careers of several renowned singers, including Rolando Villazón and Joyce DiDonato.


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