Placido Domingo is in Cape Town to launch Operalia, the world’s foremost opera competition, on at Artscape until 5 November.

By YourLuxury Africa
Placido Domingo is in Cape Town for the 30th edition of Operalia

Placido Domingo the iconic Spanish tenor and conductor was, this week, a guest of honour at a media conference at Artscape to launch the 30th edition of Operalia.  With Rolex as presenting sponsor and the City of Cape Town, Southern Sun, and Duet Endowment Trust the main local sponsors, the competition began this week. Each year Operalia is hosted in a different city and this year Cape Town joins the world’s cultural capitals such as London, Paris, Madrid, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Milan as a host city.

Alvaro Domingo, vice president of Operalia who is also in Cape Town to oversee the proceedings, says that, certainly, a very important drawcard is that five of the 34 successful applicants from a total of 800, are from South Africa and all studied at Opera UCT in Cape Town.

All five, also have links to Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) and Cape Town Opera (CTO), two of the hosts of the competition along with Artscape. They are Nombulelo Yende (soprano), Siphokazi Molteno (mezzo soprano), Luvo Maranti (tenor), Thando Mjandana (tenor) and Sakhiwe Mkosana (baritone).

Siphokazi Molteno, mezzo-soprano is a finalist in the Zarzuela competition

The first quarter-final, in which half the successful competing 34 contestants sang arias accompanied by piano, to a panel of casting directors and opera luminaries from all over the world commenced on 30 October. In a closely contested semi-final round that played out at the Artscape Theatre, this year’s Operalia jury selected 12 singers, including South Africa’s Nombulelo Yende who will go through to the final round.  Siphokazi Molteno is a finalist in the Zarzuela, a Spanish genre close to Placido Domingo’s heart. All will perform with the Maestro himself, conducting the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), assisted by guest conductor Kamal Khan. The final round takes place on Sunday 5 November.

The 12 artists who remain are:

Semyon Antakov, baritone, Russia
Caitlin Gotimer, soprano, USA
Navasard Hakobyan, baritone, Armenia
Eugénie Joneau, mezzo-soprano, France
Taehan Kim, baritone, South Korea
Omer Kobiljak, tenor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stephano Park, bass, South Korea
Julie Roset, soprano, France
Luke Sutliff, baritone, USA
Elena Villalón, soprano, USA
Nombulelo Yende, soprano, South Africa and,
Siphokazi Molteno, mezzo-soprano, South Africa who is a finalist in the Zarzuela competition.

Nombulelo Yende is a finalist

Those finalists joining Molteno in the Zarzuela competition are:

Navasard Hakobyan, baritone, Armenia
Eugénie Joneau, mezzo-soprano, France
Luke Sutliff, baritone, USA
Elena Villalón, soprano, USA

Alvaro Domingo notes the rationale for staging this prestigious event in Cape Town: “In making the decision where to host the 30th anniversary competition, we took into account that South Africa  has an international reputation for the quality of its singers such as previous Operalia winners Pretty Yende and Levy Sekgapane,  the reputation and quality of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the body of work of Cape Town Opera, and the versatility of the venue within the Artscape Theatre Centre, plus, needless to say, the inherent beauty of the city of Cape Town, of.

“When we discussed the details with the CPO’s CEO Louis Heyneman, we got his buy-in immediately since he sensed how important a distinguished competition such as Operalia, the foremost such competition in the world, would be to reinforce the city as an international cultural force.”

On hearing that Operalia was headed to the City, Geordin Hill-Lewis, executive mayor of Cape Town, was also quick to come on board, saying in September that Cape Town is the perfect destination thanks to its accent on culture and its gorgeous location. “We look forward to welcoming the organizers, candidates and international visitors who have already made arrangements to come to Cape Town and thank Rolex and Operalia for their understanding of the fact that we can stage this foremost opera event with panache and efficiency.”

Viewing details:

The final round of the competition will be livestreamed by medici.tv free of charge; the semi-finals will be streamed on the Operalia Facebook page.

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