Romanian tenor Ioan Hotea and Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen have won this year's Operalia competition. In a final contested at the Royal Opera House, Hotea and Davidsen beat nine other singers to each take home the first prize of $30,000.
Founded in 1993 by Plácido Domingo and staged annually, Operalia has become an important event in helping to promote the careers of young singers. Former finalists include Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja and US soprano Angel Blue, and the competition attracts a truly global field – this year’s 40 quarterfinalists were drawn from 21 countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and Thailand, as well as several European countries and North American territories.
Hotea’s arias in the final, the first ever to take place at the Royal Opera House, were Donizetti’s, ‘Ah, mes amis’ from La fille du régiment and Serrano’s 'La roca fría del calvario’ from La dolorosa. Davidsen, meanwhile, impressed the panel of judges with the heavyweight charms of Wagner’s ‘Dich, teure Halle’ from Tannhäuser.
Traditionally, the competition awards two first, two second and two third prizes – one of each to singers of either gender. In addition, there are also peripheral awards, such as two $10,000 prizes for zarzuela singing – Hotea scored a win here, too, as did soprano Hye Sang Park of South Korea.