The first prizes at the annual competition founded by tenor Plácido Domingo, Operalia, have been awarded to 29-year-old American soprano Janai Brugger, American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, aged 30, and 26-year-old Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin.


Each of these three first prize winners were given £19,400 ($30,000). Two second prizes, each of £12,900 ($20,000), were given to American tenor Brian Jagde, aged 32, and the 24-year-old Chinese baritone Yunpeng Wang.

‘Operalia is like the Olympic games for the opera,’ said Domingo. ‘Singers from all over the world compete to get to the finals and to win.’

The American soprano Janai Brugger, who recently graduated from LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, also took home an audience prize, along with baritone Yunpeng Wang.

The 20th edition of the competition took place in Beijing on 4-10 June. The jury included Jonathan Friend, artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera; Peter Katona, casting director at the Royal Opera House and Thierry Fouquet, general director of the Opéra National de Bordeaux.

Other winners included Chinese soprano Guanqun Yu, aged 29, Italian tenor Antonio Poli, 26 and Russian baritone Roman Burdenko, 28.

Operalia receives nearly one thousand applications each year, with 40 singers invited to take part. Previous winners include mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonatao and bass-baritone Erwin Schrott. Next year’s competition will take place in Verona.


Rosie Pentreath