Turkish Mine Kurtoğlu gets second prize and Venezuelan Gustavo Castillo the third, plus the audience award

Russian soprano Olga Zharikova took the first prize at the sixth Concurso Internacional de Canto Ópera de Tenerife [Opera de Tenerife International Singing Competition], at the final yesterday, 3 July which was held in Auditorio de Tenerife. The second prize went to Turkish soprano Mine Kurtoğlu and the third was for Venezuelan baritone Gustavo Castillo, who also won the Premio María Orán for best zarzuela aria performance, which pays tribute to the Tenerife singer, plus the Extraordinary Audience Award.

Olga Zharikova, who performed the aria “Der hölle Rache” from Die Zauberflöte, joins the group of previous winners, which includes Larissa Alice Wissel (2018), Julia Muzychenko (2017), Leonor Bonilla (2015), Laura Verrecchia (2014) and Alexander Vassiliev (2013).

Apart from these award-winners, there are also other special prizes granted by the jury in the form of contracts in productions of their respective seasons, as for instance the one Andrei Nicoara (Romania) got with the Teatro Municipale de Piacenza, Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires and Teatro Massimo de Palermo; Laura Brasó (Spain), with Teatro Maestranza de Sevilla; Lara Lagni (Italy), with Teatro Regio de Parma, auditions at Teatro Massimo de Palermo and a contract for a concert at Cia. Ópera de São Paulo; Margarita Levchuk (Bielrrusia), with Teatro Massimo di Palermo and Mine Kurtoğlu (Turkey), a contract for a concert at Teatro del Lago in Frutillar.

Ópera de Tenerife also gave special prizes to the Spanish tenor Gillen Mungía with a contract for the opera season; and to Guatemalan tenor Gustavo Palomo with a zarzuela role.

The winner of the first prize of the 6th Singing Competition is from Russia and trained at St. Petersburg Conservatoire. She furthered her education at Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo. Her extensive repertoire includes roles like  Gilda (Rigoletto, Verdi); Brigitta (Iolanta, Tchaikovski); Voce dal cielo (Don Carlo, Verdi); Flora (The Turn of the Screw, Britten); Annina (The Traviata, Verdi), Baucis (Philemon und Baucis, Haydn) or Nastyenka (The Scarlet Flower, Novikova), which has led her to perform in major theatres like Premier Music Theater of Krasnodar, Palau de les Artes Reina Sofía or St. Petersburg Philarmonie. She has been semi-finalist at the XXIII Operalia - The World Opera Competition and also received a grant for The Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, among others.

The competition closes today, Thursday the 4th with the traditional Award-Winners Concert to be held at Auditorio de Tenerife’s Sala de Cámara at 7:30 pm. The winners will display their singing skills with the accompaniment of maestro Dario Tondelli.

Fifty participants from 25 different countries entered the competition which also had a prestigious international jury of high artistic and technical competence led by the director general of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Fulvio Macciardi, as president of the jury. Other members were the general and artistic director of Cia Ópera São Paulo, Paulo Abrão Esper; the executive director of Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Martín Boschet; the casting manager and assistant to the musical director of Teatro Massimo di Palermo and casting consultant of Teatro Real de Madrid, Alessandro Di Gloria; the artistic director of the Fondazione Teatri di Piacenza, Cristina Ferrari; the artistic director of Teatro del Lago de Frutillar, Carmen Gloria Larenas; the executive director of OLA, Alejandra Martí; the director general of Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla, Javier Menéndez; the artistic director of the Area of Music of the Fundación Ibáñez Atkinson, Andrés Rodríguez-Spoerer; and the head of artistic programming of Teatro Regio di Parma, Cristiano Sandri.