Singing only in Italian

International contest for Italian opera singers (Competizione dell’Opera) to take place in Belarus for first time, coinciding with 3rd Minsk International Christmas Opera Forum

By Tatiana Pastukhova

During its years of existence, the Competizione dell’Opera has become one of the largest vocal competitions in the world, being the only singing contest whose participants sing exclusively in Italian, from an Italian-language repertoire — including ancient and 20th century music. Selective rounds are organised all over the globe: in Europe, Asia and America.

The General Director of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Vladimir Gridyushko, explains that, simultaneously, two events are being held: the 3rd Christmas Opera Forum (at the Bolshoi Theatre) and the semi-finals of an Italian opera singing contest (at the Chamber Hall — named after L. Alexandrovskaya — and on the second small rehearsal stage). The finals will then feature winners singing jointly with famous soloists, as part of the Christmas Forum’s gala concert.

The Competizione dell’Opera was first held in 1996, when Professor Hermann Rauhe (then President of the Hamburg Higher School of Music and Theatre) organised an opera contest: I Cestelli (Castles). Since 2001, the contest has been held in Dresden and, in 2011, was for the first time organised outside Germany (its semi-finals and finals took place at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre). A year ago, the semi-finals attracted over 200 participants.

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