Plácido Domingo has a passion for discovering talent. He’s not just the world’s most legendary opera singer; he’s also a champion for new young artists. In 1993, Maestro Domingo established Operalia, an international vocal competition created to find and help launch the careers of today’s most promising young opera singers. Over the years, Operalia has done just that, launching the careers of some of the most talked about artists of our time.
This year’s competition wrapped up last night (you can watch the final round here), and those of us in Los Angeles, who have been following along all week, watched and cheered from our homes. Through the magic of live stream, we watched the final announcements from Guadalajara, Mexico. You could probably hear the cheering from the stage in Guadalajara when two of our very own young artists won top prizes (accompanied by Nino Sanikidze, Head Coach in the Young Artist Program).
- Nicolas Brownlee, a current member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, won “The Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Prize of Zarzuela.” Brownlee has been in six different productions at LA Opera to date, most recently as Coline in La Bohème. He will make his Metropolitan Opera debut this coming season, in addition to performing several roles in Los Angeles, including Angelotti in Tosca next spring.
- Brenton Ryan, an alumnus of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, won the Birgit Nilsson Prize. You can catch Ryan as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio in our upcoming season, a role he debuted at the Metropolitan Opera this past spring.
Brownlee and Ryan join a total of 11 young artist program alums who have been recognized at Operalia, since the young artist program was established in 2006, including Janai Brugger (2012), Ben Bliss (2013), Amanda Woodbury (2014), and Joshua Guerrero (2014), who will return to LA Opera in Macbeth this October.
Over the years, many Operalia winners, who have gone on to be some of opera’s greatest artists, have graced the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage. Some of these artists were seen in productions last season, including Ana María Martínez, who won the Zarzuela Prize in 1995, and was last seen as the title character in Madame Butterfly. Next season, Arturo Chacón-Cruz (a 2004 winner), will star in his third consecutive LA Opera season-opening production, as Macduff in Macbeth, while Anthony Roth Costanzo (Operalia 2012) will play the title character in Akhnaten this November.
We’re still celebrating over here and as LA Opera looks towards its next 30 years, we’re likely to welcome many more Operalia winners to our stage.
For more information about LA Opera and to purchase tickets to our upcoming season, visit our website.