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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Canadians Win Big At 2018 Operalia

By Joseph So on September 3, 2018

Operalia Lisbon 2018 Winners. Photo: Jose Luis R. Cortes
Operalia Lisbon 2018 Winners. Photo: Jose Luis R. Cortes

In the beautiful Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, Portugal last evening, two Canadian mezzo-sopranos were among the big winners of Operalia 2018, live streamed on the internet worldwide, on Medici TV and Facebook.

Toronto opera fans are very familiar with the two Canadians, Emily D’Angelo and Rihab Chaieb, both mezzo-sopranos. They were former members of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, and they have since gone on to forge significant careers. It was wonderful to watch them perform, and to see the broad smiles when they came onstage to receive their awards.

Emily D’Angelo, winner of the 2016 Met Auditions at the incredibly young age of 21, is currently a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Program there. Tonight, she virtually cleaned up by winning four prizes – First Prize, Birgit Nilsson Prize, Zarzuela Prize, and the Rolex Audience Prize.  For the finals, she sang “Dopo notte” from Handel’s Ariodante with stunning fioritura.  She also sang a brilliantly idiomatic zarzuela.  Fellow mezzo Rihab Chaieb was the Third Prize Winner, combining rich vocalism with alluring stage presence in “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Saint-Saens’ Samson et Dalila.

Operalia 2018 First Prize Winners Emily D'Angelo, mezzo-soprano & Pavel Petrov with Maestro Placido Domingo (Photo: Jose Luis R. Cortes)
Operalia 2018 First Prize Winners Emily D’Angelo, mezzo-soprano & Pavel Petrov with Maestro Placido Domingo (Photo: Jose Luis R. Cortes)

Given the extremely high level of the competition, the successes of the two Canadians are all the more remarkable. Operalia, now in its 26th-year, is the brainchild of the great Spanish/Mexican tenor-turned-baritone Placido Domingo who also conducted the finals. Many winners from Operalia have gone on to have big careers. Previous Canadians were soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian (First Prize 2000), bass Robert Pomakov (Third Prize 2000), and baritone-turned-tenor Joseph Kaiser (Second Prize 2005).

Emily D’Angelo makes her Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden debut as Cherubino in October. She then returns to the COC to sing Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte in January, a role she will reprise at the Santa Fe Opera in summer 2019.

Rihab Chaieb sings Kasturbai in Satyagraha at Opera Vlaanderen in Ghent, Belgium in November, followed by the title role in Fantasio in Opera National de Montpellier in December. She returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in January–April 2019.

 

First Prize

Emily D’Angelo (mezzo), Canada/Italy, 23

Pavel Petrov (tenor), Belarus, 27

 

Second Prize

Samantha Hankey (mezzo), USA, 26

Migran Agadzhanyan (tenor), Russia, 26

 

Third Prize

Rihab Chaieb (mezzo), Canada, 31

Arseny Yakovlev (tenor), Russia, 26

 

Birgit Nilsson Prize

Emily D’Angelo (mezzo), Canada/Italy, 23

Samantha Hankey (mezzo), USA, 26

 

The Pepita Embil Zarzuela Prize

Emily D’Angelo (mezzo), Canada/Italy, 23

 

The Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Zarzuela Prize (tie)

Pavel Petrov (tenor), Belarus, 27

Luis Gomes (tenor), Portugal, 31

 

Audience Prize

Emily D’Angelo (mezzo), Canada/Italy, 23

Luis Gomes (tenor), Portugal, 31

 

CulturArte Prize

Josy Santos (mezzo), Brazil, 29

Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So
Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So
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