Founded in 1963 by Jacint Vilardell to commemorate the Catalan tenor Francisco Viñas, the competition has become one of the major contests in the opera, oratorio and Lied world, in which young singers from all over the world take part every year.
To provide an opportunity for singers from other countries to take part, the Gran Teatre del Liceu has an agreement with the opera houses in Madrid, Paris, London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beijing and Moscow for preliminary rounds to be staged in these cities.
The Final Audition is held each January in the Gran Teatre del Liceu, as is the final concert with the winners, accompanied by the Gran Teatre del Liceu Symphony Orchestra.
Besides being presented with the official prizes, the winners may receive other awards, such as study grants and contracts for performances at various theatres.
As part of the collaboration between the Liceu and the Teatro Real of Madrid, the main prizewinners of the competition will take part in the “Winner’s Concert of the 58th Tenor Viñas Contest”, to be held on June 6th, 2021, at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Francisco Viñas is regarded as a Wagnerian tenor par excellence.
Born in Moià in 1863 and died in Barcelona in 1933, he made his debut in 1888 at the Liceu with Lohengrin.
Viñas was one of the most internationally-renowned Catalan opera singers of his day, primarily due to his performances of Wagnerian characters, which he sang at the leading opera houses in Europe and America, including La Scala in Milan and New York's Metropolitan – where he debuted in 1894 – as well as London, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Genoa and Naples.
In 1913 he premiered Parsifal in Spain in what was the first time this opera was performed outside Bayreuth. Despite his specialisation in the Wagnerian repertoire (Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde), Viñas also sang Italian and French opera (Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavalleria Rusticana, L’Africaine, etc.).
He was also a writer, both as a correspondent in Rome for the Barcelona newspaper El Noticiero Universal and as a publisher of treatises such as Leyendas del Santo Grial y de Parsifal (1934) and the volume El Arte del Canto (1932, reissued in 1963), based on his experiences as a singer.
Gran Teatre del Liceu
The Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, Moscow
Metropolitan Opera House, New York
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
Opéra National de París
Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London
Teatro alla Scala, Milano
Teatro Real, Madrid
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Los Angeles Opera
San Francisco Opera
Staatsoper Unter der Linden, Berlin