Born in San Sebastián, Spain, Carmen Artaza began her musical training by playing the violin at the Francisco Escudero Conservatory and singing in the Araoz Gazte Choir. The young mezzo-soprano is currently studying with Professor Michelle Breedt at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt. The winner of the first prize of the 58th Tenor Viñas Contest was also awarded 5 other prizes, among which were the Mozart prize and the audience prize. In January 2020, the mezzo-soprano won the first prize at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Hochschulwettbewerb in Berlin. In 2018 she won the Audience Award, the Young Talents Award and the First Prize at the Luis Mariano International Competition in Spain. In the summer of 2019, Carmen makes her debut at the Salzburger Festsiele playing the role of Bradamante in the new children's composition Gesang der Zauberinsel, as part of the Young Singers Project of the Salzburg Festival. Artaza has performed both opera and concert in theaters such as the Barbican Center in London or the Berlin Philharmonic and she has worked with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Symphony or the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. At a 2018 BBC total immersion concert, Carmen performed and recorded Enrique Granados' La maja dolorosa I, II, III for BBC3.
"The 58th edition of the Viñas Contest has been a special event, especially in the conditions of pandemic in which it has been celebrated. Being able to sing before a so professional jury and above all, in front of a magnificent audience has fetched this week an event that I will never forget. I am feeling full of gratitude, of music and of joy after these days full of feelings. For me singing in the stage of the Liceu has been fulfilling a dream that I will not forget."
Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova is a graduate of the Dnipro Academy of Music where she received Bachelor degrees in Vocal Performance, vocal teacher. Ms. Syniakova was studying in opera studio Placido Domingo in Valencia from September 2017 till July 2019. There she made concerts and masterclasses and various roles as Ernesto from Il Mondo della Luna, Second lady from The Magic Flute , Laura from Iolanta, Alisa from Lucia di Lammermoor. Olga Syniakova took part in the Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, conducted by Fabio Biondi. After the same project she sang with huge orchestra Europa Galante conductor Fabio Biondi in St. Petri Dom Bremen where this masterpiece closed Bremen Musikfest in September 2018. Ms. Syniakova has an award “The best mezzo-soprano of season 2018-2019” in Palau de les Arts (Valencia, Spain). In 2020 she made her debut in Real Filharmonía de Galicia in role Orphée (Orphée et Eurydice).
“It was amazing, full of joy, happiness and pleasure week in Barcelona! I met my friends with whom I started my professional development in Valencia in Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo and during the competition I made a lot of new friends. The atmosphere between participants was friendly, supportive! It is sad that this time we could not hug, make toï toï toï presents, couldn’t see smiles of each other, but our eyes shine even more expressive now! I had real luck because I could make music with the best pianist Stanislav Angelov and this triumph I would like to share with him!”
Germán Enrique Alcántara
Born in Misiones (Argentina), Germán E. Alcántara began his studies at the School of Music in Misiones receiving the diploma of Professor of Arts: Music. Later he studied at the University of Cuyo (Mendoza), Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris (under Rosa Dominguez) and the Reina Sofía School of Music in Madrid (with Ryland Davies). He is currently studying for a Doctorate in Music and Performance, with the project “Cantocando: challenges of self-accompaniment”, at the University of Aveiro - Portugal.
Graduated from the Jette Parker Young Artist Program at the Royal Opera House in London, where he debuted in the 2018/19. During the 2019/20 season he appears again as Wagner (Faust) in "ROH-Japan", in addition to: Steersman (Tristan und Isolde) and Prince Yamadori (Madama Butterfly). His awards include Golden Medal (high distinction) of the 5th Manhathan Competition 2020, Laureat in Queen Elizabeth Competition 2018, First Prize in the Bach Joven Competition in Paraguay, Second Prize in the Competition for Young Students of Lyrical Singing in Buenos Aires, Premier Prix in Concours Lyrique International ad Alta Voce in Paris and Priz Artifex Proart in the Zarzuela Contest of Valleseco, Spain.
“Perhaps one of the most important adventures in these times, being able to participate in this contest; singing for such a warm and grateful audience is the greatest award a singer can dream of! That Spain is today the standard of the Opera on the international level and this Viñas Contest its standard bearer are not coincidences when the people loves the lyrical art so much and when there are people willing to move heaven and earth to keep the flame alive. My deep thanks to the organization, for this contest and for these wonderful awards; to the jury and to the much loved public. I hope to meet you again soon!!”
Vasily Sokolov was born on January 20, 1995 in the city of Irkutsk. In 2011, he entered the Fryderyk Chopin College of Music in the department of academic vocal. In 2015, he graduated from college and entered the GITIS Faculty of Musical Theater on the course of Andres Zhagars, in the same year he took the academy for military service on conscription. He served in the Alexandrov Ensemble, performed at various venues around the world. Since 2017, he has been a soloist of the B. A. Pokrovsky Chamber Music Theater (since September 2018, the Chamber Stage of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia).
"I really liked the contest! It was a huge experience for me! The organization was at the highest level! The accommodation was comfortable! The concertmaster was a wonderful musician! Thank you very much! I'll never forget it!!"
Chuan Wang was born in Luoyang, China, and started learning singing at 17. He graduated from Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Milan Verdi Conservatory, and La Scala Accademia. He won the First Prizes in the 7th Salvatore Licitra International Lyric Opera Competition and the Second Prizes in the 5th Portofino International Lyric Opera Competition.
From 2017 to 2020, he performed many roles in La Scala, such as Almaviva from the children’s version of Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Nemorino from the children’s version of L’elisir d’amore; Ramiro from the children’s version of La Cenerentola; Calaf from Cherubini’s Alì Babà ; Rinuccio from Gianni Schicchi and the Duke from Rigoletto. In 2021, he will sing Ernesto from Don Pasquale in Parma Opera House and Gernando and Ubaldo from Armida in Marseille Opera.
"It was a wonderful experience to take part in the 58th Viñas competition. The organization was perfect, especially considering the current situation with COVID-19. I’m incredible grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make the music happen and I would like to thank the distinguished jury for the prizes and helpful advice. Congratulations to all the young singers who took part in the competition and I wish them all the best in their future careers."
Inna Demenkova studied at the Moscow Regional Basic Music College named after A. N. Scriabin (Professor's class Nikulina N. B.) and V. S. Popov Academy of Choral Art (Professor N. B. Nikulina.). She is winner of numerous prizes at international and national competitions, including the 6th Pize and the special prize for the performance of the Russian repertoire in the 58 International Singing Contest Tenor Viñas (Barcelona, Spain), Abdrazakovfest 2020 educational program (Moscow), Grand Prix winner of the VI All-Russian Sobinov vocal competition and Opera Competition Golden Autumn in Chengdu, China.
Recent highlights include the closing of the Abdrazakovfesti festival – Gala Verdi (Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory) and the performance “Amadeus. Laboratory of Opera” (Novaya Opera Theater) in 2020; Spiritual concert (P. I. Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), educational tour “Masterpieces of world culture” in 23 cities of Russia and Gran Opera Gala Concert (Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory) in 2019.
Demenkova’s opera repertory includes: recitative and aria of Donna Elvira from Don Giovanni, Amalia’s aria and stretta from I Masnadieri, Musetta’s Waltz from La Boheme, The romance of Antonia from Les contes d’Hoffmann, Rimsky-Korsakov aria.
From Volgograd, Victoria is currently of member of the prestigious Young Artist Programme at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia where she has appeared as Aglaya in a new production of Weinberg’s The Idiot and Third wood sprite in new production of Rusalka with Ainars Rubikis. Victoria has toured extensively with the Bolshoi, with performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington and across France.
Recent highlights include Dritte dame in Die Zauberflöte conducted by Stanislav Kochanovsky, and Stimme von oben in Die Frau ohne Schatten with Valery Gergiev at the Verbier Festival, and the Mozart Requiem with the Athens Philharmonic. This season Victoria will make her US debut as Olga in Eugene Onegin at Palm Beach Opera, and will sing Stravinsky's Les noces with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.
Natalia Kutateladze, born in Georgia, studied singing at the Juilliard School of Music in New York with Edith Wiens. The mezzo-soprano was able to gain numerous stage experiences both in her home country and abroad. So she was, among others, to experience as Ottone (Agrippina) in a Juilliard production and as Mercédès (Carmen) at the Tbilisi State Opera. In addition, she participated in various competitions and master classes, including the Metropolitan Opera House Council Audition and the IMA - International Mastersinger Academy. In the 2018/19 season she was a member of the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera.
Baritone Insik Choi received his first vocal training in Seoul Yonsei University with Professor Kwan-dong Kim and completed his studies at the Conservatory Cologne. In 2014 he performed Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème in South Korea. He made his debut as Marcello in La Bohème at the Oper Köln. Since 2015 he has been a member of the Opera Studio of the Cologne. After the season 2017/18 he has been working as an ensemble. He plans to Le nozze di Figaro, La traviata and Carmen in the 20/21 season. He is a winner of the Tenerife International Vocal Competition and the Fourth Official Prize in Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Audience Prize.
"It was really great experience to me singing in the Viñas competition. The audience in Barcelona was fantastic, I really appreciate that. I was so honoured to receive my awards, and even more humbled to sing with the Liceu orchestra in the Final Concert and I learned so many things on the stage with conductor and my pianist. Thanks to Tenor Viñas Competition and Liceu Theatre for a good memory."
Brazilian-American mezzo-soprano/alto Melissa Zgouridi is the winner of various awards including the Fulbright Grant and First Place in the Friends of Eastman Opera Vocal Competition. She was a New Orleans District Winner in the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In January 2020, Melissa won 5th prize and the “Mercedes Viñas” extraordinary prize at the 57th International Tenor Viñas Singing Competition in Barcelona.
Her recent performance highlights include the alto solo in Matthäus-Passion (Bach) and Petite messe solennelle (Rossini) in the Netherlands, Lehrbuben in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner) conducted by Christian Thielemann and directed by Jens-Christian Herzog at the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Roßweiße in a concert version of Die Walküre (Wagner) with the Staatstheater Augsburg in Germany.
Melissa graduated with distinction from the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg (Austria) in 2018 with a Master’s Degree in Lied and Oratorio. Melissa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (USA).
"I had such a wonderful time at the Viñas Competition. I loved getting to meet talented singers from all over the world and having the opportunity to sing each round not only in front of such a renown jury but also an enthusiastic audience made it all the better. It was an honor to have received two prizes at the competition and to get to sing with the orchestra on the stage of the Gran Teatre del Liceu. All in all, the Viñas Competition was a thrilling experience that I will continue to carry with me wherever I go."
Maria Brea, soprano, a native of Caracas, Venezuela. In 2020 Maria Brea makes her debut as Francisquita in Carmen at Rose Theater at Lincoln Center with MasterVoices. She sings soprano solo in Carmina Burana with MasterVoices. In fall, 2019, Ms. Brea debuted with New Camerata Opera singing the role of Elena in the zarzuela El barbero de Sevilla. This past summer, Maria was a Stern Fellow at Songfest and debuted with the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Last spring, Ms. Brea made her Opera Tampa debut singing the title role in Maestro Anton Coppola's Lady Swanwhite, premiere. Maria won first prize in the Giulio Gari 17and New York Lyric Opera 16.
In preparation is the Massenet Manon and Elvira in I puritani in 2022-23.
"The whole experience was incredible! I have never been to Europe in my life and when I was selected for the second round I was in shock. The organization and the singers were incredibly supportive and warm. This was a dream come true and I’m forever grateful and humbled. I can still remember seeing the Liceu from the stage and it’s a warming and beautiful memory."
Aigul Khismatullina was born in Naberezhnye Chelny (Republic of Tatarstan). In 2014 she graduated from the Kazan State Zhiganov Conservatory (class of Klara Khayrutdinova), following which she undertook an assistant traineeship under Albina Shagimuratova (2014–2016). Since 2016 she has been a soloist at the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Vladivostok. In 2017 she became a grant-recipient of the Atkins Young Artists Program Fellowship at the Mariinsky Theatre. She made her Mariinsky Theatre debut as The Nightingale in Stravinsky's opera Le Rossignol.
- Prize-winner at the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition (2019, 2nd prize)
- Prize-winner at the 56th International Tenor Viñas Singing Contest (Barcelona, 2019, 1st prize)
- Prize-winner at the All-Russian Music Competition (2014, Moscow, 1st prize)
Ivan Ayon Rivas was born in 1993 in Perù. He studied opera under the tutelage of María Eloisa Aguirre at the National Conservatory of Music of Perù. He pursued his studies with Juan Diego Florez, Ernesto Palacio, Vincenzo Scalera, Maurizio Colaccichi and Luigi Alva. He is currently studying in Italy with baritone Roberto Servile.
In November 2014 he made his debut in Ludwigshafen/BASF in a Gala with Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, in the benefit concert of Juan Diego Florez, under the baton of Fabio Luisi.
He sang in Mercadante’s Francesca Rimini at the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca conducted by Fabio Luisi, where he came back the following year in Un giorno di regno.
- Prize-winner at the Peruvian national Competition for Opera Singers (2013, 2nd prize)
- Prize-winner at the 1st Concorso Internazionale di Canto “Premio Etta Limiti” (2015, 1st prize)
- Prize-winner at the 56th International Tenor Viñas Singing Contest (Barcelona, 2019, 1st prize)
During the 2018/19 season, Liv Redpath makes her role debut as Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel conducted by James Conlon at the Los Angeles Opera. She will sing a concert of Handel and Rameau arias with Christophe Rousset, reprise the role of Zerbinetta in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos for Cincinnati Opera, and cover Bess in Breaking the Waves at the Edinburgh International Festival. Concert appearances include Mozart’s Requiem and Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent with Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall, in addition to Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges as Le feu/la princesse/le rossignol with the Pacific Symphony. Past seasons include Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos at The Santa Fe Opera, L’amour in John Neumeier’s new production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, as well as Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Los Angeles Opera. Additional concert appearances include Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Vivaldi’s Gloria with Seattle Symphony, as well as Poulenc’s Gloria, Vaughan-Williams’ Hodie, and Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall.
"The Liceu was the first major European opera stage I've had the pleasure to sing on, and even the lights from the boxes smile at you here! I was so honored to receive my awards, and even more humbled to sing with the Liceu orchestra in the Final Concert. It was a complete joy to sing Mozart and Bellini in this idyllic setting with a lively and engaged audience; a moment in time I will not soon forget".
Winner of the third prize at Tenor Vinas Singing Contest in 2019, the Chinese tenor Long Long is considered one of the most promising lyric tenors of his generation. He is a winner of the Grand Prix de l’Opera in Bucharest 2016, Giovani Voci Verdiane in Busseto 2017, and finalist at Operalia 2018 in Lisbon. In 2017 he was participating to Georg Solti Accademia in Italy. Since 2017 Long Long has been a member of the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. From the season 2019/20 Long Long will be a member of the Staatsoper Hannover.
"This competition is of great significance to me. Being able to win an award is a major leap forward for my career. In each round of competition, I really enjoyed the process of this competition and I was trying to calm down and show my best. I think I also got a good workout and improvement during this competition".
Jaka Mihelac studied at the Music academy Ljubljana in class of prof. Matjaž Robavs. He is winner of numerous prizes at international and national competitions, including the fourth prize and two special prizes at the 56th Tenor Viñas competition in Barcelona (2019), the Will Keune prize in the finals of the 37th Hans Gabor Belvedere competition (2018), the first prize and a special prize at the Ferruccio Tagliavini competition in Deutschlandsberg (2018), and the first prize at the Slovenian national singing competition (2016).
In 2018 he has made a debut as Yamadori (G. Puccini – Madama Butterfly) in the Slovene National Theater in Ljubljana and as Ottokar (C. M. Webber – Der Freischütz) at the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg. In 2017 he has debuted in a scenic performance of C. Orff's Carmina Burana, produced by Echo Classic in Berlin. From 2016 he has performed main roles in four premieres of Slovenian operas. As a soloist he has performed with Staatskapelle Berlin, Berliner Symphoniker, Slovenian Phillharmonic Orchestra, Slovene National Theatre Ljubljana Orchestra and others. From season 2019/20 he is a member of the International Opera Studio at the Berlin Staatsoper.
In 2016 Valentyna Pluzhnikova made her debut at the Theatre of the P. I. Tchaikovsky National Music Academy (Kiev, Ukraine) with the role of Flora in Verdi's La traviata. Since 2016 she regularly takes part in productions of the National Tchaikovsky Opera studio (Kiev, Ukraine). In September 2017 she joined the Academia Operowa of the Polish National Theatre in Warsaw. On January 1, 2019 she took part in the Gala Lirico di Capodanno at the Teatro Verdi Firenze (Italy) with Orchestra della Toscana. At the moment Pluzhnikova is a fourth -year student at the P. I. Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine with Gennady Kabka. In summer 2019 she will take part in the Young Singers Project of Salzburg festival.
Competitions: V International Singing Competition Perls of Art (I Prize); 24 International Competition for Opera Singers Ferruccio Tagliavini (finalist); III International Eva Marton Singing Competition (finalist); Bartok Plus Opera Festival Miskolc (special prize); XXIX Concorso Lirico Internationale Iris Adami Corradetti (II Prize); 56 Tenor Viñas Contest (V Prize, Extraordinary prize Festival Castell de Pelarada).
"I'm very proud that in my 22 years I am the winner of V Prize of such a famous competition Tenor Viñas Contest. The contest has left wonderful memories and gave me great opportunities and prospects for further career growth".
A native of Busan, South Korea, Siman Chung returned to the Metropolitan Opera this season for its production of Nico Muhly’s Marnie. In 2018, he sang the title role in the Berlioz edition of Gluck’s Orphée with Opera Columbus, in Toronto, and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Mr. Chung joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, participating in the company premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel. He appeared with Korean National Opera in Vivaldi’s Orlando fintzo pazzo. In 2015, Chung made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Handel’s Messiah. In 2017, he made his New York recital debut in Presented by Opera Index, as a winner of its major prize. In 2018, he made his Lincoln Center debut singing the role of Fileno from Clori, Tirsi e Fileno by Händel. He also received first prize of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition in New York, the sixth Official Prize in Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain and a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.
"It was such a great experience for me singing in the Viñas Competition. I learned so many great things from the competition and it was so wonderful that I had a chance to sing at the Gran Teatre del Liceu! Thank you so much for all your support!"