The finals of the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s second International Singing Competition were held in Olavinlinna Castle on Sunday evening. The winner of the competition was 22-year-old US soprano Heather Engebretson, who was awarded the Lord and Lady Laidlaw Prize worth €20,000. For the competition she sang Violetta’s aria Sempre libra from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La traviata and Juliet’s aria Dieu! quel frisson…Amour, renime mon courage from Charles Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet. Heather Engebretson is at present studying voice at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
The second and third prizes also went to women. Russian mezzo-soprano Nadezhda Karyazina (b. 1986) was the winner of the second prize (€10,000) and Romanian soprano Iulia Elena Surdu (b. 1984) of the third (€5,000).
The male singers in the finals – Finnish bass Matti Turunen (b. 1982), Romanian tenor Cristian Mogosan (b. 1983) and Ukrainian tenor Oleksiy Palchykov (b. 1986) – came in 4th to 6th place and were each awarded a consolation prize of €1,000.
According to Jari Hämäläinen, Chairman of the Jury and Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, choosing the winner was not easy. “The Jury debated its decision for a long time, because the contestants were very close to one another in standard,” he says.
Next year, in the 2013 season of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, it will be time for the Timo Mustakallio Competition for young Finnish singers.
Artistic Director, Savonlinna Opera Festival
tel. 358 40 554 5955