Best of 2023: OperaWire’s Top Ten Rising Stars 2023

By Francisco Salazar

It’s been a tough year. Economic hardship. War. Increased social fracturing around the world. In the opera world, we’ve seen numerous companies cutting back on productions or simply canceling their seasons.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to celebrate. And as we end 2023, here’s a look at some of the young singers who saw their careers shine whether through competitions, festivals, or in some major production.

So without further ado, OperaWire would like to highlight 10 rising stars for 2023 (in alphabetical order).

Anastasia Bartoli

The Italian soprano’s voice has been described as “a wonderfully secure voice that is able to hold the line perfectly and transition between registers seamlessly.” Over the past year, Bartoli has received a string of glowing reviews for her performances in Cristina in “Eduardo e Cristina” at the Rossini Opera Festival, Verdi’s “I Due Foscari” at Venice’s La Fenice, Elvira in Verdi’s “Ernani” at the Palau del els Arts, and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Bartoli graduated from the Conservatory of Verona in 2016 and made her debut as Rosina at Teatro Ristori in Verona. She was then chosen by Carlo Rizzi to sing excerpts from “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in 2017. Since then she has already scaled many of the most difficult operas in the repertoire including “Nabucco,” and “Macbeth” and has performed with such legends as Riccardo Muti and Leo Nucci.

Upcoming engagements include “Tosca” at the Teatro Regio di Parma, “Manon Lescaut” at the Teatro Comunale Bologna, and “La Boheme” with the Teatro Carlo Felice.

Adolfo Corrado

In June, Aldolfo Corrado won the BBC Cariff Singer of the Year award instantly becoming a singer to look out for.

A native of Scorrano in the province of Lecce, Corrado trained as an actor at Augusto Zucchi’s Scuola di Recitazione in Rome and completed his studies as a singer at the Tito Schipa Conservatory in Lecce.

Over the past years, he has been a member of the Accademia del Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and has made major debuts at the Palazzo Platamone in Catania, the Greek Theatre at Taormina, Fondazine Petruzzelli, Teatro Grande di Brescia, Teatro Sociale di Como, and Arena di Verona.

This year, he made his Teatro alla Scala debut and performed at such theaters as Palau de les Arts, Teatro Sociale di Rovigo, Festival Valle d’Itria, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and the Donizetti Opera Festival. The year 2024 looks to continue busy for Corrado as he will sing at teh Teatro La Fenice, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Opera National du Capitole, and Opera de Liege.

Eugénie Joneau

French mezzo-soprano Joneau has been on the competition circuit since 2018 having won the first Opera Prize and the 1st Melody Prize at the 25th International Opera Competition in Mâcon. She has since won the First Prize “Révélations” of the 6th Competition Jeunes Espoirs Raymond Duffaut in Avignon and the Second Prize, the zarzuela prize, and three others in the form of contracts from the 59th Tenor Viñas Competition in Barcelona. She was also the second prize winner of the Prize at the prestigious Neue Stimmen Competition and the Revelation’s Victoire de la Musique Classique 2022.

This past fall, she added to her prizes at the Operalia Competition winning the most prizes of any singer. She took home the Second prize as well as the Prix Pepita Embil de la Zarzuela and the Birgit Nilsson Prize.

Outside of her competitions, Joneau became a member of the opera studio at the Opera National du Rhin during the 2019-2 season. She has since performed at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Théâtre Antique d’Orange, the Opéra Comédie de Montpellier, the Festival d’Aix en Provence, the Tounô Festival, and the Bonn Theater.

This season she makes her debuts at the Teatro Alighieri Ravenna and Opéra de Nice.

Julieth Lozano

This summer the name Julieth Lozano resonated throughout the world when she was awarded the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Audience Prize at the 2023 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. She also became the first Colombian to participate in the BBC competition.

Having received a Masters in Vocal Performance and an Artist Diploma in Opera from the Royal College of Music, the 31-year-old became a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London. During the 2021-22 season, the soprano made her debut at the Welsh National Opera and has been a frequent performer with the company ever since. During the 2022-23 season she became a Jeune ensemble for the Grand Théâtre Genève. She has also performed with the Longborough Festival Opera, Opera al Parque, Teatro Mayor, the International Music Festival at Cartagena, and the Random Opera.

Lozano is also a Kathleen Ferrier competition finalist, 2018 recipient of the President’s Award given by The Prince of Wales and a first prize winner of the Opera Festival Scotland’s Young Artist Singing Competition. 

In 2023 Hola! magazine named her one of the Top 100 Latina Powerhouses.

Marigona Qerkezi

When Marigona Qerkezi sang “Il Trovatore” at the Verdi Festival in 2022, OperaWire raved about her voice noting she “has a plush soprano with a roundness from the top to the lower parts of the voice.” She was also praised for her “commanding stage presence.”

A native of Zagreb, the soprano has slowly risen to prominence as a major Verdi soprano. Over the years she has won major prizes including the Leyla Gencer Opera Competition and taking home a special prize from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. She also won the first prize at the “Magda Olivero” International Competition and the “Best under 25” special prize at the Portofino International Opera Competition, among others.

This year the soprano’s profile has continued to rise making her debut at the Teatro La Fenice, Teatro Carlo Felice, and Ópera de Oviedo. She also made role debuts in “Aida,” and “I Due Foscari” and performed such works as “Anna Bolena” and “Ernani.” In 2024, the soprano is set to make more role debuts in “la Boheme,” “Norma,” and “Il Corsaro.” She will also return to the Teatro Carlo Felice and Palm Beach Opera and will make her debut at the Teatro Lirico Cagliari.

Stephano Park

South Korean bass Stephano Park trained at Seoul National University and continued them at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. In 2021 he was named a finalist of the 39th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition. Then in 2022 he became a member of the Wiener Staatsoper Openstudio where he has thus far sung several supporting roles as well as covered major roles in operas like “Tosca,” “La Faniculla del West,” “Otello,” Salome,” “Aida,” and “Faust,” to name a few.

However, it was this year that Park came to the attention of an international audience when he was named the winner of Operalia 2023. Park sung the aria “Infelice ! E tuo credevi” from Verdi’s “Ernani.”

This season Viennese audiences will get to see him in various productions and roles and park recently joined Intermusica for General Management, which looks promising.

Julie Roset

In November, soprano Julie Roset surprised the world with her show-stopping performance of the “Bell Song” at the Operalia Competition. The performance earned her first prize in the competition.

But before Operalia, Roset had already won numerous competitions including the the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition where she signaled her rising star status. Over the past year, she has made a name for herself performing to acclaim at the Opéra Comique, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Teatro Real Madrid, and Opéra du Rhin. She is also an avid concert performer who has performed alongside the Mozarteum Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, among others.

A graduate of the Conservatoire du Grand Avignon and the Juilliard School, this season Roset will continue to build on her successes with her debut at Opéra de Paris and will go on tour with the Ensemble Pygmalion. She will also perform in Carnegie Hall and will sing at the Opéra de Lorraine.

Adam Smith

Over the past years, tenor Adam Smith has slowly climbed the ranks of the opera world singing with many distinguished companies and specializing in the Italian and French repertoire. From 2014 to 2017, Smith was a member of the ensemble at Opera Vlaanderen and won numerous competitions as the First Prize, Audience Prize, Critics’ Prize, and the prize for The Best Tenor at the 2015 Ferruccio Tagliavini International Singing Competition in Austria. He also took the Third Prize in the Ada Sari International Singing Competition in Poland and in 2016 he was a finalist in the International Moniuszko Vocal Competition.

From there, he has made major debuts at La Monnaie, Glyndebourne Festival, Greek National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Teatro Mayor to name a few. His repertoire has included the works of Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, Dvořák, and Mascagni.

This year was a major one for the tenor as he made debuts at the Washington National Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, receiving rave reviews along the way. He is also set to make his debuts at the Palau de les Arts, the San Diego Opera, the Staatsoper Hamburg, and Opera Australia.

Elena Villalón

Cuban-American soprano Villalón has built a name for herself over the years in the United States, having won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and several prizes at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition. She is also a 2022 winner of the Sarah Tucker Study Grant by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and a Richard F. Gold career grant from the Houston Grand Opera.

This past fall she brought her voice to an international audience when she took home the audience prize at the Operalia Competition performing an aria from “Hamlet.”

The 25-year-old is a recent alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and has performed major roles with the Dallas Opera as well as the Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Tanglewood. She is currently a member of the ensemble at the Oper Frankfurt and is set to make her Metropolitan Opera debut this season as Amore in “Orfeo ed Euridice.”

Jasmin White

In the fall, Jasmin White won first place in the Queen Sonja Singing Competition in Norway. This was a huge moment for the mezzo, who was praised for “her powerful voice” and her “clarity of sound and diction.”

Over the years the contralto has steadily been rising in the opera world following a second place and audience award at the Musiq3 Prize of the Public in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium and a major debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. White is in the midst of her second season as a member of the premier Opernstudio at Volksoper Wien where she has performed such works as “Der fliegende Holländer,” “Die Zauberflöte,” “Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor,” and “The Gospel According to the Other Mary.” She has also performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the Cincinnati Opera, and the Lakes Area Music Festival.

A recent graduate of Juilliard, White is just getting started as a debut at the Dutch National Opera and performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and American Modern Opera Company await her.


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