Having earned the moniker of “The Portuguese Riviera,” the sunny seaside resort town of Cascais in Portugal, located some 25 miles west of Lisbon, has a centuries-old storied tradition of attracting celebrities and royals from all over Europe, who succumb to its irresistible charms: sunny seaside promenades, idyllic beaches, fishing villages, and the picturesque historical town center.
Coming next spring, the town will also bring forth a project that had been an original dream of the late Teresa Berganza, the celebrated Spanish mezzo-soprano who had a soft spot for Cascais, and wanted to bring an international singing competition to the municipality. Unfortunately, Berganza’s original project was arrested by the COVID pandemic, as well as her untimely death in 2022.
Cascais Opera’s Artistic Director Adriano Jordão announced this week that the municipalty is finally making the event a reality: a major international singing competition, awarding over 30,000€ in cash prizes, plus professional performance contracts with various opera houses, as well as travel subsidies to the finalists. At hand will be a jury panel composed of Russian baritone Sergey Leiferkus, and various casting and artistic directors representing the Vienna Staatsoper; Berlin Staatsoper; Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper; the national opera houses from Ukraine and Serbia; in addition to Ivan van Kalmthout, the newly appointed artistic director of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos. The event will also offer professional guidance seminars and masterclasses by coaches and teachers like the famed Romanian diva Ileana Cotrubas.
This new cultural initiative is being spearheaded by the municipality of Cascais’ various civic organizations, under the sponsorship of the prominent Portuguese arts association Égide, and also receiving the support of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, which will host the final competition and awards ceremony at its historical opera house in Lisbon. Participation is open to singers ages 18 to 32; and potential candidates should submit their applications online before Dec. 31st, following the guidance available at Cascais Opera’s website.