Operalia Competition: Ailyn Pérez, Olga Peretyatko & the Superstars of the Early 2000s

By David Salazar

The Operalia Competition is just days away and in anticipation of the famed event, we will take a look back down memory lane at the opera singers who became stars after big performances at the competition.

For today’s installment, we will look at the major stars to come out of the early 2000s. Here are the winners of that decade who have since risen to great operatic stardom.

Carmen Giannattasio – 2002 

The Italian soprano has steadily seen her profile grow over the last few years since winning the first prize in the 2002 edition of the competition. She has become a go-to in the Italian repertoire, her performance of “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera garnering her tremendous raves.

Irina Lungu and Mikhail Petrenko – 2004 

Neither actually won the top prize that year in the competition. Petrenko finished fourth while Lungu was awarded the CulturArte Prize. But both have had impressive careers. Petrenko’s career has flowered all around the world, while the soprano has performed all around Europe to great acclaim.

Arturo Chacón-Cruz, Joseph Kaiser, Susanna Phillips – 2005 

Of the three, Phillips’ stardom is unquestionable as she has become a Metropolitan Opera fixture over the last few years, turning into one of the definitive Musetta interpreters of her generation. The two tenors have also had solid careers, with Chacón-Cruz a star on the rise. Kaiser has taken a unique path, specializing in rare repertoire such as “Capriccio” or “Oedipus rex” and “Jenufa.” But there is no denying the results for the three stars.

Ailyn Pérez – 2006

The American soprano’s superstar status is starting to blossom at this very moment as she has not only conquered all the major houses around the US but has also made a name for herself in Milan, Dresden, London, and Barcelona. Her “La Traviata” interpretation has become one of her warhorses, but she is now looking to take on more challenging repertoire, including the title role in “Thaïs” and Elvira in “Ernani.”

Olga Peretyatko & Lisette Oropesa – 2007 

The two sopranos, neither of which won the top prize in the competition, have had tremendous careers since competing in Operalia. Peretyatko is a star of international repute, dominating the Rossini repertoire, signing a multi-CD contract with Sony and performing at all the major houses around the world in the lyric repertoire. Oropesa has also flourished around the world, dominating at all the American houses while also solidifying her status internationally. When soprano Nadine Sierra called in sick from a few performances of “Rigoletto” in Paris, Oropesa stepped into the spotlight seamlessly.

Angel Blue – 2009

The American soprano, who finished second in the competition is another star that is taking the opera world by storm. She recently hosted the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and is slated for her hotly anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut this fall in “La Bohème.”


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