The World Opera Competition 2017 -“Operalia”, begins today in Astana as part of the wide-ranging cultural programme within the framework of Specialised Expo 2017. The prestigious annual event, which takes place in famous cities around the globe, will take place for the very first time in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, from 24-29 July, in the Astana Opera.
Founded in 1993 by renowned opera conductor and director, Plácido Domingo, “Operalia” is considered the opera equivalent of the Academy Awards, and is open to young artists aged 18-32 years old, who get an opportunity to benefit from Domingo’s personal experience and expertise. At Expo 2017 Astana, the 25th edition of the competition will feature 40 contestants from 17 countries, and will give four singers from Kazakhstan - soprano Maria Mudryak, tenor Damir Saduakassov and baritones Stanislav Li and Rasul Zharmambetov, the opportunity to represent their country at home.
Held in three rounds, with vocalists performing their arias with piano accompaniment in the quarter and semi-finals, the competition grants the last ten finalists the honour of performing at the final gala, with a full orchestra under the baton of Placido Domingo. “Operalia” as a springboard to a successful on-stage career in the intensely competitive operatic world, has discovered some of the finest opera talents in the world, including Wagnerian soprano Nina Stemme, who won the first edition of the competition in 1993, Joyce DiDonato, Rolando Villazon, Erwin Schrott, and Joseph Calleja, amongst others.
Organisers of Expo 2017 have prepared a rich cultural programme of events that run throughout the 93 days of the Expo, including spectacular concerts, exhibitions and theatre shows. Expo visitors and opera lovers have already witnessed exciting open-air shows such as Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Aida’, performed by the legendary Italian La Scala theatre, “Don Quixote” and Kazakhstan’s classic lyric poem, “Kyz Zhibek”.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.