The inaugural Hong Kong International Operatic Singing Competition kicks off today with the first round of semifinals as 24 young aspirants try to sing their way to one of the richest prizes in opera.
The competition, open to singers under the age of 35, is administered by Hong Kong’s Musica Viva. It follows close on the heels of the first Hong Kong International Conducting Competition, run in January by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, both of which evidence strenuous recent efforts to internationalize Hong Kong’s classical music scene.
Selected from a total of 148 entries from 25 countries, the semifinalists include seven singers from Korea, making up the single largest contingent, five from China, and one each from Indonesia and the Philippines. The remaining competitors hail from Russia, the United States, Britain, South Africa and Scandinavia.
The jury is chaired by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and includes singers Sumi Jo and Dennis O’Neill as well the Royal Opera House’s casting director Peter Katona and Musica Viva’s Director-General, Lo Kingman.
The winner of the US$15,000 prize will be chosen from among ten finalists participating in a final public concert the evening of Monday 2 July.