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Sonya Yoncheva and Stefan Pop have won first prize in Operalia, The World Opera Competition founded by Plácido Domingo.
The Bulgarian soprano and Romanian tenor were chosen in the final round of the competition on Sunday 2 May at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, by a panel of judges including directors of the world’s great opera houses and led by Plácido Domingo.
Domingo conducted the contestants in the final round, the culmination of a week of quarterfinals and semifinals in Milan. From the hundreds of applications made in January, 40 singers were selected to participate in these rounds.
The prize winners represent a wide variety of nationalities. Second prize went to Rosa Feola and Giordano Lucà from Italy, and Ievgen Orlov from Ukraine. Russian soprano Dinara Alieva and Chae Jun Lim from South Korea took third prize.
This year was the first that the Birgit Nilsson prize for German operatic repertoire was awarded. It went to American bass-baritone Ryan McKinny.
The first-prize winners were each awarded US $30,000, with $20,000 and $10,000 going to the second- and third-prize winners respectively.
Domingo founded Operalia in 1993 to discover and honour the best young upcoming opera singers. It takes place in a different international city every year.