A Star is Born
The 28th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, with the presence of Boesendorfer, has ended in Vienna. It is one of the biggest singers' competitions world-wide.
The happy winners
From left to right: Gaston Rivero (USA, 2nd prize-opera category), Markus Appelt (Germany, winner-Staetshuys Antik Prize Amsterdam accompaniment category), Maria Porubcinova (Slovakia, 3rd prize-opera category), Pretty Yende (South Africa, 1st prize opera & operetta category), Claudia Boyle (Ireland, 3rd prize-operetta category), Sean Panikkar (USA, 2nd prize-operetta category)
Annemarie Herfurth (Germany), the Bösendorfer winner of the accompaniment category, unfortunately couldn´t participate in the prize giving ceremony. Meanwhile she is glad about her Bösendorfer-Prize.
Promotion of young singing talents
Since the beginning of his artistic career, Hans Gabor, founder and for many years head of the Vienna Chamber Opera, has been preoccupied with the discovery and promotion of young singing talents. Many a later opera star first entered the spotlight under his direction.
From these efforts arose the successful concept of a special sort of singing competition—not academic pedagogues, but rather those specialists who are responsible for staging singers, ought to judge singers’ talent and maturity: opera and festival directors, music presenters, as well as representatives from the media industry. Representatives of artist management agencies were also invited as observers.
The world’s largest singer exchange
The idea of a serious “singer exchange” without a strict academic orientation quickly caught on. Applications from all parts of the world came in. Yet in order not to overtax the jury, soon only a very limited number of applicants were admitted. Therefore, in 1992 worldwide preselection was decided on, first in 13 different cities, and the number of cities in which qualification rounds are performed has grown to over fifty. The winners from them may perform at the competition in Vienna.
Naturally, the organization of all of this would not be manageable without the assistance of many opera houses and cultural institutions, as well as the Austrian foreign ministry. Only thanks to their support could the Belvedere Competition develop into the largest singer exchange in the world, the “Wall Street of voices.”
Since 1995, the Belvedere Competition has borne the name of Hans Gabor, whose impact is inseparable from the competition.
The jury in session
The song accompanists compete as well. On Bösendorfer.
Already in 1988, the competition, which up to then had been reserved for opera, was expanded to include an operetta category. In 2000, the accompaniment competition was added, which takes place on Bösendorfer pianos exclusively. Participants compete musically for the “Staetshuys Antik Prize Amsterdam” in the amount of € 1000, as well as for the “Bösendorfer Special Prize,” likewise in the amount of € 1000.
As was the case last year, there were about 3000 young singers at the start of the competition. 158 singers qualified for the main competition in Vienna. The grand finale took place in Vienna’s City Hall, and, for accompanists, in Bösendorfer Hall. (rulö)
fotocredits: Christian Husar, Boesendorfer