From 6 October to 11 November this year, the 20th anniversary edition of the Daegu International Opera Festival, one of the most prestigious opera events in the world, took place. This year's programme included two productions of works by Richard Strauss, "Salome" and "Elektra, and three by Giuseppe Verdi – "Rigoletto", "Macbeth" and "Otello".
Traditionally, the festival ends with a Gala Concert and awards ceremony.
Awards were presented in several categories: best young singer; best new singer; best singer in a supporting role; best singer in a central role; opera achievement award and the Grand Prize.
These prizes for the different categories were presented by Evamaria Wieser – Director of the Young Artist Programme in Salzburg; Florian Riem – Secretary General of the World Federation of Music Competitions, Christoph Ladstätter – Commercial Director of the Vienna Volksoper.
To announce the Grand Prize, Daniele Vimini – President of the Rossini Festival and Deputy Mayor of Pesaro – European Capital of Culture 2024 – came on stage dressed in traditional Korean attire.
"I would like to pay my compliments to all the singers, all the musicians, all the artists, all the orchestras that participated in this historic edition of the Daegu Opera Festival. I hope for the best for the future," said Mr Vimini.
The Grand Prize for Dedication and Contribution was awarded to the Sofia Opera production of "Elektra" by Richard Strauss.
"This is the first production of this opera in the 75-year history of opera in Korea and is believed to expand the development of Korean opera through this work.
You have made a great impression on opera lovers," the master of ceremonies explained, addressing the audience in the hall and the entire production team.
In an excited video address to the audience and the organisers, the Director of the Sofia Opera said:
"I am delighted to express my deepest gratitude to the Saya Opera Awards. For awarding us the Grand Prize, the remarkable Grand Prize for "Elektra", a Sofia Opera production, because this work connects the Daegu Opera Festival, the Daegu Opera and the Sofia Opera.
I believe in our future cooperation.
Thank you, Saya Opera Awards."
There was another award for Bulgaria – it was in the category "Best New Singer" for Diana Lamar, who performed the role of "Elektra" in the Sofia Opera production.
"I would like to thank the Saya Cultural Foundation for giving me this award. In this way, my hard work and all the love and passion I have put into performing the role of Elektra has been recognized... I will keep this experience in my heart forever," said Diana Lamar.
The premiere of the opera "Elektra" took place on 26 November 2020, conducted by Evan-Alexis Christ and directed by Plamen Kartaloff, set design by Sven Jonke, costume design by Leo Kulaš.
At the Daegu Festival on 20 and 21 October the soloists were Gergana Rusekova and Mariana Zvetkova – Klytemnestra, Lilia Kehayova and Diana Lamar – Elektra, Tsvetana Bandalovska and Radostina Nikolaeva – Chrysothemis, Daniel Ostretsov – Aegisthus, Atanas Mladenov and Veselin Mihaylov – Orestes, as well as Silvana Pravcheva, Rumyana Petrova, Violeta Radomirska, Alexandrina Stoyanova-Andreeva, Ina Kalinova, Silvia Teneva and young Korean singers from the Daegu Opera. The performance was accompanied by the Daegu Opera Orchestra and Evan-Alexis Christ was again at the stand.
The Sofia Opera will present a production of "Elektra" by Richard Strauss on 15 May 2024 at the May Opera Nights at the State Opera and Ballet in Skopje.