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The “Ionel Perlea” Competition Portofolio

Thursday, 6 June 2024 , ora 11.24

This May marks 55 years since the last series of concerts conducted by Ionel Perlea, events that took place in Bucharest at the Athenaeum, the Radio Hall, and the Palace Hall. For 33 years, the artist's last trip to Romania has been celebrated by organizing the international Festival and Competition that bears his name, held in his homeland. Funded by the County Council and organized by the director of the Slobozia Cultural Center, Mrs. Clementina Tudor, this year's opera competition brought together over 40 soloists from 10 countries, of which 22 qualified for the semifinals - a stage where all participants performed, besides the aria they chose, one of the lieds composed by Ionel Perlea. The final, held on May 30th in front of a large audience that filled the "Europa" Hall, featured seven young soloists, aged between 24 and 30, including three baritones, two sopranos, a mezzo-soprano, and a bass.

The trophy was awarded to the coloratura lyric soprano from Moldova, Alexandra Procopovici (originally from Transnistria), aged 25, who recently won the "Verum Solis" Competition in Cluj-Napoca, with a jury composed of opera managers. She also received the audience award for her impeccable interpretation of Gilda's aria "Caro nome" from Verdi's Rigoletto and Amina's aria "Ah, non credea mirarti/ Ah, non giunge" from Bellini's La Sonnambula. She also received a prize from TVR Cultural and special awards from the two opera managers on the jury, Teodor Niță and Mihai Irimia, who invited her to perform on the stages of the lyric theaters in Galați and Brașov, accumulating an impressive total of five rewards.

The second prize, along with the Prize for the Interpretation of a Lied by Ionel Perlea and the prize offered by the soprano Laura Tătulescu (a former laureate of the "Ionel Perlea" Competition, which includes an invitation to participate in the selection of soloists for the Young Singers Program of the Salzburg Festival), went to the baritone Samuel Alper Adîgüzel, aged 26, who is a graduate of the National University of Music Bucharest (UNMB), and currently a member of the "Ludovic Spiess" Studio of the Bucharest National Opera. In the final, he performed the Count's aria "Tutto è disposto/ Aprite un po' quegliocchi" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and convincingly presented Aleko's cavatina "Ves' taborspit" from Rachmaninoff's opera Aleko. The third prize went to another foreign guest (an edition that, for the first time, fairly rewarded more foreigners than Romanians in the top three rankings), Czech baritone Robin Èervinek from Brno, aged 30, who had a steady progress and high vocal and artistic range, singing Valentin's aria "Avant de quitterceslieux" from Gounod's Faust and Figaro's cavatina "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville. The fourth place went to the Romanian mezzo-soprano (of Slovak origin) Janetka Emilia Hoșco from Oradea, with a beautiful interpretation of Dalila's aria "Amour, viens aider ma faiblesse" from Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah and Leonora's aria "Fia dunquevero/ O, mio Fernando" from Donizetti's La favorita.

The special Radio România Prize, awarded by Mihai Cosma, the management advisor of the Romanian Broadcasting Society (consisting of an invitation to participate in one of the projects of the Radio România Cultural Projects and Events Center), was won by the youngest finalist (24 years old), soprano Iuliana Ioana, a master's student in Georgeta Stoleriu's class at UNMB, for her refined and sensitive interpretation of Manon's aria "Adieu, notre petite table" from Massenet's Manon.

For the first time, the "Ionel Perlea" orchestra was conducted by Cătălin Țoropoc, with firmness and confidence, despite only having one rehearsal with the soloists. Cătălin Țoropoc is also the artistic director of the Festival (which will also include the Conducting Competition and other events), organized through the "Suonarte" Foundation.

In conclusion, I would like to mention the names of the other two jury members out of seven, who were not mentioned above: soprano and professor Florența Marinescu (from "Ovidius" University in Constanța) and the jury president, composer and conductor Sabin Păutza.

Mihai Cosma
Translated by Tania-Ana Lupu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu