The Italian AsLiCo Competition for Young Opera Singers is breaking new ground as it opens its borders to Asia for the very first time in Seoul, in November, the AsLiCo Asia Department announced Friday.
Dominique Meyer, chairman and director of La Scala Opera House, which has been affiliated with the AsLiCo association, will visit Seoul for the final competition in Asia.
Established in 1949, the AsLiCo Opera Competition will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2024. Over the years, the competition for young opera singers has served a crucial role in launching the careers of illustrious singers such as sopranos Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni and Katia Ricciarelli, tenor Carlo Bergonzi and baritone Piero Cappuccilli.
Barbara Minghetti, director of programming of the Teatro Sociale of Como, Italy, and Kim Bong-mee, president of the AsLiCo Asia Department and artistic director of the BeHa Philharmonic Orchestra, came together to sign the agreement during a press conference held at the Seoul Arts Center on Friday.
Lee Kyung-hwan, chairman of the BH Group, and Lee Jae-hyun, CEO of the ORCHEM company, both of whom are sponsors of the Asian competition, were in attendance at the press conference.
The decision to expand the AsLiCo Competition to Asia reflects the growing recognition of the region’s burgeoning talent pool.
“There are a growing number of Korean and Asian opera vocalists who are active in Italian and European opera scenes,” said Minghetti. “We are seeing immense potential in the region and we are opening doors for aspiring young talents.”
“The Asian region has been producing exceptional vocalists,” said Kim. “We aim to establish a bridgehead for Korean and Asian performers.”
Distinguished from typical competitions, AsLiCo offers incubating programs and workshops to the finalists and winners of the competition.
A whole series of training activities including vocal technique and musical interpretation aims “to pave the way for young singers … offering them important opportunities of work and artistic and professional growth,” according to AsLiCo.
“Unlike other competitions that award prizes, the competition nurtures talent and provides a platform for talented singers to make their debut,” said Kim.
“Italy’s opera education system has a long-standing history and possesses the best expertise in educating and launching successful singing careers,” added Minghetti. “We wanted to extend this opportunity to Asia and make this an opportunity to collaborate together.”
The top five finalists from the Asian competition will advance to the semifinals of the AsLiCo Competition held in Como, Italy in January. They will also receive air travel, accommodation and prize money of 9,000 euros ($9,700).
More information and a detailed schedule can be found on the official website.