Cesti Competition. Anthea Pichanick won the first prize, followed by Ukrainian countertenor Konstantin Derri and Italian soprano Alice Rossi.
Innsbruck (A) – The 29-year-old French singer Anthea Pichanick won the 6th International Singing Competition for Baroque Opera Pietro Antonio Cesti. She was awarded the first prize (endowed with 4,000 Euros) at the final concert Tuesday night. The alto impressed the jury with an aria of Flammiro from Pietro Antonio Cesti’s opera “Le nozze in sogno” as well as with Orlando’s aria “Sorge l’irato nembo” from the Opera “Orlando Furioso” by Antonio Vivaldi. Anthea Pichanick also won the special prize for a performance at the Early Music Festival “Resonanzen” at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
The second prize (3,000 Euros) was awarded to the 28-year-old Ukrainian countertenor Konstantin Derri, who, after an aria from Cesti’s opera, performed Rinaldo’s aria “Venti, turbine, prestate” from Handel’s opera of the same name. Already in 2014, Konstantin Derri had won the Ferruccio Tagliavini competition in Italy and since has performed at the Hamburg and Kiev operas.
The third prize (2,000 Euros) went to the 23-year-old Italian soprano Alice Rossi. After an aria from Cesti’s opera “Le nozze in sogno” she also performed an aria from the opera “Rinaldo”: Arminda’s “Molto voglio, molto spero”.
The audience at the Tyrolean State Conservatory chose another Italian soprano as the winner of the audience award (1,000 Euros): 28-year-old Arianna Venditelli. She sang, after an aria of Cesti’s “Le nozze in sogno”, Angelica’s aria “Non potrà dirmi ingrata” from Handel’s “Orlando”. The 27-year-old bass-baritone Matteo Loi won two special prizes: engagements for an opera production at the Theater an der Wien as well as for a concert at the “Winter in Schwetzingen” festival.
“The jury’s decision has never been more difficult”, Alessandro De Marchi, artistic director of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music and initiator of the competition, declared after the highly exciting event, “as the artistic quality of the competition was extremely high and the candidates’ performances were all of a similarly high level.” Sebastian Schwarz, chairman of the jury, also mentioned a “tremendously balanced performance level of the competitors. There were considerably more high quality performances among the singers than in last year’s competition.”
All in all, 67 singers from 26 countries faced the international jury during the four days of the most important competition for baroque opera. In addition to Schwarz and De Marchi, the jury was composed of Sophie de Lint, director of the Zurich Opera House, Sophie Joyce of the English National Opera, the two German opera directors Heribert Germeshausen (Heidelberg) and Michael Fichtenholz (Staatstheater Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe Handel Festival), Pål Moe (Bavarian State Opera Munich, Glyndebourne Opera Festival) and the artist manager Eitan Sorek.
The final concert not only featured beautiful voices, but it also allowed the audience insight into an almost forgotten opera by the Innsbruck court musician Pietro Antonio Cesti. The comic opera “Le nozze in sogno”, from which all candidates of the competition were required to sing excerpts, was only recently ascribed to Cesti by Italian musicologists. The opera had previously been attributed to an anonymous composer. “Le nozze in sogno” will be performed in Innsbruck next year as the BAROQUE OPERA:YOUNG production. Therefore, several of the opera’s arias were chosen as obligatory works in this year’s competition. Some of the participants will be part of the cast in Cesti’s “new” opera next year.
During the award ceremony, Alessandro De Marchi announced the obligatory work for the 7th Cesti Competition next summer: “Octavia”, an opera in German and Italian by the Hamburg opera composer Reinhard Keiser, which will then be performed as the BAROQUE OPERA:YOUNG in 2017.