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Olympic Voices

A new competition for baroque voices
will be held in Vicenza, Italy,
from 1-7 November 2019


Olympic Voices ('Voci Olympiche') is a new competition for baroque voices organised by the Cariverona Foundation on a project by Andrea Marcon and implemented by the Società del Quartetto of Vicenza in Italy. This is an international Baroque opera competition for singers born after 1 January 1980, to be held at the Vicenza Teatro Olimpico from 1 to 7 November 2019.

The winners will join the cast of the opera Alcina by Georg Friedrich Händel, to be presented to the public in a semi-staged format at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza on 19 and 21 April 2020 with the Venice Baroque Orchestra conducted by Andrea Marcon and directed by Lorenzo Regazzo.

The production will start on 6 April 2020. Winners will perform all the roles in Alcina and, if deemed appropriate, if the participant number and level is high, two casts will be created.

The roles in question are the sopranos Alcina, Ruggero, Morgana and Orberto, the contralto Bradamante, the tenor Oronte and the bass Melisso.

Publicity for the Olympic Voices competition
Publicity for the Olympic Voices competition

The competition has three stages. At the First Qualifying Round, candidates must sing three arias, of their own choice, one from the works of Monteverdi or Cavalli, one from Handel's Alcina and one from the works of Vivaldi. A maximum of twenty-four candidates will be chosen to go forward to the semi-finals, at which things get a little more difficult. Candidates at this stage must prove that they have a thorough knowledge of Alcina, and will be asked to perform, from memory, any part from their roles, requested by the jury, and not performed during the first audition. In addition, they must sing an aria chosen freely from any other compositions by Handel. A maximum of fifteen candidates will be chosen to go forward to the final round, at which they will be expected to sing, from memory, any part from their chosen role, as directed by the jury.

'Alcina receives Ruggero', a fresco transferred to canvas, by French painter Niccolò dell'Abbate (c1510-1571)
Alcina receives Ruggero, a fresco transferred to canvas, by French painter Niccolò dell'Abbate (c1510-1571)

The winners, who will have to take part in the entire Alcina production period (from 6 to 20 April 2020), will receive a gross fee of 2,000 euros per recital, plus board and lodging for the entire period.

The jury consists of:
Giancarlo Andretta
(Principal Guest Conductor, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada)
Clemens Birnbaum
(Director and Intendant, Händel Festspiele and Händel House Halle)
Christian Carlstedt
(Casting Director, Staatsoper Hannover, Stadttheater Klagenfurt and Radio Philarmonic Orchestra Nederland)
Jesús Iglesias Noriega
(Artistic Director, Valencia Opera House)
Andrea Marcon (chairman)
(Artistic Director, Venice Baroque Orchestra, La Cetra Basel, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, and Olympic Voices)
Fortunato Ortombina
(Intendant and Artistic Director, Teatro la Fenice, Venice)
Alain Perroux
(Casting Director, Aix en Provence Summer Festival)
Lorenzo Regazzo
(stage director and opera singer)
Susanne Schmidt
(Director, Opera Bregenz Summer Festival)
Dmitry Vdovin
(Artistic Director, Young Artists Opera Program of the Bolshoi, Moscow)
Kees Vlaardingerbroek
(Artistic Director, Zaterdagmatinee of Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam)

In order to take part in the competition, all parts of the registration form (available via the link below) must be filled in. It must then be sent by email to the Società del Quartetto di Vicenza by and no later than 27 September 2019. A curriculum vitae, identity document and (if available) an Italian tax code must be submitted with the application form.

Further information:

With construction beginning in the first few months of 1580, the Accademia Olimpica Theatre in Vicenza was the last work by Andrea Palladio. He died in August that same year without seeing the result, which was completed by his son Silla. In 1585 Vincenzo Scamozzi created the stage design for the opening performance, adding the seven roads of Thebes to the palladian stage; they were then destined to become an integral part of the building. The Teatro Olimpico is the log-awaited fulfilment of the dream of generations of Renaissance humanists and architects: to create in a stable fashion one of the symbolic buildings of the classical cultural tradition.

The Accademia Olimpica Theatre in Vicenza
The Accademia Olimpica Theatre in Vicenza

The Palladian project rebuilds the Roman Theatre with archaeological precision, founded on an accurate study of the ruins of ancient theatre complexes. It thus becomes a spiritual testament of the great architect from Vicenza. The Teatro Olimpico revived the culture of the ancient theatre, and on doing that, Palladio achieved absolute consonance with the language of great classical architecture, the laws of secret harmony which he had tried to find for his entire life 'with great endeavour, diligence and love'.

Posted 20 May 2019 by Eleonora Beltramello


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