On Sunday evening, the 13th edition of the International Singing Competition for Baroque Opera Pietro Antonio Cesti of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music came to an end at the Haus der Musik Innsbruck. In a top-class final concert, the tenor Laurence Kilsby prevailed over his fellow competitors. Second place went to soprano Chelsea Marilyn Zurflüh, who also won the audience prize. Third place went to countertenor Nicolò Balducci, who also won the Young Artist Award.
More than 175 candidates from 37 different countries entered the competition this year to demonstrate their singing talent. The compulsory arias were from the opera «La fida ninfa» by Antonio Vivaldi, which will be performed at the Innsbruck Festival in 2023 as part of the Barockoper:Jung.
Winner Laurence Kilsby from Great Britain convinced the jury with the aria «Stragi, morti, sangue ed armi» from the opera «Rodrigo» by Georg Friedrich Händel and the aria «Deh ti piegha» from «La fida ninfa» by Antonio Vivaldi. Second place went to the soprano Chelsea Marilyn Zurflüh from Switzerland, who also received the audience prize, and third place and the Young Artist Award went to the countertenor Nicolò Balducci from Italy. The special prizes, a concert at Resonanzen Wien and an engagement with Il Gusto Barocco and Jörg Halubek, were also won by Chelsea Marilyn Zurflüh. Another special prize, an engagement as part of the Festival della Valle d'Itria, went to the Italian soprano Martina Licari. The engagement for a concert at the Haus der Musik Innsbruck as part of the series «Academie Konzerte» conducted by Matthew Halls was awarded to the soprano Jaia Nurit Niborski Bolatti (Argentina/Poland).
The success story of the Cesti Competition began in 2010, when Festwochen artistic director Alessandro De Marchi launched the competition for young baroque opera singers. Since then, far more than a thousand talents have presented their singing skills to the top-class jury teams. In 2022, the prestigious jury, chaired by Sebastian Schwarz (Artistic Director of the Teatro Regio Torino & the Festival della Valle d'Itria), was composed of other professionals from the opera and concert world: Alessandro De Marchi (Artistic Director of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music), Nora Schmid (Executive Artistic Director of the Oper Graz and designated Artistic Director of the Semperoper Dresden), Vivica Genaux (opera singer), Eitan Sorek (Founder and Managing Director of Sorek Artists Management), Valérie Chevalier (General Director of the Opéra National de Montpellier), André Comploi (Artistic Coordinator of the Teatro alla Scala di Milano), Hein Mulders (Intendant of the Oper Köln) and Lucas Christ (Musical Assistant to the Artistic Director of the Teatro La Fenice Venezia).
In addition to the enthusiastic audience at Haus der Musik Innsbruck, several thousand viewers watched the final concert on livestream.