Operalia 2014 winners include Mario Chang, Rachel Willis-Sørensen

Singers Mario Chang and Rachel Willis-Sørensen took the first-place prizes on Saturday at the 2014 Operalia competition held in Los Angeles.
(Craig Mathew/LA Opera)

The winners of the 2014 Operalia competition were announced Saturday evening at the conclusion of the finals competition held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Tenor Mario Chang from Guatemala and soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen of the U.S. took home the two first-place prizes.

Los Angeles native Joshua Guerrero, who is a tenor, was awarded a second-place prize, along with American soprano Amanda Woodbury. In a rare occurrence for the competition, the third-place prizes were awarded to four singers whom the judges said received identical scores.

Placido Domingo presided over the finals competition, serving as the emcee as well as conductor. The event featured the 13 finalists who each performed an aria accompanied by orchestra. Some of the finalists also performed zarzuela solos.

Both Chang and Willis-Sørensen took home multiple awards, including prizes for zarzuela.


Operalia, which Domingo founded in 1993, is an annual competition for opera singers who are at the beginning of their professional careers. An initial field of nearly 1,000 applicants was narrowed down to 40 contestants who came to L.A. for the competition.

Domingo announced Saturday evening that next year’s competition will be held in London.

Here is the full list of winners for the 2014 Operalia competition.

Two first prizes of $30,000: Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Mario Chang

Two second prizes of $20,000: Amanda Woodbury and Joshua Guerrero

Four third prizes of $10,000: Anaïs Constans and Mariangela Sicilia (tie); John Holiday and Andrey Nemzer (tie)

The Birgit Nilsson Prize (for Wagner/Strauss repertoire): Rachel Willis-Sørensen

The Pepita Embil Domingo Zarzuela Prize of $10,000: Rachel Willis-Sørensen

The Don Placido Domingo Sr. Zarzuela Prize of $10,000: Mario Chang

Two audience prizes, watches offered by Rolex: Amanda Woodbury and Mario Chang

The CulturArte Prize of $10,000: Joshua Guerrero

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT