Operalia winners include Janai Brugger, Anthony Roth Costanzo

Placido Domingo with winners of the 2012 Operalia contest in Beijing.

Operalia, Plácido Domingo‘s annual opera competition, concluded on Sunday in Beijing with three Americans among the roster of winners.

Founded by Domingo in 1993, the competition spotlights young and emerging singers from around the world and takes place in a different city each year.

Soprano Janai Brugger, who recently graduated from L.A. Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, took home three awards -- the first-place prize, a zarzuela prize and an audience award. Earlier this year, Brugger was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera’s annual National Council Auditions in New York.

An Illinois native, Brugger appeared this season at L.A. Opera in Puccini’s “La Bohème,” in the role of Musetta.


Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo shared the first-place prize on Sunday. The New York-based singer performed recently at the Metropolitan Opera in its holiday production of “The Enchanted Island,” which starred Domingo, and in Handel’s “Rodelinda.”

Costanzo is the only Operalia winner this year who can claim a movie career -- he acted in the 1998 Merchant-Ivory film “A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries.”

Rounding out the first-place winners was baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat, who hails from Mongolia. The first-place winners receive a prize of $30,000 each.

Tenor Brian Jagde took home two awards -- the second-place prize plus an award for performing Wagner-Strauss repertoire. The American singer has been a resident of the San Francisco Opera, studying at its Merola Opera Program and Adler Program.

The second-place prize was also shared by two singers from China -- baritone Wang Yunpeng and soprano Yu Guanqu. Wang also received a prize for zarzuela.

The third-place prize was shared by two Russian singers -- baritone Roman Burdenko and mezzo-soprano Nadezhda Karyazina.

Domingo, who serves as general director of L.A. Opera, was in Beijing to preside over the competition, which ran from June 4 to Sunday. Operalia has helped to launch the careers of several renowned singers, including Erwin Schrott, Rolando Villazón and Joyce DiDonato.


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