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2024 Presentation

© Ricardo Junqueira

Sergei Leiferkus

Artistic director and President of the Jury

Adriano Jordão

Artistic director

A newcomer to the panoply of international opera competitions, Cascais Opera- International Vocal Competition will hold its first edition from April 6-14, 2024 at the Cultural Centre in Cascais and the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon.

Intended as a showcase for the most promising young talents in opera singing worldwide, Cascais Opera – International Vocal Competition is open to applicants from all countries and voice types, aged 18 to 32.

Competition founder and artistic director is the renowned baritone Sergei Leiferkus, who is also president of the international jury panel. Jury members, for the 1st edition, range from the casting directors of both the Vienna and Bavarian State Operas to the artistic directors of Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos and the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, while also including experienced singers and professors from distinguished European theatres and conservatoires.

The final round of the competition will be hosted by the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, one of Europe’s truly historic opera houses, where the singers will also be accompanied by its own orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa – a partnership we hope will be long-lasting!

Additionally, the winner of the competition’s ‘Grand Prix’ will receive either an operatic role, or an engagement as a soloist in the concert seasons at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, and one of the laureates will be cast in an operatic role within Novi Sad Serbian National Theatre’s lyric season.

Historically a prestigious town, whose residents and visitors have included members of many of Europe’s royal families, Cascais combines a rich past with eye-catching cultural and touristic events today.

With its eye set on quickly becoming one of the world’s most prestigious singing competitions, this International Vocal Competition aims at enhancing Cascais’ global cultural appeal.

Sergei Leiferkus e Adriano Jordão

Artistic directors

© Turismo de Cascais

Carlos Carreiras

Mayor of Cascais

It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Cascais Opera project, which, through its first initiative, the “International Vocal Competition,” will bring to us the elite of the international operatic community.

It was an illustrious resident of Cascais, who has lived among us for ten years and is one of the most important global references in lyrical singing, the baritone Sergei Leiferkus, who brought the initiative that we have enthusiastically embraced with wishes for its continuity.

Joining the team involved in the project are the jury and prizes from the most important opera houses in Europe, including, of course, our National Theatre of São Carlos, where the Finals will take place. The other preliminary rounds will be held in municipal facilities.

From April 6 to 14, 2024, in the first edition of the International Vocal Competition, singers from around the world will fill Cascais with music, and it will be these singers who will carry the name of Cascais with them as they continue their careers.

I extend my best wishes for success to all.

Carlos Carreiras

Mayor of Cascais

Cascais opera

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Over the past three decades, primarily in London, Portugal and Amsterdam, Dr Jorge Balça
has developed a strong portfolio of work and a unique combination of skillsets – as a stage
director (of theatre, opera, and hybrid forms), a teacher and workshop leader, a presentation
skills, acting and creativity coach, and practice-based researcher. His work in all these
domains is distinguished by his commitment to and skill in making fantasy and invention
emerge from precise knowledge and training – and by his ability to inspire a similar alchemy
in his collaborators.

Classically trained as an actor and countertenor, he studied theatre directing in London and
Moscow, specialising in Shakespeare, techniques of adaptation, Meyerhold and commedia
dell’arte. Jorge also holds a PhD exploring the dramatic training of opera performers.
With a love for site-specific projects and collaborative forms, and an equal flair for comedy
and drama, his work is dramaturgically inventive, visually striking, and physically engaged.
He was the artistic director of Bloomsbury Opera and associate director of The Opera
Makers, both in London. In Portugal, he has recently directed L’Heure Espagnole and The
Turn of the Screw at Centro Cultural de Belém, and Don Giovanni and La Voix Humaine at
Festival de Ópera de Óbidos.

Jorge is committed to his work as a teacher, having taught at the Dutch National Opera
Academy, Morley College London, Universidade de Évora and other institutions. He
maintains an international coaching private practice and is the acting coach at the Neil
Semer Vocal Institute in Italy.

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