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2025 Competition Presentation

© Ricardo Oliveira Alves

Sergei Leiferkus

Artistic director and President of the Jury for 2025

Adriano Jordão

Artistic director

Cascais Opera – International Vocal Competition

Cascais Opera – International Vocal Competition had its inaugural edition in April 2024, at the Centro Cultural de Cascais and the São Carlos National Theatre, in Lisbon. Conceived as a showcase for the most promising new talents in operatic singing, the Cascais Opera – International Vocal Competition received over two hundred applications from 39 countries and of all vocal types, aged between 18 and 32.


From these, 8 brilliant finalists emerged, all worthy of receiving the “Grand-Prix – Égide,” which was finally awarded to an exceptional contestant, a Korean baritone Hae Kang.


We would like to highlight the brilliant Portuguese participation, with special mention to Silvia Sequeira, 1st Prize “Teresa Berganza” for female voice, Teresa Sales Rebordão and Constança Melo, both contracted by various operas and leading music festivals.


The Artistic Director and renowned baritone, Sergei Leiferkus, will also serve as the President of the International Jury in 2025. The jury includes important professionals from the world of opera, such as Pål Christian Moe from Glyndebourne, Ivan van Kalmtout, the Artistic Director of the São Carlos National Theatre, Anna Samuil, Staatsoper Berlin and soprano Juliane Banse.


This year, the final phase of the competition will take place in the Grand Auditorium of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the most prestigious venues in Europe. The finalists will be accompanied by the orchestra of the São Carlos National Theatre – Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, thus continuing the excellent collaboration between Cascais Opera and this opera house.


A town with a rich and prestigious history, chosen by numerous members of royal families and celebrities throughout the 20th century as a place of residence or visit, Cascais combines the ‘glamour’ of that past with major events in the present, which blend culture and tourist attractiveness.


Charged with the ambition of swiftly becoming one of the most prestigious international competitions of lyrical singing, the Cascais Opera – International Vocal Competition is already developing a positive application process to the WFIMC – World Federation of International Music Competitions, thus contributing to reinforce Cascais’ cultural weight in the global opera landscape.

Sergei Leiferkus e Adriano Jordão

Artistic directors

© Turismo de Cascais

Carlos Carreiras

Mayor of Cascais

II Edition Cascais Opera 2025


The inaugural edition of Cascais Ópera – International Vocal Competition has proved itself to be a remarkable success.


The presence amongst us of a prominent contingent from the international operatic elite, that judged more than two hundred applications, as well as the achievement of such a high artistic level, duly evidenced by the live broadcast of the Finals by RTP, fully justify the organization of a second edition in 2025.


A decisive role has been entrusted to an illustrious resident of Cascais, baritone Sergei Leiferkus, who has lived among us for over ten years and was a significant global reference in the world of lyrical singing and to whom falls the supervision of this initiative, which we gladly support.


A highlight for 2025 is the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The final will take place in their Grand Auditorium, accompanied by the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, so bringing to a conclusion the preliminary rounds held in municipal cultural facilities.


Thus, from April 23 to May 4, 2025, singers from all over the world will fill Cascais with music, joining the current laureates and carrying 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

© Ricardo Oliveira Alves

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

An international foundation, based in Portugal, which promotes the development of people and organizations, through art, science, education and charity, for a more equitable and sustainable society.

It was created in 1956 by the will of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a philanthropist of Armenian origin who lived in Lisbon, Portugal, between 1942 and 1955, the year he died.

The Foundation promotes greater access to culture and the transformational power of art in the development of people and societies. It helps to reduce inequalities in access to education and care for the most vulnerable. It also promotes knowledge, scientific research and greater participation and involvement by citizens and civil society in building more sustainable communities.

The Foundation includes a museum, an arts center, an orchestra and choir, an art library and archives, and a scientific research institute. It also develops innovative programs and projects and supports, through scholarships and grants,
institutions and social organizations in Portugal, the United Kingdom and France, as well as in the PALOP and Armenian communities.

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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