Armenian baritone Navasard Hakobyan has won the first prize of the Houston Grand Opera’s 34th Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, Operawire reports.
The singer will take home $10,000. Coming in second was soprano Amanda Batista, who will earn $5,000. Taking home the third place prize of $3,000 will be bass-baritone Jongwon Han; he also won the Audience Choice Award.
The winner of the Ana María Martínez Encourage Award was soprano Olivia Smith; she will earn $2,000 in prize money. Smith was also the recipient of the Online Viewers’ Choice Award.
“HGO’s 34th Concert of Arias was an awe-inspiring evening, full of beautiful music and spirited competition. The rising stars who took the Wortham stage hold the keys to the future of this artform, and I’m happy to share that the future is looking bright indeed,” said Khori Dastoor, HGO General Director and CEO, in an official statement. “It was a thrill to host the event for both in-theater and at-home audiences. The Wortham was positively buzzing with excitement. These young artists left everything out on the stage. We were all blown away.”
The judges for this year’s competition included Dastoor, soprano Christine Goerke, HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, and soprano and HGO Artistic Advisor Ana María Martínez.
Navasard has graduated from the vocal studio of Armenian State Song Theater and is doing his Master’s at the Classical Yerevan Conservatory (class of Profesor S. Kolosaryan). Since 2018 Navasard is a soloist of the Young Opera Singers Program of the Yerevan Opera Theater and has performed at various concert halls and cultural centers of Armenia.