One hundred and forty-five applicants – 97 women and 48 men – from 38 countries, including 18 Hungarian singers, submitted entries, one-and-a-half times more than for the previous contest organized in 2016. The International Éva Marton Singing Competition first announced in 2014 has truly become a global event, since besides interest from Russia and the Ukraine (20 applicants from both countries) that was strong even in earlier competitions, there have been applicants from virtually every single country within the European Union. Singers from the USA, Brazil, Canada and Mexico sent in their material, and alongside a considerable number of entrants from countries of the Far East, two artists from South Africa also applied. Approximately half of the applicants are sopranos, and it is perhaps reasonable to assume that they all look up to Éva Marton as a role model.
Of course, the conditions for applying (as well as providing the entire, 4-round repertoire, young singers also had to upload two recent videos) significantly filtered out many enquirers. The new Facebook page of the competition has clocked up 1800 likes and its website has been visited by 76,000 people since November 2017. The daily download of a few hundred pages rocketed to ten thousand per day in the period between the 15 February early bird application deadline and the mid-March final deadline for applications, placing a considerable strain on the server capacity of the Liszt Academy. However, news of the competition found its way to an even bigger audience than this because the 30-second promo video edited from the most memorable moments of the 2016 competition was viewed by a total of nearly 500,000 on YouTube and Facebook. Behind the massive numbers, we identified three spontaneous online trends: in December 2017, the promo film spread like wildfire among Brazilian and Mexican Facebook users, in February 2018 there was remarkable activity recorded on Russian social media sites, and most recently, news of the announcement of the competition raced around online users in the Indian subcontinent – in the end, however, applications from this latter group were not forthcoming for language and cultural reasons (several would have preferred to enter with traditional Indian genres).
Over the next few weeks, Éva Marton and the other two members of the selection jury, Balázs Kocsár and Attila Kiss B., will each watch 300 videos in order that they can select the around 70 competitors making it through to the live rounds in the autumn. The list of their picks will be posted at martoncompetition.hu latest by 15 April.