II Marton Competition: World-class success

26 September 2016

The II Éva Marton International Singing Competition organized by the Liszt Academy came to an end with the triumph of Belarusian bassist Alexander Roslavets.

After an intense struggle between the ten finalists the Belarusian Alexander Roslavets won the €15,000 Grand Prix and the €3000 Audience Prize of the II Éva Marton International Singing Competition organized 19-25 September 2016 at Liszt Academy. Winner of the €12,000 1st prize was the Mongolian Ankhbayar Enkhbold, the second place went to the only Hungarian making it into the final, soprano Lilla Horti, while the €6000 3rd prize was taken by Polish soprano Lucyna Jarzabek. The prizes were presented after the 24 September final in the Grand Hall of Liszt Academy.

“The results speak for themselves: mature artists ready for the world’s greatest opera stages considered it important to submit applications to the II Éva Marton International Singing Competition. And there can be no better proof of the fact that the competition, created and carried out with the greatest attention to every single detail – from the composition of the international jury right up to the tiniest laurel motif on the awards – is truly global and that it did in truth garner attention from all over the world, than the fact that live online streaming (via 10 cameras) of both the semi-finals and the finals was followed from Japan to the United States, from Norway to Brazil, in more than 30 countries around the world” said Imre Szabó Stein, communications director of the Liszt Academy and competition project manager, speaking after the final.


The competitors passed through to the final – among the prize winners Polina Shamaeva (Russia), Ksenia Khovanova (Russia), Kim Eunhee (South Korea), Azat Malik (Kazakhstan), Sylwia Olszynska (Poland), and Theodora Raftis (Cyprus) – agreed that the Éva Marton Singing Competition was an unmissable opportunity and door onto the international opera scene, emphasizing that they had never seen such professional organization and a venue as the Liszt Academy. “The patina and lustre are the very essence of the Liszt Academy’s first ever self-organized major competition. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Éva Marton International Singing Competition arranged with considerable success for the second time has a leading position in the world, and despite its modest budget it can be ranked alongside such prestigious events as the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, the St. Petersburg Obraztsova International Competition, and the Operalia hallmarked by Plácido Domingo. I presume it is important to add, having been working now for a year creating Bartók World Competition and Festival, with no hesitation we can utilize our specific knowledge and know-how gained throughout the Éva Marton Singing Competition to create something worthy of the universal greatness of Bartók. I dare to say that the creation of a grand competition may well be called a piece of art” said Imre Szabó Stein.

More than 100 artists from 25 countries on five continents submitted entries to the II Éva Marton International Singing Competition announced in January 2016. In the end, the selection jury led by Éva Marton admitted 77 competitors through to the live rounds, of whom 48 young singers representing 18 nations had to make the long trip to Budapest, where they gave recitals of a freely chosen Liszt song and an opera excerpt in the preliminaries on 20 and 21 September. Twenty-seven made it through to the semi-finals on 22 September, where they had to give performances of two other parts from operas. The 10 competitors getting into the final appeared on stage twice accompanied by the Hungarian State Opera Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Balázs Kocsár, the jury reached its decision after the second intermission.

Before the announcement of the winners, Miguel Lerín, one of the most influential managers on the European opera scene, on behalf of the jury said that they were looking for the sort of artists who seem to be capable of realizing what Éva Marton achieved, whose career is founded on an incredible level of hard work and much learning. In her closing speech Éva Marton thanked first and foremost the Liszt Academy and all those who had helped in the arrangement of the competition, and then before the presentation of prizes she added that they had heard marvellous voices and seen amazing personalities at this magnificent competition, and there were some who simply amazed her since they brought new things with them.

The closing event of the competition, gala concert on 25th September was hosted in the Hungarian State Opera. Diplomas and special prizes were presented to the finalists who were invited all to perform an aria accompanied by the Hungarian State Opera Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Balázs Kocsár. The finalists won invitations from leading concert venues in Hungary, symphony orchestras and festivals, as well as the special commendations of jury members, the Liszt Academy and Éva Marton.

The full list of results and brief CVs of the finalists are posted at website martoncompetition.hu, video recordings and photo galleries also are published here. At the request of Liszt Academy Hungarian broadcaster MTVA followed the entire competition and is editing a 55-minute film of the competition, which will be aired on the new cultural channel of state television on 1st October 2016, World Music Day.

Alexander Roslavets received his music degree at the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in 2014, as a student of Nikolai Okhotnikov. He won the Grand Prize at the 42nd Russian National Vocal Graduates Competition in St. Petersburg; he was awarded a special prize at the 1st International Christmas Vocal Competition in Minsk, first prize at the 7th International Competition of Opera Singers «Saint-Petersburg» and was awarded a certificate for his accomplishments at the 10th International Competition of Elena Obraztsova. While still a student at the Conservatory, he performed the role of Prince Gudal in Anton Rubinstein’s Demon and the part of Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust at the St. Petersburg Open Air Festival. In 2012, he acted in the role of Kuno and Kilian in Der Freischütz accompanied by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In September 2014, he joined the Young Artist Program of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, where he debuted in the part of Marchese d'Obigny in La Traviata conducted by Turgan Sokhiev.

Enkhbold Ankhbayar graduated as an opera singer from Institute Ikh Mongol in 2012. Since 2012, he has been working as a soloist in The State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia. He participated in L. Linkhovoin’s 10th Competition, where he won the award for Best Voice and Grand Prize in 2011 and was granted first prize at the International Opera Competition named after Bibigul Tulegenova. He was the finalist of the 50th International Opera Singers’ Competition in Toulouse, France. He toured Russia, Japan and Austria performing roles like Dancaïre és Escamillo in Carmen, Alfred Germont in La Traviata, Marcello in La Bohème, Onegin, Tshaikovsky’s opera or Don Giovanni’s part in Mozart’s work.

Lilla Horti after completing her secondary musical studies at the János Vántus Secondary School of Music in Szeged, she was admitted to continue at the Liszt Academy, first in the B.A. course of Classical Singing, then she went on to the Opera Singing M.A. under the tutelage of Éva Marton and Emese Virág. Among other performances, she has given a joint concert with Ingrid Kertesi and Emese Virág in the Hungarian Radio Marble Room and received the part of the First Lady in The Magic Flute, which was the very first opera production of the restored Liszt Academy.  Later she also collaborated in the Spring Awakening and in Iolanta by Tshaikovsky. In 2012, she was awarded first prize of the National Professional Singing Competition and second prize at the 3rd József Simándy International Singing Competition. Finally, she won the Second Category of the 22nd InternationalCompetition for Opera Singers "Ferruccio Tagliavini.

Lucyna Jarząbek began her vocal studies in 2005 and then was admitted to the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, where she earned her M.A. under the guidance of Agatha Kobierska. Currently, she is participating in the PhD programme of the Academy. She has performed a number of times in Kraków, Katowice, Warsaw and Zakopane. She won the special prize of the 16th Imrich Godin International Vocal Competition and came second at the National Chamber Music Competition in Katowice.

The competition offered a total prize money of more than €55,000. The jury was headed by Éva Marton and included Hungarian and international celebrities from the world of opera such as Miguel Lerín, one of the most influential managers in European opera, Vittorio Terranova, artistic director of the F. Tagliavini opera competition, Christina Scheppelmann, artistic director of the Teatro Liceu in Barcelona, Prof. Sung Bin Kim, dean of the Faculty of Music of Daeshin University, South Korea, Anatoli Goussev, professor of the La Scuola Musicale in Foro Buonaparte di Milano, Honghai Ma, Professor of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, Andrea Meláth, head of the Department of Vocal and Opera Studies, Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, and Szilveszter Ókovács, director of the Hungarian State Opera. Chair of the jury was Éva Marton and guest of honour was world-renowned conductor Richard Bonynge.