The Jury of the VIth International Competition of Opera Singers «SAINT-PETERSBURG»

Irina Bogacheva (Russia)
People’s Artist of Soviet Union, leading soloist of the Mariinsky theatre, Professor of Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, chief of Department of Solo Singing.

Irina Bogacheva is a world-famous singer. Has graduated from the Leningrad State Conservatory where studied under prof. A.Levando. Has undergone apprenticeship under professor Barra at La Scala in Milan, Italy during 1968-1970. Having won the Glinka Competition while still a student, she has been invited to work at the Mariinsky Theatre where she has remained a soloist until today. At the Mariinsky she has performed a number of leading roles for mezzo-soprano in the operas of G.Bizet, G.Verdi, M.Mussorgski, N.Rimsky-Korsakov, P.Tchaikovsky, S.Prokofiev and others. Her most outstanding roles are the nametitle in Bizet’s “Carmen”, Amneris in Verdi’s “Aida” and Liubasha in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Tsar’s bride”.

A fantastic combination of the most beautiful voice, an impeccable vocal technique and high acting mastery makes all her public appearances unforgettable. Her opera repertory is immense. She has performed all major parts for mezzo-soprano on most important stages of the world, such as the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Bastille, La Scala, Teatro Colon, San-Francisco Opera and many others. The singer tours extensively with solo recitals in Norway, France, China, Spain, Japan, Korea, UK, Germany, Italy etc.

Her remarkable pedagogical output is worth mentioning; she is many years a professor of the Saint-Petersburg State Conservatory. A few talented singers exploring the world’s stages today had studied under her guidance; the now widely recognized Olga Borodina can alone prove of significant contribution of her teacher to the world’s opera culture. Today her former and actual students; Olga Savova, Elena Vitman, Natalia Evstafieva, Yuri Ivshin, Natalia Biriukova, Yulia Simonova, Maria Litke and Olesia Petrova are performing on stages of major opera theatres of Saint-Petersburg – the Mariinsky and the Mussorgsky.

Irina Bogacheva has been granted Government awards, appointed a Honorary Citizen of Saint-Petersburg, granted important insignia “In recognition of merit to Motherland” and “the Vernadsky Star”


Scot Weir (USA)
Scot Weir was born in New Mexico, USA, and studied at the University of Colorado School of Music in Boulder, Colorado, USA, with Louis Cunningham, Barbara Doscher, Gerhard Hüsch, Gérard Souzay, Renato Cappechi and Ralph Herbert. During the 1980s he took up contracts as a lyric tenor with the Musiktheater Gelsenkirchen and the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany. Here he founded the Musikherbst Wiesbaden, of which he is the artistic director.

Freelance since 1989, Scot Weir performs throughout the world. He is a regular guest at the Théatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, at the Opéra Bastille and Opéra Chatelet in Paris, at the Zurich opera and at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. Scot Weir has sung at the Berliner Bachtage, the Berliner Festwochen, the festivals in Salzburg, Ludwigsburg and Schwetzingen, at Mostly Mozart in New York, at the Eisenstadt Haydn Festival, at Wien Modern and the Mozartwoche in Salzburg as well as at numerous festivals in Europe, North America, Japan and Israel.

Scot Weir is equally well-established as an opera, oratorio and lieder singer. His repertoire encompasses over 70 operatic rôles, more than 200 oratorios and around 1000 songs, including 47 complete song cycles. He has worked with well-known conductors such as Nicolaus Harnoncourt, Roger Norrington, Helmuth Rilling, Peter Schreier, Gennadi Roshdestvensky, Charles Dutoit, Sir Charles Mackerras and Jesus Lopez Cobos. Radio and CD recordings document his career.

As a teacher he has directed many music courses at the universities of Colorado and Oregon. Since 1993 Scot Weir has worked as vocal tutor at the Internationale Bachakademie in Stuttgart and was appointed Professor of Singing at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin in 1995.


Tito Capobianco (USA)

Tito Capobianco, Stage Director, is acclaimed for his ingenious and versatile treatment of repertory classics, from Baroque to Romantic, verismo, contemporary and his innovative updated settings of the operas starting in 1957 with a modernistic version of Puccini’s Tosca.

In addition to his unparalleled and distinctive success with his 24 opera productions at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Capobianco has staged over 250 productions in Europe, Australia, and the American continent for major opera houses, such as Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Barcelona, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sidney, Spoleto and the Las Palmas Festival, Spain.

Capobianco’s staging of American and world premieres such as Ginastera’s Don Rodrigo and Bomarzo, Menotti’s La Loca, Giannini’s Servant of two Masters, Dvorak’s Rusalka and Chabrier’s Gwendoline, plus numerous new productions, have been hailed as landmarks in opera history. These premieres have had a strong influence in the development of opera in the United States, beginning with the inauguration of the Lincoln and Kennedy Centers.
His productions of Boito’s Mephistopheles, Massanet’s Manon, Handel’s Julius Caesar and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor continue to form part of the repertoire of these centers after more than 20 years.

Much of Capobianco’s success as director is due to his first-hand experience with every phase of theatrical art; he has directed productions of opera, theater, ballet and television, and was a stage and film actor in Argentina.
In 1961, after a trail of brilliant accomplishments, that include the South American Premiers of Stravinsky’s The Rake Progress, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street, Puccini’s Modern Tosca and a new production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, he left his position as Director-Designer-Technical Director of the famous Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, to come to the United States.
During the 1960’s, his collaboration with the soprano Beverly Sills became legendary. This led to the first televised opera production from the Lincoln Center in New York City with the production of R. Korsakov’s Le Coq D’Or as well as the west coast production of Frantz Lehar’s The Merry Widow in San Diego in 1977.

Some of the world’s most talented artists have participated in his productions, names including Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Loren Maazel, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Richard Tucker, Nicolai Gedda, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Monserrat Caballe, Sherrill Milnes, Tito Gobbi, Cornel McNeil, Shirley Verret, Marilyn Horne, Regina Resnik, Norman Treigle, Justino Diaz, and Jose Van Dam, to mention just a few.

Throughout his career, Capobianco has demonstrated his commitment to the educational needs of young artists. In 1968 he founded and became General Director of the Opera Center at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He created the Opera Department at the College of Performing Arts in Philadelphia in 1972, the San Diego Opera Center in 1977, and the Pittsburgh Opera Center in 1986.

In the late 1970s, he established the world’s first Verdi Festival in San Diego, California.
In recognition of his creative work in Italian and French opera and culture, Capobianco has been awarded by the Italian government, Cavaliere della Repubblica and Officer dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the government of France.

He has also been distinguished with numerous honorary degrees for his extensive community involvement.
Today, Capobianco concentrates exclusively on teaching young artists in the United States and Europe.


Constanze Könemann (Germany)
Constanze Könemann is Director of the London based artists agency Haydn Rawstron Limited which offers personal management and public relations to internationally acclaimed singers and conductors (opera and concert), as well as stage directors and designers, on a worldwide basis. The company also actively encourages the career development of up-and-coming young artists. Prior to working as an artist manager she has been Artistic Director of the opera houses in Bonn and Leipzig, Germany. She has also been engaged as stage director at the Frankfurt Opera, the Badische Staatstheater Karlsruhe, the Opéra du Rhin Strasbourg and, for the Indiana University, at the Musical Arts Center Bloomington, U.S.A.
With the beginning of the 2015/16 season Constanze Könemann will become Artistic Director of the Hamburg State Opera.


Julia Lagahuzère (Great Britain)
A triple nationality holder (British, Canadian and French), Julia Lagahuzère was born in London where she started her musical education as a flautist and soprano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1997 whilst studying Musicology at the University of Sussex she won the prestigious Allaway scholarship which enabled her to study with Mary-Ann Smart and Edwin Dugger at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. She then continued her academic study at King’s College London with a Masters Degree specialising in Opera and Visual and Performing Arts. Her dissertation on the various productions of Strauss’ Elektra was awarded with a distinction, the highest honour.

In 2001 Julia returned to the United States and started working as Artistic Assistant and Auditions coordinator at San Francisco Opera with Pamela Rosenberg. During this time she met and worked with some of the biggest names in Opera. She also worked in Artistic Agencies: Frank Salomon Associates, New York and Intermusica, London for world-class artists: Richard Goode, Thierry Fischer, Sir Simon Rattle, Louis Lortie, Sir Richard Hickox, Mark Wigglesworth, Leonidas Kavakos…
In 2003 she settled in France and began to attend classes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris as a researcher in order to enrich her experience and knowledge of young singers. In 2006 she worked in the production department at the Paris open-air Festival on Mozart’s Magic Flute directed by Caroline Huppert. Following this period she was engaged as Assistant stage director at Scottish Opera on the fixed and touring production of Rossini’s Cenerentola directed by Harry Fehr.
She has also worked as a collaborator and musicological researcher to the acclaimed dramaturg Wolfgang Willaschek on his productions. Currently she works as dramaturg with renowned stage director and Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Kasper Holten.
Since 2009 Julia works as Artistic Consultant/Administrator and Artistic Production Manager at Opera de Limoges, France. Here she is responsible for casting, contract negotiations, artistic planning and programmation (opera, lyric, symphonic and complimentary projects etc.) as well as co-productions and promoting the opera in France and abroad. She has a special interest in the development of young singers and regularly works with leading Young Artist Programs on special projects.


Sergey Leiferkus
People’s Artist of Russia

Sergey Leiferkus is an outstanding singer who had triumphed on all opera stages of the world. He graduated from the Leningrad State Conservatory and subsequently worked for a long period in the city’s opera theatres. The world-wide fame came in the beginning of 1980s, when he started performing at the world’s leading opera houses such as Covent Garden in London, the Viennese Staatsoper, Opera de Bastille, La Scala, the MET and Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Sergey Leiferkus became a permanent and warmly-welcomed guest at the major opera festivals in Edinburgh, Bregenz, Glyndebourne, Tangle wood, Ravine and Salzburg. Nowadays he focuses not only on stage productions, but also gives numerous recitals in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, New York, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Milan and others. He has collaborated with Boston, New York, Montreal, Berlin and London symphony orchestras and conductors Claudio Abbado, Zubin Metha, Seigi Ozawa, Yuri Temirkanov, Valeri Gergiev, Neeme Jarvi, Mstislav Rostropovich, Curt Masur and many others.

The richness of vocal timbre and an outstanding acting talent of Sergey Leiferkus have enabled him to perform in most diverse opera stagings and to build unforgettable roles. His repertory includes over 40 roles, including the name titles of Evgeny Onegin and Mazeppa by P.Tchaikovsky, Prince Igor by A.Borodin, Nabucco, Macbeth and Simon Boccanegra by G.Verdi and Don Giovanni by W.A.Mozart , Telramund ( “Lohengrin” ) and Clingsor (“Parcifal” by R.Wagner) , Amonasro (“Aida” by G.Verdi”), Don Carlos (“La forza del destino” by G.Verdi), Yago (“Othello” by G.Verdi), Rupert (“The fiery angel” by S.Prokofiev), Prince Andei (“War and peace” by S.Prokofiev) and many others. Sergey Leiferkus pays great respect to stylistic and linguistic nuances of works being performed and whereas is able to embody on stage such diverse characters as Scarpia (“Tosca” by G.Puccini), Gerard (“Andre Chenie” by U.Giordano), Escamilio (“Carmen” by G.Bizet), Zurga (“Les chercheurs des perles” by G.Bizet). The discography of Sergey Leiferkus includes well over 40 CDs and DVDs. His recordings of Russian music have attained many international prizes; some albums have been nominated to Grammy awards. In his catalogue of video recordings one can find operas staged at the Mariinsky theatre (“Evgeni Onegin” and “The fiery angel”) and at the Covent Garden (“Prince Igor” and “Othello”), three versions of “The Pique Dame” (Mariinsky theatre, Staatsoper Wien, Glyndebourne festival) and “Nabucco” (Bregenz festival). Recently Sergey Leiferkus has taken part in the television productions of operas “Carmen” and “Samson and Dalila” at the MET.

Besides such busy performing schedule Sergey Leiferkus gives master classes and teaches in Berlin, Toronto, Moscow, Boston and Oldborough.


Galina Pisarenko
People’s Artist of Russia

Galina Pisarenko is an opera and lied- singer, People’s Artist of Russia, professor of Moscow State Conservatory named after Tchaikovsky, laureate of international competitions, president of Mozart musical heritage lovers’ society. After graduating from Moscow State Conservatory in 1961 Galina Pisarenko has been accepted into the troupe of Moscow Musical Academic theatre named after Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko, where she has worked from 1961 to 1990. During these years she has performed over 30 opera parts by Russian and Western composers: Tatiana and Iolanta in Tchaikovsky’s “Evgeni Onegin” and “Iolanta”, Adina in Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore”, Fiordiliggi in Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte”, Mimi and Musette in Puccini’s “La Boheme”, the name title in Massnet’s “Manon”, Micaela in Bizet’s “Carmen” staged by Walter Felsenshtein and others. During 1990- 1996 Galina Pisarenko worked in “Novaya Opera” theatre, where she performed the role of the name title in Prokofiev’s “Maddalena “ and in a play named “Rossini”. The years 1980-1993 have been of close and fruitful collaboration with great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. Under his guidance Galina Pisarenko has compiled a number of recitals (Grieg, Schimanowsky, Medtner, Britten). For the Schimanowsky recital she has been granted a Polish prize “Orpheus” and a government award “in honor of an outstanding contribution to development of Polish Culture”. In 1985 Sviatoslav Richter had staged a Russian premiere of Britten’s “The turn of the screw”, where Galina Pisarenko performed the main role of the Governess.
Since 1975 Galina Pisarenko has been teaching at Moscow State Conservatory. Many of her former students have won prizes at the national and international singing competitions and are now performing at the world’s best stages. Galina Pisarenko gives master classes in singing in Poland, Greece, Ecuador, USA, Portugal, Austria, South Korea and Japan. She has over 30 recordings on LP and CD. The recording of Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” has been awarded “Grand-prix” in Paris. Galina Pisarenko’s career has been a theme subject of a number of television films.


Christina SCHEPPELMANN (USA)
Director of Artistic Operations Washington National Opera
Christina Scheppelmann has nearly two decades of experience as an arts administrator and executive in opera. Since 2002, Christina has served in her current position as Director of Artistic Operations for Washington National Opera. In this role, she is responsible for the guidance and actualization of all aspects of WNO’s artistic mission. Under the leadership of General Director Plácido Domingo, she has advanced WNO’s reputation as a world-class opera company by presenting the best international talents to enthusiastic audiences, always promoting excellent financial oversight while never compromising an outstanding artistic vision.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Christina has worked at prestigious opera companies in Europe and the United States. After earning her post-graduate degree in banking and economics in Germany, she began her career in opera administration while working as an artist manager for singers, directors, and designers with Walter Beloch Artist Management in Milan, Italy. After her direct experience managing artists, she took administrative positions as the Assistant to the Artistic Director at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain and then at the Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Italy. After her professional experiences in Europe, Christina was appointed as Artistic Administrator at the San Francisco Opera.

Christina is a regular jury member at national and international vocal competitions. She is frequently interviewed for arts broadcasts and publications, and is also often a speaker and presenter at master classes and panel discussions in the opera community worldwide.


Dmitry VDOVIN (Russia)
Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre Young Artist Program.

Studied at the Moscow State Institute of Theatrical Arts (now Russian Academy of Theatrical Arts), consequently did a post-graduate course as an opera theatre critic under professor Inna Solovieva, published articles and reviews in major newspapers and periodicals.

From 1987 to 1992 works for the Theatre Union of USSR in the sphere of music theatre. During 1992-1993 undergoes training as vocal pedagogue at the European Centre for Opera and Vocal Art in Belgium.

From 1992 Mr. Vdovin becomes the Artistic Director of the Moscow Center for Music and Theater, the artistic agency that coordinates interaction between Russian and International Opera Companies and concert organizations such as Bolshoi, Kirov, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, La Fenice in Venice, London Royal Philharmonic, Madrid Festival among others.

In 1996 Mr.Vdovin became a full-time assistant to the renowned Russian mezzo soprano Irina Arkhipova as a voice teacher and artistic director of her Summer School.

Since 1995 teaches at the Vocal Department of Gnessin Academy of Music, during 2000-2005 as the Head of the Department. During 2001-2003 he is the Head of Solo Singing Department at the Sveshnikov State Academy of Choral Art, since 2008 becomes Professor of the Academy.

Mr.Vdovin has given master classes and consultations for singers in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg, Saratov and USA (Russian-American Cultural Foundation in San Francisco and Berkeley, Houston Grand Opera Studio), Belgium (European Center of Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent) and Mexico.

From 1999 he serves as the Artistic Director and teacher of the annual Moscow International School of Vocal Art where voice teachers, coaches and artistic managers from Russia, USA, Italy and Great Britain train young Russian opera singers.

Jury member at numerous International Competitions including Tchaikovsky Competition, Glinka International Voice Competition (2003, 2005, 2007) and Bella Voce International Competition (2004-2007, 2009).

Since 2009 he is the Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre Young Artist Program.
Among Mr. Vdovin’s students there are winners of International Competitions and members of world’s major opera companies, such as the Bolshoi Theatre, La Scala, the MET, Covent Garden, Staatsoper in Vienna, Paris Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid and others.


Diane ZOLA (USA)
Artistic Administrator of the Theatre “Houston Grand Opera”, previously – Director of Houston Grand Opera Studio (young singers program). Graduated from Universities in Michigan and Texas. Additionally, studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Austria). As a dramatic soprano, Diane Zola performed as Lady Macbeth (“Macbeth” by Verdi), Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (“Don Giovanni” by Mozart), Giorgetta (“Il abarro” by Puccini), Fiordiligi (“Cosi fan tutte” by Mozart) at opera theaters in Texas, Michigan, California (USA) as well as in Europe. She gave solo recitals in Toronto (Canada), Salzburg (Austria), New York, Minneapolis, Chicago (USA). Since 1995 Diane Zola has worked at Trawick Artists Management (USA) as an artistic manager. Diane Zola gives master-classes and consultations to singers at opera theaters and international vocal schools in New York, Houston, Minnesota, Baltimore, Utah, Yale University (USA), Lucca (Italy), and Russia. She is a member of the jury of many American and International Vocal Competitions such as Metropolitan Opera Auditions National Finals, the Hans Gabor International Belvedere Competition, the Eleanor McCollum Competition, and others, co-chair of the vocal section of the National Association of Artistic Managers and Agents.