An adventure for talented singers: The 4th International Opera Workshop Waiblingen
Since 2019, talented singers from all over the world have been gathering at the International Opera Workshop in Waiblingen to polish their musical craft with operatic stars Melanie Diener and Thomas Hampson.
The 4th International Opera Workshop Waiblingen 2023 will take place between November 19th and 25th. This year’s workshop received a record number of 150 applications, including 90 from sopranos. From these, twelve singers from ten nations have now been selected to work publicly with Melanie Diener and Thomas Hampson for six days, before performing with them at the final concert alongside the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen conducted by Vlad Iftinca.
“Every Year, our gathering for the ‘Waiblingen Opernwerkstatt’ is an adventure” – and not just for the participants, but also for the American star singer Thomas Hampson: “ambitious Opera singers that we choose to mentor for the week are a joy and a challenge. The privilege of trust they invest in their tutoring, yoga classes, and singing in all sorts of venues in the city is a thrill.”
That’s why Hampson, as an opera lover and committed mentor of young talent, didn’t take long to accept when the internationally celebrated soprano Melanie Diener from Waiblingen asked him to co-found the International Opera Workshop Waiblingen together with her and the city of Waiblingen in 2019. They did so to great success, as Hampson describes: “Waiblingen has a devoted musical public and the support from the city is remarkable. We work hard, we sing a lot, and the city rings.”
The 12 singers selected for the International Opera Workshop Waiblingen 2023 are:
1. Céline Akçag, Mezzo-Soprano (Switzerland)
2. Josua Bernbeck, Baritone (Germany)
3. Joonyeop Kim, Baritone (South Korea)
4. Chelsea Kolić, Soprano (Canada)
5. Evgenya Kühme, Soprano (Germany)
6. Cheng Li, Tenor (China)
7. Luis Magallanes, Tenor (Venezuela)
8. Sanele Mwelase, Countertenor (South Africa)
9. Halidou Nombre, Baritone (France)
10. Marija Salečić, Soprano (Croatia)
11. Annemarie Vergoossenm, Mezzosoprano/Alto (Netherlands)
12. Xiaofang Zhao, Soprano (China)
The opera workshop scholarships are widely advertised. The workshop is aimed at young talents who are currently transitioning from study to work. Selection criteria include musical excellence demonstrated through work samples, educational history, and references from well-known artists or mentors. The course participants stay with host families from the region and, as in previous years, also perform in small-scale recitals in public places outside of the master class. In this way, the musicians and citizens of Waiblingen also get to directly experience the workshop’s ethos of musical excellence and intercultural exchange.
Melanie Diener is looking forward to it enormously: “There is magic in every beginning, and this is the fourth time! Again, I’m curious, excited, full of emotions and hopes for whatever may come – like at our very first opera workshop in September 2019.”