The Zinka Milanov Awards Jury (2018)

Silvana Sintow-Behrens

Silvana Sintow-Behrens was born into a musical family and grew up in the major cities of the international classical music world. She received piano and singing lessons since childhood and went on to study Musicology as well as Theatre Arts. She started her career as a public relations manager of the record company BMG Classics/RCA in London, which put her in charge of artists such as Evgeny Kissin, Barry Douglas, James Galway and Yuri Temirkanov. She was subsequently hired by the French record company Erato Disques (Warner) and appointed Director of International Promotions and Artist Development in Paris. There she also became Daniel Barenboim’s personal PR, which she later continued to carry out for Teldec Classics/Warner in Berlin.
As the founder and director of Classicalia International Promotions and Management she works with singers, conductors and instrumentalists in establishing and developing their careers. Parallel to her Munich-based agency, Silvana Sintow-Behrens served as artistic advisor for 11 years to the Athens Concert Hall, Megaron.

In addition to leading her agency, which has represented some of the finest singers and conductors for over two decades, Silvana Sintow-Behrens enjoys working with talented young artists.

Rosemary Joshua

Soprano Rosemary Joshua has enjoyed an international career for over 30 years. She has performed major roles at Festival D Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper, Berlin Staatsoper, Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Nederlands Opera, La Scala Milan, LA Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, New York, La Monnaie Brussels, Théâtre des Champs Elysées and La Scala Milan among others. She gained great critical acclaim in the title role of The Cunning Little Vixen and her reputation as a Handelian specialist led her to sing Angelica (Orlando), Ginevra (Ariodante), Poppea (Agrippina), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) and the title roles of Partenope and Semele all over Europe. Rosemary performed many Mozart’s roles, as Ilia (Idomeneo), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Despina (Così fan tutte), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Sandrina (La Finta Giardiniera), Susanna and Contessa Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), also as Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Oscar (Un Ballo in maschera), Adèle (Die Fledermaus), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) and Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress) amongst others. She has collaborated with many leading conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Antonio Pappano, Vladimir Jurowski, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Colin Davies, Marc Albrecht, René Jacobs, William Christie and Marc Minkowski in leading concert halls including The London BBC Proms Royal Albert Hall, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and Musikverein and Mozarteum, Vienna. Her many recordings include Handel’s Partenope, Esther, Semele, Romilda (Serse), Emilia (Flavio), Michal (Saul) and Angelica (Orlando); as well as Venus and Adonis by Blow, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Manfred Tojahn’s Orest and a solo recording of Purcell’s Harmonia Sacra. She has also released two duo recitals with Sarah Connolly of Handel duets and a Purcell duet live from the Wigmore Hall. Rosemary Joshua is now the Artistic Director of the Dutch National Opera Studio, a young Artists programme which is part of the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam.

Brenda Hurley

Brenda Hurley is the Director of the International Opera Studio in Zurich and is regarded as one of the leading vocal coaches of her generation. In the course of a long international career, she has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors, directors and singers. She has worked in a great number of the world’s top opera houses, festivals and young artist training programmes. She has collaborated with leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra and the Freiburger Baroque Orchestra. Born in Dublin, she studied piano and flute at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she received the Briscoe Cup for the most outstanding student. She studied at the Trinity College Dublin, Die Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and the National Opera Studio, London. Her teachers included Rhona Marshall, Paul Hamburger and Martin Isepp. She held full-time positions at the Scottish Opera, Teatro Massimo di Palermo in Sicily, Opera North, and the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, where she spent sixteen years. She has collaborated with many of the world’s top opera singers, such as Bryn Terfel, Juan Diego Florez, Natalie Dessay, Diana Damrau and Jonas Kaufmann. At the Metropolitan Opera, New York, she was engaged as pianist, coach and orchestral pianist. As a passionate advocate of young singers, Brenda has coached for training programmes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The National Opera Studio, London, the Young Artists Training Programme, Tokyo, and Opera Studio Nederland, Amsterdam. Brenda gives Master classes regularly in young artists’ programmes.

Fabrizio Melano

Fabrizio Melano is an established figure on the international opera scene, having worked with leading houses throughout the world for more than 40 years. He began a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera in 1969 and has directed 21 operas there, among them seven new or revised productions. He worked with greatest opera artists such as Maria Callas, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti,Jessye Norman,Joanne Sutherland. Much of his work has been seen in PBS’s Live from the Metseries, including his staging of La Bohème (which inaugurated the series in 1977), Il TritticoLes Troyens (which also opened the Met’s centennial season in 1983), and Il Trovatore. Mr. Melano has worked with most of the major American and Canadian opera companies, including five productions at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and four with the New York City Opera. He assisted Maria Callas in her staging of I Vespri Siciliani at Torino’s Teatro Regio and has directed at such companies as the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the English National Opera. He directed Tony Randall in his last play, Pirandello’s Right You Are, with the National Actors Theater, and staged a new musical, Asylum, at the York Theatre Company. At Juilliard he directed Dialogues des Carmélites in 2010 and the 2012 Met+Juilliard co-production of Armide. He directed Werther (2016) and La Bohème (2017), at the Opera of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka.

Mariano Horak

Mariano Horak studied singing and musicology at the University in Bratislava and at the Tchaikovsky Music Conservatoryin Kiev. For a few years, after graduation, Horak sang as a baritone in different opera houses in Germany and Switzerland. In 1984, he founded the Lyric Department in the Caecilia Agency in Zürich, and has been the director there ever since. He worked with many great artists including Mirella Freni, Christa Ludwig, Teresa Berganza, Lucia Popp, Peter Schreier, Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, and many more. Mariano Horak always showed great interest in young artists, wanting to discover them and with a focused and artistic guidance help them achieve their international career. He has discovered many great artists such as Violeta Urmana, Julia Kleiter, Anna Goryachova, Ausrine Stundyte, Stephen Gould, Johan Reuter, Antonio Poli, Goran Jurić, Rachel Harnisch and many others. Horak is often invited to be a jury member or observer in many different international singing competitions, wishing to keep track of the new coming generation of young singers. In June 2015, he opened his own agency named Ammann-Horak Agency, with the headquarters in Zürich.

Ville Matvejeff

Ville Matvejeff has already established himself as an exceptionally wide-ranging musician enjoying success as conductor, composer and pianist. He holds the positions of Chief Conductor of Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Artistic Director of the Turku Music Festival and Principal Guest Conductor of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc. Recent orchestral debuts include the Duisburg Philharmonic, Estonian National Symphony, Lahti Symphony and Sonderjylland Symphony Orchestras. Matvejeff conducts a diversity of opera repertoire ranging from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Aribert Reimann’s Lear to contemporary productions such as Kimmo Hakola’s Akseli with Jorma Hynninen in the title role, and Mikko Heiniö’s Eerik XIV. Recent opera highlights include the world premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Castle in the Water at the Savonlinna Opera Festival and performances in Rijeka of Werther and Faust, which was also recorded for Nexos. Matvejeff has previously held positions at the Malmö Opera and the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, as well as working as assistant with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen and Leif Segerstam. A musical polymath, Matvejeff trained at the Sibelius Academy and Espoo Music Institute and is also a pianist and composer. He made his concert debut as pianist at the age of 18 with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under conductor Susanna Mälkki and has since toured the world in a recital partnership with soprano Karita Mattila.

Vlatka Oršanić

Competition Director

Vlatka Oršanić, soprano, was born in Zabok, Croatia. She spent her childhood in Varaždin where she began her musical education. She graduated voice study at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia and later took her postgraduate studies in Vienna with Kms Olivera Miljaković. Vlatka Oršanić made her debut at the age of 20 as Gilda at the National Opera in Ljubljana. Since then, she was invited as a guest singer to all opera theaters in Yugoslavia. In her long and rich career, she sang in many projects in different European opera houses and concert halls (Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Romania) and in Japan, working with prominent directors (Joachim Herz, Harry Kupfer, Christine Mielitz, Pet Halmen, Andreas Homoki, John Cox, Liliana Cavani, etc.) and conductors (Semyon Bychkov, Michael Gielen, Wladimir Jurowski, Kiril Petrenko, Daniel Harding, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Heinz Holliger, Stefan Soltesz, etc.) Her repertoire includes more than 80 leading opera and concert roles of very different character and music style, from Purcell (Dido), Bach, Händel (Angelica), Mozart (Queen of the night, Susanna, Vittelia, Elettra, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Despina), Beethoven, Schumann (Genoveva), Donizetti (Lucia, Adina), Bellini (Elvira), Rossini (Rosina), Verdi (Gilda, Violetta, Aida, Lady Macbeth, Leonora, Abigaila, Amelia), Puccini (Mimi, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut), Gounod (Marguerite), Tchaikovsky (Tatyana), Janacek (Mila, Jenufa, Katja, Malinka), Dvořák (Rusalka, Princess), Giordano (Maddalena), R. Strauss (Ariadne, Herodias), Shostakovich (Katerina Ismailova), Prokofiev (Natasha) to modern authors. She appeared at renowned European music festivals (Salzburger Sommerfestspiele, Edinburgh Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wiener Festwochen). Vlatka Oršanić recorded several CD albums for various international discography companies (Arte Nova, EMI, Sony Classical) and made archival recordings for several radio and TV stations (RTV Ljubljana, RTV Zagreb, ORF Wien, SWF Freiburg, Deutschland’s radio, MDR Leipzig). From 2006 to 2010 she was senior lecturer (associate professor) for voice at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. She is a principal singer at the Slovenian National Theatre Opera.


Rijeka Opera Jury (2018):

Giorgio Surian 

He was only 20 years old when he debuted at the Croatian National Theatre “Ivan pl.Zajc” Rijeka,continuing his prolific international career at the world’s most renowned stages – the Scala of Milan, the Metropolitan Opera, Straatsoper in Wien, Opera de Lyon, Arena di Verona, Opera national de Paris, Royal Opera House in London, El Liceo in Barcelona, Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow,Teatro Real in Madrid, Salzburg Festival. He worked with prominent conductors (Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Lovro von Matačić, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Placido Domingo etc.),collaborated with famous directors (Franco Zeffirelli, Ugo De Ana,Luca Ronconi, Werner Herzog, Chris Kraus, William Friedkin, Andrei Konchalovsky etc.), with the most distinguished opera stars.

Marin Blažević

Marin Blažević, PhD, is a dramaturge, opera stage director, theater manager, creative producer, as well as theatre and performance studies scholar based in Rijeka and Zagreb, Croatia. As an Associate Professor he was teaching theory and history of theatre and drama, performance studies and dramaturgy at the Academy of Drama Arts (Department of Dramaturgy) and opera dramaturgy at the Music Academy (Department of Opera singing), University of Zagreb (1997-2016). As Adjunct Associate Professor he is occasionally teaching at Columbia University School of the Arts (Theatre MFA Program, Dramaturgy Concentration). Marin Blažević published widely in English, Italian, Croatian and Slovenian language. His publications include authored books, collections of essays and edited thematic issues of international journals for performing arts and performance studies. He is giving talks, holding seminars and master classes on contemporary theater theory and practice, performance studies and dramaturgy at universities and art schools around the world, including: Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Utrecht, Roehampton, Northwestern, De La Salle, Wisconsin-Madison, Southern California: Roski, RMIT, Victorian College of Arts and elsewhere.

In fall 2014 he started his four years term as Artistic Director of the Opera Company of Croatian National Theater in Rijeka. In 2016 he was appointed General Manager and Artistic Director of CNT in Rijeka for the coming four years, starting on January 1, 2017.

Marin Blažević’s work as dramaturge includes drama and devised theater projects as well as operas (The Bacchae, Miss Julie, Trilogy on Croatian Fascism, Carmen, Rigoletto, Your Violence and Our Violence, reCallas). His awarded collaborative theater project with Oliver Frljić (Aleksandra Zec, 2014) was touring internationally around Europe, and so did the piece Your Violence and Our Violence, co-produced by the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, Wiener Festwochen and a number of other international partners.

Recently he staged the following operas as director: Giulio Cesare in Egitto (also presented at Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana and invited for Savonlinna Opera Festival in sumer 2020), Otello (awarded The Best Opera Production in Croatia for the seasons 2015/16 and 2016/17), Macbeth and Falstaff (that completed the Verdi-Shakespeare Trilogy), Aida (for Summer Classics Festival in Arena – Pula), and Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette (a co-production of CNT in Rijeka and Teatro Alighieri – Ravenna Manifestazioni). His forthcoming opera projects include Strauss’ Elektra (CNT in collaboration with Cankarjev dom and Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra), Bizet’s Carmen (in collaboration with Selma Banich and Alan Vukelić, for Summer Classics in Pula – Arena), Puccini’s Tosca (for CNT in Rijeka and Summer Classics in Pula – Arena 2020), and Cherubini’s Medea (for CNT in Rijeka and Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture program).

Back in 2014, Marin Blažević was a member of the initial Rijeka ECoC Concept Committee that devised the concept and theme of Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture: Port of Diversity – Migrations, Water, Labour. Ever since he worked with Rijeka 2020 – ECoC in various capacities as associate and program advisor. Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, at which he serves as the General Manager and Artistic Director, is one of the leading partners of Rijeka 2020 – ECoC, responsible for the classical music and opera, ballet and dance, as well as the drama and devised theatre program.

Petar Kovačić 

Solo cellist of Rijeka Opera Orchestra since 2004, and from 2017 director of the Opera Company of Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka. He studied in Zagreb and Saarbrücken.He performs both as a soloist and chamber musician. He was a member of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra from 2013 until 2015. As a director of the Opera Company he is dedicated to developing the quality of the ensemble which resulted in many successful concerts and opera productions