The curtain of gold rises on “The Mozart of the Opera”, to be screened in big letters on the back of the stage. The opening of Carmen sounds. The tone is set. The 6th edition of the Paris Opera Competition, an international competition of lyrical singing founded in 2010, to be held this Friday at the prestigious Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (VIIIe). The ten finalists demonstrated their talent on scores of Mozart, Bellini, or Rimsy-Korsakov.

Mélissa Petit, Jérôme Boutillier and Ilya Kutyukhin sacred to the Mozart Opera 2019. © Eric Mercier/© Eric Mercier

The jury awarded the prize to three of them. Ilya Kutyukhin, 30 years, baritone Russian, was awarded the first prize. Member of the program of excellence for young artists of the Bolshoi theatre until 2017, it has already happened on the big stage, notably in France at the Toulon Opera and at the Châtelet. The French Jérôme Boutillier, baritone of 33 years, has obtained the second prize ; in 2016, it was a revelation classic ADAMI, society for Administration of rights of artists and musicians. The third prize is income to Mélissa Petit, soprano 28 years old French. After an early career promise that comes to confirm this price, it will be Aricia in Hippolyte and Aricia by Rameau at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 2019. Called to vote, the public has also elected Ilya Kutyukhin.

Roselyne Bachelot, mistress of ceremonies

“The jury debated a lot”, confided at the end of the evening Roselyne Bachelot, mistress of ceremony accustomed of the event. On stage, the candidates, thirty years on average, are particularly talented. In the Face of them, the jury consists of luminaries in the operatic world: Christophe Ghristi, artistic director of the Capitole de Toulouse, Toni Gradsack, casting director of la Scala, Milan, and Joan Matabosch, artistic director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, to name only a few. As many attentive ears ready to spot the best for their own programming. They have received more than 400 folders and made two rounds of selection before the final in paris.

Ah non credea ah non giunge! Mysterious in her dress of white and gold, Melissa Small sings in the final of The Somnanbula of Donizetti (53:34). The jurors seated in their armchairs, reign over the theatre, working on their leaf, trample down their documents. The public does not hesitate to laugh at the silliness of Nemorino who is fooled by Dulcamara, paying him gold for his Elixir of love. In the pit, Pierre-Michel Durand leads, full of energy, the orchestra Prometheus. The applause burst forth.

The air in solo, duos and trios are linked together with natural. The staging is ingenious: when a candidate has finished singing, it remains to give a reply or to play a character of the next scene. Jérôme Boutillier from Leporello, valet of Don Giovanni, the poignant Rodrigue in Don Carlos of Verdi to the next (2:10:16). Very close to the bass, Ilya Kutyukhin shake in the queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky (1:12:10), and a few tunes later, in The Favourite of Donizetti (2:46:30), when he told his love to the powerful mezzo-soprano Zlata Khershberg.

At the end of the concert, while the jury meets in a lounge, the public is requested to turn back on his cell phone to take part in the election. The 1,400 spectators in deliberations with their neighbor or alone in their consciousness before they send their choice via SMS. Internet users who followed the competition live on Youtube could do the same. After the announcement of the result, Roselyne Bachelot barely hide her enthusiasm: “When the opinion of the jury and the public agree, it is a very good sign,” exclaimed she. And it must be confessed that, thanks to her beautiful spirit, she also was the queen of the night Mozart.