Winning Voices

Operalia Winners, and now much sought-after singers in the operatic world, Angel Blue, Maria Mudryak and Giordano Lucà have all performed at the NCPA to much acclaim. We take a look at the career trajectories of these artistes.

Giordano Lucà, tenor – Italy

La Bohème Revisited – SOI Spring 2017 Season

Winner of the second prize at Operalia 2010, held in Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Giordano Lucà began his singing career when he was only 12 and by the time he was 16, he had already been flagged as an artiste of remarkable talent. Born in Rome in 1988, he was first noticed by soprano Katia Ricciarelli when he attended her masterclasses at her Lyric Academy. He also attended masterclasses with Enzo Dara, Montserrat Caballé and has auditioned for Luciano Pavarotti, Marcelo Álvarez and Francesca Patanè. In 2007, he began training at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory of Milan, established more than 200 years ago. Lucà continued his study in Rome with soprano Clizia Aloisi, Toomas Kaldaru, Sergio La Stella and Alessandra Althoff-Pugliese.

In 2007, he participated in the Opera City Competition of Merano, where he won the Special Prize. In the same year, he won the Mario Lanza Singing Competition at Filignano. In 2009, he won the Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. In May 2010, he won the second prize at Operalia, hosted that year by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He also made his debut that year, at the age of 22, as Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto under the baton of Pietro Rizzo at Teatro Verdi in Padua. Since then, he has performed across Italy and in Bahrain, London, Greece, Estonia and Austria. In the Spring 2017 Season of the Symphony Orchestra of India, Lucà performed the role of Rodolfo in the NCPA’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, titled La Bohème Revisited, at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre.

Maria Mudryak, soprano – Kazakhstan

La Bohème Revisited – SOI Spring 2017 Season

Winner of the third prize and audience prize at Operalia 2017, held in Astana

Soprano Maria Mudryak, who by the age of 23, had already essayed the roles of Mimì in La bohème and Violetta in La traviata on the professional stage, began vocal training when she was only five. Born in Kazakhstan in 1994, she moved to Italy at the age of 10 to pursue music and a year later, she was admitted into the Children’s Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala. At 14, she was accepted at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory of Milan, where she graduated with honours four years later. She studied for 10 years at the Scuola Musicale di Milano under the tutelage of Carlo Gaifa.

She is a winner of the 65th AsLiCo Competition for Young Opera Singers and has won The Opera Ball Award in Kazakhstan as well as the Third Prize and the Audience Prize of Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia in 2017. Mudryak has collaborated with conductors Carlo Rizzi, Renato Palumbo, Aldo Sisillo, Fabrizio Carminati, Christopher Franklin, Matthew Aucoin and Nicola Paszkowski, and stage directors Leo Nucci, Hugo De Ana, Ferzan Özpetek, Chiara Muti and Andrea Cigni. She has played Violetta in La traviata at the Astana Opera (Kazakhstan), Giulia in La scala di seta at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie (Belgium), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Petruzzelli (Italy), Mimì in La bohème at the Teatro Coccia (Italy) and Musetta in the same opera at the Ravenna Opera Festival and the National Opera Vilnius, among many others. In the Spring 2017 Season of the SOI, Mudryak performed the role of Musetta in the NCPA’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, titled La Bohème Revisited, at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre.

Angel Blue, soprano – America

Opera Gala – SOI Spring 2015 Season

Met screenings at the NCPA include Porgy and Bess, Fire Shut Up in My Bones and upcoming screening of Carmen in May 2024.

Winner of the first prize in the Zarzuela competition and second prize in the Opera competition at Operalia 2009, held in Budapest.

As of February last year, American soprano Angel Blue has two Grammy wins to her credit—one each for her stellar work in Porgy and Bess and Fire Shut Up In My Bones, both productions of The Metropolitan Opera in New York. Audiences at the NCPA will remember both operas from screenings at the Godrej Dance Theatre. Blue is, quite possibly, one of the most exciting voices in the operatic world.

Born in California in 1984 to gospel singer and pastor, Sylvester Blue and educator, Sylvia Blue, she studied at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and studied the piano at the University of Redlands. To help pay for the tuition, she participated in beauty pageants and was a runner-up to Miss California in 2006. In 2009, Blue was a finalist at Operalia, receiving first place in the Zarzuela competition and second place overall. In 2010, at the 17th Annual Verbier Festival in Switzerland she sang in an Operalia Tribute Concert sponsored by Rolex.

In addition to being a star soprano at the Met, she has performed at the Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Theater an der Wien, Teatro alla Scala, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Paris Opera, English National Opera, among others. A magnetic presence on the concert platform, Blue has appeared in recitals and concerts in over 40 countries including Hungary, Kazakhstan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, South Korea, China, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. At the SOI Spring 2015 Season, Blue performed at the Opera Gala, which presented highlights from several well-loved operas including Carmen, Tosca, Don Giovanni, Turandot, Rigoletto, Die Walküre and others, at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre.

La Bohème Revisited by the Symphony Orchestra of India

With a special focus on opera, the Spring 2017 Season of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) was a treat for the audience. For the first time in India, the NCPA presented a new take on Giacomo Puccini’s beloved opera La Bohème inLa Bohème Revisited. Featuring an international star cast including Operalia winners Maria Mudryak and Giordano Lucà, the performances were led by renowned conductor Carlo Rizzi—who also conducted La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, that season—and SOI Associate Music Director Zane Dalal.

In this innovative production, Puccini’s lush score was interspersed with texts from Murger’s original novel which inspired the opera, to tell the tale of the lives and loves of young artists in the Bohemian quarter of Paris. Directed by Sax Nicosia, the production employed specially designed modern projections to weave together the scenes and give insight into the characters’ thoughts.

This piece was originally published by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, in the May 2024 issue of ON Stage – their monthly arts magazine.