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May 22, 2010

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Young voices compete

FIFTEEN young Chinese students competed in an opera singing contest yesterday at the Italy Pavilion.

The event was a special Expo version of the prestigious Riccardo Zandonai International Competition for Young Opera Singers, named after the famed Italian opera composer.

It's the first time the competition has been held in China and the first time it has been held at a World Expo.

"I've seen many Chinese opera singers in Italy and they are all quite wonderful, just like the 15 finalists here today," said competition managing director Mietta Sighele.

"I'm impressed by how well they sing and how great they catch the emotions.

"The only thing they need to improve is pronunciation of Italian, the language, which is exactly why this competition is held here."

The 15 singers competed for nine prizes, each with a scholarship and the opportunity to take opera workshops in Italy.

The first prize winner will get a scholarship of 10,000 euros (US$12,517).

The winners will be announced tomorrow night at the Heluting Concert Hall where their singing will be backed by the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra.

The organizers have invited many guests to the concert, but visitors are also welcome to walk in before it starts.

"If I win, I would love to go study opera in Italy," said Fan Yating, a 26-year-old finalist from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. "The competition has always been held in Italy and I never imagined I'd have the chance to be on the stage for it in Shanghai."


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