Anush Hovhannisyan recently won the Concours Suisse Ernst Haefliger, an international competition for young opera singers organized as a joint-venture between the Konzert Theater Bern and the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, both of which rank among the most prestigious cultural institutions in Switzerland.
The preliminary rounds of the competition were held during the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, and the final concert in the KonzertTheaterBern with the Berner Symphony Orchestra. The competition is dedicated to the legendary Swiss tenor Ernst Haeflige, who was born in Davos, Switzerland, in 1919 and died in 2007. Out of more than 300 international applicants, 85 were chosen for the first round, 30 for the semi-final, and 10 for the final round, who sung in the concert performance with the Symphony Orchestra of Bern.
The jury was comprised of the directors of the Bern Opera Theatre, the Zurich Opera House, the Flemish Opera Antwerp /Ghent, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Theater Lucerne, and the Festival Aix-en-Provence. The president of the jury was soprano Christiane Iven, professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich.
According to the press review of the final round in Bern, “The vocal level at the 5th Concours Suisse Ernst Haefliger was impressively high: The 10 finalists lined up in the Kultur-Casino next to the Bern Symphony Orchestra on Sunday (Conductor: Lutz de Veer), providing the audience with an entertaining concert making it difficult for the jury to decide on the winner. After three and a half hours, the Armenian Anush Hovhannisyan (born 1986, Yerevan) was chosen as the winner of the First Prize. The spirited daughter of a theatre director convinced the jury and audience not only with her expressive soprano, but also by her stage presence.”
Hovhannisyan began studying the violin at age six at the A. Spendiaryan Music School, and went on to study singing at the Yerevan State Conservatory, graduating in 2010, and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as an AGBU-sponsored student, graduating in 2013. Her roles have included the Forester’s Wife (“The Cunning Little Vixen”), Clara (“Betrothal in a Monastery”), and Helena (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) for RCS/Scottish Opera, and Frau Fluth (“Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor”) for the RCS. She has performed at a Montserrat Caballé Gala Concert in Zaragoza and appeared on BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune” singing live under Runnicles.
Hovhannisyan’s many awards and scholarships include the Clonter Opera Prize, the Margaret Dick Award, a Ye Cronies Opera award, the Bayreuth Scholarship from the Wagner Society of Scotland, Third Prize at the Les Azuriales International Singing Competition, and the Ian Smith of Stornoway Award for Opera, awarded by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She joined the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Program for the 2013/2015 season. During this period, she sang Frasquita (“Carmen”) and Voice of the Falcon (“Die Frauohne Schatten”), Inès (“La favourite”) on the main stage and Princess (“El gato con botas”) in the Linbury Studio Theatre, covering the roles of Donna Elvira (“Don Giovanni”), Mme. Lidoine (“Les dialogues des Carmélites”), and Musetta (“La boheme”). She also sang the soprano solo in Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria” for the Royal Ballet and Verdi’s Requiem for the ROH education tour in France. On April 14, she gave an outstanding solo recital at the Crush Room, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
For more information about Anush Hovhannisyan, visit www.anushhovhannisyan.co.uk.