Plácido Domingo's Operalia, which this year took place in Moscow, concluded Sunday with two first-prize winners, each of whom receives $30,000. Laureates soprano Pretty Yende of South Africa and tenor Rene Berbera of the U.S. were also the audience favorites.
The ceremony began with Domingo receiving the Order of Friendship for his efforts in developing cultural exchange between Spain and Russia. He was presented the prize by Yuri Laptev, a former opera singer who is now a presidential aide.
"Twenty years ago Domingo came to Saint Petersburg to perform at the Mariinsky Theater in Otello," said Laptev from the stage. "I could not even think then that we would be sharing one stage on an occasion like this." Domingo declared Order of Friendship "especially dear to me."
Past winners of the competition, established in 1993, include Rolando Villazón, Erwin Schrott, and Joyce DiDonato.