1st prize for Santiago Sánchez

International Mozart Competition
Internationaler Mozartwettbewerb 2023 | © Michael Klimt

Six finalists competed for the coveted prizes in the vocal category at the 15th International Mozart Competition on February 16, 2023 in the Solitär of the Mozarteum University. The 1st prize goes to Santiago Valentín Sánchez Barbadora, the 2nd prize to Chelsea Marilyn Zurflüh, and the 3rd prize to Dániel Foki.

Artistic Direction:
Elisabeth Gutjahr
Hannfried Lucke

Juliane Banse (Chair)
Leopold Hager
Mario Antonio Diaz-Varas
Olaf Bär
Jeanne Piland

The 1st prize in the vocal category in the amount of 15,000 euros was donated by the International Salzburg Association, which has supported the competition for many years. Tenor Santiago Valentín Sánchez Barbadora convinced the jury in the final concert with the songs An Chloë, Das Traumbild and Abendempfindung an Laura, as well as the aria from Idomeneo: "Qual mi conturba" - "Fuor del mar".

Born in Uruguay and raised in Alicante, Spain, the tenor studied piano at the Conservatory of Torrevieja (Alicante) and began vocal studies at the Conservatory of Ontinyent (Valenzia). He then moved to the Mozarteum University of Salzburg, where he completed his master's degree in lied and oratorio with Mario Antonio Diaz-Varas and Pauliina Tukiainen. Since the 20/21 season, Santiago has been a member of the ensemble at Theater Bonn, where his roles have included "Don Carlo" (G. Verdi). Previous engagements include a semi-staged production of Faust at Theater Bonn, Alfredo in "La Traviata" at Teatro Municipale di Piacenza under Leo Nucci and Lampionaio in "Manon Lescaut" at Oper Frankfurt under Lorenzo Viotti and Àlex Ollé, as well as Mozart's Requiem at Teatro Ristori in Verona and Soliman ("Zaide") and Don Asdrubale ("Lo sposo deluso") at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl. He also appeared as the Hitziger Spieler ("The Gambler") at the Vienna State Opera, as a Lehrbube ("Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg") at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and as Nemorino ("L'elisir d'amore") at the Opera Schloss Maxlrain.

The 2nd prize of 10,000 euros, donated by Honorary Senator Sylvia Madsack, went to Chelsea Marilyn Zurflüh. The Swiss soprano is a member of the International Opera Studio in Zurich. A graduate of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Swiss Opera Studio in Biel, she completed her studies with the highest marks of the year. In August 2022, Chelsea won second prize and the audience award at the thirteenth Cesti Early Music Competition in Innsbruck. She is also a first prize winner of the Elvirissima and Dienemann Foundations, a Migros Culture Percentage scholarship recipient, and received the Goehner Music Prize from the Kiefer-Hablitzel Foundation in 2020 and 2021. Chelsea has sung in the theaters of Biel-Solothurn, Bern and Winterthur and worked with conductors such as Riccardo Minasi, Victorien Vanoosten, Joseph Bastien, Mladen Tarbuk, Franco Trinca and Christoph-Mathias Mueller. She was part of the Murten Classics 2021 festival, where she performed the role of Adele in "Die Fledermaus". In the 2022/2023 season she will be heard as Barbarina in "Le Nozze di Figaro", Soprano one in "Jakob Lenz", Atalanta in "Serse" as well as soloist in the St. Matthew Passion and in Rossini's "Petite Messe Solennelle".

Dániel Foki was awarded the 3rd prize of 5,000 euros, donated by a private benefactor under the title "Omaggio dalla Toscana", the Boris Bakow special prize of 1,000 euros for the best interpretation of an aria in Italian, as well as an invitation to ARCO - Art, Research and Creation Opus 2023. The young Hungarian baritone Dániel Foki first studied concert voice, lied and oratorio at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Karlheinz Hanser and Charles Spencer, as well as music theater directing with Beverly Blankenship. He is a prize winner of numerous competitions, including the 23rd Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach and the 30th Nico Dostal Competition. In 2017, he sang the role of Morales in "Carmen" at the Opéra Royale in Versailles and the role of Junior in Bernstein's "A Quiet Place" at the Neue Oper Wien. From 2018 to 2020 he was a member of the opera studio of the Komische Oper Berlin, where his roles included Schaunard in "La Bohème", Marullo and Barone Douphol. He has also been part of several opera premieres and new discoveries by Paul Abraham and Jaromír Weinberger. Important stages in his career include master classes with KS Michael Schade, Thomas Hampson as well as with Rolando Villazón. Since the 20/21 season, Dániel Foki has been part of the music theater ensemble of the Cottbus State Theater.


IGNM special prize of 1,000 euros for the best interpretation of a contemporary work: Anastasiia Churakova (Russia)

Boris Bakov Special Prize of 1,000 euros for the best interpretation of an aria in Italian: Dániel Foki (Hungary)

Special prize of the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg for the best interpretation of a vocal work by W. A. Mozart in the form of the New Mozart Edition (Bärenreiter-Verlag): Yukari Fukui (Japan)

Bärenreiter Urtext Prize: three music vouchers of 300 Euro each donated by Bärenreiter-Verlag: Anna Tetruashvili (Israel), Martina Russomanno (Italy), Franziska Zwink (Germany)

Invitation to ARCO - Art, Research and Creation Opus 2023: ARCO is an international academy for contemporary composition and a collaborative project between the University Mozarteum Salzburg, the GMEM Marseille (Centre national de création musicale) and the French ensembles Multilaterale, Les Métaboles and Tana Quartet: Sara De Franco (USA), Julia Heiler (Germany), Dániel Foki (Hungary), Eun Soo Lee (South Korea).


We would like to thank our sponsors and prize donors very much and we are happy about their support for young artists!


Of the approximately 40 invited singers from 15 nations, 30 entered the competition with arias and songs by W. A. Mozart, G. Donizetti, G. Verdi, G. Puccini, G. Rossini, M. Kagel and contemporary composers. 18 singers made it to the second round, six of which went on to the finals.

The final concert of the vocal category was accompanied by the Chamber Ensemble Salzburg Orchestra Soloists and conducted for the first time by a woman, the Austrian conductor Katharina Wincor.