PÄRNU INTERNATIONAL OPERA MUSIC FESTIVAL – PROMFEST
Since 2005

(Erki Pehk, the Artistic Director of PromFest, conducting the orchestra)

Festival PromFest was founded in 2005. It grew out of the Klaudia Taev International Competition for Opera Singers, which was created in 1996 and still remains the main event of the festival. Prizewinners of the Klaudia Taev Competition stay connected to the festival and most of the festival events involve singers who successfully participated in the competition.

Within the framework of each PromFest, one opera production is staged. The choice of the title of the new opera is up to the previous winner of the Competition. According to the rules of the Competition, the winner has the right to name the opera role he/she wants to perform and PromFest will make this dream come true.

The yearly operatic production becomes definitely the main attraction of PromFest. The fans of the festival are excited to follow the Klaudia Taev Competition because for them it is interesting to guess which new opera is going to be staged next time.

Productions mounted so far include “Rigoletto” by Verdi (2003), “Demon” by Rubinstein (2005), “Carmen” by Bizet (2007), “Thais” by Massenet (2009), “Attila” by Verdi (2011), “The Tsar’s Bride” by Rimsky-Korsakov (2013), “Aida” by Verdi (2015), “La Traviata” by Verdi (2017) and “I Capuletti e i Montecchi” by Bellini (2019).

(Photosession for “I Capuletti e I Montecchi” with prizewinner of the Competition 2017 – Abigail Levis (USA), and Margarita Levchuk (Belarus)

This year’s new production will be the tenth in a row. As the previous competition did not award the first prize, the opera was chosen by two excellent singers who shared the 2nd prize – Armenian bass Sargis Bazhbeuk-Melikyan and Ukrainian soprano Hanna Tverdova. They will perform Selim and Fiorilla in PromFest’s new production of Rossini’s “Il turco in Italia” by G.Rossini.

Besides the Competition and the new opera production, there will feature a workshop for singers hold usually by the chairman of the Competition. Also, video recordings of previous performances will be screened, various concerts, as well as lections, useful for young singers and sometimes even some thematic exhibitions, will be programmed.

Among the world-famous opera artists, Barbara Hendricks, Irina Arkhipova, Sergey Leiferkus, Alexandr Vedernikov, and Evgeny Nesterenko have performed at Promfest. But also the famous Lithuanian bass Vladimiras Prudnikovas, the tenor of the Mariinsky Theater Alexandr Dedik, and Estonian legendary bass Mati Palm. The masterclasses have been conducted by legendary singers such as Edda Moser, Dolora Zajick, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Ileana Cotrubas, Karan Armstrong, and Luana DeVol.

PromFest was created in 2005 in order to broaden the creative opportunities for young opera singers, to bring high-level operatic artists to Estonia, and to help develop the image of Estonia within the world of opera and thereby expand cultural tourism and bring younger generations of Estonians closer to opera.

The festival is organized by NGO PromFest, whose main creative partners are the Endla Theatre (Pärnu) and Kaunas State Musical Theatre (Lithuania).

The Artistic Director of PromFest is conductor Erki Pehk.