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Opera soloists Heli Veskus and Jassi Zahharov got the SEB audience awards

On 31 March, SEB Bank, the gold sponsor of the Estonian National Opera, gave audience awards to soprano Heli Veskus and baritone Jassi Zahharov. The traditional yearly theatre awards were given for the sixth time already and both of the soloists got 1300 EUR.

“March is theatre month and we traditionally help the audience to make a choice and find out the favourite soloists of the past year. The audience award is a sincere acknowledgement from the audience and it has become a nice tradition by now,” said the Chairman of the Management Board of SEB Bank, Allan Parik.

Heli Veskus graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music (teacher L. Dombrovska-Keis) in 1997 and from the Sibelius Academy (teacher A. Välkki-Aro) in 2010. In 1998, Heli Veskus was the finalist of Con Brio competition. She debuted at the Estonian National Opera as Donna Elvira (Mozart’s Don Giovanni) in 1999. Since 2001 she is the soloist of the Estonian National Opera. Her wide repertoire includes the leading roles in classical operettas as well as the heroines in the operas of Mozart and Wagner: Isolde (Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”), Elisabeth and Venus (Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”); the title roles in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” and “Tosca” as well as Mimì (“La bohème”), Tatyana (Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”), Barbara (Tubin’s “Barbara von Tisenhusen”), The Lady (Hindemith’s “Cardillac”), Fiordiligi (Mozart’s “Così fan tutte”), Agathe (“Der Freischütz” by Weber), Micaëla (Bizet’s “Carmen”); Verdi’s Aida (“Aida”), Desdemona (“Otello”), Leonora (“Il trovatore”) and Amelia (“Un ballo in maschera”); Nedda (Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”), Antonia (Offenbach’s “Les contes d’Hoffmann”), Farmer’s daughter (“Die Kluge” by Orff), Wally (Catalani’s “La Wally”, concert performance), Helmwige (Wagner’s “Die Walküre”, Finnish National Opera), Old Aliide (Reinvere’s “Purge”, Finnish National Opera), Grose (Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”), Grose (Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”), Hanna Glawari (Lehár’s “Die lustige Witwe”), Franziska Cagliari and Countess Gabriele Zedlau (Strauss’ “Wiener Blut”), Rosalinde (“Die Fledermaus” by J. Strauss), etc. In 2003 Heli Veskus received the Harjumaa Theatre Prize, in 2004 the annual Estonian Theatre Award and in 2008 the Georg Ots Prize. In 2005 she won the scholarship of the Estonian Richard Wagner Society.

Jassi Zahharov was the soloist of the Vanemuine Theatre in 1980–1997. Since 1997 he is the soloist of the Estonian National Opera. He has performed in various countries: Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania among others. His repertoire includes the title roles in Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, “Simon Boccanegra”, “Nabucco”, “Falstaff”, “Macbeth”, as well as the title role in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”. In addition, he has sung Verdi’s Iago (“Otello”), Giorgio Germont (“La traviata”), Count di Luna (“Il trovatore”), Renato (“Un ballo in maschera”), Amonasro (“Aida”), Puccini’s Scarpia (“Tosca”) and Lescaut (“Manon Lescaut”), Escamillo (Bizet’s “Carmen”), Jochanaan (R. Strauss’ “Salome”), Tonio (Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”), Tomsky (Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”), Pearu (Raadik’s “The Truth and Justice of Vargamäe”), Reinhold von Tisenhusen (Tubin’s “Barbara von Tisenhusen”), Count de Guiche (Tamberg’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”), German Officer (Tüür’s “Wallenberg”), Sergius Wladimir (Kálmán’s “Die Zirkusprinzessin”), etc. Jassi Zahharov has also sung the baritone roles in musicals: Count von Krolock (Steinman’s “Dance of the Vampires”) and Jean Valjean (Boublil/Schönberg’s “Les Miserables”), etc. Jassi Zahharov won the Georg Ots Prize in 1994, the Great Bear Prize in 1996, the Cultural Endowment of Tartu yearly scholarship in 1996, the annual Prize of Cultural Endowment of Estonian in 2001, the SEB Audience Award 2012 and the Annual Estonian Theatre Award 2015.

Four Annual Theatre Awards to the Estonian National Opera

The Annual Theatre Awards Gala of Estonia took place in theatre NO99 on 27 March, the international theatre day. Four awards were given to the employees of the Estonian National Opera: the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Vello Pähn got the award of music for Hindemith’s opera “Cardillac” and concert performance of the opera “Arabella” by R. Strauss. Opera soloist Rauno Elp got the music award for the main role in the opera “Cardillac”. Ballet award was handed over to the dancer Luana Georg for the role of Tatiana in ballet „Onegin“. Literary editor Liina Viru got the award of the administrative personnel for nine years of restless commitment to texts and publications.

The Harju County theatre award was given to ballet dancer Marika Muiste on 24 March.

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