Young opera singer impresses judges in international competition: Talk of the Towns

By Shirley MacFarland, special to

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — Nine-year-old opera singer Alex Сosma of North Royalton recently competed in The Elena Obraztsova International Competition of Young Vocalists in St. Petersburg, Russia. Only four young vocalists represented the United States on the stage. The jury selected Alex for the final audition.

Out of 27 foreign participants in all three age groups from 9 to 17 years old, nine young singers from the U.S., Australia, Estonia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan passed to the final round. The jury awarded third prize to Alex, who was the only contestant from the U.S. to win an award among other finalists from all age groups.

All finalists received diplomas of participation in the competition. This year, foreign participants represented their countries by video recording, while 95 participants from Russia performed on the stage of the State Academic Capella of Sankt Petersburg. The results of the competition were announced by the Russian state news agency TASS.

Alex withstood the competition with honor when he presented his program in Italian, German and Russian. He charmed the jury with his performance of a Neapolitan folk song, “Lo Granatello;” Schubert’s “Ständchen;” “Torna a Surriento” by Curtis; and Dunaevsky’s “Joyful Wind.”

The American team included four participants: Alex, Evangeline Rahimov, Nicholas Oita and Brianna Bogdan, who also were very well prepared and got a warm reception from the public and experts.

All are students of Olga’s Music Studio in North Royalton under the instruction of Olga Druzhinina, whose students sing in the productions of the Cleveland Opera Theater, Cleveland Ballet, Opera in Italian Garden and many other venues and competitions. For more information on Olga’s Music Studio, go to

Alex has experience both in vocal competition and productions, including with the Cleveland Ballet; Italian Society Cenacolo di Cleveland; Carnegie Hall; the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria; Shalin Liu Rockport Concert Hall, Mass.; and at the One World Day in Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

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