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May 19, 2024

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Szymon Komasa Winner of KF’s 2014
Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition


Polish Met Opera Stars Mariusz Kwiecien and Edyta Kulczak, Guests of Honor

NEW YORK CITY – The KF is excited to announce the winners of the 2014 Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition: 1st prize – Szymon Komasa, baritone;  2nd prize – Julia Lima, soprano; 3rd prize – Tatiana Poletskaya, soprano.

In photo, left to right: Tatiana Poletskaya, Julia Lima, Mariusz Kwiecien, Szymon Komasa, and Edyta Kulczak 

17 contestants took part in the preliminary round of the competition on Saturday, April 5th, with 8 progressing into the final round on Sunday, April 6th. Initial candidate selection was based on vocal recordings of candidates.

1st prize winner, 28 year-old Szymon Komasa (Warsaw, Poland) is a first-year Artist Diploma candidate at the Juilliard School, studying opera singing under Edith Wiens.


Stars Pitch in

World-renowned operatic baritone Mariusz Kwiecien (set to star in the Met Opera’s I Puritani) and 12-year Metropolitan Opera regular Edyta Kulczak (currently in the Met’s Madama Butterfly) joined in to support the exposure of Polish music in the United States.

“It’s very important to make sure the world can see Polish music presented,” said Ms. Kulczak. “It’s such a joy to hear Karlowicz, Lutoslawski, Moniuszko, Szymanowski! They rarely come up in the U.S. and I think that trend is changing thanks to competitions like the Sembrich. Hopefully, with Polish singers at the Met, we can bring a renaissance of Polish repertoire.”

This year’s competition was evaluated by an exceptional jury: Charles Kellis (Juilliard, Prof. emeritus) served as Chairman of the jury, joined by Lenore Rosenberg (Artistic Administrator at the Met Opera) and Michael Benchetrit (V.P. and Artist Manager at Columbia Artists Management); Dr. Malgorzata Kellis served as an advisor and Polish song expert.

Charles Kellis in particular, was optimistic about the careers of the 3 prize-winners.

“The three winners all had the quality of voices that – if carefully cultivated – should prove to be highly successful in their operatic future. The Marcella Sembrich is continuing its growth and impact. I feel it is destined to eventually evolve into an important International Vocal Competition,” said Kellis.

About the KF’s Marcella Sembrich Competition:

Marcella Sembrich-Kochanska, soprano (1858-1935) was one of Poland’s greatest opera stars. She appeared during the first season of the Metropolitan Opera in 1883, and would go on to sing in over 450 performances at the Met. Her portrait can be found at the Metropolitan Opera House, amongst the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Giuseppe Verdi.

The KF’s Marcella Sembrich Memorial Voice Competition honors the memory of this great Polish artist, with the aim of popularizing Polish song in the United States, and discovering new talents (aged 18-35) in the operatic world.