Ninh Duc Hoang Long (right) performs at the President’s Palace in Budapest. (Photo from Ninh Duc Hoang Long’s Facebook)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Vietnamese opera student Ninh Duc Hoang Long has just won the first prize in his category in a Hungarian TV talent show.

Long came out top in the 21-29 age range category in the Virtuozok Classical Talent Show 2018. He will compete in the grand final on June 8.

He announced his victory on Facebook and told Viet Nam News in an email: "I’m extremely moved and cried at the moment the judging board called my name."

"I received the invitation to join the contest at its first season in 2014. Yet I have waited till the 4th season this year to join to have more time to practice."

At the show, which is sponsored by Anita Herczegh, the wife of the Hungarian President, contestants compete in three age groups – children (born between 2002-2010), teens (born between 1997-2002) and adults (born between 1989-1997) – and can show off their skills and talents in front of a jury of professionals.

The new season premiere of Virtuosos was aired at the end of April. At the auditions for the various age groups nine contestants were selected from each show. Eventually, three children, teens and adults made it to the finals, where the winners in each age group were announced.

And in the grand finale on June 8, the prize winner will be chosen by public votes to receive the title of Virtuosos of 2018.

At the final round at the end of May, Long performed two songs namely Romeo Cavatina from the play Romeo et Juliet by Charles Gounod and Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

Besides the age group prizes, the grand prize and the award, contestants will have the chance to win many special prizes, concert offers including master courses and scholarships.

Hungary’s first classical talent show, Virtuosos had its debut in 2014. Unlike other traditional talent shows, the programme particularly focuses on classical music education and discovering talents. Besides searching for musical talents, the mission of Virtuosos is to promote and popularise classical music to a wider audience.

This year’s judges include leading Hungarian artists namely Andras Batta - former director of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy; Gergely Keselyak - noted conductor; Erika Miklosa - world’s famous opera singer; Janos Balasz - noted pianist; and Istvan Varda - famed cellist.

Audiences all over the world can vote for him by two ways. The first way is sending message: LONG to phone number 36304422999. Each moble number can send up to 50 messages. The second way is downloading Mediaklikk Plusz on mobile phone, login by your facebook account or gmail; then click on "Szavaz" at the down right corner, click on Long’s photo and click on the blue button Szavaz. You can vote by this way every 20 minutes.

On April 29, Long won the first prize at the 10th International Jozsef Simandy Singing Competition.

The 27-year-old has been called an "opera phenomenon" by Vietnamese experts.

He was born into a family with art traditions in the northern province of Ninh Binh. His father is a poet and playwright while his uncle is a composer. Though Long’s mother does not work as a professional singer, she possesses a good voice. However, he was not encouraged to follow art career at the beginning. Long had tried his best to persuade his parents to let him sit for the entrance exam to the Vietnam National Music Academy.

During two years studying at the academy, he achieved good results and scholarships for his talent. With the support of his teacher, People’s Artist Trung Kien, Long was sent to Hungary to further study five years ago, where he has joined various shows and won prizes.

In April 2016, Long won the first prize of category II (up to 26 years old) at the 9th Jozsef Simandy International Singing Contest held in Szeged City, Hungary.

In 2018, he won the first prize of category III (up to 36 years old) at the 9th József Simándy International Singing Competition. He had performed on various local stages in Hungary, Vietnam and Europe.

He already finished a Bachelor programme in 2017 and now studying the first years of Opera Master programme in Franz Liszt Academy of Music with Kossuth prize Opera Singer Kiss B. Atilla and Cseh Dalma.-VNA