The judges of the Carmen Mateu Young Artist European Award for Opera and Dance have made their decision on 16 December, in Barcelona, and acknowledge the excellent technique and artistic performance of Maria Khoreva, currently First Soloist in the Mariinsky Ballet since last October. The panel of judges, made up of prestigious artists including María Pagés, a dancer and choreographer and the director of the María Pagés Company, Julio Bocca, a former dancer, director, choreographer and ballet master, and Tamara Rojo, the artistic director of the English National Ballet, has underscored the winner’s striking stage presence and professional career, as well as her future potential. Her ambition for progress and her intention to use the award to continue her professional development and collaborate with new choreographers, is also noteworthy. At the age of 19, Maria Khoreva has already established herself as a clear reference point for young people in the world of Ballet.

After graduating from the Vaganova Ballet Academy, Maria joined the corps of the Mariinsky Ballet in 2018, where she is currently a soloist. During her professional career, she has played countless roles: Terpsichore in "Apollo"; Masha in "The Nutcracker"; Paquita in "Paquita"; Nikiya in "La Bayadère" and Medora in "Le Corsaire", among many others. This young ballerina specialises in classical dance, though she is also interested in contemporary dance. She loves the social media, such as Instagram and YouTube, which she uses as tools to disseminate the beauty of her work.

We look forward to having Maria Khoreva come to Barcelona within the first six months of 2020, for the official presentation of this award. Of the total endowment of €30,000, Maria Khoreva will be directly receiving €20,000, and the remaining €10,000 will be allocated to her performance at one of the upcoming editions of the Castell de Peralada Festival. The winner will additionally receive a signed sculpture by artist Santi Moix, inspired on the camellia flower, in memory of Carmen Mateu, designed by Bagués Masriera.

At this first celebration of the Carmen Mateu Award for classical and neo-classical dance, the application period closed with a total 48 candidates from 16 different countries. Indeed, this was an unprecedented turnout thanks to the collaboration of Opera Europa and the European Festivals Association, which have joined forces with the Award organisers to spread word of this competition.

The requirements for the presentation of candidacies include: having been born between 1993 and 2003 –being between ages 16 and 26 in 2019–; having achieved high artistic accomplishments; being a national of a European Council member state or being a citizen of another country around the world while developing their career in a European Council member state; and being at the gateway of an important qualitative advance on their professional path.

Following the closure of  the submission term for candidacies at the end of October, a committee of experts appointed by the Director of the Peralada Festival and the Vice President of the Panel of Judges of the Awards, Oriol Aguilà, made an initial selection of the 12 finalists that were ultimately passed on to the Judges for their evaluation and decision. The selection committee was made up of journalist and dance critic Carmen del Val, Mari Carme Ventura, the Director of Dance and Supers at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Josep Maria Escribano, the Director of the Music and Dance Season of Andorra, and Adrià Fornés, the Artistic Director of the Cultural Centre of Terrassa.

This competition was conceived in May of this year to perpetuate the memory of Carmen Mateu, one of Spain’s great patrons of art, and to carry on her legacy of tenacious, steadfast and outstanding patronage in the field. With the mission of becoming a leader and a cultural reference in the promotion and prestige of the disciplines of opera and dance throughout Europe, the Carmen Mateu Award acknowledges the professional paths of young artists and aims to contribute to the development of their careers.