Hungary talent show for young classical musicians taps Domingo for global appeal

BUDAPEST/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Placido Domingo, one of the world’s most famous opera singers, is backing a classical music talent show for children, aiming to bring the Hungarian television contest to an international audience.

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The Spanish-born tenor has become a shareholder in UK-based company, Virtuosos Holding Ltd, which has the international rights of the show and its spin-offs, its founder and chief executive Mariann Peller said in New York on Friday.

The show, which is one of Hungary’s most popular, makes classical music accessible by showcasing young undiscovered talent.

London-based Fulwell 73 also joins in by acquiring rights of production and distribution for the international version of the show in the US and Britain. Fulwell has produced hit TV series Sounds Like Friday Night, The Late Late Show and Roast Battle.

“I have been incredibly impressed by the talent discovered in Hungary and am sure this will be repeated in other countries as the format finds new audiences and new lovers of classical music,” Domingo, who is director general of the Los Angeles Opera, said in a statement.

“He has supported Virtuosos since conception and has been a true inspiration to the talented young people we have discovered,” Peller said in the statement.

Violinist Amira Abouzahra, 12, who won the contest last year in the youngest category, said the show motivates young people.

“They see others play and want to be better than the others so they practice a lot more,” she said in her Budapest home where she was practicing. Abouzahra, whose mother is Hungarian and her father is from Egypt, started playing aged four.

The show’s most popular contestants are given the chance to take part in a global tour performing at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Peller told Reuters the show aimed to give a modern and fresh appeal to classical music by featuring young talent.

“Classical music is a little bit dusty by now and we wanted to dust it off,” Peller said.

(Corrects 4th paragraph to say Fulwell 73 is based in London not the United States)

Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo; Writing by Krisztina Than; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg