In its first period the event was a contest for young pianists, but in 1995 it was decided to make it a competition for singers instead, as a homage to the Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad who would have turned 100 that year. The competition is held every other year in cooperation with the Norwegian National Opera, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian Academy of Music and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. This year the event takes place from August 16th to 23rd in Oslo. 42 young vocal talents, eight of them Norwegian, have been singled out for the competition from an initial pool of 167 contesters from 43 countries. The competition is made up of preliminary rounds, which take place on the 17th and 18th, semi finals, held on the 20th, and then the grand finale attended by the Queen, which takes place on Thursday the 23rd.

One of the main attractions is the competition’s jury, which is made up of opera directors and stars of the operatic stage from around the world. This year the jury is comprised of:
Menno Feenstra, Netherlands, Opera Manager, Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm (chairman)
Joan Sutherland, Australia, Soprano
Anne Gjevang, Norway, Contralto
Ragnar Ulfung, Norway, Tenor
Kurt Moll, Germany, Bass
Erkki Korhonen, Finland, Opera Manager, Finnish National Opera, Helsinki
Bjørn Simensen, Norway, Opera Manager, Norwegian National Opera, Oslo

The winner of the competition’s First Prize will be offered engagements with the following Norwegian institutions:
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra

In addition to these concrete engagements directors of several Scandinavian institutions will be invited to consider engagements for the finalists:
Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen
Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm
Finnish National Opera, Helsinki
The Icelandic Opera, Reykjavik
Bergen International Festival
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Competitions