Rules of the Competition

Rules of the Competition


1 The Finnish Cultural Foundation is organising the eighth Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in Helsinki, Finland, on 20–29 May 2019. There will be two categories: one for women and one for men.

2 The competition is open, regardless of nationality, to women born in 1989 or later and men born in 1987 or later.

3 Applicants for this competition undertake to abide by the competition rules, the regulations on performance and the decisions of the Jury, and to refrain from all professional engagements or duties during the competition.

Application procedure

4 Singers wishing to enter the competition must apply online using the application form at by November 30, 2018. The application form must be accompanied by a quality recording with both image and sound for the pre-selection procedure.

The application form, its attachments and other notifica­tions mentioned later in the rules must reach the Competition Office by the dates indicated. Applications that are incomplete or that do not reach the Competition Office by the date specified will not be considered.

5 Should the number of participants have to be restricted, adjudicators nominated by the Competition Committee will carry out a pre-selection procedure on the basis of the received application documentation and recordings. Applicants selected for the competition will be informed in writing by January 25, 2019.

6 Amendments to the repertoire stated by the applicant will be accepted up to February 8, 2019.

7 Participants accepted for the competition must register in person with the Competition Secretariat between 2 and 5 pm on May 18, 2019 and be present at 6 pm for the ballot for the order of performance.

Sheet music

8 The following regulations apply to competitors without their own pianist:

a) Clear and easily legible sheet music must be provided for the official competition pianist.

b) In special cases the Competition Committee may request that the music be submitted in advance for preliminary study.

9 The scores and parts required by the orchestra will be provided by the Competition Committee. If the work with orchestral accompaniment chosen by the competitor has no publisher, or if the work is not generally obtainable, the competitor must on request send the orches­tral scores and parts to the Competition Committee by 8 February 2019.

10 A competitor who intends to perform unpublished works or ones outside the standard European repertoire must bring a copy of the music for the Jury.

11 Any queries should be addressed to the Secretariat.

Competition schedule

12 The competition will be divided into three rounds:

‑ Preliminary round 20–23 May 2019

‑ Semifinals 25–26 May 2019

‑ Finals 29 May 2019

13 Sixteen to twenty competitors will be selected in the Preliminary round to take part in the Semifinals. Eight semifinalists will be selected for the Finals.

14 The order of performance decided by ballot for the Preliminary round will be the same in each round of the competition.

15 Any competitor who is not ready to appear at the allotted time may be disqualified. A singer who falls ill during the competition may be allowed to sing at a later stage during the round in question, on production of a certificate from the Competition Doctor.

16 A competitor wishing to leave the Helsinki region while still taking part in the competition must seek the permission of the Competition Secretary.

17 The Competition Committee will place a pianist at the disposal of each competitor. Each competitor is entitled to one rehearsal (maximum 60 minutes) before the Preliminary round and to one before the Semifinals. The finalists will be entitled to one orchestral rehearsal on the day before the Finals. Any additional rehearsals must be arranged and paid for by the competitor.


18 Each competitor must enter his/her competition repertoire on the application form. The Competition Secretariat must be informed of any changes to the repertoire. The repertoire cannot be changed after 8 February 2019.

19 Competition repertoire

Preliminary round

1. An aria from a passion, oratorio, mass or cantata composed before 1760.

2. Two solo songs, of which at least one must be a Lied sung in German.

3. An opera or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 20 minutes at his/her disposal.


1. A song by a Finnish composer.

2. A group of solo songs (lasting 15–20 minutes).

3. An opera or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 30 minutes at his/her disposal.


Two works with orchestral accompaniment, of which at least one must be an opera, oratorio, cantata or concert aria.

Each competitor will have a maximum of 20 minutes at his/her disposal.

The group of solo songs in the Semifinals may, for example, consist of an entity comprising a song cycle or part of one, a group of songs by one composer, or a group of songs by different composers but having a common topic. The songs must be ones composed specifically for voice and piano or arranged by the composer him/herself for voice and piano.

20 The competitor’s repertoire must include works sung in at least three languages. No piece may appear twice in the competitor’s repertoire.

Rules for performance

21 In each round, each competitor will perform his/her entire programme without interruption.

22 Each competitor will decide the order of his/her pieces. The indicated maximum duration must not be exceeded.

23 All the competition pieces, including the oratorio arias, must be performed from memory. All arias must be sung in the original key or in a commonly used transposition. Solo songs may be transposed. All songs must be performed in the original language, except for those by Finnish composers, which may be sung in translation.

24 The Jury may, regardless of Rule 21, request a competitor to repeat a piece already performed.

25 All the competition events will be open to the public. The audience is required to observe any instructions announced at the beginning of each competition event.

Adjudication procedure

26 The competition will be adjudged according to the principles and procedures laid down in the regula­tions for the Competition Jury, approved by the Competition Committee.

27 In choosing the finalists and in adjudicating the Finals, the overall impression given by each competitor in all the rounds will be taken into account.

28 The decisions of the Jury will be final.


29 An honorary diploma will be awarded to all the finalists and a diploma to all the semifinalists. The value of the prizes is as follows:

                     Women             Men                               

I                    €30,000         €30,000

II                   €20,000         €20,000

III                 €15,000         €15,000

IV                 €10,000        €10,000

A prize of €3,000 will also be awarded for the best performance by non-Finnish singer of a Finnish song.

The Jury reserves the right to distribute the prizes differently.

30 The Jury may also award other prizes approved by the Competition Committee.

31 The prize-giving ceremony will be held after the Finals on the same evening. Each prize-winner must be present to receive his/her prize in person.

32 A Prize-winners’ Concert at which all the finalists will sing will be held on 31 May 2019. The Competition Committee may also request other competitors to appear. The programme for the concert will be selected by the Competition Committee from the competitors’ repertoires.

Other rules and regulations

33 The competition organisers have unlimited rights to transmit and record content and to broadcast competition performances on TV, radio, the Internet and other data networks without any payment to the competitors or their pianists.

The organisers or a third party agreed by them also reserve the right to archive and disclose details of the competitors and to broadcast their competition performances on TV, radio and the Internet with no time or country restrictions. Competitors will not be sent recordings of their performances.

34 Competitors eliminated in the Preliminary round or Semifinals will be given a chance to discuss their results with members of the Jury.

35 Any competitor who fails to abide by these rules and regulations may be disqualified from the competition.

36 The original language of these rules is Finnish. Any disputes will be decided by reference to the original Finnish text.