62 singers to take part in the VIII Mirjam Helin Competition

MH 19 logo

Sixty-two singers out of 475 applicants have been chosen to take part in the VIII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition. They represent 22 nationalities. The largest number of competitors is from South Korea (20), followed by the USA (6) and Russia (5). 

“The standard of the applicants was excellent,” says the competition’s Executive Director Marja-Leena Pétas-Arjava. “It is also noticeable that top-flight singers clearly cover a wider front than they did 5–10 years ago. They show that interest in opera and Western art music has spread, and reflect the speed with which these genres have been appropriated.”

The pre-selection committee consisted of opera singer Soile Isokoski and the Chairman of the Helin Competition Jury, Jorma Silvasti. The competition was open to women born in 1989 or later and men born in 1987 or later, regardless of nationality. The application deadline was 31 December 2018.

The list of competitors consists of 34 men (3 countertenors, 7 tenors, 20 baritones, 2 bass-baritones and 2 basses) and 28 women (2 coloratura sopranos, 20 sopranos and 6 mezzo-sopranos).

For the list of the competitors, please click >  Competitors in the VIII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition

Tickets on sale from 5 February

The Mirjam Helin Competition will be held in Helsinki from 20 to 29 May 2019. All the events will take place at the Helsinki Music Centre: the Preliminary round on 20–23 and the Semifinals on 25–26 May. The finalists on 29 May will be performing with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. They will also appear at a Prizewinners’ Concert at the Madetoja Hall in Oulu on 31 May. The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) will be giving the competition wide coverage. Tickets can be purchased online from Ticketmaster or at the Helsinki Music Centre box office from 5 February.

Key competition assets reputation, Jury and prizes

The number of applicants for the Mirjam Helin Competition was 46% up on the figure for the previous competition in 2014. Executive Director Marja-Leena Pétas-Arjava reckons the fantastic growth can be attributed to the rise in the competition’s worldwide reputation, the prestigious Jury, the repertoire that, though demanding, permits considerable freedom, and the big prizes.

The members of the all-singer Jury are impressive stars of the world of singing: Olaf Bär, Ben Heppner, Vesselina Kasarova, François Le Roux, Waltraud Meier, Deborah Polaski, Kiri Te Kanawa and Jorma Silvasti (Chairman). For many of the competitors, the feedback they receive from a singer they admire stands them in good stead for the future.

A total of €173,000 will be awarded in prizes. The four best men and four best women will each receive a prize. The first prize in both categories is €30,000, the second €20,000, the third €15,000 and the fourth €10,000.