>> Full Rules & Regulations 54th IVC Opera | Oratorio <<

The International Vocal Competition (IVC) is the sole international classical singing competition in the Netherlands. Every two years the IVC commissions a new composition by a Dutch composer which will be sung by all participants in the Semi-finals. Special prizes for performance of repertoire by Richard Wagner and for young talent under the age of 25.

Approx. € 40,000 prize money • Engagements • Concerts for prize-winners • Travel refund for semi-finalists • Board and lodging at host families • Feedback from jury members • Master classes and workshops • International casting directors and agencies • All rounds open to the public • Finals with the South Netherlands Philharmonic, conductor Hartmut Haenchen • Competition pianists: Lyubov Orfenova, Hans Eijsackers, Somi Kim

Participants wishing to enter the Competition must take part in the Preliminary Selections (live auditions) in Łódź (11 February 2020), ’s-Hertogenbosch (16 & 17 May 2020), Luxembourg (5 June 2020), Beijing (July 2020 tbd), Amsterdam (29 & 30 August 2020) or online via YouTube. Singers who reside in the Netherlands or in Belgium cannot participate in the YouTube Preliminary Selections, unless the Management of the IVC indicates otherwise.

Age limit

  • Born on 7 December 1987 or later
  • Participants can not be younger than 18 years

The IVC is open to singers of all nationalities who have completed their professional education or are in their final year and aim for a professional career or have an equivalent level of training.

The management of the IVC and its Artistic Commission will decide whether prize-winners from other competitions may be admitted directly to the First Round.

All applications will be assessed by the management of the IVC and its Artistic Commission. Its decisions are final. Correspondence over its decisions is not possible.

Entry fee
Preliminary Selections

€ 40
Participants may bring their own accompanist.
If this is not possible, a pianist can be arranged by the IVC for an additional fee of € 30

Competition proper
€ 140
Including host family accommodation

Participants can pay the entry fee via the application portal on the IVC website.
Accepted payment methods: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, Bancontact, iDEAL, SEPA banking, SOFORT banking, KBC/CBC banking, Belfius Pay, ING Home'Pay.
The entry fee will not be refunded to Participants who withdraw from the Competition after acceptance.

For application via YouTube the following rules apply:

a) The application must be submitted before 12 August 2020. Late applicants will be placed on the reserve list to be considered for an audition subject to availability in the audition schedule.

b) The recording must contain two separate pieces. Both arias should be recorded on a separate track.

c) The recording should be a fair representation of the contestant’s abilities and be of high (preferably professional) quality. No editing or other enhancement is permitted. The Competition reserves the right to disqualify studio enhanced or modified recordings. Please note: Audio only tracks (e.g. MP3) are not accepted.

d) The audition material should be recorded within 6 months prior to the date of submission. The date of recording should be mentioned.

e) The video description should clearly mention the applicant’s name, composer, aria/title of each piece.

f) YouTube applications will be accepted on a strictly first come, first served basis.

g) Application fee Preliminary Selections via YouTube: € 40

Repertoire requirements

Operatic excerpts must be performed in their original language and key.

All opera and concert arias must be performed from memory.
Sheet music is allowed for the oratorio pieces and for the compulsory vocal work by Bart Visman. Singing from memory, however, is preferred for these pieces as well.

The participant's chosen repertoire must include music from three different periods and styles.

  • Style period I: until 1810
  • Style period II: 1810 – 1919
  • Style period III: 1920 to the present day

      All operas by Giacomo Puccini count towards Style period II.
      Works composed by the following composers count towards the style period III: Leos Janacek, Maurice Ravel, Ottorino Respighi and Franz Schreker.
      The operas Salome, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Arabella, Daphne, Intermezzo and Vier Letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss count towards the third period.
      Music from operettas and Zarzuelas, even when composed after 1920 (like for instance by Lehar) do NOT count towards style period III compositions. They will count as style II compositions.
      Please see the annex at the end of the full competition rules and regulations with further suggestions for music from style period III.

    Repertoire Preliminary Selections
    Participants compile their program themselves.

    • 2 arias, one from style period I and one from style period II or III
    • 2 different languages
    • A minimum of 8 minutes and a maximum of 11 minutes

    Singers who want to participate for the Wagner Prize must present 1 Wagner aria in the Preliminary Selections. A maximum of 10 participants will be selected to compete for the Wagner Prize.

    The arias are performed in the program sequence specified by the participants.

    Register for the Preliminary Selections via our online application portal.

    Repertoire Competition 28 Nov - 6 Dec 2020
    After admission via the Preliminary Selections, the repertoire for the Competition proper must be submitted by the participants.

    The arias are performed in the program sequence specified by the participants.

    Repertoire from the Preliminary Selections may be repeated.

    Participants may not repeat repertoire from the First Round in the Semi-finals.

    The candidate must perform in at least two different languages in each round and three different languages in total.

    The repertoire list Opera | Oratorio for the Competition must comprise:
    · 10 opera arias or 10 oratorio arias or a combination of both.
    · The compulsory vocal work by Bart Visman. Title to be announced.

    If the Participant wants to compete for the Wagner Prizehe/she has to include one Wagner aria in the 10 pieces mentioned above plus one extra aria for the First Round programme. The two Wagner arias / fragments must be at least 4 minutes long and from a different opera or from a different character in the opera (e.g.: not 2 times a Wolfram aria).

    To apply for the Opera Prize, one must propose at least 5 opera arias and sing at least 4 opera arias during the whole Competition. At least one in every round.
    To apply for the Oratorio Prize, one must propose at least 5 oratorio arias and sing at least 4 oratorio arias during the whole Competition. At least one in every round.
    It is therefore possible to compete for both prizes. The jury will nominate singers in the Final for either the Opera Prize, or the Oratorio Prize.

    Specifications concerning the repertoire list:
    - The repertoire list must contain at least 3 arias from Style period I, at least 3 arias from Style period II, at least 2 arias from Style period III.
    - If two or more operatic arias and two or more oratorio arias are presented, at least one operatic aria and at least one oratorio aria must form part of style period III.
    - Performance of the compulsory vocal work by Bart Visman does not count towards the Style period III.
    - Oratorio repertoire includes solo arias from masses, sacred and secular oratorio, sacred and secular cantatas.
    - Within the total repertoire list of 10 works candidates may feature a maximum of 1 operetta aria or zarzuela, or 1 concert aria, or 2 orchestral songs. Performance of these pieces count towards the Opera Prize.

    First Round
    A programme of two or three arias (depending on the length of the programme). The programme must contain at least 2 different style periods and at least 2 different languages.

    The candidate may repeat part or all of his/her programme from the Preliminary Rounds if desired; other arias from his/her repertoire list may also be sung. The minimum length of the First Round programme is 12 minutes, the maximum 16 minutes. Candidates are asked to perform their arias in the order they have indicated.

    Candidates nominated for the Wagner Prize sing the Wagner aria in their competition programme for the First Round.

    A programme of two or three arias (depending on the length of the programme) and the compulsory work by Bart Visman. Again, the candidate must present at least two different style periods and two different languages. The candidate must choose works that he/she did not perform during the First Round. The minimum length of the Semi-finals programme is 14 minutes, the maximum length is 18 minutes, including the compulsory work by Bart Visman. Candidates are asked to perform their arias in the order they have indicated.

    Candidates who compete for the Wagner Prize must present two Semi-final programmes: one that includes the Wagner aria that they have proposed in their list of 10 works in this round and one that has no Wagner aria included in case the candidate is selected for the Semi-final but not for the Wagner Prize.Theoretically, the jury can select a candidate for the Wagner Prize who is not selected for the Semi-finals. In that case the candidate will only perform one Wagner aria during the Semi-finals and not be considered as a possible winner for any other prize.

    16 - 18 singers will be selected for the Semi-finals. A maximum of 4 singers will be nominated for the Wagner Prize in the Semi-finals.

    The candidate may propose 2 works from their complete repertoire list in two languages from two different style periods that he or she would like to perform during the Final. Wagner arias are excluded

    Jury members are invited to indicate which of the 10 arias in the candidate’s list they want to hear in the Final. The Management of the IVC and the conductor of the Final will try to take these preferences into account when deciding upon the definite programme. It is possible that the candidate will have to repeat a work or works that he/she has already performed in earlier rounds.

    2 Candidates will be selected after the Semi-finals to perform the compulsory work of the competition in the Final.

    A maximum of 2 singers will be nominated for the Wagner Prize in the Final.