55th International Vocal Competition ’s-Hertogenbosch (IVC)
Opera | Oratorio


  • Linda Finnie (mezzo-soprano) - Jury President
  • Charlotte Margiono (soprano)
  • Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo-soprano)
  • Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)
  • John Fulljames (opera director | Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen)
  • Damià Carbonell Nicolau (Dutch National Opera Amsterdam)
  • Paul McNamara (tenor | artistic leader Dutch National Opera Academy) - 25-26 June 2022
  • Gabriele Donà (Head of Opera and Casting Director Staatstheater Mainz) - 28 June, 2 July  2022

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Linda Finnie

Linda Finnie
Jury President

Scottish mezzo soprano Linda Finnie came to full international recognition after her studies in her home country by winning the Kathleen Ferrier Prize at the IVC in 1977 and the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award London, (jury included, Dame Janet Baker and Gerald Moore). She has performed in all the major opera houses in Great Britain, significantly with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and English National Opera, London, and with all the leading British orchestras and conductor in concert, recordings and at the BBC Proms.

Within only a few years from the start of her career, Linda Finnie had made her debut at a number of major international opera companies including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, the Frankfurt Opera and Nice, where she sang Waltraute in Die Götterdämmerung, a performance that established her as a new star in the Wagnerian repertory.

During her distinguished career, Linda Finnie made her first appearance at Bayreuth under the direction of Daniel Barenboim, singing Fricka, Siegrune, and the Second Norn in a new production of the Ring cycle, performances which were issued as award-winning recordings on both CD and DVD. She went on to appear in the late Wolfgang Wagner’s production of Lohengrin. Linda performed with Barenboim on numerous occasions, their musical collaboration on Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Israel Philharmonic being one of the more memorable highlights of their musical collaboration.

Recordings from Linda Finnie's extensive and diverse discography can frequently be heard on Radio 3 and Classical FM. Performance highlights, on both the concert hall stage and in the operatic repertoire, include inaugural performances at the Tokyo Opera House and Arts Centre of Ortrud and performances of Mahler’s Symphony 2 with the St Petersburg Philharmonic, conducted by Mariss Jansons.

Linda Finnie is globally represented by James Hancock of Hancock International Artists Management London.

Charlotte Margiono

It all started at the Conservatory of Arnhem, where Charlotte was more or less ‘discovered’ by Aafje Heynis, with whom she completed her studies as a Performing Artist in 1982. Later, after two years at the Opera Studio in Amsterdam, Charlotte left for Berlin where she continued to learn under the passionate guidance of director Harry Kupfer.

Back in the Netherlands, Charlotte met her manager and good friend Pieter Alferink, who, from that moment on, took care of all of her artistic engagements. The first engagement she obtained through him was a series of concerts, in 1986, in Rotterdam with James Conlon, where she sang as a soloist in Mahler’s Symphony #2, together with contralto Jard van Nes.

A variety of different roles in various international opera houses quickly followed. The highlights of Charlotte’s career include: Berlin, where she sang Mimì in La Bohèmeunder Rolf Ruiter and Harry Kupfer in 1984; Amsterdam, where she performed Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutteunder the baton Nikolaus Harnoncourt, directed by Jürgen Flimm; London, where she recorded Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah, perfido!” with Sir John Eliot Gardiner in 1991, and Salzburg that same year: Vitellia in La Clemenza di Titowith Sir Colin Davies and director Peter Brenner. In 1993, she sang the soprano solo in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Frans Brüggen. In 1994, she performed Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello with Antonio Pappano, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) in Parma, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and directed by Lorenzo Mariani, and the Contessa in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in Tokyo with Claudio Abbado and Jonathan Miller. In London, 1995, she performed Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with Bernard Haitink. A little later came a stretch of especially fond memories in her home country: the title role in Dvorak’s Rusalka with Leos Svarovsky in Utrecht and a lied recital in Rotterdam with conductor Ed Spanjaard (1998), Marguerite in Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust with Bernard Haitink (1999). In 2001 she sang in Beethoven’s Fidelio as Leonore with Simon Rattle, conducted by Deborah Warner. After that came Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin with Edo de Waart and Pierre Audi (2002), Szymanowsky’s Stabat Mater with Jaap van Zweden and Wagner’s Die Walküre as Sieglinde with Hartmut Hänchen and Pierre Audi (2004), all in Amsterdam. Then in 2005 came Der Freischütz in New York City, where she sang Agatha under Eve Queler. In 2011 Simone Young and Charlotte Margiono performed a selection of Alma Mahler songs in Hamburg, Germany.

Another immensely important part of her career is her musical partner and the other half of her Lied duo: Peter Nilsson, with whom she has done many beautiful and exciting recitals.

The CD recording and concerts in collaboration with pianist and composer Frans Ehlhart – singing his own compositions with texts by Ingrid Jonker – is also a highlight in her musical life.

Charlotte Margiono has been teaching for quite a while. From May 2008 until June 2015, she was a main subject teacher at the classical voice department of the HKU Utrecht Conservatory. For the past ten years, teaching has been a very important part of her life. She teaches privately in her studio, and guides a number of young singers, all working at different levels as singers and performing artists. For her, this work is equally fulfilling as singing herself, only in a completely different way. The stage now plays a small but joyous part in her life, as a role here and there, a recital, or a concert with an orchestra – but passing on the craft and artistry of music and singing is now her main passion.

Charlotte Margiono
Veselina Kasarova

Vesselina Kasarova

Vesselina Kasarova was born in Stara Zagora (Bulgaria) and began playing the piano at the age of four. After her concert diploma she studied singing with Ressa Koleva at the Music Academy of Sofia and already as a student she performed in major roles at the National Opera there. After completing her studies in 1989, a two-year fixed contract led her to the Zurich Opera House, where she quickly became a public favourite and was celebrated by international experts as a great discovery. In the same year she also won first prize at the German singing competition "Neue Stimmen" in Gütersloh.

In the Mozart Year 1991 Vesselina Kasarova made her debut at the Salzburg Festival with two matinées in the Mozarteum (Betulia liberata KV 118) and as Annio in the revival of La clemenza di Tito conducted by Sir Colin Davis. Further roles at the Salzburg Festival were Tancredi, Ombra felice, Zerlina, Farnace, Sesto and Marguerite (La damnation de Faust). In the autumn of the same year Vesselina Kasarova made her highly acclaimed debut at the Vienna State Opera as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) under Donald Runnicles.

With roles of Mozart (Cherubino, Idamante, Sesto, Dorabella) and Rossini (Rosina, Tancredi, Isabella, Angelina) as well as Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena), Charlotte (Werther) and others. She has also appeared at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Zurich Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Opéra National de Paris (Bastille, Garnier), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Vienna State Opera, in Amsterdam as well as at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro.

She worked with conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Colin Davis, Pinchas Steinberg, Donald Runnicles, Seji Ozawa, Semyon Bychkov, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Marcello Viotti, Alberto Zedda, Franz Welser-Möst, Sir Roger Norrington, Eve Queler, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ivor Bolton and Friedrich Haider.

Recitals and concerts have taken Vesselina Kasarova to Munich, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Vienna, Dresden, La Scala Milan, Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, Schubertiade Feldkirch and the Festival de la Musique Montreux-Vevey. Vesselina Kasarova has recorded many CDs for RCA Red Seal, which have received numerous awards.

Leonardo Capalbo

“A radiant tenor with a clarion top” (Opera News), Italian-American tenor Leonardo Capalbo has garnered international acclaim for his performances throughout the United States and Europe. Lauded for his rich, lyric voice and dramatic intensity, Capalbo is revered at houses such as Staatsoper Berlin, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro Real Madrid, La Monnaie, Glyndebourne Festival, L’Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Regio di Torino, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Semperoper Dresden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, New York City Opera and Welsh National Opera amongst others.

Highlights of the 2021/22 season include house debuts with Theater an der Wien as Hegenbach in Catalani’s masterpiece La Wally, the Israeli Opera as Alfredo La Traviata and the Norwegian National Opera as Don Jose Carmen. Looking further ahead, Capalbo will make his house debut at the New National Theatre, Tokyo and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg as well as anticipated returns to Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opera Vlaanderen and Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Capalbo’s most recent successes include Pinkerton in Mariano Pensotti’s production of Madama Butterfly with Opéra National du Rhin; the title role in a new production of Don Carlos at Opera Vlaanderen; Duca Rigoletto at Komische Oper Berlin; and Beethoven Symphony No.9 in Barcelona and at the Teatro Real, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. He was also invited to sing concert performances of Mascagni’s Iris at Teatro Real and to reprise what is now fast becoming a signature role: Don Jose Carmen at Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Moving into the lirico-spinto repertoire, further recent role debuts include Gustavo Un ballo in maschera at Royal Swedish Opera, Cavaradossi Tosca at Minnesota Opera and La Monnaie; Jacopo in I Due Foscari at St Gallen Festspiele and Don Jose Carmen in Palm Beach, Sevilla, Grange Festival, Warsaw and Athens, as well as a highly acclaimed debut in the title role of Don Carlo at Grange Park Opera.

A highly versatile artist, he has appeared in a wide range of roles such as Hoffmann Les contes d’Hoffmann at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Lyon, Tokyo and with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens de Louvre in Bremen; Ismaele Nabucco at Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Arturo in La Straniera at the Concertgebouw; Earl of Essex in Sir’s David McVicar’s new production of Britten’s Gloriana at Teatro Real; a new production of Powder Her Face at La Monnaie and in Warsaw; Ruggero in La Rondine, Major Bennet Marco in The Manchurian Candidate; and Nemorino L’elisir d’amore, all at Minnesota Opera; Candide at Berlin Staatsoper and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; Rodolfo La bohème at Baden-Baden Festspielahus; Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress at the Teatro Regio di Torino; Alfredo La Traviata at Teatro del Liceu, Welsh National Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Hamburg, Warsaw and Dresden; Macduff Macbeth in Chicago, Lyon and Dresden; Nemorino L’elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne Festival and Staatsoper Berlin; the title role of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux in new productions at Canadian Opera Company and at Welsh National Opera; and the Spanish premiere of Daniel Catan’s Il Postino at Teatro Real in Madrid. On the concert platform, he returned to London in the title role of Bernstein’s Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop; Puccini’s Messa di Gloria in San Diego and appeared at the 2018 Marilyn Horne Song Celebration at the Zankel Hall in New York

A trainee of the Juilliard School of Music, The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and L’Académie Musicale de Villecroze, Capalbo worked under the guidance of the legendary Marilyn Horne. He made his operatic debut in 2004 as Paco in de Falla’s La Vida Breve for Opera North. Further engagements with the company included Ismaele Nabucco - later released on Chandos; Roméo Roméo et Juliette; Narraboth Salome; and Juan in Weill’s Der Kuhhandel.

Leonardo Capalbo
John Fulljames

John Fulljames
Opera director
Artistic Director Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen

John Fulljames is Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera. Between 2011 and 2017 he was Associate Director of Opera at The Royal Opera in London . Prior to working at The Royal Opera, John Fulljames led The Opera Group which was an Associate Company at the Young Vic and commissioned new opera and toured internationally.

Productions as a director include Die Walküre (Royal Danish Opera, Greek National Opera), Fidelio (Royal Danish Opera, Teatr Wielki), Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, La Donna de Lago (Royal Opera House London) Orphee et Eurydice (Royal Opera House London & La Scala Milan), Nixon in China (Scottish Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Teatro Real), Benjamin La Derniere Nuit (Lyon), Street Scene (Young Vic, Teatro Real Madrid, OperKoln), Nabucco (Nancy, Montpellier), From the House of the Dead, Romeo et Juliette, La Clemenza di Tito, Hänsel und Gretel, Saul (Opera North).

Paul McNamara
Tenor | Artistic leader Dutch National Opera Academy

From Ireland, Paul McNamara is the Artistic Leader of the Dutch National Opera Academy – the collaborative masters programme in opera performance of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire The Hague.

The tenor has appeared in opera houses throughout Germany and Austria performing roles such as Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Erik, Tristan und Parsifal, Herodes in Salomeand Vasco da Gama in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine;his broad repertoire also includes work by Monteverdi, Mozart, Weber, Tschaikowsky, Janáček, Leoncavallo, Zemlinsky, Berg, Britten, Adams and many others. He has been heard at major venues including Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, Teatr Wielki – the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

An alumnus of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Paul McNamara is an honours graduate of the University College Cork, the Cork School of Music and the Royal College of Music London. A founding director and former CEO of Opera Collective Ireland, he a faculty member at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, casting consultant for the Stichting Omroep Muziek (Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir) and Opera Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland (An Chomhairle Ealaíon).

Paul McNamara
Damià Carbonell Nicolau

Damià Carbonell Nicolau
Head of Artistic Affairs Dutch National Opera

Damià Carbonell Nicolau studied Piano and Music Theory at the Conservatory in Barcelona. He also studied Cultural Management and Music Business Management at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona. He began his career in 2004 as coordinator of Cultural activities at the "Friends of the Liceu" Foundation. In 2006 Damià Carbonell Nicolau joined the department of Artistic Affairs at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, where he was appointed deputy artistic director in 2011. November 2013 till January 2019 he has been working as deputy artistic director at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Gabriele Donà
Head of Opera & Casting Director Staatstheater Mainz

After attending the Humanist Gymnasium, Gabriele Donà studied violin at the conservatory of his native Padua and musicology at the university there. At the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna he completed his studies in orchestral and choral conducting. As a violinist he was active in the Quartetto d'Archi di Padova, Orchestra del Teatro Lirico G. Verdi Trieste, I Filarmonici di Padova as well as the Pro Arte Orchestra Vienna and took part in the courses of the International Summer Academy Mozarteum Salzburg in the class of Yair Kless. Various engagements have taken him, among others, to the Landestheater Niederbayern as choral director and to Bautzen as choral director and Kapellmeister. Gabriele Donà has also conducted the Pro Arte Orchestra Vienna, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra del Teatro Olimpico Vicenza, the New Lausitz Philharmonic Orchestra Görlitz, the Orchestra of the F. X. Šalda Theatre Liberec, the Mitteldeutsche Kammerphilharmonie Magdeburg and the Coro di Praga Prague. Numerous performances have taken him, for example, to the Dresden Frauenkirche and the Berlin Konzerthaus.

In 2004 he discovered and catalogued the holdings of the music manuscripts of the Jewish Community of Padua (time span: 1834-1942, 315 choral scores as well as corresponding individual parts). This was followed by the publication of his work and an award from the Accademia Galileiana Padova. His interest in linking music and identity led him to rehearse and record a selection of songs in Lower and Upper Sorbian with the choir Klangwerkstatt Dresden (Lieder aus dem Lohsaer Liederbuch, 2017 rbb, Berlin).

In 2017 Gabriele Donà was accepted as Maestro Collaboratore at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome. In the same capacity, he assisted in the production of Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro Comunale of Modena as well as at the Teatro Comunale of Ferrara (a co-production with the Staatstheater Nürnberg).

Gabriele Donà has been working at the Staatstheater Mainz since February 2018. He first worked in the artistic operations department, which was followed by the position of chief scheduler. Since the 20/21 season, he has been head of opera operations and casting director.