Opera | Oratorio


1. General Conditions

1.1. The 2020 Opera | Oratorio category of the 54th International Vocal Competition ’s-Hertogenbosch (“the Competition”) will take place in ’s-Hertogenbosch, between 28 November to 6 December 2020 inclusive.Rehearsals of First Round repertoire with the Competition pianists start from 26 November 2020.

1.1a The 54th Competition in 2020 has one category: Opera | Oratorio.

1.2. The Competition is open to professional singers of all nationalities who:
a. are born after 6 December 1987
b. are not younger than 18 years
c. have completed their professional education or are in their final year and aim for a professional career or have an equivalent level of training

1.2a Singers wishing to enter the Competition must take part in the IVC preliminary rounds 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 via YouTube video recording (deadline: 12 August 2020). Singers who reside in the Netherlands or in Belgium cannot participate in the YouTube preliminary rounds, unless the Direction of the IVC indicates otherwise.

1.2b The management of the IVC can decide whether prize-winners from other competitions or past IVC competitions may be admitted directly to the First Round.

1.3. For the preliminary rounds of the Opera | Oratorio category candidates may provide their own pianist or use an official IVC pianist. During the Competition proper candidates will be assigned an official IVC accompanist.

1.4. All decisions of the jury shall be final, and no correspondence will be entered into regarding its decisions.

1.5. The official language during the competition is English.

Timetable 54th International Vocal Competition ’s-Hertogenbosch
11 February 2020
Łódź preliminary rounds (live)

16 & 17 May 2020
's-Hertogenbosch preliminary rounds (live)

5 June 2020
Luxembourg preliminary rounds(live)

July 2020 tbd
Beijing preliminary rounds (live)

12 August 2020
Application deadline YouTube auditions

29 & 30 August 2020
Amsterdam preliminary rounds (live)

September 2020
Jury viewing sessions YouTube auditions

26 & 27 November 2020
Registration competition participants
Rehearsals / Coaching repertoire

28 November – 6 December 2020
The 54th International Vocal Competition (IVC), Category: Opera | Oratorio

2. Application

2.1 Applications can only be made via the online portal on the competition’s website (ivc.nu). The application is only definite after the Participant has paid the application fee and submitted all required information and documentation correctly.

2.2. Application and entry fee:

Payment and inscription deadlines for the first rounds are announced on our website.

Entry fee for the preliminary rounds of the 54th Competition:
Opera | Oratorio: € 40
If you need the services of a pianist for the preliminary rounds there is an additional charge € 30.

Payment and inscription deadlines for the Preliminary Rounds are announced on our website.

Entry fee for the Competition in case the participant gets through the Preliminary Rounds:
€ 140

Payment and inscription deadline for the Competition: 1st October 2020.

Participants can pay the entry fee via the application portal on the IVC website.
Accepted payment methods: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal.
The entry fee will not be refunded to Participants who withdraw from the Competition after acceptance.

3. The Competition

3.1. If the candidate gets through to the next rounds of the Competition, he/she will be informed about the exact schedule in due course.

3.2. The sequence of performance will be decided by the Competition.

3.3. An official professional IVC piano accompanist is assigned to all participants.

3.4. The members of the Jury of the Competition: Pål Christian Moe (Jury President), Deborah Polaski (soprano), Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo-soprano), Yue Liu (bass / professor Central Conservatory of Music Beijing), Hein Mulders (Intendant Oper, Philharmonie, Essener Philharmoniker), Rosemary Joshua / Damia Carbonell (Dutch National Opera Amsterdam), Vincent Boussard (stage director).

3.5. Contestants shall not communicate with jury members during the Competition, nor shall any other person communicate with the jury members on behalf of any competitor. Violation of this rule will result in disqualification from the Competition.

3.6. Following the Semi-finals, each participant not selected to go through to the Final, may have a 10-minute personal consultation with a member of the jury. A request for this consultation session must be submitted to the IVC secretariat by the participant.

3.7. Should a candidate be a regular student of one of the members of the jury, the latter will abstain from the jury deliberations in his or her respect.

3.8. The jury will not permit the stated performance time to be exceeded under any circumstances. Participants who exceed their time limit might be interrupted or stopped during their performance.

3.9. The jury has the right not to grant a prize.

3.10. All rounds are open to the public. Therefore, appropriate dress is advised for the First Round and the Semi-finals. Evening dress is advised for the Final.

3.11. All participants entering the Competition shall provide the organisation with legible (not annotated) and correctly bound copies of their sheet music of their complete repertoire list before 15 October 2020.

3.12. The organisation cannot provide photocopying facilities during the Competition.

4. Programme & Repertoire

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

4.2. 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.

4.3. For the PRELIMINARY ROUNDS the candidates must choose 2 piecesof music, one from style period I and one from style period II or III (see 4.6.). The two pieces must be of 2 different languages. Singers who want to participate for the Wagner Prize must present 1 Wagner aria for this round. A maximum of 10 participants will be selected to compete for the Wagner Prize.

The minimum length of the Preliminary Rounds programme is 8 minutes, the maximum 11 minutes.

4.4. For the COMPETITION proper the participants must choose 10 pieces.

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

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

  • Style period I: until 1810 At least 3 pieces.
  • Style period II: 1810 – 1919 At least 3 pieces, all of Puccini’s music is included in this period.
  • Style period III: 1920 to the present day. Participants must choose at least 2 pieces from style period III.
    Works composed by the following composers also 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 rules and regulations with further suggestions for music from style period III.

4.7. If the Participant wants to compete for the WAGNER PRIZE he/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).

4.8. Participants must clearly state their programmes, including name of composer (with year of birth and year of death, if applicable), title, and performance time of each work.

4.9. Candidates who are selected after the Preliminary Rounds will receive the music of the 54th IVC compulsory vocal work by Bart Visman in PDF form in June 2020. Please note that this work does not count for style period III.

4.10. Candidates are allowed to repeat (sections of) their programme of the Preliminary Round during the First Round or Semi-finals, but also have the liberty to perform an entirely different programme. Repetitions of repertoire from the First Round during the Semi-finals are NOT allowed.

4.11. Deadline for payment of Competition inscription fee and complete repertoire list and programmes for the First Round and Semi-finals of the 54th Competition: 1 October 2020. Candidates are allowed to present minor changes to their repertoire and programmes until 8 October 2020. After this date no requests for changes will be accepted.

4.12. Repertoire Opera | Oratorio

The Competition is divided into three Rounds: the First Round, the Semi-finals and the Final.

The Management of the Competition and the conductor of the Final will choose the candidate’s programme for the finals, considering the preferences of the jury members and a balanced musical offer for the public.

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.

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:

· 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.
· 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.

4.13. 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.

· 65 - 70 singers will be selected for the First Round. A maximum of 10 participants will be selected to compete for the Wagner Prize.

4.14. Semi-Finals

· 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.

4.15. Final

· 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.

· 6 - 8 singers will be selected for the Final with the South Netherlands Philharmonic under the baton of maestro Hartmut Haenchen.

· 2 singers will be selected after the Semi-finals to perform the compulsory work of the competition with symphony orchestra in the Final.

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

5. Prizes

Prizes will be partially awarded after the Semi-finals and partially after the Final.

The Competition will award the following prizes after the final:

Grand Prix City of ’s-Hertogenbosch € 7,500
Special award in the form of a silver medal and the above-mentioned amount that will go to the winner of either the Opera or the Oratorio Prize.

Opera Prize€ 7,500
The winner must have sung at least 4 opera arias during the Competition.

Toonkunst Oratorio Prize€ 7,500
The winner must have sung at least 4 oratorio arias during the Competition.

Wagner Prize of the Netherlands€ 5,000
The Wagnergenootschap Nederland has consciously chosen to create a prize that will continue the education and further professional development of the winner. This amount can also be used to cover the costs of participation in masterclasses given by a Wagner specialist.

Young Talent prize of the Province of North Brabant € 3,500
The Young Talent Prize of the Province of North Brabant is awarded to a singer under the age of 25. The winner will be determined in the Semi-finals.

Staetshuys Fonds Prize€ 3,500
The Staetshuys Fonds Prize will be awarded to a talented Dutch singer by a commission from the Stichting Staetshuys Fonds. The winner will be determined during the Semi-finals by a panel from the Staetshuys Fonds. This Prize is intended as an incentive award and must be put towards the winner’s studies.

Prize for Dutch Composition€ 3,000
The Dutch Composition Prize will be given to the participant who best performs the compulsory piece by Bart Visman.

Audience Prize€ 1,500
The Audience Prize will be chosen by the members of the audience during the Final.

Annett Andriesen Concert Prize
A concert in the Chinese city Ningbo for two (semi-)finalists.

The following prizes will be awarded after the Semi-finals:

Prize Association Friends of the IVC€ 1,500

Press Prize€ 1,000
Awarded by the press jury.

Junior Jury Prize€ 500
Awarded by students in voice and music theatre.

Various Laureates' Concerts and Engagements
Various concerts and engagements are offered by artistic directors and opera houses attending the competition, if a role is available and appropriate quality is given.

6. Facilities

6.1. The Competition will supply the following:

a) Reimbursement of pre-agreed reasonable travel expenses of those participants who are admitted to the Semi-finals (with a maximum of € 500), based on their travel documents

b) Accommodation (for participants only) in private family homes in the ’s-Hertogenbosch area. Participants who prefer hotel accommodations must make their own arrangements and cover the costs themselves. A list of hotels can be mailed upon request. Participants can stay with their host families for the totality of the Competition, even when they are not chosen to be part of the next round.

6.2.Rehearsals with piano accompanists will be available, but only for limited periods of time. Rehearsal time will be divided equally among participants. A detailed schedule will be provided before arrival. Participants must arrive at the designated rehearsal location 10 minutes before the rehearsal is due to start.

6.3. Finalists in the Opera | Oratorio category must attend all scheduled orchestra rehearsals, which take place between the Semi-finals and the Final. A candidate that fails to participate in the orchestra rehearsals is automatically excluded from the Final.

6.4. Participants not selected to proceed to a following round are welcome to attend further rounds and to participate in all other IVC activities, although seats must be reserved for the Final. This can be done at the IVC secretariat until 4 pm on 5 December 2020. Only finalists receive 2 free tickets for their family.

6.5. Before the Semi-finals, there will be a Workshop by the composer Bart Visman on the compulsory vocal piece. Singers who did not pass the First Round may participate in the Workshop. Singers who perform the compulsory vocal piece during the Semi-finals are welcome to listen. The Competition will host Masterclasses by members of the jury for participants who have not been selected to proceed to the Final. These participants will be selected by the jury and IVC management and will be informed after the Semi-finals. Participants are welcome to be in the audience during all Masterclasses.

6.6. Participants are encouraged to stay after they might have been eliminated from the competition for the purpose of participating in additional courses from professionals in the field on career development and further coaching.

7. Liability

7.1. The obtaining of appropriate travel documents, visas and insurance is the sole responsibility of each competitor. The Competition accepts no liability of any kind whatsoever for any personal illness or injury sustained by the competitor, nor for loss or damage to a competitor’s belongings during transit or while at the competition. Medical costs, of whatever nature, will not be reimbursed by the IVC. A doctor will be on call for the duration of the Competition in case of any medical emergency.

7.2. Host families shall not be held responsible for accidents or damage of any kind which may befall the participants, with the exception of those accidents that fall under third party insurance.

7.3. Participants must refrain from all professional engagements or duties during the Competition.

Exceptions can only be made at the discretion of the IVC directorate.

8. Juridical

8.1. By submitting the application form through the website, applicants state their agreement:

a) with all articles in the regulations;

b) with all ensuing engagements as part of any prize.

c) that all concert and recording engagements obtained by the Competition or its designates as part of the prizes will not be subject to any fee payable to the prize-winner’s current or future artist management;

d) that the competition is authorized to record, videotape, film, broadcast, or photograph any Competition concerts or events for any purpose, without payment of any fee. All rights, including copyright in such media shall vest in and be owned by the Competition in perpetuity. Photographs or video recordings cannot be made by any other parties without prior written permission of the IVC.

8.2. All rights reserved. Programme subject to change.


Further possible composers for Style Period III (non-exhaustive list)
John Adams
Louis Andriessen
Samuel Barber
Bela Bartok
Alban Berg
Luciano Berio
Leonard Bernstein
Harrison Birtwistle
Benjamin Britten
Ferruccio Busoni
Hans Cox
Luigi Dallapicola
Peter Maxwell Davies
George Gershwin
Philip Glass
Hans Werner Henze
Paul Hindemith
Arthur Honegger
Willem Jeths
Zoltan Kodaly
Ernst Krenek
György Ligeti
Theo Loevendie
Bohislav Martinu
Gian Carlo Menotti
Olivier Messiaen
Luigi Nono
Carl Orff
Krzysztof Penderecki
Francis Poulenc
Sergei Prokofiev
Aribert Reimann
Wolfgang Rihm
Kaija Saariaho
Peter Schat
Dmitri Shostakovich
Igor Stravinsky
Karol Szymanovski
Michael Tippett
Viktor Ullmann
Michel van der Aa
Alexander von Zemlinsky
Kurt Weill
Judith Weir
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Bernd Alois Zimmermann