The past week has seen three intense rounds of the Queen Sonja International Music Competition, with 37 contestants from 20 countries competing for the grand prize of €40,000. The final round took place on Saturday at the Norwegian Opera House and was televised on NRK 1 and 2. The finalists sang their chosen arias and were accompanied by the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra (led by conductor John Helmer Fiore).
If you have not been to the Norwegian Opera House, you can see from the pictures that it is architecturally unique for an opera house. The building, designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, was just finished in 2008 and features a sloping, open-space roof where the public can look out into the surrounding landscape of the Oslofjord and the city.
Around the Opera House are artworks depicting well-known names in Norwegian opera.
Costumes used in recent productions are also on display.
During the prize giving ceremony, Queen Sonja herself thanked the finalists on stage:
Dear Finalists, I am full of admiration. You have touched our hearts. Let me thank each and every one of you for your great performances tonight. We have all been thrilled. Success in this competition can be measured not only by the prizes won, but by the confidence in your artistic abilities that I hope you have gained during this competition.
The first prize went to Seungju Bahg, a tenor from South Korea who has dreamed of becoming “a big opera singer” ever since he was a little boy.
The concert was broadcasted on NRK 1 and 2 and has been made available to watch on the NRK TV webplayer. Enjoy!