Meet the Main Jury
The esteemed jury for the competition is formed from some of the most experienced and eminent professionals working in the field of opera. Their collective experience, passion, and commitment to the artform span different continents, prestigious opera houses, and renowned festivals – including the Bayreuther Festspiele. From artistic directors to internationally acclaimed singers, each member brings experience and perspectives of the highest quality, ensuring a comprehensive and fair evaluation process.
Photo: Hans Skaarup
Per Erik Veng
In 1980 Per Erik Veng joined Danish Radio as Executive Producer, responsible for contemporary and early music as well as opera. From 1989 to 2007 he was CEO and Artistic Director of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs. During his tenure, the orchestras developed an international profile. He was knighted by HM The Queen of Denmark in 1997.
From 2008 to 2010 he held a position in the management team of the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. In 2010, he moved to the danish diplomatic service, first as Minister Counsellor for Culture, Media and Public diplomacy in Berlin and, until 2018, as Director of the Danish Cultural Institute in Brussels.
He continues to serve on several boards and performs advisory tasks. Besides he is very respected coach for young talents, festivals and ensembles.
Photo: Nomi Baumgartl
German mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier was born in Würzburg and made her international debut in 1980 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Fricka in Die Walküre. With her triumphant success as Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal at the 1983 Bayreuth Festival, she launched her international career which took her to regular appearances at the Royal Opera of Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, the Opéra National de Paris, the Vienna State Opera, and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
A highly acclaimed winner of many awards Waltraud Meier was honored with the title of “Kammersängerin” by both the Bavarian State Opera and the Vienna State Opera. She lives in Munich and is considered as one of the most internationally significant Wagner singers of our time.
Artistic Director, Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Stephen Langridge is the Artistic Director at Glyndebourne, a post he took up in spring 2019. He was previously Director for Opera and Drama at Gothenburg Opera, Sweden. Stephen has directed opera productions at many of the main operas houses of Europe and the US including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Bregenz Festival, and Glyndebourne in repertoire from youth projects to Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He is also known for his large-scale theatre work in unusual settings, and he regularly leads training, development, and education projects for opera companies and orchestras across Europe.
Photo: Camilla Winther. Det Kongelige Teater
Head of Opera at the Royal Danish Opera
Elisabeth Linton is opera director of the Royal Danish Opera. She comes from a position as house director and chief dramaturg at Malmö Opera, where in 2019 she staged Matilda the Musical. Other assignments in Malmö include The Snow Queen (2016) and Orpheus in the Underworld (2019). Elisabeth has previously staged the play The Three Musketeers in the Wolf Valley (2010) and the operas Under the Sky (2004), Nabucco (2010), Eugen Onegin (2013), Momo and the Time Thieves (2017) and La bohème (2016/2021) at the Royal Danish Theater.
Photo: Thomas Bartilla
Operndirektor der Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden
Since 2013 Tobias Hasan is Operndirektor of the State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin. Before his appointment in Berlin he was casting director of the State Opera Hamburg. After completing his singing studies at the University of Mozarteum he was a member of the festival Salzburger Festspiele and worked at the press offices of the record labels TELDEC, Deutsche Grammophon, DECCA and EMI Classics in Salzburg. Tobias Hasan is a regular juror at the International “Francisco Vinas Competition” in Barcelona, as well as “Operalia”, the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg and the “Moniuszko Competition” in Warsaw. He works in close collaboration with Maestro Daniel Barenboim, as well as with Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano and Simon Rattle.
Photo: Robert Workman
Sir John Tomlinson
British bass Sir John Tomlinson appeared for eighteen consecutive seasons at the Bayreuther Festspiele
and as one of the most successful British singers of the last half century, he has appeared at all the major opera houses including La Scala, Milan, Rome, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Berlin (Deutsche Oper and Deutsche Staatsoper), Munich, Vienna, and at the festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Edinburgh and the Maggio Musicale, Florence. He has sung regularly with English National Opera since 1974 and with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, since 1977 and has also appeared with all the other leading British opera companies. He was born in Lancashire and was awarded a C.B.E. in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Singer in 1991, 1998 and 2007 and in 2014 their Gold Medal.
Photo: Robert Workman
Intendantin, Bregenzer Festspiele
Following her debut with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker as Fricka in the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Wagnerian roles have become central to Lilli Paasikivi’s career on stage with notable performances at La Monnaie as Brangäne, at Staatsoper Hamburg as Fricka, at Oper Frankfurt as Kundry and recently as Fricka in Der Ring des Nibelungen at Finnish National Opera under the baton of Susanna Mälkki. Lilli Paasikivi has held the post of Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera, 2013-2023 and was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2008 in recognition of her artistic achievements. In 2017 she received the Commander’s Badge by the Order of the Lion of Finland and is now Intendantin at the Bregenzer Festspiele.
Associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Opera School in Copenhagen.
Susanna Eken has extensive experience teaching speech, singing and in rehabilitating the professional voice. From 1967 to 1981 she taught speech and oral interpretation at the University of Copenhagen. Since 1972 she has been teaching at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and at The Opera School in Copenhagen, where she has held a position as Assistant Professor specializing in speech and singing since 1982.
During the last 30 years Mrs. Eken has taught numerous Scandinavian as well as international singers in her studio in Copenhagen. She has also been invited to give lectures, master-classes and seminars in European Operahouses and Music-festivals. She is now considered one of the most influential and sought after European voice teachers.
Voice coach and casting consultant
After a study of classical singing and stage direction at the Conservatory in Essen, Kirsten Schötteldreier is a much sought-after vocal coach working with singers, actors and conductors in many of the main opera houses and festivals in Europe. Kirsten Schötteldreier has established herself with a unique, holistic approach to singing and performing and works now with some of the most acclaimed singers in international opera scene.
She has developed an energetically oriented method for singers, which kick-started an international career for herself and many of her artists. This teaching method combines belcanto and functional vocal techniques with transformative breathing and motion sequences from Qigong, a system of coordinated body-posture, movement and breathing, originated in China more than 5,000 years ago and in which Kirsten Schötteldreier was trained at the Shaolin Wahnam Institute in Malaysia.
Previously she was Senior Coach of the Young Ensemble at the Theater an der Wien and is now “Coach in Residence” for the new founded Operastudio of Opera de Lyon since 2022, where she also advises on casting.
Repetiteur and vocal coach, Royal Danish Opera
Mats Knutsson is one of Scandinavia’s leading repetiteurs, accompanists and vocal coaches. He has accompanied at many masterclasses with, among others, Nicolai Gedda, Kerstin Meyer and Birgit Nilsson and has collaborated with singing teachers/coaches such as Christa Ludwig, Neil Schicoff, Ileana Cotrubas and Brigitte Fassbaender. Mats has been part of the music staff at the Bayreuth, Salzburg and Ruhrtriennale festivals and from 2009-2021 he was repetiteur and studienleiter at Wiener Staatsoper, having previous held positions at the Royal Danish Opera and Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Mats regularly gives concerts with singers in Scandinavia, Austria, and Japan and is currently vocal coach at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Mats studied in Munich with Sergiu Celibidache and further with Ernst Haefliger, Hugues Cuenod og Geoffrey Parsons.
Jury Chair. Artistic Director, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra
Over a 25 year career, Tecwyn Evans has conducted more than 30 operas across 10 countries in opera houses such as Glyndebourne Touring Opera, English Touring Opera, Opera North, Opera Köln, Oper Graz, New Zealand Opera, and held music staff and conducting positions and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Oper Graz, and Den Jyske Opera. Alongside his conducting career Tecwyn has worked as voice consultant/coach, giving masterclasses in the UK, USA and New Zealand. Tecwyn is currently the Artistic Director of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra.