"It is my privilege to extend a heartfelt and warm thank you to everybody involved in making this year's Competition such a great success. The list of thanks is very long, as the Competition is a result of an amazing and unique cooperative spirit, within the proud and beautiful landscape of music life in Norway". Executive Director Lars Hallvard Flæten
From the speech at the official gathering after the final concert in The Norwegian Opera & Ballet Friday 21th August:
Dear friends of The Queen Sonja International Music Competition!
What a moment this is. We can look back on a ten day long festival of song, consisting of the preliminary rounds at the Norwegian Academy of Music, the semifinals here in the Opera House, our concerts with The Norwegian Radio Orchestra in The University Aula and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band at Karpedammen, a masterclass in stagecraft with Francisco Negrin followed by an open discussion about stagecraft in contemporary opera, a vocal masterclass with our valued jury member Angelika Kirchschlager, and at last this evening's grand finale, which is still resonating in our ears.
Let us give The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro John Helmer Fiore and our five finalists a round of applause for their performances in this stunning final concert! It is my privilege to extend a heartfelt and warm thank you to everybody involved in making this year's competition such a great success.
The list of thanks is very long, as the Competition is a result of an amazing and unique cooperative spirit, within the proud and beautiful landscape of music life in Norway.
The Competition is very lucky to be surrounded and helped forward by many parties: our participating contestants, important Norwegian music institutions, first class guest artists, distinguished jury members, many many amazing individuals, our enthustiastic and supportive audience, first class financial contributors, and not least, Her Majesty Queen Sonja, who impresses all of us with her dedication and generosity towards the Competition.
Let me start with all of the 36 contestants:
They gave us their all, under challenging conditions. They have our deepest respect and appreciation.
The Queen Sonja International Music Competition has a reputation for attracting internationally acclaimed jury members. This year's jury, expertly chaired by Sophie de Lint, has been the important heart of the Competition. Thank you for your valued contribution over the last ten days. Let us show our thanks.
Then to all our friends and supporters within our close family of partner institutions:
The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet
has hosted the semifinals, the masterclass with Fransisco Negrin and the wonderful final concert. To Executive Director Nils Are Lysøen and all your excellent staff: your theatre is of essential importance to this Competition. Thank you for letting us in and for helping us forward.
The Norwegian Academy of Music:
Dear Dean Peter Tornquist: You offer our contestants the very best, both with your smashing rehearsal facilities with your great Seinways and one of the finest concert halls in Oslo, The Lindeman Hall, where you have hosted the preliminary rounds. No competitions I know of can provide better facilities.
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra:
Dear Executive Director Ingrid Røynesdal, The Competition started with the Oslo Phil in 1988. It is our sincere hope that we will have many years of collaboration to come.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation:
What a year for our partnership. In addition to the direct transmission from the final this evening, you have made a special production from the masterclass with Angelica Kirchschlager at Oscarshall Palace hosted by Her Majesty Queen Sonja. The program will be transmitted as part of Hovedscenen later on this year. Dear Executive Producer/Editor TV Music Arild Erikstad and everybody involved in your huge team: thank you for helping us to share the beauty of this Competition with a much wider audience.
The Royal Court
is heavily involved in preparing our Competitions. This year more than ever. It is a true pleasure to collaborate with their highly professional and efficient staff. Dear Maisen Bonnevie, head of Culture at The Royal Palace, thank you ever so much for your very skilled support and please extend our thanks further to everybody involved from your side.
And to all of our 11 performing guest artists:
You make this Competition into a music festival with a wide range of special experiences for our dear audience.
I would also like to thank our five excellent pianists: Lina Braaten, Erling Ragnar Eriksen, Christian Hundsnes Grøvlen, John Lidal and Mona Spigseth.
Our financial contributors:
Music is not only about great art. It is also about great sponsors and contributors. First of all The Norwegian Ministry of Culture, which contributes around 70 percent of our budget, and the City of Oslo which also offers important financial support. Our private funds are extremely important to us in order to continue.
A special tribute this year goes to Christen Sveaas and his Anders Sveaas' Almennyttige Fond. They have granted us a fund of 3 million Norwegian kroner in order to make it possible to increase the first prize, which this year is EUR 40.000.
To all of our dear contributors: we are so grateful. In fact, we love you. Please, stay with us, and let us develop and grow together!
To the Competition staff:
A Festival and Competition like ours, consisting of 52 individual artists, 15 different concerts and events and an intense network of cooperating partners, is quite demanding to put together smoothly. I will conclude this session with thanking our own staff of 15 extremely hard working people that truly have made this year's Competition a huge success.
I would ask you to come forward, so that everybody here can see how beautiful you are.
A special individual that should be enjoying the sweet feeling of a job well done tonight is my close associate Kristin Jacobsen – who has been a remarkable project coordinator and head of staff. Let us give Kristin a round of applause for her tremendous effort in piecing all the details together.
We have initiated an intense information effort in order to spread the word, not at least on the internet. Our information activities have been conducted by Mie Inchley, together with Tone Værvågen. Our talented information trainees has been Camilla Sophie Storvollen, Frances Gerono, Jacob Kronen and Marthe Melheim.
To run our concerts as stage managers, and assisting in all kinds of logistics, we have had a skilled team consisting of Astrid Gjæver Marvik, Cecilie Therese Nereng and Tine Rakstad together with our brilliant staff trainees Danielle d'Abramo and Line Haukland.
Holger Gulbrandsen has been our event consultant. Our Artistic advisor has been dear Julia Lagahuzére, deputy casting Director at the Paris Opera.
We are especially grateful to The Royal Court and H.M. Queen Sonja. The Queen’s generous personal engagement with the competition means a great deal to everyone involved.
Now – let us once again congratulate our finalists and prize winners. Let the show go on for them - and for us.
Lars Hallvard Flaeten