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We are proud to present the preliminary jury for 2017! The jury so far consists of opera directors and casting directors from several of the largest opera houses in the world, in addition to two world-renowned opera singers.


Ben Heppner, Tenor, Canada

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Photo: Kristin Hoebermann / CAMI

Mr. Heppner is recognized world-wide as the finest dramatic tenor of today. He excels in the most challenging roles and is acclaimed in music capitals around the world for his beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship and sparkling dramatic sense. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with orchestra, in recital and on recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire.

In addition to his impressive singing  career, Heppner has worked as a broadcaster on Canadian radio. He plans to continue broadcasting as well as hosting master classes and coaching singers for roles, as well as appearing on voice competition juries.

Annilese Miskimmon, The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo

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Photo: The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet

Annilese Miskimmon is designated as Opera Director of The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in Oslo from August 2017. She has worked extensively in many prestigious international opera houses, including her position as Artistic Director of The Danish National Opera since 2012.

As a passionate supporter of new work, Miskimmon has an international reputation for invigorating neglected masterpieces as well as re-inventing classic opera in a way that delights and develops accessibility for modern audiences.


Sebastian F. Schwarz, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, UK

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Photo: Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Mr. Schwarz is a German-born musician and Opera manager. He has held a variety of high positions in opera companies, including Theater an der Wien, Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland, Staatsoper Hamburg and Vienna Chamber Opera. In addition, he is Artistic Director and co-founder of the Pietro Antonio Cesti International Voice Competition for Baroque Opera in Innsbruck.

Throughout this journey, he has acquired a knowledge of the business from all its perspectives. He is a sought-after voice specialist and a regular jury member for major international voice competitions.

Birgitta Svendén, The Royal Opera, Stockholm

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Photo: The Royal Swedish Opera

Birgitta Svendén is a Swedish mezzo-soprano who embarked an international career as a Wagner singer. She is also a full member of the Academy of Music in Stockholm and an honorary doctor at the Lulea University of Technology.

Svendén has been extensively involved in many of the world’s great opera stages, including the Bayreuth Festival. She has also been a frequent concert singer both domestically and internationally, and was appointed Royal Court Singer of the Swedish Royal House in 1995.

Deborah Voigt, Soprano, USA

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Dario Acosta

Deborah Voigt is recognized as one of the world’s most versatile singers and one of music’s most endearing personalities. Through her performances, she is known for the singular power and beauty of her voice, as well as for her captivating stage presence. Having made her name as a leading dramatic soprano, she is internationally revered for her performances. 

Besides being a full-time member of the voice faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she is also the Artistic Advisor to Florida’s Vero Beach Opera, where she advises on repertoire, casting and production.






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