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The 2019 Jury is complete

Published by Ane Wadd-Oseth

We are once again very proud and happy to present a very competent and prestigious jury for the next Queen Sonja International Music Competition, which will take place in Oslo 13 – 23 August 2019. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the jury members to Oslo and to working together with them. The seven distinguished members are:

Birgitta Svendén, Sweden (chair)

Photo: The Royal Opera

Birgitta Svendén is the CEO and Artistic Director at The Royal Opera in Stockholm. Svendén launched her international career as a Wagner singer. She is a full member of the Academy of Music in Stockholm and an honorary doctor at the Luleå University of Technology.

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

Stefan Herheim, Norway

Photo: The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet

Stefan Herheim is a renowned Norwegian opera director resident in Berlin. He has done a large number of productions at several prestigious international opera scenes as well as for festivals in Salzburg, Bayreuth, Bergen, Glyndebourne and Edinburgh.

Herheim is Professor at the Opera Academy in Oslo and is appointed as Opera Director at Theater an der Wien from 2022. From 2020 he is staging Wagner's Tetralogie Der Ring des Nibelungen at Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has been named "Director of the Year" by Opernwelt three times.


Sumi Jo, South Korea

Photo: Youngho Kang

Sumi Jo has established herself as one of her generation’s most sought-after sopranos. She made her European operatic debut as Gilda (Rigoletto) at Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste in 1986. Sumi has since been greeted consistently with exceptional accolades, by public and press alike, for performances in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world. 

Her many prestigious awards include the international Puccini Award and First Prize at international competitions in Seoul, Naples, Enna, Barcelona, Pretoria and the Carlo Alberto Cappelli International Competition in Verona. She was elected UNESCO ‘Artist for Peace’ in 2003.

Robert Körner, Germany


Robert Körner is Director of Artistic Production at Opéra national de Lyon, France, and appointed Casting Director at the Vienna State Opera from 2020. He is also Head of the Young Artist Program in Lyon, in collaboration with its Artistic Director.

Körner has extensive experience within opera and theatre, and comes from a background as solo ballet dancer and Ballet Administrator at Saarländischen Staatstheater Saarbrücken in Germany. Robert acts as jury member in several singing competitions, including The Queen Sonja International Music Competition.

Sergei Leiferkus, Russia


Sergei Leiferkus is a Russian baritone who is considered one of the world’s most renowned performing artists. He has appeared at opera houses throughout the world and on concert podiums with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Sergei still appears at myriad opera houses, in addition to performances at arts festivals, in recitals and chamber programmes.

Besides his frequent appearances in opera, concert and recital, Sergei Leiferkus also gives master classes and teaches in Berlin, Toronto, Moscow and Boston, as well as at the renowned Britten-Pears School, Aldeburgh.


Annilese Miskimmon, Ireland/United Kingdom

Photo: Robert Workman

Annilese Miskimmon is the Director of Opera at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in Oslo. Before coming to Oslo, she was the General Manager/Artistic Director of Danish National Opera and has been Consultant Associate Director at Glyndebourne Festival and Tour, in addition to Artistic Director of Opera Theatre Company Ireland. She has worked extensively in many prestigious international opera houses. 

Miskimmon’s critically acclaimed work has been nominated and won several awards. Her jury work includes The Queen Sonja International Music Competition, the International Opera Awards, the European Opera-directing Prize and the Armel International Festival.


Diane Zola, USA

Photo: Unknown

Diane Zola joined the Metropolitan Opera in July 2018 as Assistant General Manager, Artistic. Prior to joining the Metropolitan Opera, she was Director of Artistic Administration at Houston Grand Opera, where she began her tenure as the Director of the HGO Studio, an internationally acclaimed training program for young opera singers, pianist/coaches and conductors. 

Committed to the nurturing of young singers, pianists and conductors, Zola has given master classes and consultations throughout the United States, Europe and in Cape Town, South Africa. She serves on the juries of various competitions including The Queen Sonja International Music Competition.
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