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The Jury

Birgitta Svendén, Sweden (chair)


Photo: The Royal Swedish Opera

Birgitta Svendén is the CEO and Director of Opera 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. 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.

Olga Kapanina, Russia


Olga Kapanina is a Casting Director at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She has previously served as Director of Opera at the Mikhailovsky Opera in Saint-Petersburg. Kapanina was awarded a master's degree in piano from the Estonian National Academy of Music in 1976 and got her second master’s degree in Performing Arts from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1981.

She has served as Associate Professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory for several years and specialises in working with young singers. Kapanina serves as a jury member for several international vocal competitions.


Christoph Seuferle, Germany

Christoph Seuferle is the Director of Opera at Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has previously held leading positions at prestigious opera houses like Opéra National Montpellier, Opéra National de Paris, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Chorégies d’Orange and Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

Seuferle completed his studies in musical theatre at the University of Music in Vienna. He has been the Director of Opera at the Deutshe Oper Berlin since the 2007/2008 season and served as Executive Director in the mid-season 2011/2012. In 2001, he was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for his services in France.

Randi Stene, Norway

Photo: Erik Berg

Randi Stene joined the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet as Director of Opera in 2020, after being Casting Director and Director of Opera at Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera. The mezzo-soprano is a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen.

Stene made her international breakthrough in Cardiff Singer of the World in 1991 and when she sang the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Since then, she has appeared on many of the world's leading opera stages and has also had a significant career as a concert singer. She was permanently associated with the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen as soloist until August 2019.


Diane Zola, USA


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 the Houston Grand Opera, where she began her tenure as the Director of the HGO Studio, an internationally acclaimed training programme for young opera singers, pianists, and conductors. 

Committed to the nurturing of young singers, Zola has given masterclasses and consultations throughout the USA, Europe and in Cape Town, South Africa. She serves on the juryes of various international music competitions.

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