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Finals at the Opera House

The Queen Sonja International Music Competition has reached the final stage. Her Majesty The Queen will be in attendance when the six finalists compete onstage at the Oslo Opera House this evening.


A record 304 singers from 50 different countries entered this year’s competition, which has lasted nearly 10 days. After a number of preliminary rounds, 33 participants advanced to the semi-finals. Now the judges have selected six finalists for the last challenge:

  • Meigui Zhang (soprano), China
  • Natalia Tanasii (soprano), Moldova
  • Sergey Kaydalov (baritone), Russia 
  • Adam Kutny (baritone), Poland
  • Stefan Astakhov (baritone), Germany
  • Theodore Browne (tenor), Germany

The winner of First Prize in 2017 was Seungju Bahg of South Korea. Photo: Marius Nyheim Kristoffersen /

The winner of the first prize will receive a cash award of NOK 500 000, a variety of concert engagements and a graphic print signed by the Queen. 

To be broadcast live

The finals will be held at the Oslo Opera House this evening, 23 August, and will feature opera arias and duets from the finalists, accompanied by the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra. The entire concert will be broadcast live on radio and via the digital interfaces of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). Mari Lunnan of NRK will be the evening’s master of ceremonies.

The finalists! From left: Stefan Astakhov, Sergey Kaydalov, Natalia Tanasii, Meigui Zhang, Adam Kutny and Theodore Browne. Photo: Magnus Romslo Lindvik /

Ingrid Bjoners Scholarship

While none of this year’s Norwegian participants made it to the finals, mezzo-soprano Astrid Nordstad of Trondheim reached the semi-finals and will receive the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship, which is awarded to the best Norwegian participant.

Lise Davidsen, who won First Prize in 2015, is the last Norwegian to have won the competition. She debuts this year at the Bayreuth Festival and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Lise Davidsen won the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in 2015. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

Promoting young talent

The competition is held every two years, and 2019 marks the fifteenth time it has been held. Most of the contestants have recently completed their professional training in opera and classical music and are on the cusp of their international careers. The main goal of the competition is to help talented young singers to develop their careers. The competition also builds bridges between the Norwegian and international music communities. 

Queen Sonja follows the competition closely and will personally present the prizes.


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