The winners of the NEUE STIMMEN 2022 competition, Francesca Pia Vitale und Carles Pachon, are posing for a picture after the final concert.

NEUE STIMMEN 2024: Application phase for 20th international singing competition begins

Young opera singers have from tomorrow until January 31, 2024 to apply to compete in the international singing competition organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Liz Mohn Center. The final round of NEUE STIMMEN's 20th edition will take place in October 2024.

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Foto Matthias Meis
Matthias Meis


Since it was established in 1987, the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition has been one of the opera industry's largest such events worldwide. Thanks to NEUE STIMMEN, numerous talented singers have been able to attract the opera world's attention and lay the foundation for a successful career. Two examples of singers who have done so in recent years with particularly impressive performances are the French-Danish soprano Elsa Dreisig and the Canadian mezzo soprano Emily D’Angelo. Anyone wishing to emulate them will have the opportunity as of tomorrow. That's when the application phase begins for NEUE STIMMEN 2024, whose aim is to find and promote the best young opera talents. 

Liz Mohn, president of the Liz Mohn Center and initiator of the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition, says: "It's a major success story for all of us that NEUE STIMMEN is now discovering and bringing together young opera singers from around the world for the 20th time. Through their participation in the NEUE STIMMEN competition, they experience the unifying power of music while making valuable contacts and furthering their personal development. NEUE STIMMEN is much more than just a singing competition. I'm confident that we will once again receive many international applications from first-class talents, and I'm very much looking forward to the final round in Gütersloh in October 2024."

Auditions in 13 cities worldwide

In its 20th edition, the international singing competition will again be divided into three rounds. Beginning tomorrow and until January 31, 2024, any singer aspiring to a professional opera career can take the first step by applying on the NEUE STIMMEN website. Applicants must not be older than 30 when the final round concludes. In addition to the usual documents, they are asked to submit two opera arias they have recorded on video. Applications will be reviewed by Brian Dickie, former general director of Chicago Opera Theater, Sophie Joyce, casting director of Opéra National de Paris, and Evamaria Wieser, casting director of the Salzburg Festival. As in past years, the experienced trio will serve as the jury for the preliminary selection phase.

Those singers who impress the judges with their applications will be invited to the "live auditions." These events give young talents an opportunity to perform for the jury in person at various locations worldwide. This second application round will be held next year between April 11 and June 9 in 13 cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Cape Town, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Yerevan and Zurich. 

Samuel Gelber to join jury

Based on the live auditions, the jury for the preliminary selection process will decide which performers qualify for the final round to be held from October 5 to 12, 2024. Experience has shown that 40 to 45 singers can expect to receive an invitation to Gütersloh. That is where, in the city's Stadthalle, they will demonstrate their skills to the full NEUE STIMMEN jury and to representatives of the opera industry. As in past years, the chairman of the 2024 jury will be Dominique Meyer, director of Milan's La Scala opera house. The jury members will receive additional support this year from Samuel Gelber. The director of artistic planning at the Washington National Opera will be contributing his expertise to the competition for the first time and will join the jury for the auditions in New York.

Singers who sufficiently impress the jury members in Gütersloh will advance to the semi-finals, where they will perform with piano accompaniment. Only the best will reach the competition's crowning conclusion: the finals, where they will sing in front of a live audience accompanied by the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Prizes totaling €60,000

The Liz Mohn Center will be awarding a total of more than €60,000 in prizes to final-round participants. At least as important are the interactions with opera house managers, festival directors and music agents that the contestants have during the competition. Under the "Creating Careers" brand, the singers receive ongoing advice and support from the NEUE STIMMEN team and international opera experts. Only last October, 12 talents from the NEUE STIMMEN network were given the opportunity to improve their skills by working with experienced coaches during the International Masterclass in Gütersloh.

Almost 1,400 singers from 67 countries submitted applications to participate in the 2021/2022 competition. The two first prizes were awarded to soprano Francesca Pia Vitale from Italy and baritone Carles Pachon from Spain.