A competition in style
With pride, and without hesitation, we can say that the Aria Borealis Bodø International Singing Competition for Early Music singers is truly unique and sets itself apart from most other competitions.
The Aria Borealis Bodø competition goes against the stressful and cut-throat atmosphere that marks a lot of current music competitions. Instead, it focuses on collaborations between the contestants, orchestra musicians, leading Baroque performers, vocal coaches and stage directors. We do offer a spotlight, cash prizes, and work opportunities for talented singers, but more importantly, we seek to create a platform to make music together, where the music takes center stage, and everyone is an equally important contributor of interpretation and style.
All rehearsals, workshops, concerts, and competition rounds in Bodø are open to the public. Musicians from the four ensembles of Nordic Baroque Scene – Barokkanerne, Concerto Copenhagen, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and the Finnish Baroque orchestra – will be the contestants’ colleagues for the whole week.
Who are we looking for?
We seek singers born 1987 or later, of all voice types, who approach early repertoire as we do. We really enjoy playing with singers who see themselves as chamber musicians among chamber musicians, and our audiences are likewise thrilled to observe this interplay.
This competition is for singers who aspire to go beyond the focus on voice strength and projection in favor of clarity, rhetorical declamation, pronunciation and expression. This is possible within HIP, because the ensembles are smaller and the quality of the instruments more intimate. When conditions are closer to what the composers knew, the singing can be more speechlike than pure sound projection over a grand piano or modern orchestra.
We would like the singer to use the same tools as an experienced HIP instrumentalist as the basis for their interpretation – such as harmonic structure, rhetorical purpose, and instrumentation. The music can then be explored collectively by singer and musicians, with the common goal of detecting the affetti within it and arousing emotions in the listeners.
We encourage young singers to break down artificial musical barriers. We are guided by an understanding of working in a contemporary setting and believe Baroque music to be related to many music genres. Baroque music and jazz share the same principle of improvising on a chord series, playing instruments in a vocal way and searching for the swing. Baroque music and folk music share melodic material, ornamentation, and dance forms, and Baroque music also has many similarities to today’s pop music. We therefore seek singers who are willing to explore this relationship and work with other genres and artistic formats when suitable.
Competition structure, rules and regulations
Singers of all nationalities and voice types, born in 1987 or later, are eligible to apply for the 2022 competition.
The competition comprises three rounds:
Digital competition round, application deadline 23:59 on January 15, 2022.
Up to a maximum of eight chosen candidates are awarded a cash prize of €1000 and selected for participation in the two ensuing live rounds in Stormen Concert Hall, Bodø, June 24 – July 2, 2022
Live competition round 1, June 25 – 27
Live competition round 2, July 2
Entry deadline: January 15, 2022, at 23:59 CET
This round consists of two parts. Candidates will submit:
- A video, consisting of 2-3 arias of contrasting character from the period 1600 – 1750, at least one of which should include a recitative (secco or accompagnato), with a total duration of max. 15 minutes. In addition to this, the candidate should add a folk song from their own country or home tradition (max. duration 4 minutes) a cappella or with accompaniment of their own choice.
- A presentation of a coherent and exciting concert program for a short concert – also from the period 1600 – 1750. The jury will subsequently choose the repertoire to be used for the first live competition round in Bodø.
The video can be recorded a cappella or with accompaniment, preferably on period instruments. Piano is allowed, but not recommended. Playback is not allowed.
The individual pieces should be recorded with one camera only, in one take, without sound or film editing. Smartphone quality is sufficient, but participants are encouraged to use external microphones or a digital sound recording device if possible. Concert recordings can also be submitted if they are recorded with only one camera in one take. The candidate must be visually identifiable and be the main feature of the composition/movement. Only videos recorded in 2020 or later are accepted, and at least one of the entries must be from the last 6 months before the deadline of January 15, 2022.
YouTube or Vimeo are to be used for uploading videos, with composer, title, date of recording, link and password (if applicable) submitted on the entry form.
2. Submitted program:
The written concert program should have a duration of 40 – 45 minutes and feature the candidate as the soloist. It will not be performed in its entirety in Bodø, but the idea is to show the jury how the candidate thinks and plans when curating a concert. The repertoire for the competition should be selected from the period 1600 – 1750. The choice of repertoire should show a good knowledge of contrasting styles and affects, and a good understanding of the candidate’s strengths as a singer and artist. The candidates are encouraged include repertoire in at least two different languages, folk song not included. They may include parts of the repertoire from the video submission in their program.
When composing the concert program, please bear in mind the pitch in Bodø will be A 415 Hz for all repertoire. Instruments available for this round are string quintet, harpsichord/organ & lute with optional 2 flutes/ 2 recorders/ 2 oboes/ bassoon/percussion. The submitted program cannot require instruments not listed here. All repertoire should be for only one voice with the accompaniment of at least one instrument.
The entrance fee is NOK 500 and is payable upon submission of the entry form, which can be found here. By paying the entrance fee, you declare that the video submitted is without sound editing within the movements, that all the information given in the form is correct, and that you consent to the rules and regulations of the competition.
Based on the submitted videos and programs, the jury will select up to eight winners who receive an initial prize of €1000. The winners will be notified by email by February 15, from when they have 14 days to commit to participating in Bodø. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the competition, and all participants will compete in both the live competition rounds.
Live competition, round 1:
- Max. 15 minutes selected by the jury, from the submitted program.
- The folk song submitted. We will propose a structure for an instrumental arrangement (3 – 4 min) which will be based on the candidate’s interpretation on the video submitted. This will be sent out for the candidate’s consideration 1 month in advance.
This round will take place in Stormen Concert Hall, Bodø June 25 – 27 (see full schedule with rehearsals below). The rehearsals are a part of the competition, and the candidates will receive coaching from the jurors. Instruments available for this round are string quintet, harpsichord/ organ & lute with optional 2 flutes/ 2 recorder/ 2 oboes/ bassoon.
Candidates cannot bring their own accompanists. The programs will be performed over two concerts on June 27. Which concert each candidate is assigned to is decided based on the instrumentation of the ensembles, and a draw decides the order of the candidates within each concert. Sheet music will be provided by the competition, though the contestant is responsible for selecting editions with appropriate instrumental scores available.
There will be three prizes awarded in this round: €1000 for the winner and €500 each for numbers 2 & 3. The audience will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorites. The votes will be added to the audience’s votes from round 2. Winners will be announced, and prizes awarded, at the prize ceremony July 2nd.
Concert competition, round 2:
This round will also take place in Stormen Concert Hall. For round 2, the jury will build teams to work with the orchestra and a stage director to prepare short scenes from an opera, cantata, oratorio or similar. Repertoire will be chosen by the jurors after the winners of the digital round have been declared, and it will be sent out to the participants no later than May 1. These scenes will be set in a simple manner with only a few props and basic stage direction. Apart from displaying their vocal skills, the candidates will then have the chance to demonstrate their flexibility, adaptability, and interaction with each other and the musicians through a working process in a limited timeframe towards a set goal – the performance of the second round. Each member of the winning team wins €1000.
This time, a whole orchestra from the Nordic Baroque Scene is involved, and again the audience is invited to vote for their favorites. The candidate with the highest total audience votes after the two live rounds wins €1000. After round 2, the four orchestras of NBS, Barokkanerne, Concerto Copenhagen, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and the Finnish Baroque orchestra, will also each choose their individual favorite. These winners will each receive a prize of €500 and be offered an engagement with the respective orchestra in 2023.
All participants must be available and committed to follow their individual schedule for rehearsals and concerts from the evening of Friday, June 24 until 23:00 on Saturday, July 2, 2022.
The concerts of both competition rounds will be streamed, and the recordings of the streams are the properties of Aria Borealis Bodø.
Important dates for contestants
winners’ deadline to accept and commit
repertoire for round 2 to be sent out to the participants of Winners’ week in Bodø
repertoire for round 1 to be sent out to the participants
arranged folk song to be sent out to the participants
opening day in Bodø. Meeting with the stage director and welcome ceremony
Candidates 1 – 4 rehearse for round 1 with musicians and coaching by the jurors
Candidates 5 – 8 rehearse for round 2 with stage director
Candidates 5 – 8 rehearse for round 1 with musicians and coaching by the jurors
Candidates 1 – 4 rehearse for round 2 with stage director
Candidates 1 – 4 general rehearsal and Concert A live competition round 1
Candidates 5 – 8 general rehearsal and Concert B live competition round 1
Candidates 1 – 4 rehearse for round 2 with stage director
Candidates 5 – 8 rehearse for round 2 with orchestra
Candidates 1 – 4 rehearse for round 2 with orchestra
Candidates 5 – 8 rehearsals for round 2 with stage director
All candidates rehearse with orchestra and stage director for round 2
All candidates & orchestra – general rehearsal round 2
All candidates & orchestra – performance of round 2
€ 1000 each for the candidates winning the video round
Round 1 in Bodø:
€ 1 000 for winner, € 500 each for 2 & 3
Round 2 in Bodø:
€ 1 000 for each participant in the winning team
€ 1 000 at the end for the whole competition
Each orchestra chooses their favorite singer, who gets a € 500 prize and a concert engagement with the orchestra in 2023.
Frequently asked questions
Should I sing by heart?
- In round 1 you should follow the common practice of the concert situation of the music you perform. If you sing oratorio or other church repertoire, you may use a score, whereas if you sing opera, you should do it by heart. Round 2 requires you to sing by heart.
Will rehearsals be open to the public?
- Yes, the purpose of this week is to color the town of Bodø Baroque. The public should get a sense of music making in the making: a vibrant melting pot of creativity and playfulness.
Does the language need to be historically correct or is communication of the meaning of the words more important?
- You are welcome to use historical or modernized pronunciation to your own musical and rhetorical judgement.
Do I need to perform all the pieces in the original key?
- More important than the key is that you choose an edition of your music which makes it possible for your colleagues in the instrumental ensemble to accompany you.
May I change some of the repertoire in my program?
- Slight adjustments may be allowed in the 2 weeks period after you’ve been declared a winner and before committing to the competition part in Bodø
How about cancellations?
- If the competition is cancelled, the entrance fee is returned. If the candidate withdraws from the competition, the entrance fee is not returned.
What about Covid?
- Aria Borealis Bodø follows the regulations and recommendations of the Norwegian authorities. If candidates need to quarantine, Aria Borealis will not cover the extra cost. Pending the covid situation, corona passport or proof of recent negative covid test might be required of participants in Bodø.