It’s turned out to be a very special summer for Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, who has secured her second major international prize. In July she won Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and now she has taken home the top honour at the prestigious Queen Sonja International Music Competition (QSIMC), worth €40,000.
‘The colour of her warm and velvety voice mixed with technical assurance and refined artistry make her absolutely unique among the new generation of singers,’ said Sophie de Lint, chair of the jury and artistic director of Zürich Opera.
The final took place at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, with 36 singers representing 20 countries. Second prize (€10,000) went to French soprano Elsa Dreisig, while Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk came in third and collected €5,000. Davidsen also won the prize for the best performance of Norwegian music (€1,500), and the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship for the best Norwegian participant (€8,000).
Davidsen won for her performances of Morrò, ma Prima in Grazia from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, in which the character Amelia pleads to see her son one last time before she dies, and Dich teure Halle from Wagner’s Tannhaüser. She was accompanied by the Oslo Philharmonic, conducted by John Helmer Fiore, with the performance broadcast by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
‘I am pleased to say that the competition is constantly developing and expanding,’ said executive director Lars Hallvard Flæten, ‘I think it is fair to say that the competition is now almost like a festival, with concerts and master classes and many different parties involved.’
A biannual event inaugurated in 1988, QSIMC is one of the highlights of the opera calendar, running from 11-21 August. This year 223 singers applied to take part in the event, where the prizes are personally presented by competition patron HM Queen Sonja.
As well as her two competition wins, Davidsen also placed second in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Amsterdam.