– A hothouse of emotions

The Director of Opera at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Annilese Miskimmon, is certain that competitions are highlights in a young singer’s life – however emotionally chaotic it may be.

Annilese Miskimmon. Photo by Lars Eivind Bones
Annilese Miskimmon. Photo by Lars Eivind Bones

– A competition is an ideal way for a singer to perform in a controlled environment, but I also want them to be able to show me who they are. This is the prime time in a young singer’s life, where they are able to reveal the things that make them the artist they are and will continue to become, said Miskimmon.

The opera powerhouse from Belfast, is the Jury Chair of this year’s Queen Sonja International Music Competition. Over ten days, Miskimmon has been running the show among internationally renowned jury members.

– This is an incredibly difficult career, as you need to be multi-talented. You have to be an extremely gifted musician, and have a natural, and then taught and invested in, vocal technique that is superb and robust. Not to mention an acting ability that means you can bring audiences right into the heart of your art form, said Miskimmon before concluding:

– It is an ambitious thing, to want to be an opera singer. That is why the Jury and myself really want to take every opportunity to give people the tools and the opportunity to hone their craft.

View video here.

Strong connections

Opera Chief Miskimmon is not looking for perfection. Honesty and genuity are in for the long run, and a solid list of contacts accompanied by love for your craft, will be important tools in a demanding industry. Competitions should kick things off.

– Everyone here is dealing with the same nerves and excitement and joy, and ‘why do I do this to myself?’-feelings. It is a precious thing to meet people from other countries who are young singers, and who are doing the same things in another country, so there is a certain bonding mechanism, said Miskimmon.

– It is a kind of hothouse of emotions, but with a lot of joy in it, she added.

Preparing for this Friday’s grand final concert, the Jury Chair is insistent that the six finalists can eliminate at least one major contributor to stress:

– Have the joy of knowing that you hold us in your hands. The only people in the room who want you to succeed more than you do, are the jury – actually, said Miskimmon.

Concert programme for the final concert is available here.

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