Last updated: 20 April 2009
This biennial competition takes place in the June of odd years. The competitors, selected by worldwide auditions, sing before a panel of distinguished jurors and equally discerning audiences in the Land of Song itself.
In the main competition, singers are required to demonstrate their prowess in the disciplines of opera or concert music. During the course of the competition, well over 100 pieces of music are performed - operatic arias, solo arias from sacred works and songs, all with full orchestral accompaniment.
Each competitor sings in one of the four preliminary concerts, and the five singers with the highest marks overall take part in the final.
The Song Prize takes place as a separate competition, open to all the competitors but not compulsory. Each singer performs in a preliminary recital, consisting of their own choice of Lieder or art song, and the competitors with the highest marks overall take part in the Song Prize final.
The recipient of the Audience Prize is decided by members of the public both in the hall and watching and listening at home. It is awarded to any of the competitors in the main competition, whether or not they reach the final.
Some of the competitors who don't reach the final have the chance to take part in a master class with one of the distinguished jury members.