The II International Singing Competition

The Savonlinna Opera Festival held its second International Singing Competition in Savonlinna 24.-29.7.2012.

The winner was 22-year-old US soprano Heather Engebretson, who was awarded the Lord and Lady Laidlaw Prize worth €20,000. For the competition she sang Violetta’s aria Sempre libra from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La traviata and Juliet’s aria Dieu! quel frisson…Amour, renime mon courage from Charles Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet. Heather Engebretson is at present studying voice at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

The second and third prizes also went to women. Russian mezzo-soprano Nadezhda Karyazina (b. 1986) was the winner of the second prize (€10,000) and Romanian soprano Iulia Elena Surdu (b. 1984) of the third (€5,000).

The male singers in the finals – Finnish bass Matti Turunen (b. 1982), Romanian tenor Cristian Mogosan (b. 1983) and Ukrainian tenor Oleksiy Palchykov (b. 1986) – came in 4th to 6th place and were each awarded a consolation prize of €1,000.


Jari Hämäläinen
Artistic Director, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Chairman

Jonathan Friend
Artistic administrator
Metropolitan Opera, New York

Uwe Eric Laufenberg
The Cologne Opera

Bruno Michel
Artistic Director
Théatre du Chatelet, Paris

Lyndon Terracini
Artistic Director
Opera Australia



I prize €20,000, Lord and Lady Laidlaw Prize
II prize €10,000
III prize €5,000
The other finalists will each receive a consolation prize of €1,000.

The Savonlinna Opera Festival held its first International Singing Competition in Savonlinna on July 20-25, 2010. The first prize was shared by Pretty Yende (South Africa) and Michele Angelini (USA), and the third prize went to Elena Guseva (Russia).

Accomplished singers from all over the world

“The Savonlinna Opera Festival has been holding the Timo Mustakallio Competition in collaboration with the Timo Mustakallio Foundation since 1974,” reports the Festival’s General Director Jan Hultin. “This competition was already well established as an arena for young Finnish singers, but the time had come to arrange an international competition focusing on opera and designed for slightly more experienced singers. The Savonlinna Opera Festival has many strengths as the organiser of an international singing competition: it is well-known to the international community, it is held in the unique and acoustically excellent milieu of Olavinlinna Castle, and it is a chance for singers to perform to a well-informed audience with the Opera Festival Orchestra. The fact that the competition is held in July means singers who already have contracts can also take part. It is our belief that these and other strengths make Savonlinna’s stand out from the singing competitions held elsewhere in the world. We are also confident that the Savonlinna competition is of interest to the persons and agents responsible for engaging singers for opera houses.”

“The members of the competition Jury are directors of international opera houses, who thus have an opportunity to hear new, young singers and possibly engage them for their own productions,” adds Jari Hämäläinen, Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

The Timo Mustakallio Competition is being developed in collaboration with the Timo Mustakallio Foundation, enhancing its profile more and more as an arena for promising young Finns.