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International Handel Singing Competition 2023 – Application to Enter

International Handel Singing Competition 2023 – Application to Enter

Application to Enter


Thank you for your interest in the 2023 International Handel Singing Competition, one of the world’s leading competitions for baroque singers.

We’ve listened to your feedback over the past few years and for 2023, are pleased to announce a streamlined application process as well as guaranteeing feedback for your application as well as new panel of judges for each round.

Alumni of the HSC (Handel Singing Competition) have gone on to major success in their careers.


Please download your application form here.


Please read through the information below and register your details and pay the £40 application fee. The information below can also be downloaded here and includes further FAQs.

There is a two-stage process to applying. Firstly, you must apply via the event, register and pay. To do this, click ‘Book Tickets’ from the side bar, select your voice type and follow the checkout process.

Secondly, please fill in our application form and email this to competition@londonhandelfestival.org.uk along with a link to your video submission and payment confirmation email or PDF.

You will be informed of the results of the pre-selection by no later than 19 January 2023 and to all those who are not successful, we guarantee that feedback will be provided in 2023.

The International Handel Singing Competition is open to all singers aged between 23 – 34 on 1 February 2023 and is a showcase for historically informed performances of Handel’s music.


There are four rounds in total:


All candidates must supply a good quality video recording of them performing an aria by Handel. Ideally, this will include the recit and the aria should be at least 3 minutes long (including any da capo). The performance can be accompanied by any keyboard instrument or ensemble.


The First Round is held at Craxton Studios in North London and a maximum of 90 singers are selected to be heard live by a panel of 3 judges. (Videos will be accepted however, we strongly recommend you perform live. Requirements for video submissions are exactly the same as if you were to perform live). Two arias by Handel (either sacred or secular), one with its preceding recit and one with da capo. These arias must be performed in the original key and original language. Maximum performance time is 10 minutes and you will be provided with a harpsichordist. (If submitting a video you must be accompanied by a harpsichordist).


The Semi Final is held at St George’s, Hanover Square and a maximum of 12 singers are invited to perform, with a harpsichordist, two contrasting Handel arias up to 15 minutes. This is a live performance and open to the public as part of the London Handel Festival.


The Final is also held at St George’s, Hanover Square and is a key date in the diary for the London Handel Festival’s Spring Festival. A maximum of 6 singers are invited to return and perform an all-Handel programme with the London Handel Orchestra conducted by Laurence Cummings. A contrasting programme of up to 18 minutes. (No specific number of arias required).


Preliminary Round submission deadline 12 January 2023

Results of Preliminary Round selection 19 January 2023

First Round 8 & 9 February 2023

Semi Final 21 February 2023

Gala Final (presented by Danielle de Niese) 16 March 2023


There will be 3 adjudicators for the First Round, four for the Semi Final and five for the Gala Final. Past adjudicators have included Jane Glover, Iestyn Davies, Catherine Wyn Rogers, Rosemary Joshua, Lawrence Zazzo and John Mark Ainsley.

The judges for the Gala Final 2023 will be:

Oliver Mears (Artistic Director of ROH)

Jo Buckley (CEO of Dunedin Consort)

Lucy Crowe (Soprano)

Toks Dada (Southbank Head of Music)

Christian Curnyn (Conductor)


First Prize £5,000

Second Prize £2,000

Audience Prize £300


Both the Semi Final and Final are open to the public as part of the annual London Handel Festival and are well attended, coveted events. Many agents and promoters attend these performances. Past finalists of the competition include Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes, Lucy Crowe, Tim Mead, Sophie Junker, Anna Starushkeyych, Grace Davidson, Alexander Chance, Hilary Cronin and Helen Charleston.

“The Handel Singing Competition was, for me, the perfect platform from which I was able to demonstrate what I thought I could do. I’m not a fan of competition in singing but this competition allows you to focus on the repertoire choices and stylistic decisions you make, first and foremost. For me, it was absolutely the turning point. I secured an agent from my performance which opened a new chapter in my singing career. It really was the taking part that counted; I didn’t win!” – Iestyn Davies MBE, 2004 runner-up

“It came as a big surprise to win the first prize and audience prize all those years ago. Singing in the HSC was a super opportunity to focus on one glorious composer and his unique style, exploring his heavily musical output. I learned so much about Baroque style and vocal technique and it gave me a solid foundation from which to build later repertoire.” Ruby Hughes, 2009 winner.

“After a few years as a postgraduate student, winning the HSC was, for me, a great platform that opened many doors as a professional singer. It also meant to me great recognition and projection here and abroad.” Joseph-Ramon Olivé, 2015 winner

“Competitions are a real asset to young singers, and act as a wonderful seal of approval as we continue to apply for the next project or audition. It is wonderful to have the recognition of such a well-known festival to recommend my further as a performed in the world of singing.” Helen Charleston 2018 winner.

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