This year’s Queen Elisabeth Music Competition has been won by the German baritone Samuel Hasselhorn. One of the two Belgian finalists, Marianne Croux, took home the public’s prize. This year’s competition was for singers; the subject rotates each year among piano, violin and, a new arrival, cello. Marianne Crux, coincidentally, started learning violin at the age of four, switching to piano at ten, before becoming a singer at the age of 16.
Samuel Hasselhorn (pictured) is 28 years old, and impressed the audience in the early stages with a programme of German Lieder. For the final, he presented two songs by Mahler and one by Mendelssohn, as well as an aria from the opera Don Carlos by Verdi.
Soprano Marianne Croux opened her final performance with an aria from Cosí fan tutte by Mozart, followed by a song by Alban Berg and arias by Puccini and Stravinsky.
The final involves 12 singers, with two performing each evening in a week, culminating on Saturday with the tense wait until almost midnight for the results. In all, six prizes are handed out by the jury. As well as Croux, Belgium was also represented by soprano Charlotte Wajnberg. The other finalists came from China, South Korea, Argentina, Ukraine, Spain, France, USA and Germany. One bass, five baritones, two mezzo-sopranos and four sopranos.