• Top
  • Competition Appreciation
This page explains the features of the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition of Shizuoka, the process of it, and how to enjoy it, in response to questions from audiences such as “Is it difficult to appreciate the competition?” “What is the difference between the 1st and 2nd Rounds and the Final Round?” and “What kind of people accompany?”

Features of the Competition

Rigorous judging by a world-renowned jury

As befits an international competition, the jury members consist of distinguished vocalists and opera house officials from around the world.

The official piano accompanists are talented enough to play any opera pieces.

For the 1st and the 2nd Rounds of the competition, the official piano accompanists (Korrepetitor) play an accompaniment for the contestants. These talented accompanists support the contestants by rehearsing individually with them and serving as a partner on the 1st and 2nd Rounds.

Volunteers support the smooth operation of the competition.

Many volunteer staff members support the operation of the competition from the preparation stage -from welcoming contestants from all over the world, addressing at the registration desk, interpreting and attending to the contestants, to the hall work such as ticket cutting.

The competition is operated by a university, which is rare internationally.

The Shizuoka University of Art and Culture has been operating the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition of Shizuoka, since April 2007. The university has experiences of successfully organizing events such as the commemorative concert by prizewinners of the 3rd competition and Takigi-noh (Noh theater performed at night by a fire), and has earned the trust of the local community as a core role in the promotion of cultural programs. The competition is also operated with the cooperation of local businesses.

Process of the Competition

Young opera singers from all over the world who have passed the preliminary audition give a powerful and moving performance.

Preliminary Audition

The jury members listen to the recordings of two opera arias submitted by the applicants and decide the contestants. The 73 contestants were selected from 191 applicants for the 8th competition.

The 1st Round

You can enjoy familiar opera arias.

Young opera singers from around the world who have passed the preliminary audition sing two of their best arias, one of their own choosing (Self-Chosen Aria) and the other chosen by the judges from among the four arias they chose in advance (Proposed Arias).

What is an “Aria”?

An aria is a solo vocal piece in an opera. The pieces express emotional excitement. Many of the melodies are easy to listen to and familiar even to beginners.

The 2nd Round

A unique judging process that tests true competence

Contestants are required to apply for one of the 86 "roles" (Madame Butterfly, Figaro, etc.) presented to them to play. In the second round, the contestants perform a scene designated by the jury from the complete work of that "role," but contestants will be uninformed of the scenes they perform until after the first round. The contestants must have the skills and experience to perform the whole opera. In addition, the scenes they perform are not always arias. In the case of a duet, the contestants must perform and sing as if there is a partner. This is a very challenging screening.


Piano accompanists are to support singers. They are competent supporters who can not only play the piano but also teach opera in several languages. In the second round, they serve as a partner of a contestant who has to sing alone.


The contestants in the 2nd round who cannot unfortunately make it to the Final Round can receive practical advice from jury members. With the valuable advice from the jury members, the contestants are expected to have a bright career in the future.

The Final Round

Just like an opera performance! A stage full of tension!

The contestants perform two arias accompanied by an orchestra. Same as in a normal opera performance, the orchestra enter the orchestra pit, and all eyes will be on the contestants.

What is the “World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC)”?

WFIMC which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, was established in 1957 to harmonize the activities of the various competitions and to provide assistance to prizewinners. Many prestigious international competitions are members, including the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. In 2003, the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition of Shizuoka became the first in Asia to be admitted as a member in the vocal music category.

WFIMC Website

Competition Q&A

Followings are frequently asked questions.

Why don't you disclose contestants' musical careers?

You would become likely to be influenced by preconceptions from such information: “What kind of university did he/she graduate from?” “What kind of teachers did he/she study with?” “What kind of competitions did he/she participate in and how many places did he/she win?” How about listening to and watching their performance without such information? Of course, we do not give any information to the juries beforehand either.

How do you decide the order of appearance?

It is determined by random drawing by computer. For the Final Round, all contestants draw lots to determine the order.

Why can'tIknow in advance which aria contestants will sing in the 1st Round?

Each contestant sings two arias. One of which is decided by the contestant himself/herself, and the other is chosen from among the four arias submitted in advance and is told to the contestant just before the round. The display board on the stage will show the contestant's entry number and the four arias that they have registered beforehand with the symbols A to D. You can find their registered arias in the official program.

Why can't I see the orchestra in the Final Round?

In order to approximate the conditions of a normal opera performance, in the Final Round, the orchestra performs in a large groove called the "orchestra pit" located between the stage and the audience seats. The orchestra arrangement is also different from that of a regular concert. Please take a look at it during the intermission.

Audience Manners

Do not have a conversation during the performance. Try not to make any noise.

Chatting about your impressions of the contestants might be one of your pleasures in watching a competition. However, chatting during the performance is strictly prohibited. Please also be careful of other small noises such as a bell of your bag and a plastic bag.

Turn off your cell phone

Please pay particular attention to turning off your cell phone after the intermission. Also, please make sure that you are wearing your hearing aids correctly.

Do not leave your seat during the performance.

Leave your seat only during intermission or when the contestants change.

Applaud at the end of a piece.

For the 1st and the Final Rounds, contestants perform two pieces. Not after the 1st piece, but after the 2nd piece, please give warm applause to contestants to show your feeling of excitement.