The VII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition recorded large audience figures both online and at the concert venues. The competition’s own website received over 65,000 hits in July–August, of which some 28,000 were individual visitors from a total of 102 countries. (photos: Heikki Tuuli)

Through the various social media, the competition reached many new followers in all parts of the world. The Final was watched on Yle Teema by 51,000 viewers on average, and the streamed transmissions on Yle Klassinen were accessed over 36,000 times in all. The Finnish Cultural Foundation organised the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in Helsinki on 4–13 August 2014.

Worldwide audience via the internet

“The overall standard of the competition was high,” reports the competition’s satisfied Executive Director Marja-Leena Pétas. “We really did receive a vast amount of positive feedback from the competitors, the Jury and the audience.”
 
“We wanted to make the competition more widely known internationally and to see how well social media would work as part of the competition’s communications. The results show that the systematic investment in a wide range of digital media paid off. The public at large became very much aware of the competition with such extensive media coverage. The Yle programmes, and especially the ones streamed live, won us a worldwide audience.”
 
This year was the first time the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. At the end of July it opened a blog in which a five-member Shadow Jury commented on the singers’ performances.

New Singers’ Studio popular

The competition also attracted a good audience at its concert venues in Helsinki and Tampere. The Semifinals and Final were now held for the first time at the Helsinki Music Centre, where the competition culminated in the Final on 13 August. A Prizewinners’ Concert was held at Tampere Hall on 15 August.
 
New this year at the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition were a Singers’ Studio and more master classes than on previous occasions. The Sibelius Academy Chamber Music Hall was packed for the interview with Deborah Voigt, and the Camerata Hall at the Helsinki Music Centre was almost full on 11–12 August, when five members of the Jury gave master classes to 16 competitors. All in all a total of some 9,000 people attended competition events in person.

Large audience for Yle channels

The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) streamed all the competition performances live at yle.fi/klassinen and these were accessed over 36,000 times in all. The Semifinals and Final were shown live on the Yle Teema TV channel, the Final recording an average audience of 51,000.
 
So far, video recordings of the competition have been viewed more than 150,000 times on Yle Areena. These recordings will be available until the next competition in 2019. During the competition, Yle produced content not only for its Mirjam Helin competition page but also for its Elävä arkisto (Living Archive) and for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
 
The Finnish Broadcasting Company recorded and covered the VII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Next Mirjam Helin Competition in 2019

Forty-six singers took part in the VII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition. The winner of the prize for women was Ukrainian soprano Kateryna Kasper and of that for men Korean tenor Beomjin Kim. The Chairman of the Jury was Jorma Silvasti, Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival. The other members of the Jury were Franz Grundheber, Maria Guleghina, Ben Heppner, Robert Holl, Andrea Rost, Nathalie Stutzmann and Deborah Voigt.
 
The next Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition will be held in Helsinki in 2019. The competition is renowned for its high standard, demanding repertoire and prestigious Jury. It is organised once every five years by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.