International Head Judge
Sumi Jo portrait.jpg

Sumi Jo

Acclaimed for the remarkable agility, precision, and warmth of her voice and for her outstanding musicianship, the GRAMMY Award-winning soprano Sumi Jo has established herself as one of the most sought-after sopranos of our times. Described as a “Superstar” and “one of the best-loved sopranos of her generation” (CNN, Dec 2012), she has performed on some of the world’s most important opera and concert hall stages during her vast operatic career.

Following her musical studies at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Sumi Jo became a winner of some of the most important singing competitions, including the Carlo Alberto Cappelli International Competition. Invitations to radio and television programs immediately followed. In 1989 she made a brilliant debut at the Salzburg Festival as Oscar in Un ballo in Maschera, marking the launch of a stellar career. In rapid succession, she began performing on all major opera stages including the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Milan Scala, the London Royal Opera House, the Opéra National and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and countless others.

From the great coloratura roles by Mozart, Rossini, Bellini to Voiletta in La Traviata, Gilda in Rigoletto and Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, she continues to set standards, enchanting audiences and press alike with her vast repertoire. In recent years, Sumi Jo has been specialising in high-class gala concerts and concert tours with a unique mix of spectacular bel canto arias and crossover pieces. She has toured internationally with renowned orchestras and serves as a jury member at competitions including the BBC Singer of the world in Cardiff, the Queen Sonja singing competition in Oslo and the Hong Kong International Singing Competition. The promotion of young singers is of particular importance to her, leading to her initiate the founding of an international music school in her hometown of Changwon in 2023, and the creation of the very first “Sumi Jo International Singing Competition in Castle” at Château de La Ferté-Imbault near Paris from July 15-21, 2024.

Preliminary Judge
Andrea Creighton

Andrea Creighton

Andrea Creighton graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music, UK with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Advanced Vocal Performance and was then accepted into the Young Artist Programme of the Opéra National de Paris. Successful in many competitions, she was the winner of the New Zealand Mobil Song Quest; the Webster Booth/Esso Award in the United Kingdom; the Opera Prize of the Cercle Carpeaux de L’Opéra National de Paris; and the very prestigious Prix d’A.R.O.P for an outstanding debut performance at the Paris Opera.

Andrea has sung principal roles with many international companies including: L’Opéra National de Paris; New Zealand Opera; Opéra de Bordeaux; Opéra de Tours; Opéra de Nantes; Iford Festival UK; Festival d’Aix en Provence; Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing; Melbourne Opera and the NZ International Festival of the Arts.

A true crossover performer - Andrea has shown her versatility by performing both soprano and mezzo roles on the international stage and is equally at home as a Musical Theatre performer. In 2024 she will be taking on the role of Aunt Norris in Mansfield Park and Ragonde in Le Comte Ory for New Zealand Opera.

Andrea’s performance experience encompasses opera, oratorio, musical theatre and the concert platform. Her concert and recital work has seen engagements with national and international orchestras including the Vector Wellington Orchestra; the Auckland Philharmonia; the Auckland Chamber Orchestra; l’Orchèstre National de Paris; l’Orchèstre Radio France; Les Musiciens de Louvre; l'Orchèstre National de Lyon; the English Camerata Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra UK.

Andrea is an established singing teacher and has returned home to New Zealand to take up a voice teaching position at the Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland. She has taught for several years at one of the top private secondary schools in Melbourne, Haileybury College and was on the classical voice teaching staff at Monash University in Melbourne. Andrea is also a sought-after “French Language for Singers” coach and has examined and adjudicated nationally and internationally.

Preliminary Judge
Peter Lockwood

Peter Lockwood

Peter Lockwood, vocal coach, assistant conductor and repetiteur, is one of New Zealand’s highest ranking music professionals working in Europe at this time. Born in Wellington, he went on to study in London at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He then was appointed to the music staff of Scottish Opera in Glasgow (1982) and then of Belgian National Opera in Brussels (1983) before joining the music staff of Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam in 1993; he has since worked with a who’s who of singers, conductors, and stage directors of the opera world. 

His repertoire includes more than two hundred operas, including the major works of Wagner, Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini as well as of Janácek, Richard Strauss, Poulenc and the Italian bel canto school. 

He appears regularly as accompanist on the concert platform and on European radio and television and also gives master classes for young singers and repetiteurs in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Great Britain and the United States. He has also been a jury member for vocal competitions and conservatory examinations in New Zealand (NZ Aria), Holland, Belgium, Germany and Albania.

His recordings include two CDs of transcriptions of operatic excerpts for two pianos (Opera 4 Hands Vols. 1 & 2) with Julian Reynolds and a CD of Saint-Saëns’ Le Carnaval des Animaux in its original version for two pianos and chamber ensemble as well as a CD of songs by Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten (Oh Fair To See) with tenor Donald Kaasch.

He is directly involved with Dutch National Opera’s Young Artist Programme and has also mentored young New Zealand singers in collaboration with the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.