Kim Tae-Han hits high note at the Queen Elisabeth

Performing Korngold’s "Mein Sehnen, Mein Wähnen" in the Finals, 23 year old Baritone Taehan Kim, a graduate student at Seoul National University, won the Grand Prize of the 2023 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. 

Following the month-long arduous contest, the rankings of the six winners were proclaimed at midnight by jury president jury Bernard Foccroulle. Kim – the youngest candidate in the 2023 competition – was awarded the €25,000 Queen Mathilde prize in the presence of Queen Mathilde and Princess Eleonore of Belgium. 

"It came as a big surprise," Kim said in an interview with Nikkei Asia. "I was quite confident and well prepared before arriving [at] the competition, but when I arrived and saw so many great singers from all over the world ... I thought I couldn't win, especially as I was the youngest in the final."

Putting the competition out of his mind, Kim was able to ease into his role. "My objective was to enjoy the stage, not the competition, so I was not nervous and I could move the audience," Kim said.

During the final, the young baritone also performed parts of Wagner's opera "Tannhäuser," a piece that he said meant a great deal to him. "This piece represents me a lot. It's very romantic and melodic."

The second "Belgian Federal Government" prize, worth €20,000, was awarded to contralto Jasmin White (30), member of the opera studio at Volksoper Vienna, an audience favourite throughout the competition. Third Prize went to Julia Muzychenko-Greenhalgh (29), an active opera soloist in several opera houses in Germany and France.

2023 Jury

Second Prize winner Jasmin White

Julia Muzychenko-Greenhalgh, Third Prize

First Prize: Taehan Kim
Second Prize: Jasmin White
Third Prize: Julia Muzychenko-Greenhalgh

Bernard Foccroulle(Chair), June Anderson, Peter de Caluwe, Marc Clémeur, Helmut Deutsch, Serge Dorny, Bernarda Fink, Jonathan Friend, Sumi Jo, Sophie Karthäuser, Sophie de Lint, Bejun Mehta, Patricia Petibon, Christoph Prégardien, José Van Dam, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Evamaria Wieser

La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, Alain Altinoglu (Conductor)


The 2023 Concours Reine Elisabeth counted no less than 412 applications, a record number even for this major competition. In January, their videos were screened behind closed doors by an international jury, presided for the first time by Bernard Foccroulle, a composer, organist and president of the Brussels Opera. 68 candidates were selected to participate in the first public round, 55 actually came to perform.

All in all, the tenth edition of the Queen Elisabeth Competition was a huge success. Some 12,000 opera, lied and melodic enthusiasts followed the event live in Flagey and Bozar. From the first round to the final, no less than 43,000 people around the world connected live to our website and - offline - the videos generated more than 200,000 views.


©WFIMC 2023