Class 1: RECITAL
A recital of up to 20 minutes chosen from the following:

  • [A] An aria from a cantata, an opera or an oratorio of any period excluding Mozart compositions
  • [B] An art song, (excluding A) written before the 19th century
  • [C] An art song (excluding A), written during the 19th century
  • [D] 1 or 2 art songs (excluding A), written during the 20th or 21st centuries
  • [E] An art song, from any country in the world, sung in the original language and from any period. Your choice should exclude any song appropriate to the other Recital categories e.g. arias, French Mélodie, German Lieder or British Song.

All singers are asked choose a programme varied in style, mood and language from the list of categories with a time limit of 20 minutes. The choice need not contain repertoire from each category. Any arias should be in the original language and key.

Class 2: Opera
All singers should prepare 2 arias, excluding those from Mozart Operas, at least one with recitative, in 2 different languages and by different composers with a time limit of 13 minutes.

Class 3: Oratorio or Sacred Song
1 Oratorio aria or sacred aria from a Cantata or Mass, excluding those by Mozart, in the original language and key, time limit 7 minutes. Music from the baroque period may be sung at baroque pitch. Copies provided for the accompanist must be in the key being sung and accompanists will not be expected to transpose.

Class 4: French Song
1 song in the original language, excluding those by Mozart, time limit 5 mins.

Class 5: Lieder
1 song in the original language, excluding those by Mozart, time limit 5 mins.

Class 6: British Song
Singers eligible for Class 8, The Elizabeth Hampshire Award for Young Singers may enter this class.
1 song, not an aria from Opera or Oratorio, time limit 5 mins. The song should be in English and the composer from the United Kingdom or Ireland. Your choice can be from any period.

Class 7: Repertoire by Mozart
All singers should prepare a Concert Aria OR an aria from an Opera or Oratorio by Mozart AND a Mozart song in the original language. Time limit 10 minutes.

Class 8: Elizabeth Hampshire Award for Young Singers
This class is for singers studying or having studied at a specialist Music School or a Conservatoire Junior Department, but who have not yet arrived at Senior Conservatoire level, aged between 14 and 19 years. Singers should prepare a creatively chosen programme of 3 pieces, one at least in a language other than English. Time limit 12 minutes. Singers entering this class are also eligible to enter Class 6: British Song in the Singer’s Platform, but are not eligible for classes in the Festival Weekend.

The entries will be programmed into sessions on Thursday and Friday morning, afternoon and evening, and Saturday morning and afternoon. The Finals and presentation of awards is at the Finals Evening on Saturday 27 January 2024. In the event of an increase in entries, it may be necessary to restrict entry numbers if there is insufficient time, so early application is strongly advised.

The adjudicators will choose up to 5 performers from all the Recital and Opera classes for the Finals on Saturday evening and finalists chosen from Thursday and Friday sessions will be informed on Friday evening at the latest.

The winners of all other classes will be announced at the final session of these classes. Winners will be expected to return for the Finals on Saturday evening to perform again and to receive their award. Winners in the new classes 7 and 8 will choose one piece from their programmes to sing on the Finals evening. A travel bursary of £50 will be awarded to all Thursday and Friday finalists to help with the cost of returning to Sheffield on Saturday. Finalists who are programmed in sessions on Saturday morning and/ or afternoon will not qualify for a bursary as they will already be in Sheffield. Multiple class winners will receive one bursary only.


  • Recital Class finalists will choose a shorter programme from their full Recital, varied in style, mood and language, with a time limit of 12 minutes
  • Opera Class finalists will choose 1 recitative and aria from their preliminary programme with a time limit of 7 minutes

Time limits
All performances must adhere to the time limits including verbal introductions. Any re-starts which are the fault of the singer are included in the performance time limit. Any re-starts which are not the fault of the singer will not be included in the performance time limit. Should a performer exceed the time limit, an adjudication will be given, but the Festival reserves the right to withhold a placing and the adjudicators reserve the right to stop a performance that is excessively over time. N.B. Take great care with your timing! A number of singers in past years have not reached the Finals because their choices exceeded the time limits.

Song choices
A performer must NOT sing the same song in more than one class.
Programme changes will only be permitted after 1 January in exceptional circumstances.

Order of classes
Once the Entry Forms have been received, the order in which classes will take place will be determined and everyone will be duly informed.