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Get ready for the 2018 Montreal International Music Competition

Robert Rowat

We're getting ready for the 17th edition of the annual Montreal International Music Competition (Concours musical international de Montréal, or CMIM for short), which will take place from May 29 to June 7, 2018, at Bourgie Hall and La Maison symphonique de Montréal. This year, the competition is open to singers born on or after Jan. 1, 1983.

From a field of 358 applicants, 38 singers from 22 countries have made the cut and will come to Montreal to compete for a total prize package of $265,000.

CBC Music will be on the ground to bring you full competition coverage. To get you ready for maximum enjoyment, we've compiled 10 things to know about the 2018 CMIM.

1. There'll be 2 categories

An exciting innovation this year: the competition will be divided into two categories, aria and art song. Twenty-four singers will compete in the aria division; 16 in the art song division. (Two singers will compete in both.)

2. There are 8 Canadian competitors

Of the 38 singers who've been selected for the first round of the CMIM, eight are Canadian. Other countries with high representation are South Korea (six), the U.S., Russia and Ukraine (three each).

3. The competition unfolds over 3 rounds

Both categories (aria and art song) will roll out over three rounds: first round, semifinal and final. Half of the singers in each category will advance to the semifinal round; half of the semifinalists in each category to the final round.

The final round of the art song category will take place on Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m. at Bourgie Hall.

In the aria category, the performances in both the semifinal and final rounds will be accompanied by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Graeme Jenkins, at La Maison symphonique de Montréal. The semifinal takes place June 4 and 5; the final will be on June 7.

4. You can watch all the performances

All of the competition's performances, from the first round through the orchestral final, will be webcast here.

5. An all-star jury will choose the winners

The prize winners will be selected by a jury comprising Edith Bers, Ben Heppner, Soile Isokoski, Warren Jones, Françoix Le Roux, Felicity Lott, Richard Rodzinski, Joseph Rouleau and Kiri Te Kanawa.

Zarin Mehta has agreed to be president of the jury, replacing the competition's co-founder André Bourbeau, who died in March.

Related: Listen to Ben Heppner's Opera Gems, a 24/7 music stream

6. There's a lot of money to be won

You can see the full list of prizes here, but the headline is that the first-prize winner in each category will receive $80,000, in addition to any special prizes they may also receive.

7. There's also a prize for collaborative pianists

New this year, the CMIM is offering the $10,000 John Newmark Prize for the best collaborative pianist. Twelve pianists are eligible. (The CMIM provides collaborative pianists to those singers not performing with a competing pianist.)

8. Our 'phantom jury' is back

Reviving a favourite element of our coverage of past competitions, CBC Music will be live-tweeting the entire competition with the help of a "phantom jury" — a panel of five experts. Meet them here. You'll be able to follow along and add your voice to the conversation using the hashtag #CMIM2018.

9. CBC Music will broadcast highlights

On June 16, host Ben Heppner will present highlights from the CMIM's final round on CBC Music's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.

10. There will be phenomenal singing

The 2018 CMIM is your chance to hear the brightest young singing stars in the world today. Past voice laureates include Measha Brueggergosman, Philippe Sly, Marianne Fiset, Keonwoo Kim and Angela Meade.

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