Young singers get set for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013
THE 20 young singers who will compete for one of the world’s most famous opera prizes have been unveiled after auditions across the globe.
Welshman Gary Griffiths will battle it out with contestants from as far away as China, South Africa and the Ukraine for the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World title.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, it’s the competition credited with launching the careers of international opera stars like North Walian bass baritone Bryn Terfel.
Now Griffiths (pictured), who secured his place representing Wales when he won last year’s Welsh Singers Competition, hopes to emulate Terfel once more.
For the Llanelli-born singer is already being compared to the opera legend after winning the Mocsa Young Welsh Singer of the Year competition and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s coveted Gold Medal – which were both previously won by Terfel.
This year’s biennial competition, which has Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as its patron, will take place in Cardiff from June 16 to 23.
More than 400 opera and concert singers at the start of their careers entered the contest and Head of Opera at the Guildall School of Music, Clive Timms, and the accompanist, Ingrid Surgenor, drew up a shortlist of 52 singers from the initial DVD selection process.
Auditions took place in nine locations across the world, including Milan, New York and Buenos Aires. Some countries have more than one representative, including England, Italy and South Korea.
Former Director of Opera at The Royal Opera, Elaine Padmore, who was one of the three audition judges, said: “It’s always a fascinating process being involved in listening to young singers – voices you haven’t heard before.
“These 20 singers are well on their way to being good, professional singers. They are on the cusp and are looking ahead towards Cardiff – the glittering prize. It’s the competition that gives you that incredible push forward in your career as it’s seen so widely around the world. What the singers are doing is trying to advance their careers enormously by getting that fantastic global moment.
“A competition such as BBC Cardiff Singer of the World has a big reputation as it’s been going for 30 years now.”
The 2011 contest was won by Moldovian soprano, Valentina Nafornita, who also clinched the Audience Prize.
Video: Valentina Nafornita performs in the final of the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World competition
Joining Dame Kiri on this year’s panel of judges include mezzo-soprano Elena Obraztsova, tenor Neil Shicoff, baritone Bernd Weikl and chairman Nicholas Payne.
The singers, who will perform their own programmes of operatic and concert works at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, will be accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera.
Established in 1983 by BBC Cymru Wales, past winners of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World include the very first winner Karita Mattila, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Anja Harteros.
The winner of the main prize will receive £15,000 and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World trophy, while the Song Prize, awarded to the best singer of Lieder and art song, carries a £5,000 prize and trophy.
The rounds for this will take place for the first time in the newly-built Dora Stoutzker concert hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
The competition will be broadcast on BBC Four, BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.
After winning the Welsh Singers Competition last summer, Griffiths, 29, said he was looking forward to representing Wales.
He said at the time: “It really doesn’t frighten me – I see it as a challenge. You realise it’s the pinnacle of the competition world and to be able to represent your country is amazing.”
The candidates: next page
Daniela Mack, 30, mezzo-soprano
Yuri Gorodetski, 30, tenor
Yi Li, 28, tenor
Marko Mimica, 25, bass-baritone
Katherine Broderick, 30, soprano
Ben Johnson, 29, tenor
Gala El Hadidi, 30, mezzo-soprano
Mária Celeng, 24, soprano
Loriana Castellano, 31, mezzo-soprano
Teresa Romano, 28, soprano
Egle Šidlauskaite, 29, mezzo-soprano
Michal Partyka, 27, baritone
Susana Gaspar, 31, soprano
Alexey Bogdanchikov, 27, baritone
Luthando Qave, 26, baritone
Jeongcheol Cha, 31, bass-baritone
Kihwan Sim, 29, bass
Olena Tokar, 25, soprano
Jamie Barton, 31, mezzo-soprano
Gary Griffiths, 29, baritone