Thursday 21 February 2013

Cardiff Singer of the World

The 20 finalists for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World have been announced. They will take part in the biennial contest this year, which also celebrates its 30th anniversary. The 20 finalists have been selected from more than 400 young singers from all over the world. An initial short-list was done by DVD, then three judges including Elaine Padmore, former Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, travelled to do auditions. The 20 singers will perform in Cardiff from Sunday 16 June to Sunday 23 June. The competition was 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, Anja Harteros and the 2011 winner Valentina Naforniţă.

The jury for the main prize will include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Patron of the competition, Elena Obraztsova, Neil Shicoff, Bernd Weikl, Maren Hofmeister, Per Boye Hansen 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 conducted by Jun Mӓrkl and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera conducted by Graeme Jenkins.

This year's finalists include two English singers, soprano Katherine Broderick who was recently seen as Donna Anna in ENO's production of Don Giovanni (see my review), and who recently released a recital disc with Malcolm Martineau (see my review). And tenor Ben Johnson who was Alfredo in the new La Traviata at ENO (see my review). Ben Johnson has recently released a disc on Signum classics of Britten's Canticles (see my review). Both singers are ENO Harewood Young Artists and both have won the Kathleen Ferrier award.

Portugese soprano Susana Gaspar, who is one of the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Young Artists is also in the finalists, as is Gary Griffiths, a formed Associate Artist of Welsh National Opera. There is a singer from Egypt for the first time, and the rules have been changed to allow more than one singer from a country, so that there are two singers from England, from Italy and from South Korea.

The full list is:-
Argentina - Daniela Mack, Mezzo-soprano, 30
Belarus - Yuri Gorodetski, Tenor, 30
China - Yi Li, Tenor, 28
Croatia - Marko Mimica, Bass-baritone, 25
England - Katherine Broderick, Soprano, 30
England - Ben Johnson, Tenor, 29
Egypt - Gala El Hadidi, Mezzo-soprano, 30
Hungary - Mária Celeng, Soprano, 24
Italy - Loriana Castellano, Mezzo-soprano, 31
Italy - Teresa Romano, Soprano, 28
Lithuania - Eglė Šidlauskaitė, Mezzo-soprano, 29
Poland - Michał Partyka, Baritone, 27
Portugal - Susana Gaspar, Soprano, 31
Russia - Alexey Bogdanchikov, Baritone, 27
South Africa - Luthando Qave, Baritone, 26
South Korea - Jeongcheol Cha, Bass-Baritone, 31
South Korea - Kihwan Sim, Bass, 29
Ukraine - Olena Tokar, Soprano, 25
USA - Jamie Barton, Mezzo-soprano, 31
Wales - Gary Griffiths, Baritone, 29

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