Updates on the 2009 contestants

Unfortunately Daniela Lehner, who was to represent Austria at the 2009 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, is indisposed and has had to withdraw. She will be replaced by the Bulgarian soprano, Emiliya Ivanova.

Among the 25 rising stars competing in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009, some are already hitting the headlines.

Earlier this month the Japanese contestant, soprano Eri Nakamura, stepped into the spotlight at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and made her debut singing Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi when Russian soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from the role.

When she returns to the Royal Opera stage next month as First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) and Giannetta (L'elisir d'amore). she will be singing alongside another contestant, fellow Jette Parker Young Artist, Korean tenor Ji-Min Park, who sings the role of Sailor. But you don't have to go to Covent Garden to get a sneak preview of the pair as BBC Four will broadcast Dido and Aeneas on Friday 22 May and BBC Radio 3 will broadcast Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea on Saturday 20 June.

UK residents can also hear the Wales contestant, soprano Natalya Romaniw, perform before the June competition. She will be giving a performance at St David's Hall, Cardiff on 7 April accompanied by Simon Lepper one of the official accompanists in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize.

These are just three of the singers close to home selected from more than 600 auditioned across the planet who are hoping their young careers will be given a major boost by taking part in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009, organised by BBC Wales.

Joining the international juries for this year for the first time Kurt Moll, Ann Murray, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Giacomo Aragall and Richard Bonynge.

The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera conducted by Paul Daniel and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Lawrence Foster accompany competitors.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize opens at the New Theatre on the evening of Saturday 6 June and is followed by three afternoon recitals on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The final takes place at St David's Hall, Cardiff on Friday 12 June. The official accompanists will be Phillip Thomas, Simon Lepper and Llŷr Williams.

On Saturday 13 June the distinguished jury members give master classes which are open to the public. These master classes are supported by the Ian Smith of Stornoway Trust.


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