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The 2005 finalists, from left: Luis Olivares Sandoval, Wendy Dawn Thompson, Daria Masiero, Nicole Cabell and Andrew Kennedy. (Image - Brian Tarr)

Launch of BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World 2007



Record number of singers auditioned

 

Three countries competing for first time

 

New sponsorship and increased prize money

 

The waiting is finally over for the record number of singers who auditioned to take part in the world's greatest singing competition, BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World.

 

The final 25 singers have been selected from more than 1,000 who applied to take part.

 

A record 677 singers from 64 counties took part in auditions held in 44 locations.

 

This year's series of concerts to find the 2007 recipient of the coveted title BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World and the winner of the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize will be held between Saturday 9 June and Sunday 17 June 2007.

 

Singers from as far afield as Brazil and China, Australia and Norway will gather in Cardiff to compete in the prestigious competition that has helped launch the careers of such star names as Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Karita Mattila, Inger Dam-Jensen, Lisa Gasteen and Bryn Terfel.

 

The 2005 winner American soprano Nicole Cabell has seen her career rocket since the competition with rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic including her Royal Opera House debut.

 

Her first solo CD with Decca will be launched in the spring and her Metropolitan Opera, New York debut is scheduled in her busy diary.

 

Nicole joined Menna Richards, Controller of BBC Wales, at the launch of the 2007 competition at St David's Hall, Cardiff today (Thursday 22 February).

 

Announcing the names of the 25 finalists, Menna said: "Each BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World competition brings the attention of the music world to Wales for this unique search for excellence in opera and song.

 

"Singers and audiences alike enjoy what are both fiercely contested competitions and an unparalleled experience for young singers.

 

"All are winners in this friendly competition as the singers get to work with two excellent orchestras, gain concert and broadcast experience and have the opportunity to take part in Master Classes with jury members who include some of opera's most respected stars.

 

"With the BBC's extensive broadcast coverage on television, on radio and online we are delighted to be able to welcome audiences around the globe to join with us in Wales for the world's greatest singing competition."

 

Making a welcome return to Wales this year is the competition's Patron Dame Joan Sutherland.

 

She said: "Like so many other lovers of music and song I am eagerly looking forward to being back in Wales for the world's greatest singing competition in June.

 

"I am delighted to see the huge success 2005's winner Nicole Cabell is now enjoying which she happily acknowledges was thanks to her success in Cardiff.

 

"The competition is always a wonderful experience for not only the St David's Hall audience and multimedia audiences across the world but is also a delight for every competitor taking part."

 

In recognition of the competition's place in the cultural life of Wales' capital city, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Gareth Neale, said: "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is one of the sparkling highlights in our city's cultural calendar and the council is delighted to be an ongoing partner in this celebration of opera and song.

 

"The competition not only brings some of the world's most talented young singers to our capital city but also attracts visitors to Wales from Britain and abroad.

 

"Such is the well-deserved reputation of the competition, it also brings the attention of a global audience to Cardiff, highlighting what our great city has to offer and demonstrating the council's commitment to the cultural life of citizens."

 

Estonia, Croatia and Uzbekistan have singers taking part in the competition for the first time.

 

Ensuring the widest possible audience, the competition will receive extensive BBC television and radio coverage and there will also be full online coverage including audience interactivity at bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger.

 

BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World 2007

 

The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World preliminary concerts take place at St David's Hall, Cardiff from Sunday 10 June to Thursday 14 June with the glittering final on Sunday 17 June.

 

The winner will receive £15,000 which is an increase in prize money of £5,000 and is generously provided by Cardiff County Council.

 

The winner will receive a trophy donated by Welsh Royal Crystal and there may be an opportunity of engagements with the BBC and Welsh National Opera.

 

The prize money for each of this year's other four finalists is £2,500.

 

This has been made possible thanks to new sponsorship from the Richard Lewis Trust.

 

The award is created in memory of the internationally distinguished Welsh singer.

 

Mrs Elizabeth Muir-Lewis said: "Our trust gives vital financial support to the finalists in BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World, while at the same time the artistry and voice of Richard Lewis lives on.

 

"I cannot think of a better place for his name to resonate in and I am sure he would have been absolutely delighted."

 

Welsh National Opera's General Director John Fisher chairs a distinguished panel of jurors including the legendary singers Marilyn Horne and Siegfried Jerusalem.

 

Mr Fisher said: "I have always followed BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World with great interest over the years, and I am particularly proud to be taking over as chairman of the jury this summer.

 

"The competition is internationally recognised as one of the most important singing competitions in the world, often responsible for the launch of major international careers.

 

"I have thought it appropriate that such a competition should take place in Wales, with its renowned tradition of singing, and I look forward very much to being part of this exciting event."

 

The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera conducted by Carlo Rizzi and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by John Nelson accompanies competitors in the preliminary round concerts.

 

BBC National Orchestra of Wales will accompany competitors in the final on 17 June, conducted by John Nelson and Carlo Rizzi.

 

Audience Prize

 

The international flavour of the competition, with nations from every continent taking part, has attracted generous sponsorship from Visit Wales.

 

The St David's Hall, TV, radio and online audiences will again be able to have their say in choosing a winner through the BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World's Audience Prize in association with Visit Wales, the tourism arm of the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks in the Welsh Assembly Government.

 

Andrew Davies, the Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, said: "Visit Wales is delighted to sponsor BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World's Audience Prize, for the third successive competition.

 

"The prize has been very popular with audiences and with competitors too as it is recognition by the people of Wales, the people who make up The Land of Song, the country that stages the world's leading vocal competition.

 

"With eight million viewers worldwide, BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World competition plays a part in raising the profile of Wales and with that our country's potential as a tourism destination."

 

BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize

 

All contestants may take part in the competition to win the coveted title, the £5,000 prize and a trophy donated by Welsh Royal Crystal.

 

The winner will also be offered a recital as part of the Rosenblatt Recital Series at St John's Smith Square.

 

The winner may also join BBC Radio 3's BBC New Generation Artists Scheme.

 

There will be four concerts at the New Theatre, Cardiff from Saturday 9 June to Tuesday 12 June and a glittering final at St David's Hall on Friday 15 June.

 

Ian Rosenblatt said: "I am delighted to be sponsoring the Song Prize, perhaps the most prestigious vocal music prize in the world.

 

"The BBC could not be a better partner for the Rosenblatt Recital Series in its goal of sustaining and encouraging interest in the vocal arts."

 

The 2005 winner Andrew Kennedy is now one of opera's most sought after young tenors. He is currently singing the lead role in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore with Opera North.

 

In a message Andrew Kennedy acknowledged the pivotal role the competition has had in advancing his career.

 

"Driving down the M4 it was so difficult to believe that the last ten days had really happened, made more surreal by the fact that a couple of hours later I would be dressed in a huge padded leather doublet and woollen cloak in the middle of summer and standing on the same stage as Ben Heppner, Renée Fleming and Robert Lloyd with Tony Pappano conducting," he said.

 

"It was only when all four of them found a moment to say that they had seen me on TV the previous evening, as did a great many of the chorus and other colleagues and friends, that I knew for certain it had really happened.

 

"It astonished me just how many people had seen the competition from agents to directors through to a couple who stopped me on the Tube soon after the final was broadcast.

 

"Indeed I got offers from as far afield as Prague, Boston and even Delhi as a direct result of the competition and this is surely a measure of how important the BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World competition is in promoting and shaping young singer's careers."

 

Judging the Song (formerly Lieder) Prize will be an equally distinguished jury including Brigitte Fassbaender and Helmut Deutsch. The Song Prize jury is also chaired by John Fisher.

 

The official accompanists will be Phillip Thomas, Simon Lepper and Llyr Williams.

 

The competition is also sponsored by Welsh bottled water company Brecon Carreg.

 

Details of the competition are available at bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger. A booking form can also be downloaded from this site.

 

Notes to Editors

 

The singers

 

Information about the singers is published on bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger.

 

Diary dates

 

BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World main prize, Sunday 10 June to Thursday 14 June and final on Sunday 17 June, St David's Hall, Cardiff

 

Rosenblatt Recital Series Song Prize, Saturday 9 June to Tuesday 12 June at the New Theatre, Cardiff and final on Friday 15 June at St David's Hall.

 

Master Classes at the New Theatre, Cardiff on Saturday 16 June.

 

Booking information

 

Booking opens on 24 February 2007.

 

All tickets can be purchased in person or by telephone either from St David's Hall box office (Tel. 029 20 87 8444) or New Theatre box office (Tel. 029 2087 8889).

 

Tickets for BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World concerts and final at St David's Hall and the final of the Rosenblatt Recital Song prize at St David's Hall can also be purchased online by visiting www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk.

 

Tickets for the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize preliminary concerts and Master Classes at the New Theatre can also be purchased online by visiting www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.

 

A booking form can also be downloaded from bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger.

 

BBC Wales Press Office

 


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Category: Factual & Art TV; Wales
Date: 22.02.2007
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