BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is a competition known throughout the classical music world as the premier showcase for opera and concert singers at the outset of their careers. It has launched the careers of some major stars including Karita Mattila, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Bryn Terfel, Anja Harteros and Jamie Barton.

About the competition

In 1983, BBC Wales created BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (J Mervyn Williams was the man credited with founding the competition) and continues to develop the format of the competition and its broadcast coverage. It takes place every two years and is organized in association with Welsh National Opera and supported by The City of Cardiff Council. The competition’s patron is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the artistic director is David Jackson.

The competition is open to singers at the start of their professional careers, aged 18-32. After a three-stage selection process involving DVD and live auditions, 20 singers are invited to compete in Cardiff, to perform opera and concert music with full orchestra in four concerts, in front of a distinguished jury. The winner from each concert plus one wild card (the best of the rest) compete in the final in St David’s Hall, Cardiff.

The singers may also take part in a parallel competition, the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize, in which they perform art songs with piano accompaniment. The preliminary round of four recitals takes place in the Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, with the five singers selected by the jury going on to perform in the final at St David’s Hall. It is not possible to enter the Song Prize only.

2015 Competition

The competition ran Sunday 14 June – Sunday 21 June. The winner was soprano Nadine Koutcher from Belarus, with South Korean bass Jongmin Park winning the Song Prize and Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat winning the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize.

2017 Competition

The next competition will be held Sunday 11 - Sunday 18 June 2017. Details about how to apply for audition and for tickets are here.

The prizes

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: the winner receives £15,000 and the Cardiff Trophy, and the four other finalists each receive £2,500.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize: the winner receives £5,000 and the Song Prize Trophy.

The Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize: any of the 20 competitors singing in Cardiff was eligible to win £2,000 and a trophy. Voting is by telephone and online. The prize is supported by the Cardiff University School of Music.

The musicians

Performances are accompanied by two world-class orchestras; the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the WNO Orchestra.

The official accompanists for the Song Prize are Simon Lepper and Llŷr Williams.

Broadcast coverage

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is broadcast throughout the week on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3. Additionally, in Wales, there is output on BBC Two Wales, S4C, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. All coverage can also be found on the BBC iPlayer.

Social media

You can also follow the competition via Facebook and Twitter.

The Fringe

For many years, the Master Classes given by members of the jury to non-finalists have been a very popular additional event and they were held again in 2015. In addition, there was a very exciting new Fringe programme featuring workshops, opera films and recitals taking place in venues across Cardiff.


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