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 and continues to develop the format of the competition and its broadcast coverage. It takes place every two years - in 2015 it runs Sunday 14 June – Sunday 21 June. It is organized in association with Welsh National Opera and is 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. For 2015, more than 300 talented singers from 55 countries applied to come to the capital of Wales to represent their country. After a three-stage selection process involving DVD and live auditions, 20 singers were invited to compete in Cardiff. They will 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. This takes place 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.

Details about all the concerts and recitals can be found on the Events page.

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.

In addition, the competition in liaison with BBC Radio 3 will commission a new piece from composer John Lunn. It will be written especially for the winner, who will give its first performance at the 2016 BBC Proms, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

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 is eligible to win £2,000 and a trophy. Voting is by telephone and online and is open between 2pm on Friday 19 June and 2pm on Sunday 21 June. The prize is supported by the Cardiff University School of Music.

The musicians

Performances are accompanied by two world-class orchestras; BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted in 2015 by Principal Conductor Thomas Søndergård and the WNO Orchestra, conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

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

The 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 will be held again this year. In addition, there is a very exciting new Fringe programme featuring workshops, opera films and recitals taking place in venues across Cardiff. The Fringe is launched by an evening with the competition’s Patron, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, in conversation with journalist Kate Adie, at Wales Millennium Centre. More about the Fringe.

2017 competition

Dates for 2017 are Sunday 18-Sunday 25 June. More information about applying for an audition and about the event itself will appear here in due course.