About the 2003 competition

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World flags (Photo: Brian Tarr)

The 2003 competition took place between 22-26 June in Cardiff, Wales.

The 2003 competition was known as BBC Singer of the World in Cardiff.

Of the 951 hopeful singers who applied, 483 were shortlisted for audition. They represented 56 nations and were heard in 40 locations across 30 countries around the world. The shortlist was finally narrowed down to 25 singers, with two reserves.

In the main competition, singers were required to demonstrate their prowess in the disciplines of opera or concert music. During the course of the competition, well over 100 pieces of music were performed - operatic arias, solo arias from sacred works and songs, all with full orchestral accompaniment.

Five finalists were chosen from five preliminary concerts, each involving five singers. The five singers with the highest marks overall took part in the final.

The Song Prize was awarded to the best performance of Lieder or art song throughout the competition. For the first time in 2003 the Song Prize received a boost in its status by becoming a separate event.

Another innovation was the Audience Prize, which was entirely decided by the audience in St David's Hall and at home. Voting opened once the last singer had sung in the preliminary concerts, and closed at 11 am on Sunday 29 June.

Votes were cast by phone, text and on the website, and people could vote for any of the 25 competitors, whether they reached the final or not, on the basis of their performance in the preliminary concerts in St David's Hall.

Master classes

Some of the competitors who didn't reach the final had the chance to take part in a master class with one of the distinguished singers on the jury. In 2003 these were Gundula Janowitz, Sherrill Milnes and Dennis O'Neill.

There was another master class event for the first time this year. Keen amateur singers had the chance to sing to American diva Barbara Bonney and reap the benefit of her advice and experience.


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