BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: 20 finalists unveiled

BBC Cardiff Singers group
Image caption The singers competing in Cardiff in June

The line-up for this year's BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition has been unveiled.

The 20 singers chosen from nearly 350 applicants include three each from the United States and South Korea.

Swansea soprano Céline Forrest, 24, will represent Wales in June after winning the Welsh Singers Competition.

"Our final 20 are an exciting range of voice types, and an amazing array of talent," said artistic director David Jackson.


Image copyright Vladimir V. Postnov
Image caption Voices from Belarus: Soprano Nadine Koutcher and Marina Pinchuk, mezzo-soprano, both 32
Image caption Canadian soprano Aviva Fortunata, 27, and France's Anaïs Constans, 26, also a soprano
Image caption Bass Sebastian Pilgrim, 30, is Germany's entry, while bass baritone Roberto Lorenzi, 25, represents Italy
Image caption Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin, 30, and Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat, 29
Image caption Ingeborg Gillebo, 32, is a Norwegian mezzo-soprano, while soprano Regula Mühlemann, 29, is from Switzerland
Image caption Kelebogile Besong from South Africa is a 28-year-old soprano. Insu Hwang, a bass baritone, is the first of three South Korean competitors
Image caption Making up the rest of the South Korean trio are tenor Jaeyoon Jung, 31, and bass Jongmin Park , 28
Image caption Two tenors: Ilker Arcayürek, 30, from Turkey and Oleksiy Palchykov, 29, from Ukraine
Image caption Three stars from the USA: Bass baritone Ryan Speedo Green, 29; soprano Lauren Michelle, 32 and mezzo J'nai Bridges, 29
Image caption And last but not least - Swansea soprano Céline Forrest, 29, will carry the hopes of the Welsh audience

The eight-day event, which is held every two years, will run from 14-21 June and be broadcast extensively on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3, along with BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, S4C and online.

A trio of judges flew for auditions in eight cities from Milan to New York to make the final choice of finalists from 55 countries.

"All of the singers we travelled to hear are, of course, equipped with fine voices and efficient techniques which alone will be their passport to a career in music," said producer Jeremy Caulton.

"What we were looking for in addition, however, is that indefinable something which makes one sit up and pay attention in a different sort of way."

The winner of the main prize will receive £15,000 and the Cardiff Trophy, while the Song Prize, awarded to the best singer of Lieder and art song, carries a £5,000 prize.

The rounds for the Song Prize will take place in the Dora Stoutzker concert hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

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