BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest begins

BBC Cardiff Singer of the Year
Image caption The 20 singers set to take to the stage in Cardiff's St David's Hall

The 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest began on Sunday - with 20 finalists from across the world set to perform in the Welsh capital.

The week-long contest, which takes place every two years, showcases new classical singers and has launched the careers of stars such as Bryn Terfel.

Swansea soprano Celine Forrest will go up against singers from Belarus, USA, South Korea and other countries.

The main event at St David's Hall will be broadcast on BBC TV and radio.

Image caption Swansea soprano Celine Forrest, 29, was among the first to perform on Sunday

After winning through from the 300 singers who applied from 55 countries, the finalists arrived in Cardiff on Friday.

Malta, Mongolia and Democratic Republic of Congo will be represented for the first time.

The victor of the competition, created in 1983, will win the coveted trophy.

Alongside the main competition, a separate song prize is awarded, as well as the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize, which is voted for by the public.

Song prize recitals started proceedings at 14:30 BST on Sunday at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, with the grand final for the main prize on 21 June.

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