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BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2007
The Contestants and the Juries are announced (BK)


With a record number of singers auditioned and three countries competing for the first time, the final 25 singers have now been selected from more than 1,000 who applied to take part. A record 677 singers from 64 countries took part in auditions held in 44 locations.


This year’s series of concerts to find the 2007 recipient of the coveted title BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and the winner of the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize will be held between Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 17.


Singers from as far afield as Brazil and China, Australia and Norway will gather in Cardiff to compete in the prestigious competition that has helped launch the careers of such star names as Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Karita Mattila, Inger Dam-Jensen, Lisa Gasteen and Bryn Terfel.


The 2005 winner American soprano Nicole Cabell has seen her career rocket since the competition with rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic including her Royal Opera House debut. Her fist solo CD with Decca will be launched in the spring and her Metropolitan Opera, New York debut is scheduled in her busy diary.


Nicole joined Menna Richards, Controller BBC Wales at the launch of the 2007 competition at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Thursday, February 22.


Announcing the names of the 25 finalists Menna Richards  said: “Each BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition brings the attention of the music world to Wales for this unique search for excellence in opera and song.Singers and audiences alike enjoy what are both fiercely contested competitions and an unparalleled experience for young singers. All are winners in this friendly competition as the singers get to work with two excellent orchestras, gain concert and broadcast experience and have the opportunity to take part in Master Classes with jury members who include some of opera’s most respected stars. With the BBC's extensive broadcast coverage on television, on radio and online we are delighted to be able to welcome audiences around the globe to join with us in Wales for the world’s greatest singing competition.”


Making a welcome return to Wales this year is the competition’s Patron Dame Joan Sutherland. She said: "Like so many other lovers of music and song I am eagerly looking forward to being back in Wales for the world's greatest singing competition in June. I am delighted to see the huge success 2005's winner Nicole Cabell is now enjoying which she happily acknowledges was thanks to her success in Cardiff. The competition is always a wonderful experience for not only the St David's Hall audience and multimedia audiences across the world but is also a delight for every competitor taking part."


New countries enter contestants


Estonia, Croatia and Uzbekistan have singers taking part in the competition for the first time and the complete list of contestants comprises:

Australia: Miranda Keys, soprano, Age 33

Brazil: Luciano Botelho, tenor, Age 31

Bulgaria: Ivo Yordanov, baritone, Age 27

Canada: David DQ Lee, counter-tenor, Age 29

Chile: María Isabel Vera, mezzo, Age 29

China: Yang Shen, bass-baritone, Age 23

Croatia: Ante Jerkunica, bass, Age 29

England: Elizabeth Watts, soprano, Age 28

Estonia: Juhan Tralla, tenor, Age 33

Finland: Helena Juntunen, soprano, Age 31

Germany: Evelina Dobračeva, soprano, Age 32

Hungary: Levente Molnár, baritone, Age 24

Ireland: Owen Gilhooly, baritone, Age 30

Japan: Mari Moriya, soprano, Age 29

Korea: Sae Kyung Rim, soprano, Age 31
Lithuania: Sandra Janušaitė, soprano, Age33

Netherlands: Wiard Witholt, baritone, Age 28

Norway: Johannes Weisser, baritone, Age 26

Russia: Anna Viktorova, mezzo, Age 26

South Africa: Jacques Imbrailo, baritone, Age 28

Sweden: Ida Falk Winland, soprano, Age 25

Ukraine: Julia Griniuk, mezzo, Age 30

USA: Ryan McKinny, baritone, Age 26

Uzbekistan: Dmitri Vargin, baritone, Age 29

Wales: Sarah-Jane Davies, soprano, Age31

The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World preliminary concerts take place at St David’s Hall, Cardiff from Sunday, June 10 to Thursday, June 14 with the final on Sunday, June 17.


The winner will receive £15,000 which is an increase in prize money of £5,000 and is generously provided by Cardiff County Council. The winner will receive a trophy donated by Welsh Royal Crystal and there may be an opportunity of engagements with the BBC and Welsh National Opera.


The prize money for each of this year’s other four finalists is £2,500. This has been made possible thanks to new sponsorship from the Richard Lewis Trust. The Award is created in memory of the internationally distinguished Welsh singer.


Welsh National Opera’s General Director John Fisher chairs a distinguished panel of jurors including the legendary singers Marilyn Horne and Siegfried Jerusalem.


Mr Fisher said, “I have always followed BBC Cardiff Singer of the World with great interest over the years, and I am particularly proud to be taking over as Chairman of the jury this summer."


The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera conducted by Carlo Rizzi and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by John Nelson accompanies competitors in the preliminary round concerts. BBC National Orchestra of Wales will accompany competitors in the final on June 17, conducted by John Nelson and Carlo Rizzi.



BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize.


All contestants may take part in the competition to win the coveted title, the £5,000 prize and a trophy donated by Welsh Royal Crystal. The winner will also be offered a recital as part of the Rosenblatt Recital Series at St John’s Smith Square. The winner may also join Radio 3’s BBC New Generation Artists Scheme.


There will be four concerts at the New Theatre, Cardiff from Saturday, June 9 to Tuesday, June 12 and a final at St David’s Hall on Friday, June 15.


Ian Rosenblatt said: “I am delighted to be sponsoring the Song Prize, perhaps the most prestigious vocal music prize in the world. The BBC could not be a better partner for the Rosenblatt Recital Series in its goal of sustaining and encouraging interest in the vocal arts."


The 2005 winner Andrew Kennedy is now one of opera’s most sought after young tenors. Currently he is singing the lead role in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore with Opera North.


Judging the Song (formerly Lieder) Prize will be an equally distinguished jury including Brigitte Fassbaender and Helmut Deutsch. The Song Prize jury is also chaired by John Fisher.


The official accompanists for the Song Prize will be Phillip Thomas, Simon Lepper and Llŷr Williams.


More details of the competition are available at bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger and a booking form can also be downloaded from this site.

N.B. Evan Dickerson hopes to cover the whole of the competition for Seen and Heard. His articles and reviews from Cardiff will be posted daily before the BBC's television broadcasts of the previous day's Main Prize rounds are shown.



Bill Kenny

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Contributors: Contributors: Marc Bridle, Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling,  Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, John Leeman, Sue Loder,Jean Martin, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas,Alex Verney-Elliott,Raymond J Walker, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)