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The Cardiff Singer of the World Competition (also the BBC Singer of the World in Cardiff Competition in 2003) is a competition for opera and art singers held every two years. It is considered one of the most prestigious competitions in the opera world.

The competition was started by BBC Wales in 1983 to celebrate the opening of St David's Hall in Cardiff, Wales, home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Auditions are held throughout the world in the autumn before the competition, with 25 singers being selected to take part in Cardiff the following June. Each singer represents their own country. In 2003 a rule was introduced allowing two singers to represent countries with large populations. Only in Wales is there a competition to select the national representative. The winner of the Welsh Singers Competition represents Wales in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition[1].

Members of the jury will be internationally known singers Mary King, Dennis O'Neill and Neal Davies, Sarah Playfair (freelance Opera Casting Director) and Julian Smith (Music Adviser to BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, freelance conductor and former Head of Music at Welsh National Opera).

The competition is judged by a panel of distinguished singers, musicians and music professionals. In 2003 an audience prize was also introduced for the primary competition.



In 1983, the first year of the competition, eighteen singers participated. The winner was Finnish soprano Karita Mattila.

In 1987, a Lieder Prize was introduced, as artsong and opera are both important forms of song, but very different.

The 1989 competition was particularly noteworthy with Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel winning the Lieder prize and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky taking the overall title with an interpretation of the aria Eri tu from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. Both singers have gone on to enjoy extremely successful careers with international acclaim.

In 1999, the Lieder Prize was renamed the Song Prize, to clarify that it applies to artsong and folksong rather than German Lieder only. The Song Prize became a separate event in 2003, as the BBC Cardiff Singer Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize. It is not compulsory, and the only entry requirement is that the singer is taking part in the primary competition.

The 2005 prize was won by American soprano Nicole Cabell who now regularly performs in operas house across the world including London, Chicago and New York. The Song Prize was won by English tenor Andrew Kennedy.

The 2007 competition was won by Chinese singer Shenyang who made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 2009 and the Song Prize was won by English soprano Elzabeth Watts.

For 2009 the final 25 were selected from more than 600 singers from 68 countries who took part in auditions held in 44 locations as far afield as Sydney and Stockholm, Bucharest and Beijing. The winner was Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko.

Welsh National Opera’s General Director and Artistic Director John Fisher chairs a distinguished panel of jurors which in 2009 includes the legendary singers Dame Gwyneth Jones and Kurt Moll.

For 2009 the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera is conducted by Paul Daniel and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Lawrence Foster accompany competitors in the preliminary round concerts. BBC National Orchestra of Wales provides the accompaniment for the final. The official accompanists for the Song Prize are Phillip Thomas, Simon Lepper and Llŷr Williams.

During the week of the competition, the jury members give Master Classes which are held at the New Theatre, Cardiff and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, and are open to the public

Many prominent singers have served in the jury, including Carlo Bergonzi, Geraint Evans, Marilyn Horne, Gundula Janowitz, Sherrill Milnes, Christoph Prégardien, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Anne Evans, René Kollo, Galina Vishnevskaya and Dame Gwyneth Jones.

The competition is organised by BBC Wales and is televised by BBC Two and BBC Four in the UK and broadcast over BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, and the Welsh language BBC Radio Cymru.

2007 Competition

The 2007 competition was won by the 23-year-old bass baritone Shenyang from China. The English soprano Elizabeth Watts won the song prize.

2009 Competition

The 2009 competition was won by Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko (born 1977).

List of the winners

See also


  1. ^ Welsh Singers Competition

External links



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