20 Singers Announced To Compete In BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World 2019 Competition

By Nicole Kuchta

The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019 has announced that 20 outstanding classical singers from across the globe have been selected to compete in the prestigious competition.

The competitors, who were chosen from a pool of 400 applicants and hail from 15 different countries, include: tenor Roman Arndt and mezzo-sopranos Karina Kherunts and Yulia Mebbibaeva from Russia; baritone Leonardo Lee and soprano Sooyeon Lee from South Korea; mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina and baritone Andrei Kymach from the Ukraine; bass Patrick Guetti and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba from the USA; mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Barrientos from Argentina; soprano Lauren Fagan from Australia; soprano Camila Titinger from Brazil; tenor Mingjie Lei from China; mezzo-soprano Katie Bray from England; soprano Adriana Gonzalez from Guatemala; baritone Jorge Espino from Mexico; baritone Badral Chuluunbaatar from Mongolia; tenor Luis Gomes from Portugal; tenor Owen Metsileng from South Africa; and mezzo-soprano Angharad Lyddon from Wales. The average age of the participants is 30.

Support from the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has significantly increased the value of the cash prizes this year. In recognition of this support, the Song Prize trophy will be renamed the Patron’s Cup.

The winner of the Main Prize will receive £20,000, the Cardiff Trophy, and the opportunity to perform in recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Center. Winners of the Song Prize will receive £10,000, and the opportunity to perform in recital at London’s prestigious Wigmore Hall. Finalists for the Main Prize will be awarded £2,500 each and for the Song Prize £1,000 each.

Competitors for the Main Prize will perform their own programs at St David’s Hall in four rounds, accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (conducted by Ewa Strusińska) and the Welsh National Opera Orchestra (conducted by Ariane Matiakh). The panel of judges will include David Poutney, José Cura, Dame Felicity Lott, Frederica von Stade, and Wasfi Kani.

The remaining 19 singers competing for the Song Prize/Patron’s Cup will perform Lieder and art songs at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama with a final at St David’s Hall, accompanied by pianists Llŷr Williams and Simon Lepper. The jury will include John Gilhooly, Robert Holl, Dame Felicity Lott, Frederica von Stade, and Malcolm Martineau.

The Audience Prize, which allows the public to vote for their favorite singer, will be dedicated to the memory of 1989 winner Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who passed away in 2017. The winner will receive £2,500, and be presented with a crystal trophy by conductor Richard Bonynge, husband of the late Dame Joan Sutherland, after whom the prize is named.

Cardiff is a biennial competition which has previously helped launch the careers of internationally acclaimed stars Jamie Barton, Elīna Garanča, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Bryn Terfel, among others.

This year the competition will be held from June 15 – 22, 2019 and audiences will be able to follow the competition on BBC TV, radio, and online.