09 Jun 2009

Japan Wins First Concert Round in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009

Cardiff: 8 June 2009 — Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura last night (SUN) won the opening concert round in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

Chairman of the panel of international judges John Fisher made the clearly popular announcement at the end of the concert in St David’s Hall, Cardiff.

Mr Fisher, chief executive and artistic director of Welsh National Opera, presented the 30 year old soprano with a Welsh crystal trophy to make her achievement.

Eri shared this first concert with two other sopranos, 25-year-old soprano Dana Bramane, Latvia and 27-year-old soprano Emiliya Ivanova, Bulgaria along with 30-year-old baritone Etienne Dupuis, Canada and 23-year-old bass Fernando Javier Radó, Argentina.

Eri is a graduate of Osaka College of Music and is currently a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The 31-year-old soprano immediately won the hearts of the packed audience with sparkling singing of the bright ‘Quel guard oil cavaliere’ from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale followed by emotionally charged arias from Massenet’s Manon and Guonod’s Roméo et Juliette.

These were the first of the 25 singers who are competing for the title BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and receive a £15,000 prize, which is provided by the City and County of Cardiff. The Competition is organised by BBC Wales, over this week.

Although winner of her concert Eri is not guaranteed a place in next Sunday’s final as the judges wait until they have heard all 25 singers before selecting their top five. It is possible two singers may go through from one concert round and the winner of a concert round not be selected for the final five. Indeed this happened in 2007 when fellow Japanese soprano Mari Moriya won her concert round but did not reach the final.

The 25 singers who represent nations as far afield as Chile and Russia, Australia and Italy have been selected from more than 600 singers from around the world who took part in auditions in 44 locations in more than 30 countries for the biennial competition.


This year all singers taking part will also be eligible to benefit from a new bursary to help towards the development of their musical careers. A follower of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Annie Sankey, has left the competition a bequest and a new bursary in her name to support singers who take part in the competition has been established. Menna Richards, Director BBC Cymru Wales said, “The bursaries will help support the studies of competitors, including helping with travel and the purchase of musical scores”.

Twenty of the singers are also taking part in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize which has its own final at St David’s Hall on Friday, June 12.

Both competitions are receiving extensive coverage by the BBC across the networks including BBC Cymru Wales, Radio 3, BBC Two and BBC Four and online.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Sunday, June 7 to Thursday, June 11 and final on Sunday, June 14, St David’s Hall, Cardiff. BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize, Saturday, June 6 to Tuesday, June 9 at the New Theatre, Cardiff and final on Friday, June 12 at St David’s Hall. Master Classes taken by the judges, including Dame Gwynedd Jones and Richard Bonynge, New Theatre, Cardiff and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Saturday, June 13.

Further details of the competition, competitors, jurors, accompanists, orchestras: bbc.co.uk/cardiffsinger

For more information biographies, photography and review tickets contact Mike Smith, 07795 325161. mike@mediasmith.co.uk