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Commentary

Bryn Terfel [Photo by Harlequin Agency Limited]
20 May 2009

Bryn Terfel Gives Advice to BBC Cardiff Singer of World Competitors

With just one month to go before facing the judges in the world’s most prestigious singing competition what could be better than some advice from past competitor and opera super star Bryn Terfel?

Bryn Terfel Gives Advice to BBC Cardiff Singer of World Competitors

Above: Bryn Terfel [Photo by Harlequin Agency Limited]

 

That was the opportunity for three of the singers representing their countries in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in June who were able to enjoy some pearls of wisdom from Bryn.

The world famous Welsh singer took time out to meet the young singers at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, scene of many of his triumphs.

Bryn took part in the Cardiff competition 20 years ago and won the Lieder Prize (now the Song Prize). He had only weeks before won the Gold Medal at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Bryn met Natalya Romaniw from Swansea who this year follows in his footsteps, representing Wales in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World straight from being a student at the Guildhall.

He also chatted with this year’s Japanese contestant Eri Nakamura and the Korean contestant Ji-Min Park, both of whom are members of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House.

Bryn, who last sang Der fliegende Holländer at the Royal Opera and returns in July to sing Scarpia in Tosca, told them; “Remember that your performance starts the moment you walk on to that stage so have a big smile on your face.”

Keep hydrated was his “top tip”. “You will be doing so many rehearsals, interviews and then the performances just keep on drinking water, keep it in your bag and drink it whenever you can.”

Eri appears at St David’s Hall in the concert round on Sunday, June 7; Ji-Min on Monday, June 8 while Natalya makes her claim for the title of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World on Wednesday, June 10. The final is on Sunday, June 14.

All three are also taking part in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize is also held that week at the city’s New Theatre with its own final at ST David’s Hall on Saturday, June 13.

Bryn-Terfel-and-Opera-final.gif(l-r) Natalya Romaniw, Eri Nakamura, Bryn Terfel and Ji-Min Park [Photo by Brian Tarr]

Although Bryn quickly rose to international stardom he did not win that coveted BBC Cardiff Singer of the World title but did take the Lieder Prize (now the Song Prize).

“I had never won anything at college,” Bryn said. “I tried jazz and Gilbert and Sullivan, English songs and nothing! But then I won the Gold Medal! Cardiff Singer was the first time I had sung with an orchestra.

“I told the singers you must enjoy the competition and, yes, it is important but you still have to do your auditions, sing to conductors. But it is a great platform to be given the chance to make yourself know to these people before you do have to take those auditions.”

After meeting Bryn, Natalya said, “It is really busy now. I have a table of how many days are left! I have my final recital at the Guildhall on May 28 which is part of my degree and then I finish. In the recital I am incorporating songs from the Competition so it will be kind of like a mock run.”

Ji-Min from Seoul was performing in Lohengrin at the Royal Opera that evening but said he did not want to miss the chance to meet one of his heroes. “It is one of my dreams to sing in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. I bought a DVD of the competition and I listen to hit hundreds of times and listen it every day,” he said.

Eri from Kagoshima is in the first year of the Young Artists Programme and sings in L’Esire d’amore at Covent Garden before setting her sights on the Competition. “Before coming to London I was in the Opera Studio in Amsterdam and my colleagues there were talking about this competition and I checked the website and when I got contract here in London I decided to try. It is exciting to go to another city because I am always here in London.”

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, June 6 to 14. Tickets from New Theatre, Cardiff: 029 2087 8889, St David’s Hall, Cardiff 029 2087 8444 or online at www.stdavidshall.co.uk

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