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Commentary

Jan Martiník
15 Jun 2009

Czech Bass Wins BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World Song Prize

Young Czech bass Jan Martiník last night (FRI) won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize 2009 final at St David’s Hall, Cardiff.

Czech Bass Wins BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World Song Prize

Above: Jan Martiník

 

After being presented with his Welsh crystal trophy this modest artist said, “I am very tired and very happy and feel wonderful. It could have been better but it was okay, I now need to get some sleep before Sunday’s concert.” Jan is also taking part in the main prize final on Sunday, along with competitors from Japan, Ukraine, Russia and Italy.

He then joked with Julian Smith, the Competition’s musical adviser who had selected Jan for the Competition in auditions held in Berlin, where Jan is based with the Komische Oper, “This is all your fault - you are responsible!”.

Afterwards Adam Gatehouse, Editor of Live Music at BBC Radio 3, said the Competition reflected the growth in interest and standing of song. “Song has been the Cinderella of the singing world but over the last two decades has been transformed and that change has been seen over this week with the attention of the audiences. We have heard more than 160 songs over six days and that is quite something.”

The other contestants in the final at a packed St David’s Hall, Cardiff were Javier Arrey, aged 27, baritone, from Chile; Eri Nakamura, aged 31, soprano, from Japan; Yuriy Mynenko, aged 30, counter-tenor, Ukraine and Natalya Romaniw, aged 22, soprano, Wales.

Chairman of the panel of international judges John Fisher made the announcement after they made exhaustive deliberations as to who should win the competition and its £5,000 prize.

Mr Fisher, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera, said the judges had heard wonderful singing this week in what he had earlier in the Competition described as “such a demanding art form”.

Judging the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize were Adam Gatehouse, Editor Live Music BBC Radio 3, John Fisher, singers Kurt Moll and Ann Murray and accompanist and lieder specialist Helmut Deutsch. The Song Prize jury is chaired by John Fisher. The official accompanists were Phillip Thomas, Simon Lepper and Llŷr Williams.

Each of the 25 singers who are competing for the title BBC Cardiff Singer of the World were eligible to enter the separate Song Prize with its £5,000 prize and a trophy.* The winner may also join BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme.

Three of the finalists will also compete on Sunday for the title BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009. Jan Martiník, Eri Nakamura and Yuriy Mynenko will be joined by 21-year-old Italian tenor Giordano Lucà and Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko, aged 32. Both competitions are organised by BBC Cymru Wales.

The 25 singers taking part in this year’s Competition are representing nations as far afield as Chile and Russia, Australia and Italy were 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 are 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”.

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.

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