23-Year-Old Baritone Shen Yang Named BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

Classic Arts News   23-Year-Old Baritone Shen Yang Named BBC Cardiff Singer of the World
Shen Yang, a 23-year-old bass-baritone from Tianjin, China, has won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He received the award from the event's patron, Joan Sutherland, at the conclusion of the finals last night at St. David's Hall in the Welsh capital.

His prizes include Ô£15,000 (an increase of Ô£5,000 from the previous competition in 2005), a trophy from Welsh Royal Crystal and engagements with the BBC and with Welsh National Opera.

This is Shen Yang's third competition win in 2007 alone: he also took top honors at the chamber opera event at Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany and the L'Orfeo competition in Verona. He was the youngest of the six finalists in Cardiff this year.

Each of the other finalists — soprano Miranda Keys of Australia, mezzo Mar‹a Isabel Vera of Chile, baritone Levente Molnšr of Hungary and soprano Elizabeth Watts of Great Britain — received the Ô£2,500 Richard Lewis Award. (The value of that grant has been increased by Ô£500 from 2005.)

Watts also won the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize, which had a separate final held Friday night (June 15). She receives Ô£5,000 and a recital in the prestigious Rosenblatt Recital Series at St. John's Smith Square, London.

The winner of the Ô£2,500 Audience Prize, selected by a vote of listeners on radio, television and the Web as well as in the hall, was baritone Jacques Imbrailo of South Africa, who did not advance to the final round.

The Cardiff event has helped launch a number of impressive careers. Previous winners of the Singer of the World title include Karita Mattila (who triumphed in the inaugural competition in 1983), Lisa Gasteen and Guang Yang; the 2005 winner was Nicole Cabell. Most famous is the result of the 1989 competition, in which Dmitri Hvorostovsky edged out Bryn Terfel for top honors; Terfel took the song recital award, then called the Lieder Prize.

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