Young opera talent in Gütersloh
The 2007 “Neue Stimmen” International Singing Competition commences
The pianos have been tuned, the music stands arranged, the jury and the performers have arrived. The 12th "Neue Stimmen" International Singing Competition has begun. Following preliminary rounds held around the globe, 47 young opera singers have made it to the final round in Gütersloh and will be spending the next week demonstrating their talent. This year's winner will be crowned on Saturday evening. Tickets for the semi-final, held in Gütersloh community center, are available at the box office.
They come from all over the world and are currently at different points in their professional careers. Some are still studying, others have already begun performing, the oldest are in their early 30s, the youngest is a 21-year-old bass from Argentina. But they all have the same dream: a career as an opera singer. In the next couple of weeks, as these promising talents perform in front of the “Neue Stimmen” jury, it will become clear which ones can begin making their dream come true. Led by Gérard Mortier, director general of the Opéra National de Paris, the jury includes artistic director Gustav Kuhn, singer Francisco Araiza and Brian Dickie, jury chairman for the preliminary rounds, as well as other experts from the world of music. They are the ones who will decide which performers make it into the semifinal and final rounds and who will take home the €15,000 grand prize.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the contestants will perform to a piano accompaniment. Afterwards, the jury will select 12 singers to participate in the semifinals, which are open to the public, on Friday evening. Those chosen will then have to compete under real-world conditions: the Gütersloh community center will be adorned with a red carpet, the Duisburg Philharmonic will be waiting for the downbeat and more than 700 spectators, among them artistic directors and music agents, will be listening carefully to every note, before they decide who will take home this year’s Audience Prize.
Six finalists will then compete on Saturday evening for the title of “Neue Stimme 2007” (New Voice of 2007). Exactly 20 years ago, Nathalie Stutzmann of France won the first “Neue Stimmen” competition, which was launched by Liz Mohn following a conversation with legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan, who lamented the lack of new opera talent. “The ‘Neue Stimmen’ International Singing Competition has now become a springboard for beginning a national or international career,” Mohn says, two decades later.
The competition has helped numerous young artists get their start, such as Vesselina Kasarova, René Pape, Nathalie Stutzmann, Noemi Nadelmann, Roman Trekel, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Melanie Diener, Dietrich Henschel, Angelika Kirchschlager, Franco Fagioli and Maxim Mironov. The winner of the 2005 competition, Maria Virginia Savastano of Argentina, is now a student in the opera studio of the Opéra National de Paris.
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Tickets for the semifinals
The semifinal round will take place on Friday, October 26, at 7:00 pm in the Gütersloh community center (Stadthalle). Tickets cost €20.70 and can be purchased by calling the ticket hotline at +49 5241 86 42 44.