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Gütersloh, 31/10/2009

Seven stunning voices to compete in final

Russian tenor takes home Audience Prize

Liz Mohn (bottom left) and the
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Liz Mohn (bottom left) and the "NEUE STIMMEN" chair, Dominique Meyer (bottom right), congratulate this year's finalists.
Photographer: Thomas Kunsch, Bielefeld

Clearly it wasn’t an easy decision! Originally, six singers were to be chosen to participate in the final round of the 2009 “NEUE STIMMEN” International Singing Competition. Ultimately, seven were chosen -- that’s how good this year’s performers were and how strong their voices. The seven lucky singers were clearly delighted at having been selected from among the hundreds of other contestants to participate in the competition’s final week. Now the tension mounts, as the up-and-coming opera talents prepare to sing two final arias in order to convince the jury that they should take home the top prize.

The seven finalists include soprano Andriana Chuchman from Canada, who gave a winning performance of “Caro nome” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Rachel Frenkel, mezzo soprano from Israel, won over the judges with “Werther, Werther” from Massenet’s “Werther.” Among the male singers, Russian tenor Pavel Kolgatin gave a brilliant rendition of “Una furtiva lagrima” from Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” and bass Mikhail Korobeynikov, also from Russia, performed his way into the finals with Mephisto’s aria “Le veau d’or” from Gounod’s “Faust.” The evening’s largest national contingent, however, was from South Korea, with soprano Eunju Kwon, bass Kihwan Sim and tenor JunHo You giving outstanding performances of arias from Bizet’s “Carmen” and “La jolie fille de Perth,” as well as Puccini’s “La Bohème.”

Although soprano Narine Yeghiyan from Israel did not make it to the finals, she’s taking home a prize all the same. Following her ear-catching performance as Cleopatra in Händel’s “Giulio Cesare,” she received the Liz Mohn Culture and Music Foundation’s Special Prize, which includes two-years of training at the Staatsoper Under den Linden’s International Opera Studio in Berlin. The International Opera Studio prepares talented next-generation singers for a career in musical theater by helping promote their musical, artistic and personal development.

The evening’s final prize was not awarded by the jury, but by the audience. Tenor Pavel Kolgatin received a majority of the public’s votes during the semifinal round and, as a result, the Audience Prize: a gift certificate from Kassel, Germany-based music publisher Bärenreiter worth €500.


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