Forty-one talented young opera singers have qualified for 2009 NEUE STIMMEN
The preliminary rounds of the international singing competition have now been completed
This year, preliminary rounds of Bertelsmann Stiftung's international singing competition NEUE STIMMEN were held in 23 cities around the world, from Berlin to Yokosuka, Japan. A total of 1,140 young singers from many different countries submitted applications, and more than 900 of them used the opportunity to showcase their talent at auditions held between early April and the end of August. Of those contestants, 41 have qualified for the finals, which will be held in Gütersloh during the last week of October.
The 41 finalists come from 24 different countries. The countries with the largest number of contestants are Russia and Korea, with five each, followed by Canada with three participants. "Even this year, in a time of economic and political turmoil, the preliminary rounds have demonstrated once again that music can build bridges – bridges of understanding between young and old, from nation to nation, from one culture to another," notes Liz Mohn, president of NEUE STIMMEN. "Our talented young opera singers demonstrate that music is a universal language; it connects people of widely differing backgrounds and cultures, across every border that divides us."
Contestants in the 13th NEUE STIMMEN competition include 21 women and 20 men, with 14 sopranos, 7 mezzo-sopranos, 7 tenors, 6 baritones and 6 basses, as well as one countertenor. The youngest participant, a baritone from Russia, will just turn 21 before the October finals. The oldest, also a baritone, comes from China and will celebrate his 31st birthday on October 16.
As in previous years, jury member Brian Dickie, general director of Chicago Opera Theater, visited 20 of the sites where the preliminary rounds were held, in order to ensure a consistent level of talent. Jury members Gustav Kuhn (conductor and opera director) and Kammersänger Francisco Araíza were present at the remaining auditions. About one-third of the applicants auditioned in Germany. The largest number of applications were submitted for the preliminary rounds in Berlin, Düsseldorf und Yokosuka.
The finals of the NEUE STIMMEN international singing competition will take place from October 25 to 31 at Gütersloh's Stadthalle. The jury includes Dominique Meyer (chairman), Francisco Araíza, Brian Dickie, Siegfried Jerusalem, Jürgen Kesting, Gustav Kuhn, Bernd Loebe, Nicholas Payne, Anja Silja and Evamaria Wieser.