The 26-year-old Mezzo-Soprano Svetlina Stoyanova from Bulgaria and the 24 year-old Bass Cho ChanHee from South Korea are the winners of the NEUE STIMMEN competition in its anniversary year. The two singers will receive a cash award of €15,000 each and an outstanding opportunity to pursue a career as an opera singer.
On Saturday, five up-and-coming female singers and five rising male singers competed in the finals. The top three female and top three male performers received cash awards totaling €60,000. Additional prizes were awarded to the other finalists. The Duisburg philharmonic under the direction of English conductor Graeme Jenkins accompanied the singers during the final concert.
These are the winners of NEUE STIMMEN 2017:
1st prize, €15,000: Svetlina Stoyanova, Mezzo-Soprano (Bulgaria, born in 1991)
2nd prize, €10,000: Emily D'Angelo, Mezzo-Soprano (Canada, born in 1994)
3rd prize, €5,000: Zlata Khershberg, Mezzo-Soprano (Russia, born 1990)
1st prize, €15,000: Cho ChanHee, Bass (South Korea, born in 1992)
2nd prize, €10,000: Johannes Kammler, Baritone (Germany, born in 1988)
3rd prize, €5,000: Mingjie Lei, Tenor (China, born in 1988)
NEUEN STIMMEN is a career springboard
1,430 contestants from 76 countries registered to take part in this year's anniversary event of NEUE STIMMEN. 39 talents have qualified for the final round in Gütersloh. 16 female and male singers participated in the semifinals.
Liz Mohn, president of NEUE STIMMEN and vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, expressed how proud she is of the NEUE STIMMEN success story. "Over the last 30 years, the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition has become one of the world's best-known opera competitions. It has also produced the most careers. For us, it's especially important not only to discover new talents, but to provide them with ongoing advice and support over the long term. The help we give young singers doesn’t end with the competition, master classes, concerts and seminars. We remain in contact with most of the participants," Mohn said.
"Like their peers in the past, this year's winners have the chance to realize their dream of becoming a professional singer."Liz Mohn, president of the NEUE STIMMEN and vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board
In May 2017, Cho ChanHee performed as a soloist at the 22nd International Musical Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg with a repertoire consisting of Rossini, Verdi and Ponchielli. The bass singer was born in Seoul and has been taking singing lessons since he was 16. From 2012 to 2016, he studied at the Hanyang University College of Music in Seoul and upon graduating, received a special prize in recognition of his artistic activities in South Korea and abroad. Even before completing his studies, he debuted at the Seongnam Arts Center opera house in the title role of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Cho ChanHee has successfully participated in numerous national and international competitions. He won first prize at the 2016 Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition in Italy and at the 2015 Seoul Philharmonic Vocal Competition. In 2014, the young bass singer came second in the Korean Voice Competition.
Emily D'Angelo is a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the MET. The young mezzo-soprano studied Voice Performance at the University of Toronto until 2016. Emily has been appearing on stage since 2014: She appeared as Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. At the Halifax Summer Opera Festival she played the role of Sesto in Giulio Cesare. From 2015 to 2016 the Italian-Canadian singer was a Fellow of the Ravinia Steans Institute in Chicago. She performed in the role of Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro at the Spoleto Festival di Due Mondi and in 2016 became an ensemble member of the Canadian Opera Company. There she sang the role of the Second Lady in The Magic Flute and the title role in Ariodante. In summer 2017 she made her debut at the Opera Theatre Saint-Louis as Annio in La clemenza di Tito and appeared as Rosina in The Barber of Seville at the Glimmerglass Festival. Emily has already demonstrated her talent in a number of international competitions: In 2016 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and in 2017 she was a prize winner in the Gerda Lissner International Competition.
Johannes Kammler will appear as an ensemble member at the Bavarian State Opera in the 2017/18 season. There, he will play the roles of Le Dancaïre in Carmen, Fiorello in The Barber of Seville, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos and Count Dominik in Arabella. The baritone completed his musical training at the University of Music Freiburg, the University of Toronto and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He made his debut at the Verbier Festival in 2015 as Marcello in La bohème. In the same year, he was accepted into the Opera Studio program at the Bavarian State Opera. In 2016, he made appearances at the Bavarian State Opera as Mr. Gedge (Albert Herring) and Ruggiero (La Juive). In 2017, he played John Sorel (The Consul). In 2016, he gave a guest performance at Oslo's Norske Opera in a production of Britten's War Requiem. Most recently, Johannes played Sherasmin in Oberon and Flora's servant in La Traviata at the Munich Opera Festival. He also made an appearance at the New Generation Festival in Florence as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore auf.
Zlata Khershberg was born in Russia and has been living in Israel since 2011. From 2006 to 2011, the mezzo-soprano studied at the Balakirev Music College in her hometown of Nizhny Novgorod. She then continued her studies at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. She went on to graduate from here in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music. As part of the Israel Vocal Arts Institute Opera Workshop, Zlata performed as Olga in Eugene Onegin in 2012 and as Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro in 2013. She gained additional on-stage experience playing the roles of Prince Orlofsky in the operetta Die Fledermaus and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. The singer has also developed a diverse concert repertoire that includes pieces by Beethoven, Brahms and Stravinsky. In 2016, Zlata won an award at the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. She also won first prize at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute Summer Program Competition and received the People's Choice Prize.
Mingjie Lei will sing the role of Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff with Colorado Opera in 2018. The tenor, who was born in Hengyang, China, was a member of the Ryan Opera Centre at the Lyric Opera of Chicago from 2015 to 2017. During this time he appeared as Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette, as the Marschallin's Major-Domo in Der Rosenkavalier and as Remendado in Carmen. He gained further experience at the Salzburg Festival 2017, portraying Liverotto in Lucrezia Borgia. Before that he had taken part in the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival in 2016, appearing in the children's opera The Fairy Queen. In 2013 Mingjie Lei completed a Master's degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He subsequently obtained an Artist Diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During his studies he appeared as Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore and Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos. In 2015 he won the Prix des Amis du Festival for his performance as Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
Svetlina Stoyanova is studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She already gained her Master's degree in music there in 2016 and is now in her second year at the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the RCS. The Bulgarian singer recently acquired experience in the roles of Nerone in Agrippina, Mother in Mavra and Veronique in Il Docteur Miracle. Her repertoire also includes roles such as Rosina (The Barber of Seville), Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), the title role in The Rape of Lucrezia, Mistress Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor) and Juno (Semele). Svetlina is a member of the organization Live Music Now which was founded by Yehudi Menuhin and performs as a soloist at charity concerts in aid of this organization. She also appears regularly at concerts, singing works by Vivaldi, Haydn and Mozart. The mezzo-soprano has enjoyed success in numerous music competitions.
The complete semifinal, the complete final and all arias can be found in our YouTube playlist.