More than 1,000 budding young singers from 66 countries have applied for the 12th NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition from Bertelsmann Stiftung. The worldwide preliminary audition rounds for NEUE STIMMEN are starting in May in the Japanese city of Yokosuka. For the first time, Bertelsmann Stiftung will this year be holding auditions in San Francisco, St. Petersburg and Mexico City. 70 percent of the singers registered for the 2007 competition through the website NEUE STIMMEN .
By the end of August, preliminary audition rounds will have been held in 22 cities: Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Florence, Helsinki, London, Mexico City, Moscow, Munich, New York, Riga, Saint Petersburg, Santiago de Chile, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vilnius and Warsaw. Brian Dickie, General Director of the Chicago Opera Theater, and conductor Gustav Kuhn, President of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, will select the approximately 50 finalists.
The Director of the Opéra National de Paris, Gérard Mortier, will chair the jury for the final round of NEUE STIMMEN to be held in Gütersloh from October 21 to 27, 2007. The first prize is worth EUR 15,000. The competition is held in cooperation with the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR), a German radio and TV network. Liz Mohn, President of NEUE STIMMEN: 'I am looking forward to the 2007 competition -- this will be the 12th time we offer a great chance to young opera singers for showing what they are capable of to adjudicators of international renown. Not only that, but thanks to the presence of agents and scouts for some of the world's major opera houses, the competition will also provide contestants with countless opportunities to make new contacts as well.'
In addition to Gérard Mortier, Gustav Kuhn and Brian Dickie, the jury will consist of: Kammersänger Francisco Araíza, professor at the College of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart; Kammersänger Siegfried Jerusalem, Director of the College of Music Nuremberg-Augsburg; Jürgen Kesting, music critic and author; Bernd Loebe, Director of the Opera Frankfurt; Kammersängerin Edith Mathis, professor at the College of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Nicholas Payne, Director of Opera Europa, a European service organization for professional opera companies and opera festivals, as well as concert singer Edith Wiens, professor at the College of Music Nuremberg-Augsburg and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich.
Bertelsmann Stiftung's Singing Competition is considered one of the most important international talent markets in the world of opera. The NEUE STIMMEN competitions have paved the way to national and international careers for numerous young artists including 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 Argentine winner of the 2005 competition, Maria Virginia Savastano, is now studying at the Opera Studio of the Opéra National de Paris. The competition has been held every two years since 1987.