Starting now, young opera singers can apply to take part in the Bertelsmann Stiftung's 12th NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition. Gérard Mortier, Director of the Opéra National de Paris, will chair the jury for the competition, which will take place in Gütersloh, October 21 - 27, 2007. The NEUE STIMMEN competitions are held in cooperation with the Westdeutsche Rundfunk radio and television network (WDR). To celebrate the NEUE STIMMEN 20th anniversary the prize money has been raised. First prize is now worth 15,000 euros.
Bertelsmann Stiftung's Singing Competition is considered one of the most important international talent markets in the world of opera. The last competition received applications from approximately 1,200 artists in 50 countries around the world. "For us the NEUE STIMMEN competitions not only help cultivate and further develop the classical music tradition. They have also become a platform for building international understanding," says Liz Mohn, NEUE STIMMEN President and Vice-Chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, who founded NEUE STIMMEN in 1987.
Applicants can register online at the newly designed website www.neue-stimmen.de, where they can also find information on the competition's compulsory repertoire, which spans four stylistic periods from 1600 up to the 20th century. Male applicants must be no older than 32; female applicants no older than 30. In judging the auditions and the final round of the competition, the international jury will place equal weight on the singers' technique, musical presentation and vocal quality, as well as on artistic personality and stage presence. Online applicants receive a personal access code with which they can access all relevant data and view their own evaluation on the site's "members" section. Application documents can also be requested by regular mail (NEUE STIMMEN, Carl-Bertelsmann-Str. 256, 33311 Gütersloh), telephone (++49 (0) 5241 81 81 171) or fax (++49 (0) 5241 81 681 171). The deadline for applications is March 31, 2007.
Auditions will take place from April to August in 23 locations worldwide: Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, London, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, Riga, Saint Petersburg, Santiago de Chile, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vilnius, Warsaw and Yokosuka. Brian Dickie, General Director of the Chicago Opera Theater, and Gustav Kuhn, conductor and President of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, will be selecting around 50 contestants for the final round in Gütersloh.
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 Paye, Director of Opera Europa; Brussels 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.
NEUE STIMMEN competitions have paved the way to national and international careers for numerous young artists, including Vesselina Kasarova, René Pape, Nathalie Stutzmann, Noëmi Nadelmann, Roman Trekel, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Melanie Diener, Dietrich Henschel and Angelika Kirchschlager.