The 27 year old Australian soprano Nicole Car, the 25 year old American soprano Nadine Sierra, and the 24 year old South Korean tenor Myong-Hyun Lee have won first prize in the 15th Bertelsmann Stiftung's NEUE STIMMEN vocal competition.
Each artist won 15,000 euros, as well as excellent opportunities for their future careers. A total of nine singers participated in the final round of the competition, which was held on Saturday in Gütersloh, Germany. All told, 69,000 euros in prize money were awarded for the first-prize winners and for two special prizes (each 2,000 euros). The results were as follows:
First prize: 15,000 euros, for Australian soprano Nicole Car (b.1985). First prize: 15,000 euros for the American soprano Nadine Sierra (b.1983). A 5,000 euro prize for Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan (b.1987)
First prize: 15,000 euros for South Korean tenor Myong-Hyun Lee (b.1982). A 10,000 euro prize for the Moldavian bass Oleg Tibulco (b.1984). A 5,000 euro prize for the Ukranian baritone Oleksandr Kyreiev (b.1988)
The audience prize, a 500 euro gift certificate from Bärenreiter-Verlag publishing house, went to the American soprano Nadine Serra.
The finalists were part of a group of 39 young singers who had previously participated in competitions in 22 cities around the world for a chance to enter the week-long final round in Gütersloh. There were 19 semi-finalists and nine finalists. A total of 1,428 singers from 69 nations participated in the competition.
In her remarks during the event, competition chairperson and vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board Liz Mohn noted that it also takes experienced experts to evaluate outstanding talent in young artists. "The members of the jury spent a considerable amount of time with each singer and spoke with each individual participant. World-class pianists and a superb orchestral accompaniment rounded out the event," she said.
The competition sets the bar very high so that future participants are also aware of the high standard that the Bertelsmann Stiftung and singers need to meet.
The jury members were as follows: Wiener Staatsoper director Dominique Meyer (chairperson); Francisco Araíza, singer, and professor at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart; Brian Dickie, former general director of the Chicago Opera Theater and chairman of the qualifying rounds for NEUE STIMMEN; Siegfried Jerusalem, singer, and professor at Hochschule für Musik Nuremberg; author and music critic Jürgen Kesting; Gustav Kuhn, conductor and director of Tyrolean Festival Erl; Bernd Loebe, director of Oper Frankfurt; Christoph Meyer, director of Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf/Duisburg; Nicholas Payne, director of Opera Europa, the organization for European professional opera companies and festivals; singer Anja Silja; and Evamaria Wieser, artistic consultant for a number of prominent opera companies.
This coming 1 and 2 November Unitel Classica will be broadcasting the semifinal and final concerts to 24 nations at 8:15 p.m.
Photos can be downloaded under the link "Gallery: NEUE STIMMEN 2013" at the right.
Nicole Car began her musical training as a jazz singer. At 17 she was so struck by a performance of Tosca that she decided to pursue an education in classical opera. In 2007 she completed a Bachelor of Music from the University of Melbourne and in the same year she was awarded the title 'Symphony Australia Young Vocalist.' Her debut as Donna Anna at the Victorian Opera followed in 2009. Since 2011 Nicole has appeared as Donna Anna, Mimi and Micaëla with the Opera Australia in Sydney. She has also performed the solo in Brahms's A German Requiem with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 she sang the roles of Pamina in The Magic Flute and Leila in Les Pêcheurs de perles. She has performances planned in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and the USA for 2013 and 2014.
After graduating from the R. Glier Kiev Institute of Music, the baritone Oleksandr Kyreiev completed his studies at the Peter Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine in mid-2013. Oleksandr was a member of the Kiev National Opera’s Young Opera Singers Program from 2011 to 2013. While taking part in the program he performed the roles of Robert in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, and Eugene Onegin from the opera of the same name. In addition to being a passionate opera singer, Oleksandr also plays piano, guitar and accordion.
Myong-Hyun Lee completed his Bachelor's degree, and, in 2013, his Master's degree, at the Seoul National University College of Music. He has won numerous awards in competitions in his native Korea. In 2010 he received first place in the JoongAng Music Competition and was awarded the Grand Prize at the Shin Young-Ok Voice Competition. He also came fourth in the Seoul International Music Competition in both 2010 and 2013. Myong-Hyun has performed as Alfredo in the Seoul Arts Center's production of La Traviata, as Nomorino in L'elisir d'amore at Korea National University of the Arts, and as Rodolfo in La Bohème at Seoul National University. In 2013 Myong-Hyun was qualified for the final round of the Hans Gabor Belvedere competition in Amsterdam.
Kristina Mkhitaryan trained at Moscow's Gnessin Russian Academy of Music, one of the oldest and most prestigious conservatories in Russia. In 2008, after finishing her first degree, the soprano continued her musical training at the Gnessin Academy. She was a member of the Bolshoi Theater's Young Artists Opera Program in 2012. In the same year she came third in the Francisco Viñas competition in Barcelona, second in the Obukhova Singing Competition in Russia, and was a finalist in the Belvedere competition in Vienna. Kristina debuted at the Sochi Winter International Arts Festival with the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra at the start of 2013. This season she is performing as Kseniya in Boris Godunov and the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Bolshoi Theater. Kristina won the 1st prize in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition 2013.
Nadine Sierra studied at Mannes College The New School for Music in New York and is an alumna of the Merola Opera Program and an Adler Fellow of the San Francisco Opera. She was already a member of Palm Beach Opera's Young Artists Program in Florida by the age of 14, and at 16 she debuted as the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel. Nadine successfully passed the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York at the age of 20. Her most important performances in the 2012/2013 season include her debut as Gilda in Florida Grand Opera's production of Rigoletto, her appearance as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, and as Tytania in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Boston Lyric Opera. Nadine made her debut at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in May 2013 in the role of Gilda.
Since October 2011 Oleg Tibulco has been a member of the Young Artists Opera Program at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, where he gave his stage debut as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. He has subsequently performed other parts, including Colline in La Bohème, Angelotti in Tosca, and, this year, Count Rodolfo in La Sonnambula. In 2012 he sang the part of Sparafucile in Rigoletto at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow. Oleg has placed in numerous singing competitions, coming third in the Glinka International Vocal Contest in Moscow in 2011. Having trained as a pianist at college, Oleg went on to complete a Master's degree at the Chi?in?u Academy of Music in his native Moldova.