Over 1,300 young talents have applied to participate in the 16th NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition. This year the preliminary auditions start in Japan and will be held worldwide - from Asia over Europe and Africa to South- and North-America and Australia.
A total of 1,318 young opera talents have applied to participate in the 16th NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition. The preliminary auditions, which are being held at 26 locations around the world, will begin on May 7 in Yokosuka, Japan, followed by dates in Beijing, Cluj-Napoca and Melbourne. Auditions will be held at two locations in Germany: Munich (June 13 – 14) and Berlin (June 20 – 21). The maximum age for participants has been lowered for the 2015 competition to 28 years for female singers and 30 years for male singers. By clearly focusing on younger performers, the competition offers up-and-coming artists the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and develop it further.
Overall, 171 singers have applied to audition in Berlin, 162 in Beijing, 112 in Vienna and 55 in Shanghai. The high level of interest in China shows that the affinity of the country’s young people for western cultural traditions such as opera continues to grow. Another positive development is the large number of participants from Ukraine. Despite the difficult political and economic situation there, the Bertelsmann Stiftung will be organizing auditions in Kiev, giving 56 young singers the opportunity to participate in the competition.
Jury members Brian Dickie, former general director of the Chicago Opera Theater, and Evamaria Wieser, director of the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival and casting consultant for the Lyric Opera Chicago, will be leading the auditions at each venue to ensure uniform standards are applied when selecting participants for the final round. Dickie will also be reporting on developments at each location using his online blog. The last preliminary audition will take place in Cape Town on August 12.
The singers will be judged on technical ability, musical presentation, vocal quality, and artistic personality and presence, with each factor given equal weight. The competition's final round will take place in Gütersloh from October 18 to 24, with Dominique Meyer, director of the Vienna State Opera, serving as chairman of the NEUE STIMMEN jury. Some 40 to 45 participants will be selected to participate in the final round. The top three female and top three male singers will share total prize money of €60,000, including two first-prize awards of €15,000. In addition, a People's Choice Award will be given. Singers who take part in the final round will benefit in particular from the opportunity to meet with opera house managers, festival directors and agents, and from the individual feedback they receive from the jury.
In addition to Dominique Meyer, Brian Dickie and Evamaria Wieser, the international jury includes Gustav Kuhn, conductor and director of the Tyrolean Festival Erl and the NEUE STIMMEN competition’s artistic director. Other jury members are Francisco Araíza, Kammersänger and professor at the College of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Dietrich Henschel, baritone, Siegfried Jerusalem, Kammersänger and professor at the College of Music Nuremberg, Jürgen Kesting, music critic and author, Bernd Loebe, general director of the Frankfurt Opera, Christoph Meyer, general director of Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf/Duisburg; Nicholas Payne, director of Opera Europa, the association of European opera houses and opera festivals, and Anja Silja, Kammersängerin.
The NEUE STIMMEN competition has launched the careers of numerous young artists like Nicole Car, winner of the 2013 competition who will make her debut in May at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.