Former prizewinners and participants in the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition took their audience on a musical "winter's journey" Thursday evening in Berlin. Liz Mohn, vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, organized the event, which was held at the Bertelsmann Center in the heart of Germany's capital.
The journey was meant to offer listeners a few moments of creative reflection, allowing them to turn their attention inward at a time when the outside world has grown cold. The concert program was put together by former NEUE STIMMEN prizewinners Eunju Kwon, Mária Celeng and Xiahou Jinxu and semi-finalist Vuyani Mlinde, who performed for numerous guests from the world of classical music and from the political and social spheres. Hailing from different cultural backgrounds, the up-and-coming talents have continued on their career paths following the competition: Eunju Kwon sings at the National Theater Mannheim, Mária Celeng at the Bavarian State Opera, Xiahou Jinxu at the Vienna State Opera and Vuyani Mlinde at the Frankfurt Opera.
"It's important to support and advise these committed and talented young artists", said Liz Mohn, president of NEUE STIMMEN, in her opening remarks. "Opera is a tough business. That means they need partners they can rely on. We're pleased to take on the responsibility of assisting young talents even after the competition is over. We will be expanding our activities in this area even further in the future, together with an extensive network of international Partners."
The four young artists performed arias and lieder by Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini and other composers. They were accompanied by Prof. Manuel Lange on the piano. To conclude the concert, the foursome all sang together, giving an impressive rendition of an excerpt from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. Journalist and television personality Prof. Holger Noltze served as the evening's master of ceremonies.
The Prizewinners Concert is the third event in a new, annual series being held in Berlin, one that is expanding NEUE STIMMEN's existing range of activities even further. It allows the competition's past winners to perform for a select audience.