The American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has won the Song Prize at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013.
Barton came out as the judges’ favourite in what Dame Kiri Te Kanawa called an ‘historic’ Song Prize final. The 31-year-old mezzo-soprano wins £5,000, a Welsh crystal trophy and the Song Prize title.
Her programme for the final opened with Britten’s arrangement of Purcell’s ‘Music for a while’ and included Brahms’s ‘Meine Liebe is grün’, and ‘Unbewegte laue Luft’, two songs by Sibelius – ‘Svarta rosor’, ‘Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte’ – before closing with two songs by Rachmaninov, ‘I wait for you’ and ‘Glory to God’.
The four other competitors who had made it through to the final we’re soprano Mária Celeng of Hungary – who sang Schumann, Strauss, Debussy and Bartók – Belarusian tenor Yuri Gorodetski – performing music by Rachmaninov and R Strauss – English tenor Ben Johnson who put together an imaginative programme based around sonnets, including pieces by Britten, Schubert, Parry and Liszt – and finally the Ukrainian soprano Olena Tokar who sang works by Ravel, Kosenko, Rachmaninov, Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky.
Speaking to BBC Music Magazine exclusively after the competition she said: ‘There aren’t words to describe my feelings after winning, it’s a wash of emotions. To have this happen – winning the song prize – and then everybody stands up and sings the absolutely gorgeous Welsh national anthem, it was overwhelming, it made me feel a very very strong love for Wales.
‘I really wasn’t sure who would win. There were things I did in the performance that I wish had gone better and there were things that I was very very happy about, but every single person that got up and sang on that stage tonight was incredible and there were reasons why each one of them could have won.’
Barton is also through to the final of the main competition and will perform alongside Olena Tokar, bass-baritone Marko Mimica of Croatia, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack from Argentina and soprano Teresa Romano from Italy on Sunday 23 June at St David’s Hall in Cardiff.
Tune in to BBC Radio 3 on Sunday from 7.30pm for live coverage from the final, which will also be broadcast live on BBC Four. You can still catch up on all the Song Prize and main competition rounds on BBC iPlayer.
Voting is now open for the Dame Joan Sutherland audience prize. Visit the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World website to have your say.