The American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been named BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013 and has become only the second ever singer to win both the main competition and the Song Prize.
Barton takes home a total of £20,000 prize money and two Welsh crystal trophies.
In a final at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Barton sung arias from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Berlioz’s Les Troyens as well as an orchestral song by Sibelius. The singers performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Jun Märkl and Graeme Jenkins.
Speaking exclusively to BBC Music Magazine after the final, Barton said: ‘I feel a bit greedy! But I’m so happy to have won both prizes – the main one for the prestige that comes with it but the Song Prize is also very very special to me, because my love of singing all started with Lieder and song.
‘I’ve had a good feeling about this competition for a long time. It felt like the right fit, like something I should do and to have won both prizes is incredible.’
Joining her in the final of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World were mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack of Argentina, Croatian bass-baritone Marko Mimica and sopranos Teresa Romano of Italy and Olena Tokar of Ukraine.
The competition’s patron Dame Kiri Te Kanawa presented the trophy to Barton and, speaking exclusively to BBC Music Magazine after the performance, she said: ‘Jamie Barton has a very good vocal technique and she had a very all-round polished performance. Her art in the songs that she sings is extraordinary and her personality shone through. Throughout the competition, the calibre of the singers has been excellent – and tonight’s final was particularly special.’
On Friday 21 June Barton, who has appeared at Lyric Opera Chicago, Atlantic Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper, took the Song Prize in a final that Dame Kiri called ‘historic’. She fought off competition from English tenor Ben Johnson, Hungarian soprano Mária Celeng, Belarusian tenor Yuri Gorodetski and Ukrainian soprano Olena Tokar.
The Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize – voted for by not only the Cardiff audience but also people watching and listening on radio and TV – went to the English tenor Ben Jonhson whose performance in the Song Prize final was rated highly by commentators and critics. He takes home £2,000 prize money and a Welsh crystal trophy.
Speaking after the announcement, Johnson said: ‘I was very emotional when I heard my name announced – I was a bit tearful actually because it was a surprise. The responses that I’ve had from the audiences all week have been very moving and a little unexpected. People have been saying lots of kind things in the street and they’ve obviously gone home and voted – and I’m really thrilled and humbled by that.’
All the performances from the concerts and song recitals of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World are available to watch on iPlayer and more information about all the competitors, plus clips from many of their performances, can be seen on the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World website.