Nadine Koutcher is BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015

The Belarusian soprano takes the top prize

Soprano Nadine Koutcher

Soprano Nadine Koutcher has won BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015. The Belarusian sang Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and Delibes in the final, beating four other singers to the top award. She wins £15,000, the Cardiff Trophy and also will perform a new piece by John Lunn commissioned by the competition.

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The four other finalists were wild-card entrant bass Jongmin Park, baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat, soprano Lauren Michelle and tenor Oleksiy Palchykov. The final was the culmination of the week-long biennial competition, which saw 20 contestants competing in four rounds. Performing to a packed-out St David’s Hall in Cardiff, the five hopefuls tried to convince the judges that they had the winning combination of vocal quality, technical excellence, musical presentation and artistic personality.

Two other prizes were awarded. The Song Prize went to Park, in a final that saw Koutcher and Enkhbat also shortlisted alongside soprano Aviva Fortunata and tenor Ilker Arcayürek. And the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize was awarded to Enkhbat, the competition’s first entrant from Mongolia.

In a change to previous rules, the winner of each round automatically went through to the final, joined by a ‘wild card’. A five-strong jury was tasked with judging, chaired by David Pountney, artistic director of Welsh National Opera. He delivered his summing-up speech first in Welsh, to cheers from the audience, then English, before the competition's patron Dame Kiri Te Kanawa announced the result. The final was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, and also on TV on BBC Four.

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Picture credit: Brian Tarr