The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World jury has selected five finalists for its 2021 Song Prize, following four recital heats earlier this week.
Although BBC Cardiff Singer of the World was launched in 1985, it wasn’t until 1989 that the Song Prize was introduced. Previous winners of the Song Prize include Jamie Barton, Ailish Tynan, Neal Davies and Bryn Terfel.
Bryn Terfel took home the Song Prize in 1989, when he fought it out with Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in what has become known as the ‘Battle of the Baritones’. The pair were extremely evenly matched, with Hvorostovsky ultimately winning the Main Prize and Terfel, the Song Prize.
This year’s Song Prize finalists hail from all corners of the globe, from Madagascar to Wales. The final will take place on Thursday 17 June.
From the first heat, South Korean baritone Giyoon Kim captured the judge’s attention and processed through to the next round, thanks to his dynamic performances of works by Schubert, Wolf, Tchaikovsky and Brahms.
The second recital saw two singers sent through to the final: Welsh soprano Sarah Gilford – whose programme spanned Wolf, Schubert, Liszt and contemporary Australian composer Alison Bauld – and South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, who wowed the judges with music by Strauss, Schumann and 20th-century South African composer Le Roux Marais.
The fourth singer to process through to Thursday’s final was the competition’s first ever Madagascan competitor: baritone Michael Arivony, whose programme of Ravel, Schumann, Schubert and Vaughan Williams clinched his victory.
Soprano Christina Gansch joined the roster of finalists following her recital on Monday, in which she performed songs by Mozart, Loewe, Schumann and two songs by 20th-century British composer Quilter.
The finalists for this year’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize are listed below:
- 31-year-old Austrian soprano Christina Gansch
- 29-year-old South Korean baritone Gihoon Kim
- 29-year-old Welsh soprano Sarah Gilford
- 28-year-old Madagascan baritone Michael Arivony
- 27-year-old South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha