Music: BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

As a result of my tendencies towards a rather large range of cultural forms – be that a retrospective of a contemporary visual artist, or the latest unmissable 90s hip-hop club night – and the commitments of a nine to six job, it has been a while since I have enjoyed a recital of top vocalists. That is why I was so delighted to be invited by a colleague from BBC Music Magazine to join her at the first concert of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World last night (Monday 17th June).

There are two competitions in Cardiff Singer – the Song Prize and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World – which run simultaneously over the week. Twenty of the finest singers from all over the world compete in both strands of the competition, hoping for a place in the final on Sunday.

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cardiff Singer is as big and glamourous as ever. Audiences come from across the globe to watch the rounds, which – despite being so prestigious – have always had a friendly atmosphere. It is an amazing experience to witness these powerful voices in combat and know that they are being adjudicated by a legacy of judges.

Performing tonight was South Korea's Kihwan Sim (bass), our very own Katherine Broderick (soprano), China's Yi Li (tenor), USA's Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano) and Croatia's Marko Mimica (bass-baritone). The repertoire spanned nations, eras and settings, with some of the more animated performances landing us in the middle of intimate moments of whole operas with a feeling that we had just witnessed the entire plot play out. That is the magic of an expertly performed opera aria. 

All of this without mentioning the fantastic accompaniment provided by Jun Märkl and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. What a wonderful concert. 

Katherine Broderick, soprano | Photo: press/promotional

Yi Li, tenor | Photo: press/promotional

Take a look at BBC schedules to keep up with broadcasts of the event.


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