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Has the BBC lost interest in Cardiff Singer?

June 19, 2017 by norman lebrecht

25 comments.


One of the most closely-contested finals of the competition was possibly the least watched.

For the duration of the competition, the BBC did nothing to generate public or media interest. There were no press features, little online discussion and nothing – or next-to-nothing – on the BBC’s own website.

This morning, hours after Catriona Morison’s fairy-tale victory, news of her triumph appears fourth story down on the BBC’s entertainment website, behind three commercial pop features.

Unlike past years, the winner, Catriona Morison, was not interviewed this morning on the flagship Radio 4 Today programme (at least according to its running order).

Nor does the Cardiff result appear this morning in print media or their associated websites. Why not? Because the BBC failed to promote a competition in which it appears to have lost interest. Either it skimped on the publicity budget, or its publicists fell down on the job.

The BBC has the largest publicity operation in UK media. It works tirelessly to promote the BBC’s output. This year, the publicity machine did nothing – presumably by order – to make the public aware that there was a tense and intriguing finale coming up in Cardiff. Why not? Was this BBC incompetence or, more likely, indifference?

 


Comments (25)

  1. Cliff & Penny Jones says:

    The BBC continues to fail in so many areas not least its lack of publicity for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. How on earth, having failed to reach the final, Catriona Morison was entered as a ‘wild card’ and won. None of our associates who watched the programme can make any sense of that decision.

    1. Kelvin Grout says:

      Precisely why music competitions are a total waste of time, in the end it all comes down to taste. They were all fine talented musicians, all with valid performances. No one was ‘better’ than the other, they were simply different.

    2. Ann says:

      The decision by the judges of Catriona Morison as Cardiff Singer of the World was richly deserved. How very disappointing that ANYONE can set themselves up to tarnish this wonderful singer’s achievement.

    3. Janice Sapsford says:

      Totally agree – the winner would have been the last in my line up. Kang Wang, Louise Alder and the Mongolian singer were superb performers, and any of them deserved to be the winner.

      BBC coverage for something so special is, as usual, abysmal. They go on ad nauseum about pop stars/festivals; and the time wasted on the news when one dies is totally disproportionate.

      What a fiasco.

      1. Susan Mackenzie Park says:

        Unless you are in the hall it’s impossible to tell. 6 years ago I attended the final and totally agreed with the result. I had also recorded the tv prog. I would not have thought it was the same girl. Also remember that it’s not a voice prize but a singing prize. You only have to listen to the audiences reaction. It was hardly reserved!

  2. Simon says:

    Can anyone explain what value Angel Blue adds to the proceedings?

    1. pooroperaman says:

      Diversity, obviously.

  3. Complaint2BBC says:

    I have been putting in complaints to the BBC for years ad naueum, their coverage of classical music and opera on TV is dire. They bore us with repeats and soaps and other rubbish. Could as many folk email complaints, try emailing Tony Hall and Charlotte Moore direct maybe if we bombard them they might wise up. Loads of folk living outside London etc are miles from a theatre, concert hall and opera house and millions cannot afford to go! So the telly is our only hope! BBC emails are on ceoemail site

  4. Elizabeth Owen says:

    The BBC seems to think that only people in Wales are interested. When it first started we got it every night with trips round interesting places in Cardiff but then it all fizzled out. They seem to think that the Proms, the ones they deign to show that is, are sufficient.

    When I was a little girl Bernstein used to come on talking about music and Solti and who can forget Andy Preview?

    They spend a fortune on various pop festivals which I also watch but neglect everything else and it’s a shame.

  5. Janetp says:

    It’s disgraceful that this flagship competition with so many quality entrants and which is so effectively organised and judged, did not get the publicity or acclamation it deserves, by the BBC. Shame on them for their poor judgement and lack of commitment to an event that is not only the pride of Wales but should also be the pride of Britain!

  6. Martin says:

    I agree about dire BBC coverage, but for the record, Catriona was probably not interviewed this morning because she was already on an early flight back to Germany. It was a great week, a great final and all the singers were superb, so why all the fuss? I’m fed up with hearing that such and such ‘should have won’. There is no such thing as SHOULD. Judging, whether as a jury member, audience member or as an armchair critic is purley subjective.

  7. Nigel Simeone says:

    During one of several interviews last night, Catriona said she had to leave her Cardiff hotel at 8:00 a.m. in order to get on a plane back to Germany. So it’s hard to see how/where/when a Today programme interview could have happened. In other words, I don’t think it’s a matter of the BBC ‘losing interest’ but a simple practical matter of the potential interviewee being unavailable.

    1. Anon says:

      Not really. If I were a producer on the Today programme the sensible thing to do would be to schedule a time post-performance when a Today presenter can interview the winner (whoever it might be) down-the-line. Simple to do when all the BBC apparatus is in Cardiff, and guaranteed the winner will be there too – no worrying about getting them to London early or any of that. Edit together a pre-receded package and there you have it.
      In other words, if Today wanted to do it, it could have been straightforward, regardless of Catriona’s morning flight.

    2. pooroperaman says:

      If she had to leave the hotel at 8.00, they could have scheduled an interview any time before that – live from 6.00 or a recording before that. The presenters are in from 3.00 and there are always producers there overnight, so they don’t have any excuses.

  8. Margarete Rolle says:

    Norman, I want to ask the BBC the very same questions you have raised.
    It was a very exciting competition, so shame on the BBC for their apparent indifference.

  9. RICHARD CRAIG says:

    this represents the BBCs total lack of intrest in what we might call the higher arts that being classical music and opera. you only have to glance at BBC4s schedules and its wall to walls pop nonstop especially at the weekend, sadly gone are the days when the BBC channels where the upholders of great art

    1. pooroperaman says:

      Well, ‘total interest’ is a bit strong. They have spent several hours televising it this week, which they could easily have avoided doing.

      1. c b kealy says:

        Apart from the appalling lack of promotion of what the BBC claims as the premiere singers competition in the world, its television presentation is dismal and often inappropriate. They commissioned quite unsuitable background and introductory music and visuals more appropriate to a cookery programme. Nothing got more than a soundbite – Joan Rodgers or Gerry Finley or any of the “experts” could have been given time to discuss a performance instead of simply answering anopther of Petroc Trelawney’s pretty inane questions. And what on earth was Angel Blue doing? This was not Wimbledon or the Grand National or any other of the events where the public expect a post victory interview: this was a serious and career defining competition where “How did it feel to be out there etc” is a cringe-making question deserving of the boring answers. Give the time to inter-round summaries by the experts.
        Clearly the format and music was set some years ago by a dull producer and no one has been given the budget to improve it.
        Yet another example of the BBC (and other television companies) having no respect for its material.
        Cockaleeky

        1. Moaning Mini says:

          I really cannot stand BBC presenters like Petshop Baloney or Alan Titchmarsh, the latter knows only about manure!

  10. Complaint2BBC says:

    Folks if you are not happy with the BBC, complain. Here are the contacts for Tony Hall and Charlotte Moore, [email protected] and [email protected] or you can use that online form thing which takes ages to fill in. Why not bombard the BBC and get them to show us some operas, concerts eg from Salzburg, Vienna ROH. We need to tell them they have lost the plot.

  11. Brian Bell says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, it’s all relative. I would love to have BBC TV cultural programming, as bad you may seem to think it is, here in the USA. WGBH TV in Boston lists absolutely
    zero cultural programming in the month of June. No orchestras, no ballet, no opera, no
    chamber music.

    1. Moaning Mini says:

      Yes TV in the States is real rubbish. UK TV is going the same way with soaps, endless repeats and reality shows for the great unwashed.

  12. Elizabeth Owen says:

    Don’t forget that the competition is staged in conjunction with BBC Wales so there must be a breakdown between Cardiff and London.

  13. dorset richard says:

    on the birthday honours list , classical music came last, no mention of mark elder and Sarah Connelly was described as no relation to Billy Connelly. I think Will Gompertz, head of arts,is a relation of the Muppets though.

  14. stweart says:

    So what are the “Record” “Mute”and “Fast Forward” buttons for ?
    Cut the “Luvies” out and watch and listen to the people who really matter.


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