Only four tenors in BBC Cardiff’s 20 finalists

Only four tenors in BBC Cardiff’s 20 finalists


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2017

A flood of 400 applicants for BBC Cardiff’s Singer of the World competition has been whittled down to 20.

The competitors are:

Miriam Albano (Italy, mezzo)

Louise Alder (England, soprano)

Dominic Barberi (England, bass)

Batjargal Bayarsaikhan (Mongolia, tenor)

John Chest (USA, baritone)

Sioned Gwen Davies (Wales, mezzo)

Anthony Clark Evans (USA, baritone)

Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar (Mongolia, baritone)

Anush Hovhannisyan (Armenia, soprano)

Barnokhon Ismatullaeva (Uzbekistan, soprano)

Lilly Jørstad (Norway, mezzo)


Ezgi Karakaya (Turkey, mezzo)

Nadezhda Karyazina (Russia, mezzo)

Konstantin Lee (South Korea, tenor)

Roberto Lorenzi (Italy, bass-baritone)

Catriona Morison (Scotland, mezzo-soprano)

Lukhanyo Moyake (South Africa, tenor)

Iurii Samoilov (Ukraine, baritone)<

Ivan Thirion (Belgium, baritone)

Kang Wang (Australia, tenor)


  • Eric says:

    Surely the headline should read “No counter-tenors in BBC Cardiff’s 24 Finalists”?

    • Mike says:

      I don’t think a counter tenor can be a singer of the world. The problem is how do you judge a counter tenor who primarily sings the castrato or baroque alto repertoire using falsetto. No one really knows what a true castrato sounded like let alone how would we expect a traditional judging panel of sopranos , altos, tenor and basses to judge against a counter tenor who doesn’t really exist as a natural voice unlike the castrato which did, albeit with great sacrifice to themselves.

      • Alexander Davidson says:

        They don’t need to be compared with what a castrato would have sounded like. Do we judge female singers who perform castrato roles by comparison with the sound of a castrato? Nor is the countertenor voice confined to those roles or to early music. Take Death in Venice, for example. The countertenor voice is just another voice. Yes, it’s a specific technique, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy of comparison with natural voices. For me, James Bowman is up there with the very best singers I have heard.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Actually, a castrato has been recorded in the very early days of recordings. So we do know how a castrato sounded.

      • RAZZ MATAZZ says:

        I heard a very scratchy recording of Alessandro Moreschi murdering Tosti and it was pretty ear-bleeding stuff. Countertenors, on the other hand, rock totally. They have competed at Cardiff in the past – Yuriy Minenko was in the final in 2009 and David DQ Lee did very well a few years previously. It’s a legitimate operatic voice and there are a lot more countertenors around now so they should be better represented in a competition like Cardiff.

  • Medi says:

    Hope for Iurii Samoilov or Louise Alder to win Cardiff – both are in the Ensemble of Oper Frankfurt and just wonderful!

  • Admirer! says:

    Kang Wang is an astonishingly good tenor. I’ve heard him sing many times and he is an absolute gem.

  • Alina says:

    Surely the real news should be that there are only three sopranos…?

  • PJG Shaw says:


  • Brendan says:

    Is this really a startling headline? The maths puts it at 20% which is just 5 % if we assume the usual four-part categorization (excluding for the moment, countertenors). Ask any choral director, which voice section has the fewest members and I am almost certain they will indicate the lack of tenors- so this 4 out of 20 finalists seems to me to be rather high.

    I take issue too (being in unusually belligerent) with the assertion of Mike about Counter- tenors: like Alexander I see no issue at all including and evaluating this voice category as equally worthy and comparable to the operatic standard ‘SMSCTBAB’ roster. I also shared the delight in hearing James Bowman in his baroque and Britten repertoire, and of experiencing the same thrill from his performances of Oberon, Apollo and Orlando as that of any legendary British singers like Janet Baker or Charles Craig during my teens (sometime in the last century).

  • David hobartt says:

    I’m familiar with both US singers from their participation in SF Opera’s Merola program. They’re both excellent.