Unnoticed, five reach the Cardiff finals

Unnoticed, five reach the Cardiff finals


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2019

Unnoticed by UK media or by the rest of the BBC, or even by its own website, the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World has reached its climax.

The finalists are:

South Korean soprano Sooyeon Lee
Argentine mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Barrientos
Ukrainian baritone Andrei Kymach
Chinese tenor Mingjie Lei
US bass Patrick Guetti.

The BBC just cannot be bothered to cover its own classical events.


  • Robin Smith says:

    You do wonder at the management of these things at the BBC. I received an email just the other day (after the event had actually begun) via my subscription to the BBC Music Magazine letting me know about coverage of this event. Extensive in Wales but limited in the rest of the UK. If you want to watch individual rounds back (previously shown on BBC 4) you can via the BBC Iplayer.

  • Will Duffay says:

    I want to defend the BBC but this is very strange and highly unfortunate, and frankly disgraceful of them. Cardiff is a big competition with illustrious winners and a massive international profile. At a time of ugly populism and ignorant nationalism it shows the UK at its best. And the organising media company?: not in the slightest bit interested in showing it to the nation. The BBC should be ashamed.

    • Pianoronald says:

      The standard so far has been incredibly high. My favourites are the Chinese tenor and the Ukrainian baritone.

  • Gwendolyn Llewellyn says:

    Shame on you BBC for hiding away this illustrious competition. I came upon it by accident and have enjoyed a feast of talent .Come on BBC. Raise the profile of this excellent programme and show the world that Wales can put on a good show.

    • Mats S. Mogensen says:

      The principal function of the BBC is a left-wing propaganda machine financed by over 3 billion GBP in enforced taxes. Post-modern liberals aren’t interested in vestigial regressive patriarchic phenomena like classical music.

    • Josephine Procter says:

      I don’t think it was hidden at all. If i found it at 82 and without a radio times it must have been pretty easy to fibd. BBC 4 is where one usualky goes for this kind of thibg abd its wonderful.

  • Tony says:

    Get real: nobody cares for classical music anymore, much less for opera. Unqualified managers, perverted directors and coward conductors destroyed the artform. Singers are the weak link and completely disposable, but I can’t help blaming the prominent ones on their condoning the awful conditions of work and the trashy productions of today.
    High culture is dying. The opera business is fading year after year. In some places it’s already dead. Mediocrity has been celebrated in the name of an ideological agenda at least since the sixties. And the mass media holds great responsibility in that regard. No visibility for arts at all. Only poor and generic comercial music. A country that once had Ella Fitzgerald as the great lady of song she was, today presents a vulgar (in every way) Madonna as a popular artist!!!! It happens all over the world now.
    In a few years, when Welfare State collapses and the destruction in Europe is rampant, cuts in art will be humongous in Germany and France too. Opera houses will shut off and many orchestras will be extinct.
    And when immigrants from certain places are majority, the game will be over. The barbarians do not appreciate classical music as emasculated liberals allowing their entrance in the continent do. Then, it will be really funny, and the spectacle will take place. We will see the “peaceful”, “sensible”, “loving” and “nurturing” people who label those who are denouncing the alarming situation in the West now “fascists/bigots/racists/nazis” trying to survive singing “Imagine” to their killers…Oh, boy! lol

    P.S.: Hopefully, Eastern Europe will hold the candle and preserve opera if it survives invasion in the next world (and nuclear) war… In Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romenia and other places people refuse Eurotrash, which is only a symptom of a much broader cultural and moral degradation that aims freedom supression and totalitarianism, something they already know very well. I attendend very inspiring performances in my last travel. No stars, but true love and respect for the music and its great tradition.

    • PapaKilo says:

      Is that the same Hungary where András Schiff was threatened with having his hands cut off if he returns to?

      “True love and respect” indeed…

    • Gibbb says:

      You ok?

    • Chris says:

      Get yourself to Opera North – still doing sterling work both in the opera house AND expanding its efforts within the community mainly across the north of England. Unlike the CBSO who are setting up a specialist music school (in Sandwell, West Midlands) but Opera North may well manage that too, in the fulness of time!

    • Krunoslav says:

      “But today– who sings? Who dances? Non-entities… ah, the times!” – The Old Countess, PIKOVAYA DAMA

  • Nigel Simeone says:

    At least they’ve changed the BBC Four schedules so that the heats are not only on BBC Wales. 10:05 tonight for the song final and tomorrow for round 2 of the main competition (only in Wales or the iplayer last Monday, before the welcome change).

  • Margaret Walker says:

    Cardiff Singer has met the same fate as BBC Young Musician – once both flagship programmes. It is a great shame and a disgrace.

    • Karen Lybia says:

      The organisers of these telly-competitions are clearly trained in the razzamatazz of Strictly etc. The background music is crass for a classic competition, the presentation pathetic (who is the ghastly Josie Darbie) and the level of comment bordering on the shrill. And the actual coverage of BBC events like this shows how little the organisation values its material. It can only be the result of pressure from somewhere that the programmers relented to show the other rounds on national as opposed to regional tv. They do the same to the Young Musician competition to which the name BBC is a joke. But….. Did you know that you can get these programmes on something called BBC Sounds? Or that the news belongs to the BBC?

      • Maurice says:

        The most annoying thing about the last Young Musician I saw parts of was the time spent on each competitor’s history and an interview (“The others are all so friendly, I can’t believe I’m here, I’m going to give it my best shot,” etc. – well, well!), followed by a mere snippet of their performance.

  • Mimi T says:

    It was possible to watch round 2-4 live on iplayer, providing the device’s location was changed to Wales, by scrolling down the screen. The information given at the end of round 1 was misleading. Clicking on the link for round 2 showed Top Gear.
    It is an absolute disgrace that this internationally revered competition is not valued by its host nation. I expect the corporation to broadcast all the rounds in future.
    Germany has several programmes scheduled soon about its world famous tenor Jonas Kaufmann to celebrate his 50th birthday.

    A civilisation ignores the Arts at its peril.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Just think of the BBC TV in the mid-late 70s, with the Andre Previn Music Night, Aquarius music documentaries, Boulez discussing things. And compare it with now. Depressing….

    • Richard Craig says:

      I fully agree with you Ester I thought the remit ofBBC4 was to promote great art and culture but what do we get bloody football and the Cardiff singer relegated to the latenight slot of 10 05.i am surprised they bother at all

  • Andrew says:

    Another reason to axe the telly tax. The BBC is a sad shadow of its former self. No longer a force for good.

  • batonbaton says:

    Several years ago I was the only writer to review every aria and song in both prizes – since then there has seemed little point in returning to Cardiff for this sometime superannuated TV filler

  • Mike Schachter says:

    The BBC is a degenerate organisation run by meretricious nobodies. Hope that is not too charitable

  • Pamela says:

    Really disappointed in the BBC – would have thought that coverage of this was as natural a choice as covering the Proms?

  • Esther Cavett says:

    And what a jury: Dame Felicity, Dame Kiri, Fredrica vS, Jose Cura, Malcolm Martineau,Robert Holl and Sir D. Poutney.

    Wow !