Meeta Raval, Valentina Naforniţă, Olesya Petrova, Hye Jung Lee and Andrei Bondarenko to compete in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2011

Tonight (Thursday, June 16) five opera singers have been chosen to perform in the final of the hottest operatic competition of the year, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2011.
The five that will perform in front of the distinguished jury and enthusiastic audience at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Sunday, June 19 are Meeta Raval from England, Valentina Naforniţă from Moldova, Olesya Petrova from Russia, Hye Jung Lee from South Korea and Andrei Bondarenko from Ukraine.

The singers will perform their choice of repertoire and will be accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Jac van Steen and Lawrence Foster.

From just over 600 who auditioned, the 20 competitors who came to Cardiff to perform have now been whittled down to five. Alongside her eminent jurors, who picked the finalists, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a strong supporter and mentor to young singers and Patron and jury member for the first time this year, says she has enjoyed being part of this world-renowned competition.

“The standard of singing has been extremely high throughout the week, with a variety of singers braving the stage to perform in front of audiences at St David’s Hall, on television and radio.

“The winner will need to have exceptional talent, and be worthy of the reputation of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World title, who will go on to flourish on the opera stage,” said Dame Kiri.

The final of this biennial competition will be shown on Sunday, June 19, on BBC Two and for the first time on the BBC HD channel, at 5.30pm presented by Petroc Trelawny and Josie D’Arby, and special guests including acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and 2005 winner Nicola Cabell. Coinciding with the television output, Donald Macleod will be presenting the full final on Radio 3.

Siân Pari Huws discusses the five finalists on BBC Radio Cymru with conductor Alwyn Humphreys and broadcaster Beti George. Nicola Heywood Thomas will also be gathering opinions from Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans and tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones, on BBC Radio Wales.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is organised by BBC Cymru Wales in association with Welsh National Opera and supported by the City and Council of Cardiff.