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‘Singer of the World’ began in 1983 to celebrate the opening of St David’s Hall in Cardiff. Watched by eight million viewers worldwide, it is generally regarded as the world’s leading vocal competition, having launched a host of stars onto the operatic stage. In 1989 a Song Prize (previously the Lieder Prize) was introduced, the year that featured the legendary 'Battle of the Baritones', with Bryn Terfel winning the Song Prize and Dmitri Hvorostovsky taking the overall Cardiff Singer of the World title. This DVD celebrates the rich harvest of talent in the first 20 years of BBC Singer of the World.
DVD 1 - Enjoy the full finale performances of all the competition winners, including Karita Mattila, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Marius Brenciu.
DVD 2 - The complete final recitals of the Song (Lieder) prize-winners, including the first recipient, Bryn Terfel and Marius Brenciu, the first to win both prizes.
“A well-directed and informative survey of Cardiff’s first 20 years. In 1989 there was the famous joust of the baritones – Hvorostovsky eventually won the main prize, Terfel the Lieder competition… both speak interestingly about the occasion and how it affected them… The first DVD gives us an overview of the winners’ performances, the second shows us some of the Lieder winners, most notably of Christopher Maltman in 1997, one of the event’s worthiest victors. Before that there is a well-made, 34 minute overview of the contest as a whole, with administrators, judges and contestants making constructive contributions.
Nostalgic to see in the early years the lively presence of Geraint Evans, Elizabeth Harwood and Kim Borg, all three no longer with us. It is interesting to be told just how important part the then new St David’s Hall, with its excellent acoustics, made to the initial success. Having been opposed to the event at the start, I have to admit that it has proved its worth in terms of uncovering much talent and a few real stars.”
“It is good to be reminded of the young Hvorostovsky, so assured and confident, of the winsome Katarina Karnéus, of Inger Dam-Jensen's advance from being only runner-up in her round to vanquishing all in the final, of Terfel's charming of his Welsh audience… This DVD set will refresh the memories of those who have watched and listened in years past and will provide evidence for anyone too young to remember all the events.”
“It’s a tribute to the strength of Smith’s (auditioner-in-chief) ear that so many of the past winners – starting with Karita Mattila, the very first, in 1983 – and also even more of the uncrowned finalists (including Hillevi Martinpelto and Monica Groop) are now major names in the operatic world. So, with almost three hours of singing from all 10 past winners of the overall prize and another 60 minutes from the seven winners of the lieder prize, this is essential viewing for anyone who found themselves hooked by last month’s televised contest.”