First Winners Of Wagner Society Singers Competition

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 | 6:28:00 pm

Winners: Catrin Aur & Paul Carey-Jones with Sir John Tomlinson
Readers may remember the "furore" at the London Wagner Society (London) this year when the board decided to become the first Wagner Society to withdraw from the Stipendienstiftung and replace The Wagner Bursary Competition with another.  A decision that lead to a major split within the society, an attempt to unseat the President - Dame Gwyneth Jones - and the resignation of one board member. Well, the first winners of the new Singing Competition have just been announced.  According to the Society:

"The standard of the singing from the eight contestants, who were accompanied by Kelvin Lim, was impressively high. As the judges could not agree on a single winner, they took the unusual step of naming joint winners. They were:

Soprano Catrin Aur, whose Selig, wie der Sonne from Die Meistersinger soared with ease, and who followed with a radiant Dich, teure Halle from Tannhäuser, and

Baritone Paul Carey-Jones, who was magnificent in Abdendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge from Das Rheingold, and whose Ja - Wehe! from Parsifal shared intense, painful grief with the audience."

Also highly commended by the judges were baritone Rhys Jenkins - powerful and mature - and the ringing heldentenor Jonathan Stoughton. The audience prize was won by soprano Victoria Stanyon.

The winners will receive, either specialised coaching for a Wagner role or coaching in the German language. This prize is very different to that of the previous Wagner Bursary Competition, where winners of the Stipendienstiftung would have received: a visit to four performances at Bayreuth,entry to events of the International Wagner Society, scholarship holder meetings, and other events that might have given them the opportunity  to get their "faces known" around the Greenhill and recruiting artists.

The entry requirements were also different to the new competition and in the words of the Society, "The upper age limit (was) raised from 35 to 40. Under 35, it is not always possible to tell whether a singer's voice will develop to Wagnerian proportions, and this year’s competition demonstrated that the years between 35 and 40 are when a Wagner voice begins to mature - the sound quality was quite different from that often heard from younger contestants.".

The judges consisted of: Sir John Tomlinson, Elaine Padmore and Keith Warner.