Valentina Nafornita, from Moldova, was named the winner of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in St David’s Hall. She sang a delightful, crowd pleasing selection of music and charmed the audience with her grace and vulnerability, not to mention striking outfits.
Andrei Bondarenko, runner up and winner of the Song Prize, was stunned at the announcement believing that he was the clear winner and had been overlooked for a singer with potential rather than one who demonstrated he was already the complete package. The Ukrainian singer had the audience cheering with his polished Verdi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
It was obvious from the previous week’s episode that both would become the two finalists and it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the Judges would recognise the supremacy shown by Andrei but it seems they decided on a singer genuinely starting the rise in her career rather than choosing Bondarenko who was already a singer of the world.
According to reports this is what the competition should be about. Singers making their way in the career, not singers already established and groomed for stardom. The judges deserve praise for rejecting the highly coached singers from Russia and USA and choosing the young singer, Valentina, who is still to make her way in a career.
The contest was an evening of the sopranos. Valentina shared the stage with Olesya Petrova from Russia, Hye Jung Lee from South Korea and Meeta Raval from England. Olesya gave the best performance of the evening with her version of Verdi and Rimsky-Korsakov but failed to impress when she came to sing Bizet and Mascagni.
In this series of concerts, audiences were amazed by Hye Jung Lee, specifically those unfamiliar with Nixon in China, but in the final she was disappointing in her performance.
Meeta, although once more captivated everyone with her passionate interpretations, appeared to over dramatise her singing. The evening was once again an audience filled TV show but this concert was live obviating any prior performance difficulties.