“Neue Stimmen” 2015: Eleven Finalists – Eleven Winners

Photos: Besim Mazhiqi, Jan Voth

The best of the best new voices of 2015 have now been chosen: 23-year-old French soprano Elsa Dreisig and 28-year-old Belarussian bass Anatoli Sivko, both of whom received First Prize. At the end of October, 11 finalists sang in the crucial final round of the “Neue Stimmen” competition in Gütersloh. And all of them can be considered winners. After all, if they continue to work hard, each can look forward to a high-profile career in the world of opera.

Are these the opera stars of tomorrow? As finalists in the “Neue Stimmen” competition, they can all consider themselves winners, since “Neue Stimmen” is known to be a stepping stone to the world’s most acclaimed opera houses. We’re therefore excited to see what comes next. This picture shows the singers who performed during the final round on October 24, 2015, as well as the event’s organizers: (left to right) tenor Dashuai Chen (Special Prize), baritone Jung Rae Kim (Special Prize), lyric baritone Luthando Qave (Special Prize), soprano Mariia Bochmanova (Special Prize), lyric soprano Camila Titinger (Special Prize), “Neue Stimmen” President Liz Mohn, host of the finals Holger Noltze, soprano and “audience favorite” Elsa Dreisig (First Prize & Audience Award), Jury Chairman Dominique Meyer, bass Anatoli Sivko (First Prize), soprano Miriam Albano (Second Prize), mezzo-soprano Bongiwe Nakani (Third Prize), tenor Lukhanyo Moyake (Third Prize) and, last but not least, tenor Darren Pati (Second Prize). If you would like to see and hear more, a video of the final round is available on the “Neue Stimmen” website.

For all of the participants, the week in Gütersloh is educational – and demanding. In light of the numerous workshops, auditions, photo shoots and rehearsals, any opportunity to get a bit of rest is welcome. Is Elsa Dreisig dreaming here of her coming triumph? We’ll probably never know …

… what we do know, however, is that the French soprano (seen here with Brian Dickie, head of auditions) convinced the jury with her superb talents …

… and won the hearts of those watching in the Gütersloh Community Center, to the delight of Liz Mohn and Dominique Meyer, who presented her with the €15,000 First Prize.

During the competition’s final week, participants have little time to themselves. Here, Belorussian bass Anatoli Sivko spends a moment alone, preparing for his next appearance on stage…
… time that paid off handsomely: the 28-year-old’s performance during the semifinals was extraordinary…

… and in the finals his rendition of an aria from the Russian opera Prince Igor was so impressive that he was awarded First Prize. Members of the jury Anja Silja (left) and Francisco Araíza (right) together with Liz Mohn, president of “Neue Stimmen,” congratulated him on his victory…. and in the finals his rendition of an aria from the Russian opera Prince Igor was so impressive that he was awarded First Prize. Members of the jury Anja Silja (left) and Francisco Araíza (right) together with Liz Mohn, president of “Neue Stimmen,” congratulated him on his victory.

Is second place just first loser? Not in Gütersloh! At “Neue Stimmen” nuances alone determine who places where. In view of that, mezzo-soprano Miriam Albano of Italy and tenor Darren Pati of New Zealand are delighted at having received Second Prize. Incidentally, Pati was the contestant who travelled the farthest to participate in the competition.

China and South Africa sent the largest contingents of singers to this year’s competition. Three from the latter country made it to the final round, where mezzo-soprano Bongiwe Nakani and tenor Lukhanyo Moyake gave compelling performances. Both took home Third Prize.

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