Samling Artist singers have appeared in the finals of every BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition since 2005 and this year is no exception. Mezzo-soprano Beth Taylor and bass William Thomas told us about their preparations for this year’s finals.
Beth began by saying ‘I’m really enjoying preparing my repertoire for Cardiff, which I’m treating more like a performance and less like a competition. I’m hoping the audience will enjoy what I offer and can only hope I present my truest and best self. It is tricky to balance preparing the competition alongside other exciting projects coming up over the summer but, whilst in the practice room, it’s a great opportunity to continue delving into details and always weaving that perfect tapestry between text and music – our greatest privilege as singers! The Samling Artist Programme was a key moment in realising this and I’m very lucky to have been part of that journey of discovery, which I continue to travel.’
William added ‘As I prepare for Cardiff, I’m definitely still making use of what I learnt during the Samling Artist Programme. It was amazing that I got to work with Sir Mark Elder, Sir Thomas Allen and actor Alex Jennings in the same week. They really helped me not just as a singer but also as an actor, to stand still, not give too much with my face and gestures and to focus on using my eyes to communicate. That’s particularly useful when you’re performing arias in a concert situation such as Cardiff and it’s just you and the music with nothing else to help you.’ ‘It really means a lot to feel the firm voice of support from Samling Institute and to be reminded of what you do for emerging artists and it is warmly received in an otherwise turbulent time in our industry,’ said Beth.
Beth and William follow 21 previous Samling Artist singers into the finals, among them Catriona Morison who won both the main prize and the song prize in 2017 and audience- prize winners Louise Alder and Claire Barnett-Jones. Watch out too for Samling Artist pianists in the Song Prize finals. We’re looking forward to following Beth and William’s progress and wish them all every success.
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World runs from 10-18 June and will be broadcast on BBC television and radio.