The Jury: Helmut Deutsch, Jurgen Kesting, Christoph Meyer, Elisabeth Sobotka, Gustav Kuhn, Sophie de Lint, Dominique Meyer, BD, Evamaria Wieser, Bernd Loebe
So here we all were at 6:55 pm last night grimly facing up to the fact that we had reached the end of the road and had to decide the fate of the ten wonderful finalists. Some us look more cheerful than others! However in fact it is really one of the happiest and most collegial teams I have ever been fortunate enough to part of. It was a joy all week to spend time with these people.
Last night was something of a challenge nevertheless, in particular with regard to the female candidates. Although the eventual winner was a clear favourite by a wide margin the rest was a cliff hanger. The consistently high quality of those three mezzos was unusual and very pleasing, and the sopranos had impressed all week as well.....but there it is.
And the men were something of a battle as well, a tighter race at the top. But the collective wisdom of all these people, seven out the ten being in the day to day business of hiring the best young singers they can find, brought about a generally applauded result. What was clear was that each was exceptional, and that was reflected in the end with most generous additional monetary prizes for those who did not make the top three in their class.
Furthermore I think that we will find that a good few of these young people will go away not just with money but also the prospect of a contract with a pretty classy company, be it Vienna, Frankfurt, Salzburg, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Amsterdam, or Bregenz. I have no inside information but it would be true to Neue Stimmen's form.....
This is the time to say a huge thank you to the staff of Neue Stimmen who have been working at high speed over the last months to make this wonderful competition the very best of breed. Below you see our Project Director, Ines Koring, who been in place since the 2001 competition, doing the counting with Dominique Meyer and our star intern Katharina Heuring.
I am feeling more than usually sad that it is over for this year. I hope that I can celebrate doing it for 20 years next time in 2019 - my first was in 1999. This is one of those organisations where one feels that there is a real family spirit, and thus we do it for love as much as anything!