IN THE WINGS
TESS CREBBIN investigates
hot new talent in the singing world
Every now and then, the classical music world falls under the spell of singers who appear seemingly out of nowhere and take the international opera world by storm. Anna Netrobko, Joseph Calleja, Rolando Villazon, to mention just a few, all fall into that category. But before they come to international attention, these singers do not sit around twiddling their thumbs or knitting a scarf for their grandpa. Long before they hit the international scene, they make waves in their own countries, some of them more, some less prominently. This is why, in order to keep up to date with what is happening in the world of vocal music, it pays to take the occasional look at hot new talents in various countries and discover who might be waiting in the wings for an international career. As it turns out, there are some interesting singers indeed this year, some more and some less far along their paths towards an international break-through. Some have privately, others professionally produced CDs, and some of them are still at the stage where they are sending demos around to various labels. All of them have performed publicly in their own countries, to high acclaim, and so they warrant a closer look.
Tae Yoong Yang. Photo © 2003 Westdeutscher Rundfunk
The first of these is a flashy South Korean baritone who impresses by filling the stage with personality and voice alike, effortlessly holding out against the orchestra and captivating his audience to the point of a kind of superlative enthusiasm. The young lyric baritone Tae Joong Yang was discovered through the Bertelsmann foundation's New Voices contest that is being held in association with BMG classics. There is an immense effort behind the biannual 'Neue Stimmen' competition where qualified judges travel the world in search of new vocal talent, holding auditions in more than a dozen countries before selecting a handful of finalists and producing them on a CD/DVD combo through the Bertelsman foundation. The jury is made up of international music experts, with the 2003 jury consisting, among others, of the director of the National Opera in Paris. And they seem to have a sure hand for seeking out talent -- one of their first-prize winners was Vaselina Kaserova, for instance. Now the 2003 New Voices Singing Contest has just come out on a very interesting CD/DVD combo and introduces Tae Joong Yang to world audiences. On the DVD accompanying the CD, Yang woos the audience with his exceptional voice and extravagant stage presence. There were plenty of claps and cheers for the charismatic young Baritone who has most of what it takes to succeed in the operatic world: voice, looks, commanding stage presence, sense of humour and considerable acting talent. On the CD he gives a fine interpretation of Verdi/Don Carlos: O Carlo, ascolta. Yang was born in 1976 in South Korea, finished his voice studies in 2001 at the Seoul National University and in the same year made his opera début in Seoul as Germont in La Traviata. He won the JungAng Singing Contest in Seoul before becoming a finalist in the New Voices International Singing Contest 2003 (BMG Classics 82876 61 221 9 -- CD and DVD).
[Watch and listen to an excerpt from Largo al factotum from Rossini's The Barber of Seville,
sung by Tae Joong Yang on the Neue Stimmen 2003 DVD.
Needs an Apple Quicktime plugin.]
Copyright © 28 September 2004
Tess Crebbin, Monaco