Following the anniversary edition in 2020 – the year of the pandemic when DEBUT acted as a beacon, being one of only a very few classical singing competitions worldwide – the conditions this time round are much more favorable. From September 2022, numerous young opera singers will once again be appearing before a distinguished judging panel – hoping to captivate large audiences from the local region with their vocal performances.
Anticipation is high: after so many cultural deprivations over the last two years, the organizers are looking forward more than ever to this year’s DEBUT Classical Singing Competition, which Dr. Manfred Wittenstein (Chairman of the WITTENSTEIN SE Supervisory Board) initiated back in 2002 with the aim of forging a unique link between business, technology and culture in the lovely Tauber Valley.
In the past, DEBUT has provided numerous young vocal soloists embarking on a musical career with an opportunity to network and make themselves known to a broad public. In 2022, the DEBUT Classical Singing Competition – which is still financed exclusively by sponsors and manages without any form of public funding – will again serve as a launching pad for singers of opera music aged 34 or under in the following vocal categories: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, countertenor, baritone and bass.
Patrons and judging panel with “royal” connections
Clarry Bartha, Artistic Director of DEBUT since 2016, is excellently connected and the competition week will once again bring together eminent personalities from the international classical music scene on the judging panel to support this year’s young artists with their enormous wealth of experience. The panel will be chaired by Stockholm-born opera singer Anna Larsson, who was appointed Court Singer by the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in 2010. She will be assisted on the judging panel of the 11th DEBUT Classical Singing Competition by seven high-profile colleagues:
Mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender – Kammersängerin, stage director and theater manager – and Professor Reinhold Würth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts in Künzelsau, will act as DEBUT 2022’s joint patrons.
Varied program culminating in an Advent concert
The first public event of the 11th DEBUT Classical Singing Competition later this year will be the traditional matinée on September 11 at the Kursaal in Bad Mergentheim. An open round table discussion under the motto “Singing! Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow” will be held with selected guests: in addition to Clarry Bartha, Artistic Director of DEBUT, Enrico Calesso, Music Director and principal conductor of Würzburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Uwe Friedrich, music journalist, and tenor Paul McNamara, the audience can especially look forward to Lucia Ronchetti, the Italian composer of this year’s lieder for the DEBUT lieder recital.
The regular competition week will take place from September 18 to 25, when about 40 talented newcomers from all over the world will make their way to the Tauber Valley, having been preselected by the judging panel. Both the qualifying rounds and the semifinal in the Arsenal of Weikersheim Castle will be open to interested members of the public at no cost.
Six young artists will moreover be nominated by the judging panel for the lieder recital on September 22 at the TauberPhilharmonie in Weikersheim. At the end of this musical evening, two of them will receive lieder prizes for “Best Performance of a Contemporary Lieder” and “Best Performance of a German / Italian Lieder”.
Finally, the overall winners of the competition week will be determined at the gala concert on September 24. The Golden Victoria award comes with prize money of €10,000, with €7500 and €5000 respectively for the Silver and Bronze Victorias. Several other cash and engagement prizes also await the finalists. The gala concert will be accompanied by the Würzburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Enrico Calesso while Felix Seibert-Daiker will be host for the evening.
Applications for the 11th DEBUT Classical Singing Competition can be submitted up until June 30, 2022 on the competition website: www.debut.de. Information on advance ticket sales for individual events will follow shortly.