Selection process completed: 40 talented singers to compete in Weikersheim

Clarry Bartha, Artistic Director of DEBUT, and Paul McNamara, a member of the judging panel, have just selected the 40 young opera singers who will travel to Weikersheim for the competition week at the end of September from more than 450 applications in total.

It took them four days to sift through all the sound and film recordings submitted by candidates; after all, they want to offer the live audiences a broad musical spectrum of classical opera singing again.

It has become something of a tradition for the Artistic Director, a current judging panel member and the Project Manager at DEBUT Concerts GmbH to “lock themselves away” for a few days in mid-July somewhere in the WITTENSTEIN SE Innovation Factory to sift through hundreds of applications in search of outstanding new talent. Every two years at the end of September, packed audiences in Weikersheim are invited to escape into the world of top-class opera music. The number of applications rose sharply again compared to 2020, the year of the pandemic, when DEBUT acted as a beacon, being one of only a very few singing competitions at all worldwide – something that Clarry Bartha is particularly proud of: “It gives me great pleasure to watch how DEBUT has evolved. The competition attracts more and more international attention every year and we’re also doing our bit to make the cultural landscape more diverse, not just in the lovely Tauber Valley but throughout Germany and indeed the whole world.”

In the right place at the right time

Ms Bartha was supported in the selection process by Paul McNamara, tenor and Artistic Leader of the Dutch National Opera Academy in Amsterdam and a member of the DEBUT judging panel since 2020. “It’s amazing how many young singers have the courage to go their own way – which is not always easy as an artist. But it really is an extremely rewarding profession if you’re lucky enough to know the right people and be in the right place at the right time”, he says. These are precisely the conditions DEBUT wants to create for talented newcomers with the Classical Singing Competition, as Edith Wittenstein, Managing Director of DEBUT Concerts GmbH, is quick to emphasize: “For us as the organizers, it’s a great privilege to be able to help these young people as we accompany and support them. They are where the future lies – not simply the future of the competition but of the entire opera landscape.”

Exceptionally talented singers competing for the Golden Victoria

40 participants from all over the world will move into the Guest House at Weikersheim Castle on September 18, when they will have a chance to get to know each other before the qualifying rounds begin in the Arsenal on Monday, September 19. Both the latter and the semifinal on Wednesday, September 21 will be open to interested members of the public at no cost. The lieder recital by the finalists for the lieder prizes on Thursday, September 22 will set the stage for the traditional gala concert and final on Saturday, September 24.

Event opens with a matinée

Once again, the first public event of the 11th DEBUT Classical Singing Competition this fall will be the traditional matinée on Sunday, 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, Enrico Calesso (Music Director at the Main-Franconia Theater), Uwe Friedrich (music journalist) and Paul McNamara, the audience can especially look forward to Lucia Ronchetti, the Italian composer of this year’s lieder for the DEBUT lieder recital. Tickets will go on sale from mid-August on


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