Belarusian soprano Nadine Koutcher thrilled audiences at the 2015 Cardiff Singer of the World this month, and her glittering performances (and astonishing high notes) throughout the competition led her to the Main Prize. Though already an experienced performer on the European opera circuit stage in repertoire from Purcell to Dusapin, via Puccini and Verdi, this award is sure to propel her onto the most prominent stages of the world. We caught up with her after her win and began by asking about her musical roots.
‘I started singing at the age of 10 in a children’s choir’, she said. ‘I then began singing professionally when I was 18, and studied at the Minsk State Musical College and the St Petersburg Conservatory.’ I asked Ms Koutcher what this win meant to her, and about her experience in Cardiff. ‘This victory is very important for me!’ she replied. ‘It was a dream come true to take part in the competition – it is after all the most prestigious competition in the world! Taking part in the competition was a completely new experience for me, from TV cameras to a really intense schedule shared with twenty fine singers.’
Kiri Te Kanawa – Cardiff Singer of the World 2015 Round Four Prize Presentation
Credit: Brian Tarr
Indeed, the BBC should receive credit for the thoroughness of their coverage of the competition (with clips still on their website), which included extensive insightful commentary from experts in this field. We could also view the whole of the Cardiff final, in which Koutcher sang a wide range of repertoire – Ach, ich liebte from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Marfa’s aria from Rimsky-Korsakov’ The Tsar’s Bride and Delibes’ Bell Song. I asked her whether she had a particularly favoured repertoire, and which roles she is looking forward to singing in the near future. ‘The pieces I performed at the competition are some of my favourite works,’ she said, ‘and I like to perform a wide range of repertoire. Future roles I am singing include Countess Le nozze di Figaro and title role Lucia di Lammermoor at Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse and Amenaide Tancredi at Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile’
Reinhold Gliere-Concerto for coloratura soprano
The life of a singer is a demanding one – for Ms Koutcher it is surely about to become busier – and finding time for other interests can be hard. I asked Ms Koutcher if she is able to unwind away from the stage and the rehearsal room. ‘Yes I do, I love baking!’ she replied. ‘I would love to open a small café one day, serving cakes and the best coffee in the city.’ Patisseries of the world, look out – you’ve got some competition.