South Korean tenor sings his way to top of Vienna contest

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 10, 2012 - 19:41
  • Updated : Jul 10, 2012 - 19:41
VIENNA (AFP) ― A South Korean tenor beat out 3,000 other up-and-coming opera talents Sunday to win first prize in the 31st annual International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna.

The bespectacled Kim Beom-jin, 22, soared to the top with his rendition of Italian composer Gabriele Donizetti’s “Tombe degli avi miei,” pocketing a 7,000 euro ($8,600) cash prize in the contest aimed at pairing up young talent with industry contacts.

Fellow South Korean soprano Yoon Sang-ah won third place, with South African soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi coming in second, at the top voice competition named after a former head of the Vienna Chamber Opera.

Following preliminary rounds in 50-some cities across the globe from March to June, the best 138 singers took the stage in Vienna in early July before being whittled down to the top 14 in Sunday’s finals.

Along with her 3,500 euro second-place prize, Mkhwanazi, 26, won both the audience award and the media prize, each worth 1,500 euros. Yoon, 24, went home with a 2,500 euro third prize.