The newest BBC ‘Singer of the World’ was named last weekend in Cardiff. Young American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton took home the prestigious title in the biennial competition, singing Acerba voluttàfrom Cilea’s opera  Adriana Lecouvreurto take home the grand prize and £15,000. The 31-year-old singer was also awarded the competition’s Song Prize.

“She is a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th-century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad or Karin Branzell,” writes Guardian critic Tim Ashley.

Barton earned her place among the 20 finalists by out-performing more than a thousand young hopefuls from around the world. Held at the St David’s concert hall in the Welsh capital, the competition was judged by an expert panel that included soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, mezzo Felicity Palmer, tenor Christoph Prégardien and baritone Håkan Hagegård.

The competition has a rich history, having helped launch the careers of many successful artists including Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (1989 winner), Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel (1989 Song Prize winner), Finnish soprano Karita Mattila (1983 winner) and Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča (2001 finalist).

Barton studied at...