Australian soprano and rising international star Lauren Fagan is one of 20 finalists in this year’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Now in its 36th year, the biennial competition to identify star singers offers a £20,000 cash prize ($AU37,000) and a concert recital at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Previous winners include the Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, the late Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (who is the dedicatee of this year’s competition), Australian soprano Lisa Gasteen and German soprano Anja Harteros. Many past participants have also established highly successful careers, most significantly Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel – who won the Lieder Prize in 1989 – Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča, and Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.

Lauren Fagan. Photo © Victoria Cadisch

“I am feeling extremely honoured, excited and of course nervous to represent Australia in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition,” Fagan told  Limelight. “When I first arrived in London to study I remember watching the different rounds with my fellow Guildhall classmates and thinking one day I would love to sing in this… I’m in shock that this day dream has come true.”

“I want to go out there and enjoy singing some of my...