I'm not planning to be glued this year's Cardiff Singer of the World contest, but thanks to the pointless poxy tube strike I did at least manage to catch the second round on BBC4 earlier on.
The right person won tonight. It's hard enough for a singer to truly connect with an audience in the concert hall, and it's near impossible on TV, but Ekaterina Shcherbachenko hit the spot. The odd technical flaw surfaced, but she lived every moment of her letter scene from Onegin - what a generous, heartfelt performance. (Watch the video here, more videos here.) I liked her quirky Mozart too - she's certainly not afraid to place a personal stamp on even the most hallowed of repertoire.
I enjoyed Anna Stephany's performance too, especially her very accomplished Dopo Notte, but her comparative lack of operatic experience showed in her reserve.
Dawid Kimberg and Ji-Min Park both worked just a little too hard to convince, and Octavio Moreno perhaps not quite enough. It's a tough balance to get right.