I’d like to teach the world to sing 

21 June 2021 tbs.pm/72975

Our regular week’s worth of nightly TV viewing was swept aside after chancing on round one of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition last Sunday evening on BBC Four.

I can’t really call myself a fan or follower of opera, but I do know what I like when I hear it and certainly, what I was hearing had me hooked for the rest of the week, and I know that my wife Gina felt the same. All our regular viewing appointments for the week were cast to one side (fairly easy being that most of them are on DVD anyway and I only really watch the telly three or four nights a week) as we indulged in seven evenings of the most wonderful music performances.


Cardiff Singer of the World logo


So, having enjoyed the music would I ever go and buy the records? Most unlikely, it was definitely the performances that had us both riveted, the joy of ‘being there’ and witnessing the emotions and expressions as each of the contenders ‘felt’ what they were singing from the inside. We found the same thing last year with the covid-enforced intimacy of the Prom concerts.

Staging events like this is something that the BBC is extremely good at and would be among the first casualties should the corporation be forced into taking advertising or becoming a subscription service, along with The Proms. It’s not really the type of event programming that could sit comfortably in the world of commercial broadcasting and there aren’t really many, if any, broadcasters who would be able to take it on and sustain it.

The final was won by a Gihoon Kim, a baritone singer from South Korea. Not being an opera aficionado I’d never actually heard him before and, for similar reasons I will probably never hear him again. By tomorrow it’s likely that I’ll have forgotten his name. But he certainly had us on the edge of our seats during his performances in the contest and for that, at least, he will not easily be forgotten.

The next interruption to our viewing schedule will be The Proms starting on 30 July and, of course, in the immediate future there are the Euros sneaking in (although that’s really Gina’s indulgence while I don a set of headphones and plunder the vinyls).

In the meantime we return to our normal programmes. Let’s see, it’s Sunday as I write, so that’s Plebsand The Likely Lads followed by Upstairs, Downstairs. Time to crank up the DVD machine…


A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Liverpool, Monday 20 May 2024