With attention soon to be focused on June's biennial edition of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World I thought I'd take the opportunity to take a look back at the previous competition's competitors and see what they've been up to since Ekaterina Scherbachenko hoisted the crystal vase aloft and declared, in a Scottish brogue, “I am the only one!"
You'll notice that some are still studying, others are dipping their toes into the pool of professional singing for the first time while a few are not in Kansas anymore and are hitting the opera circuit all on their ownsome. All I can say is good luck to all twenty-five of them!
So read on to see what's become of your favourite singers from the Class of 2009...
Marc Canturri (Andorra)
Regular appearances on Spanish stages, including Dancaïre in the recent Bieto Carmen at the Liceu.
Fernando Javier Radó (Argentina)
Divides his time between his native Argentina and Europe, where he took part in the Neue Stimmen Master Classes last year.
Katharine Tier (Australia)
Completed her Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera before joining the ensemble of Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Emiliya Ivanova (Bulgaria)
A finalist in Placido Domingo's Operalia 2010, she has joined the ensemble of Theatre Bonn.
Etienne Dupuis (Canada)
Burgeoning international career, future engagements include Opéra de Montréal and Opéra de Tours.
Javier Arrey (Chile)
After being chosen to join the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in San Diego, he is now in his first season with the Domingo– Cafritz Young Artists Program of Washington National Opera.
Tomislav Lučić (Croatia)
Joined the ensemble of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden.
Jan Martiník (Czech Republic) Song Prize Winner
Continues to sing with the Komische Oper Berlin, has signed with Askonas Holt agency.
Anna Stephany (England)
Enjoying growing international career with future appearances at Concertgebouw, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and with CBSO.
Csaba Szegedi (Hungary)
Continues to sing with Hungarian State Opera.
Helen Kearns (Ireland)
Continuing her studies as an artist in residence at Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel.
Claire Meghnagi (Israel)
Continues to sing with Les Arts Florissants, will be making her role debut as Susanna this summer with Opera Holland Park.
Giordano Lucà (Italy) Audience Prize Winner
Recently made his operatic debut (be warned – nakedness on show) singing the role of the Duke (Rigoletto) at Teatro Verdi di Padova.
Eri Nakamura (Japan)
Joined the ensemble of Bayerische Staatsoper.
Ji–Min Park (Republic of South Korea)
Signed for Askonas Holt agency, and embarking on international career.
Dana Bramane (Latvia)
Continues to sing with Latvian National Opera.
Octavio Moreno (Mexico)
Graduated from Houston Grand Opera Studio's young artist development programme and continues to sing with the company.
Wade Kernot (New Zealand)
Joined the ensemble of Theatre St Gallen.
Izabela Matuła (Poland)
Continuing her concert / operatic career. Currently touring the US with Opole Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.
Dora Rodrigues (Portugal)
Continues to sing with Teatro Nacional de São Carlos.
Dawid Kimberg (South Africa)
In his final year as a Jette Parker Young Artist.
Yuri Minenko (Ukraine)
Signed with Askonas Holt agency, enjoying growing international career – appearing with CBSO in June.
Vira Slywotzky (USA)
Graduated from Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program and divides her time between opera and concert performances as part of The Mirror Visions Ensemble.
Natalya Romaniw (Wales)
In final year of studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Appeared in, and co-presented, the BBC 4 documentary Chopin: The Women Behind the Music.
... and of course...
Ekaterina Scherbachenko (Russia) 2009 Winner
Best to let her tell you what she's up to...
"The experience of competing in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009 was priceless... I now have a great agent, with offers from opera houses around Europe... The people who supported me during the competition were incredible, from the conductors, pianists, and organisers to the backstage staff... For me, being in Cardiff was the most valuable experience I've had...
This season, I will make my debut as Liù in a new production of Turandot at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich under the direction of Zubin Mehta. I will also debut at the Metropolitan Opera (Micaela), the Monte Carlo Opera (Tatyana), the Glyndebourne Festival (Mimì) and the Teatro alla Scala (Liù). I would not have had these opportunities without BBC Cardiff Singer of the World."