Wales

Cardiff Singer hopeful Sioned Gwen Davies 'will just enjoy'

Sioned Gwen Davies Image copyright James Glossop
Image caption Sioned Gwen Davies with Scottish Opera as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado in 2016

Wales' contestant in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition said it has been "lovely" to have the support of her home nation behind her.

Sioned Gwen Davies, 31, a mezzo soprano from Colwyn Bay in Conwy county, is performing in the various stages of the international competition this week.

The winner of the main prize will receive £15,000 and the Cardiff Trophy.

Ms Davies said being Welsh was the reason she became interested in music and singing.

"I've always been involved in eisteddfods, I've always competed, but it was a hobby more than anything to begin with, I never thought to take it on professionally."

But as she competed more, Ms Davies began to look at music as a career and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she said she "trained hard" and developed her love for opera.

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Media captionTake a look at the 20 contenders for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World prize

She has performed with Scottish Opera and with Valladolid Opera in Spain and was a winner at both the National Eisteddfod and International Eisteddfod in 2009.

The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition features 20 finalists, including two from England - soprano Louise Alder, who is making her Welsh National Opera debut in Cardiff during the competition, and bass Dominic Barberi - and Catriona Morison representing Scotland.

"It's just good to go out and enjoy it really," Ms Davies said.

"I have to be confident in my own ability, and I enjoy performing, I enjoy doing concerts so I try and focus that way."

The competition has already begun and Ms Davies said she was happy with her performance in the song round on Sunday.

"I was really pleased with my performance and I can't sing any better than that, so it doesn't matter about the outcome then.

"If someone is better than me, so be it and it depends on what the judges like too.

"My family and friends are going, so we'll go to the bar afterwards for a cheeky gin, there's no point taking on too much pressure.

Image caption Sioned Gwen Davies in the Welsh Singer Competition

"The performance is only 15 minutes of my life, I suppose it must be a little bit like being an Olympian, you train for so long."

The contest runs until 18 June and includes concerts broadcast from St David's Hall.

Unlike other contestants, Ms Davies had a pass into the world competition having won the Welsh Singers Competition last year.

"I was just at the top of the age limit [32] so I gave it a go, I thought it might open a few doors and I did win.

"As a result I got to do so many concerts, and the more confidence you gain and you just start to become very happy and relaxed on stage."

She hopes this week will open even more doors - as it is an international competition.

"I'm hoping people all over the world will be watching, and might see me and think 'she might be able to do that role', or perhaps companies in the UK who've not seen me perform recently might watch."

But Ms Davies will not have long to mull over her performances - after the Cardiff competition, she will join rehearsals for the Magic Flute in London where she will play the Second Lady.

"It's good I have got work to go to still, there's lots to do, there won't be any after-show blues.

"The support has just been amazing, everyone in Wales has been fantastic and it's always lovely to have the home nation behind you."

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