South East Wales

Cardiff Singer of the World winner returns a year on

Nadine Koutcher Image copyright Kachura Olga
Image caption Nadine Koutcher is set for opera appearances in Chile over the summer

The winner of Cardiff Singer of the World has admitted she is "nervous" ahead of her return to sing in the city.

Belarusian soprano Nadine Koutcher took the prestigious title in June 2015.

She returns to Cardiff on Friday to perform a new work by Downton Abbey composer John Lunn.

Koutcher will take to the stage at St David's Hall alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the violinist, Nicola Benedetti.

Since winning the Cardiff Singer competition, Koutcher has attracted a new agent and has performed in Geneva, Berlin and Toulouse.

Image copyright Brian Tarr/BBC
Image caption Nadine Koutcher winning in June 2015

She will travel to Chile next week for a two month stint appearing in operas by Rossini and Verdi.

"There have been a lot of events in my life since winning the competition," she said.

"They introduce me as the winner of Cardiff Singer of the World 2015, and in my country, Belarus, I am now a famous singer, which I wasn't before."

As well as her return to sing in the Welsh capital, Koutcher is looking forward to seeing more of the city.

"It's very exciting, I'm really glad to be back. I hope to see the city, finally, as I didn't get a chance to see it during the competition," she said.

Image caption John Lunn is a BAFTA-nominated composer who will be presenting his new work

Lunn, who composed the theme music to the ITV series Downton Abbey, has written a new work which will close BBC NOW's season.

Koutcher will sing the new piece, although she has admitted being apprehensive.

"I am really nervous. It's a new piece and I am always nervous when you have a new piece in your repertoire because you don't always know what you should do."

Despite the nerves, Koutcher said the composer had confidence in her interpretation of his new work.

"I am happy that I have Mr Lunn and that he is nearby. He told me his wishes for the piece, we rehearsed and he is absolutely happy because he told me that I sing as he imagined it in his head."

After winning Cardiff Singer, the critics praised Koutcher's "exceptional technique" and "instinctive musicality", something she hopes to repeat on her first appearance in the city since winning the final.

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