BBC Cardiff Singer of the World runs from 12-19 June this year. Founded in 1983 it was the forerunner of a whole new theme in the realm of urban development - regeneration through culture. It now seems obvious to us that previously declining post-industrial cities such as Gateshead (the Sage, the Baltic), Liverpool (European City of Culture 2008) and Glasgow (European City of Culture 1990) now thrive. But in the late 1980s when Michael Heseltine created the Garden Festivals in each the idea of them as cultural hubs was risible. Birmingham did something similar with the opening of Symphony Hall and the regeneration of derelict canal area around it. The Guggenheim in Bilbao actually didn't open until 1997, but the effect was the same.
The very first of these successful cultural interventions was Cardiff Singer of the World - a name which initially drew laughter given that Cardiff was scarcely a vibrant location of world significance. And yet look. The song competition is now the world's premier and the Wales Millennium Centre is at the hub of a totally regenerated Tiger Bay - the area where Shirley Bassey grew up in poverty. Oh, and in addition to driving urban generation Cardiff Singer has discovered and launched on their way many amazing singers including the great Bryn Terfel.
Enjoy BBC Cardiff Singer BBC - BBC Cardiff Singer of the World