Singer of the World list revealed
The 25 singers who will compete in "the world's greatest singer competition" - the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World title - have been revealed.
A record number of more than 1,000 auditioned and three countries make the final for the first time.
The competition, held every two years, has helped launch many international careers - including Bryn Terfel's.
Soprano Nicole Cabell, the 2005 winner, said she has had "a remarkable amount of good fortune" since her triumph.
"I've been all over the world. I can probably say most of my engagements have come on the heels of my Cardiff victory," said the American, whose debut solo CD is released in the UK soon.
"It's a fantastic start, I've no idea where I would be without it. I might be here, I might not but I certainly don't think I'd be here as quick or with such fortitude."
Since her win she has debuted at the Royal Opera House in London and has dates at opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic scheduled into her diary.
The names of the shortlist for the week of concerts in Cardiff in June were revealed on Thursday by BBC Wales controller Menna Richards.
This year's winner will receive increased prize money of £15,000 and may also have an opportunity to perform with the BBC and the Welsh National Opera.
Three countries - Estonia, Croatia and Uzbekistan - have competitors in the final for the first time. Singers from as far afield as Brazil, China, Australia and Norway will take part.
Ms Richards said: "Each BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition brings the attention of the music world to Wales for this unique search for excellence in opera and song.
"Singers and audiences alike enjoy what are both fiercely contested competitions and an unparalleled experience for young singers.
The competition's patron Dame Joan Sutherland said she was eagerly looking forward to return to Wales to "the world's greatest singing competition".
She said: "I am delighted to see the huge success 2005's winner Nicole Cabell is now enjoying which she happily acknowledges was thanks to her success in Cardiff."
The competition was launched in 1983 with Finnish soprano Karita Mattila emerging winner.
In 1989 Bryn Terfel won the Lieder prize - the second part of the competition which is now known as the Song prize - and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky the overall title.
From BBC News
Contest was a 'springboard' for past winner
The winner of the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World has revealed how the contest has boosted her career.
Nicole Cabell returned to the Welsh capital for yesterday's launch of the 2007 competition.
The American soprano's career has rocketed since she was awarded the prize.
She has won rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, including when she made her Royal Opera House debut.
She has also signed a contract with Decca and her first solo album will be launched in the spring.
She will also make her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera in the coming months.
"The result of winning this competition is immeasurable," she said.
"It really is the one to win and the media exposure is priceless.
"The competition has been a springboard to many of my engagements, if not all of them."