A “SPECTACULAR” young soprano won one of the main prizes at an international festival.

Sian Dicker, 26, was crowned as the International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

She was presented with the new Pendine Trophy and a cheque for £6,000 by Mario Kreft, proprietor of the Pendine Park care organisation which was a sponsor.

Sian clinched the title just ahead of Aberystwyth soprano Catrin Woodruff, 27, and Llandudno tenor Elgan Llyr Thomas, 26, The two runners-up both received a cheque for £2,000.

No fewer than 18 hopefuls from around the globe took part in a preliminary competition earlier in
the day.

A delighted Sian, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, said: “Just performing on that stage was such a thrill.

“Walking out took my breath away… it’s certainly the biggest stage and audience I have performed in front of.

“It’s the first time I’ve entered a competition such as this and I really didn’t think I could win. The standard has been really high and it’s been stiflingly hot which made it even more difficult.

“The £6,000 cheque is an enormous boost to my finances and will help me pay for my studies.

“I studied for academic music degree at the University of London and am now doing my Masters in Vocal Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

“My one ambition is to be an opera singer.”

According to organisers, the competition was “catapulted into a new league” and attracted a host of the world's best young singers after Pendine Park contributed £5,000 to the total prize pot.

A further £3,000 came from Sir Bryn Terfel’s Foundation, plus £2,000 from the Eisteddfod.

Eilir Owen Griffiths, music director at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, said: “The quality of candidates for the International Voice of the Future competition is always extremely high, but this year’s entries have really blown us all away. 

“This competition is all about providing exceptional talent with a springboard for their professional careers.

“The increased prize fund, generously donated by sponsor and long-time supporter of the Eisteddfod, the Pendine Park Care Organisation, has really boosted interest and attracted even greater talent to the competition.

 “We would like to thank all competitors for their fantastic performances but our winner Sian Dicker was truly spectacular.

“We hope winning this prestigious award will enable all our finalists to take their careers in music to the next level."

The unenviable task of judging the competition went to leading soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and composer Gareth Jones who agreed the
increased prize money had  raised the profile of the event to a whole new level.