JURMALA, Latvia (BBC)—In the language of sports, a spurt at the finish gave Sona Shakhgeldyan, a 24-year-old singer from Armenia, her victory at the “New Wave” contest for young performers of popular songs. Shakhgeldyan managed to outshine Ukrainian contestant Tatyana Shirko by only one point in the third and final round. Shirko, who took third place, was behind Shakhgeldyan by only 3 points.
Shakhgeldyan is inspired by her success and has many plans for the future. She wishes to donate part of her monetary award to an animal shelter. “I want to do good; I can’t find words for happiness. I want to organize my first solo concert! And I’ll work all the time. I don’t want to take a rest.”
The performers at “New Wave” competed fiercely for the victory in the Dzintary Concert Hall in the Latvian resort city of Jurmala. Alexander Rumyantsev, the General Director of the “New Wave” contest claims that the contest has a very high reputation Rumyantsev calls the “New Wave” contest, a European level event. He is sure that there is nothing of the kind in Europe today.
The world-famous Eurovision Song Contest has often invited both the winners and the participants of the “New Wave” to Eurovision, including an Israeli singer, Eddie Butler, Ukrainian Tina Karol, the Vocal Group Cosmos from Latvia, and singer Dima Bilan from Russia. Not only does “New Wave” have a solid prize fund, which is worth 100,000 Euros this year, and contracts with Russian radio stations and TV companies, the “New Wave” also enables its winners to make their way onto the European stage.
“New Wave” welcomes young performers from show business and the world stars of classical music on its stage. Performing before the Jurmala audience this year were two Russian opera stars – Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Khvorostovsky.
Yegor Sesarev, a Russian singer from St. Petersburg, won this year’s prize for audience sympathies.