Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 15:39 UK

'Old boy' Terfel to launch Urdd

Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel will open the 2009 Urdd Eisteddfod with a concert in Cardiff

Opera star Bryn Terfel will open next year's Urdd Gobaith Cymru National Eisteddfod in Cardiff with a concert at the city's Wales Millennium Centre.

The world-famous baritone, himself a former contestant in the annual youth festival, will perform at the evening concert on 24 May, 2009.

At this year's event taking place in Conwy, Dewi Huw Owen, from Aberystwyth, has won the crown competition.

Judges described his winning poem as "funny, sarcastic and experimental."

It was the first time he had entered the competition and adjudicators Eigra Lewis Roberts and Cefin Roberts said: "Without a doubt here is a special talent."

Bryn Terfel Scholarship winners
1999 - Mirain Haf
2000 - Rhianedd Fflur Wyn
2001 - No competition
2002 - Rhian Mair Lewis
2003 - Aled Pedrig
2004 - Raqhi Singh
2005 - Lowri Walton
2006 - Rhys Taylor
2007 - Manon Wyn Williams

The festival finishes on Saturday and by its close around 100,000 people will have passed through the eisteddfod grounds in Glanwydden, near Llandudno, having watched the 15,000 people who take part in the annual event.

During next year's opening even Terfel will perform on the night alongside all of the Bryn Terfel Urdd Gobaith Cymru Scholarship, a competition started in 1999 in his name to aid aspiring young performers.

The annual scholarship is open to the eight winners of the Urdd Eisteddfod's under-25 competitions with the final entrants for this year's even due to be confirmed by the end of Friday.

Every year the scholarship's eight finalists are made up the winners from the Urdd's cerdd-dant solo, folk song solo, instrumental solo, solo dance, solo from a musical, solo recitation, singing solo and theatric presentation competitions.

Each competes for a 4,000 prize to be used for further training in their specialist field with this year's event due to be held on 20 September at the Stiwt Theatre in Rhosllanerchrugog.

'Wonderful experience'

Urdd Gobaith Cymru's Chief Executive Efa Gruffudd Jones said: "I am very grateful to Bryn Terfel for his support and interest in the organisation and we eagerly look forward to the opening concert in Cardiff next year.

"It's fabulous to see that the Bryn Terfel Urdd Gobaith Cymru Scholarship is so successful year after year.

"It is without a doubt a wonderful experience for the competitors and gives them a great chance to develop their skills further within the art's world."

* Translator Iwan Rhys has won the Urdd National Eisteddfod chair for the second time.

The 24-year-old poet, from Porth-y-rhyd in Carmarthenshire and now living in Manchester, previously won the chair in 2001.

He was asked to compose a poem of not more than 100 lines for the competition on the theme 'colli' which translates as loss.

Adjudicators Myrddin ap Dafydd and Iwan Llwyd said Iwan's ode was "a mature, well-thought out and powerful poem" and "a worthy winner of the Urdd Eisteddfod Chair".

Osian Rhys Jones, from Aberystwyth, came second, while Dewi Huw Owen and Gruffudd Eifion Owen, from Aelwyd Pantycelyn, share the third prize.

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