Monday, 18 March 2013

Otello and Pelleas - from Russia via Japan

It was another international feast yesterday at Brighton. The adult classes were not as well supported as the junior section, but I heard some fine performances from a small band of dedicated and talented singers who performed so well.

There must be a strong Russian contingent in Brighton these days, and one of their number was a tall chap whose tenor voice was unbelievably huge, and who sang everything as if he were performing to 2000 listeners in La Scala Milan ! He held us spellbound with the final 3 pages of Verdi's Otello. I felt pressed to my adjudicators chair by sheer volume and emotion. His Italian was perfect, and that combined with the monumental Russian soul, it was a performance worthy of any professional stage.

A Japanese tenor also touched me. What a total contrast here. The rather more contained and reserved character of this polite nation, sang with utter precision, a delicate and slender tone and everything he sang was so detailed and full of nuance. His Pelleas scene from Debussy's opera was floatingly beautiful and he 'saw' everything he was singing about.

Both of these extraordinary voices gained many first prizes, fully deserved and earned from each of their widely varying styles of singing.

I had to give an adjudicator's overall prize for someone I felt had proved their worth, and maybe had much potential, the prize being a small monetary award and much more exciting than that, an hour coaching session with Dame Felicity Lott ! Well my background in teaching young singers seems always to win through, and I awarded this to a young 18 year old who seemed to me to have much potential, a great deal of heart, and oozing talent. She too, was not of wholly Caucasian heritage, and she had a fire which gave her such promise.

I hope she went home a happy girl, ready for the huge treat in store for her!

I am resting today, and having a real day off! It is my grandaughter's birthday tomorrow. She will be the mighty grown up age of 10 - double figures indeed. I will collect her after her dancing class and whisk her off to dinner before her final cello lesson. She takes her Grade 2 on Wednesday, and moi is accompanying her.

Better get practising then............


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