CMIM 2018: Day 8 Aria Semi-finals, Session 2: Jury’s Decision

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Yesterday evening the Arian Semi-finals of the CMIM 2018 came to a conclusion. Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Konstantin Lee, tenor Mario Bahg, baritone John Brancy and bass Mikhail Golovushkin and tenor Petr Nekoranec competed for one of the six spots in the finals in the Aria division of the CMIM 2018 competition.

At the end, La Scena’s tweeted our predictions:

* Wah Keung Chan: Emily D’Angelo, Andrew Haji, John Brancy, Rihab Chaieb, Mario Bahg, Mikhail Golovushkin. Sorry Konstantin Lee.

* Justin Bernard: D’Angelo, Hadji, Nekroranec, Chaieb, Bahg et Glovushkin. Hésitation entre Brancy et Chaieb.

* Myself: Emily D’Angelo, Mario Bahg, John Brancy, Andrew Hadji, Mikhail Golovushkin, Petr Nekoranec.

The six chosen singers to advance are baritone John Brancy, tenor Konstantin Lee, tenor Mario Bahg and bass Mikhail Golovushkin, tenor Andrew Hadji and Mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo.

Unlike the first session of the semi-finals where D’Angelo was the undisputed winner, the second session didn’t have a clear champion.

My personal favourite of the night was the performance by Mario Bahg of Cilea’s “E la solita storia del pastore” and of “Je crois entendre encore” from Bizet. He took some artistic risk in the latest piece by going completely into falsetto for some of the high notes, showing his vulnerability, it was a divine musical moment. Notwithstanding, his performance wasn’t perfect, he almost lost his place in the finals by singing Cujus Animam. He projected masterfully the expected high C#, but cracked on his way down. He also had problems projecting in the middle/low section of the voice. Was this piece mandatory? If not, I don’t understand why so many tenors had it as part of their program. It is either to low or to high for them, or both. I am surprised at the lack of imagination that most of them had in choosing their pieces. There are other sacred pieces such as Domine Deus if you want to stick to Rossini or maybe why not give German repertoire a go with Strikke des Todes from Hymn of Praise by Felix Mendelssohn. There are also other Arias than E la Solita Storia del Pastore.

My second favourite of the evening was tenor Petr Nekoranec. He showed great artistry and chose a repertoire that fitted him like a globe. His sweet and youthful tone was perfect for “Un Aura Amorosa.” He showed also the ability to do crescendos and decrescendos in his high note, a very important feature to approach the kind of bel canto repertoire that I expect he will be doing in the future.

Lack of Sopranos

I have a craving to hear a soprano and it can’t be satisfied! Really, Why there weren’t any sopranos in the Semi-finals? They are the prima donnas of the opera, couldn’t they deserve a spot?

Ukranian soprano Olga Rudyk, who was eliminated in the first round, was one of the few true spinto voices of the CMIM 2018. At just 25 years old she already has the vocal power to sing some of the big Puccini and Verdi Roles. It’s a surprise that she didn’t even make the cut to the semifinals. Her strongest point was the sheer power of her high notes, a good example of this came in pieces such as “Tu che di gel sei cinta” from Turandot, Her high note at the end was bombastic.

Maybe the case was that her curriculum didn’t show enough for the judges to trust her in the future rounds. She had “Vissi d’Arte” from Tosca, in her finals program. I would have loved to hear in a big hall with orchestra.

Predictions:

I love being right and silly predictions. Back in April/may we (Wah Keung Chan and I) predicted that Emily D’angelo would win first and John Brancy second. I still very comfortable with those choices. After the performance yesterday by Mario Bahg, he is the dark horse.

The Competition will come to a close on June 7th with the finals at Maison Symphonique, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the upcoming generation of opera singers perform with the OSM.

Here are the finalists in the Aria division in order of appearance:

Emily D’Angelo (Canada – Italy), mezzo-soprano

Andrew Haji (Canada), tenor

Konstantin Lee (South Korea), tenor

John Brancy (United States), baritone

Mario Bahg (South Korea), tenor

Mikhail Golovushkin (Russia), bass

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