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Subject: Queen Elisabeth Contest: Semi-finals - 3rd evening
From: Margo Briessinck <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 18 May 1996 02:12:17 +0200

text/plain (120 lines)

Hi list,

The last session of the semi-finals is over, the names of the singers who
are through to the final are known.  But I'll first give a short review on
the singers of this evening.  I'll send the (surprising) results seperately.

Of this group of singers, I also heard their Lieder session yesterday afternoon.

FRANCE EMOND, soprano, 31 years, Belgium
'Ich will dir mein Herze schenken' (Bach)
'He shall feed his flock' (Handel)
'Dove sono' (Mozart)
'Ebben ? Ne andro lontano' (Catalani)
'In quelle trine morbide' (Puccini)
Not a great singer, as I expected after the Lieder session.  She had some
breathing problems during Bach.  The opera arias were all sung too loudly,
and when she got at the finale of Wally's aria she hadn't any power left.

ANNE STEFANESCU, soprano, 21 years, Rumania
'Let the bright Seraphim' (Handel)
'Je rechauffe les bons' (Ravel)
'Regnava nel silenzio' (Donizetti)
The youngest of them all, but what a voice.  The only problem she's having
is with her diction, mainly noticeable in Lieder, as well as in Handel.  But
a great Lucia.  A candidate for the final.

ELENI MATOS, mezzo-soprano, 30 years, USA
'O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion' (Handel)
'Qui sedes ad dexteram patris' (Bach)
'Brangaene's Lied' (Wagner)
'Must the Winter come' (Barber)
'Fia dunque vero - O mio Fernando' (Donizetti)
Her Lieder-singer was a mixed bag, oratorio was reasonable with Handel on
the slow side.  The opera arias were better, especially the cabaletta of the
aria from La Favorita.

PAUL GAY, basso-baritone, 27 years, France
'The people that walked in darkness' (Handel)
'Et in spiritum sanctum' (Bach)
'Mein Vater' (Wagner)
'La vendetta' (Mozart)
I was already impressed by his Lieder yesterday.  The oratorio- and
opera-arias were also of a very high standard: great style, perfect
diction...  But he seems to be a bit too nervous, which might be the reason
for straining on three lower notes.  A special mention should go to his
interpretation of Dr.Bartolo: remarkable vocal *and* dramatic
characterisation.  He should end high...

SARAHLOUISE OWENS, soprano, 30 years, Australia
'Quia respexit' (Bach)
'Let the bright Seraphim' (Handel)
'Signora ascolta' (Puccini)
'Martern aller Arten' (Mozart)
A mediocre voice, bad diction in Bach.  She sings the notes, but nothing
more.  She ended Liu's aria on a lovely mezza voce, though.  No chance for
the final.

STEFANIA DONZELLI, soprano, 28 years, Italy
'Hoechster mache deine Guete' (Bach)
'Quia respexit' (Bach)
'Ah ! je veux vivre' (Gounod)
'Bel raggio lusinghier' (Rossini)
Very bad oratorio-singing: lack of style, no contact with the public, it
looked as if it was the first time she saw the score.  Opera was a bit
better with an unidiomatic Juliette.  Most of her repertoire is going
towards the 'leggiero'-Fach.  But her voice sounds too dark for this kind of

JAN VAN DER CRABBEN, baritone, 32 years, Belgium
'Mein Wandel - Endlich, endlich, wird mein Joch ?' (Bach)
'Il di gia cade - Deh, ti ferma' (Rossini)
'Quand la flamme de l'amour' (Bizet)
A great singer.  Close to perfection in Lieder and oratorio.  He's got a
good technique in the opera arias, very expressive as well vocally as
dramatically; but I couldn't imagine him on stage.  Definitively a candidate
for the final.

MACHTELD WILLEMS, 27 years, Belgium
'Und dieses - Sich ueben in Liben' (Bach)
'Je marche sur tous les chemins' (Massenet)
'Care compagne - Come per me sereno' (Bellini)
All in all an every day voice.  Good, but not exceptional.  She might get in
the final if they can't find a twelfth finalist...


Here are the 12 names of the singers who have reached the final:

(in order of appearance in the semi-finals)

        Ray WADE, tenore
        Robert GIERLACH, basso-baritone
        Stephen SALTERS, baritone
        Souren CHAHIDJANYAN, basso
        Milagros POBLADOR, soprano
        Mariana ZVETKOVA, soprano
        Stephanie HOUTZEEL, mezzo-soprano
        Anja VINCKEN, soprano
        Michail NIKIFOROV, basso
        Ana STEFANESCU, soprano
        Eleni MATOS, mezzo-soprano
        Paul GAY, baritone

A few surprises: NO Belgians, at least Anne Cambier and/or Jan Van Der
Crabben should have been in the final.  And as an unpleasant surprise: the
Dutch Anja Vincken. She'll be having a very tough final: nobody in the
audience seemed to want her there (including me), she was the worst of the
whole semi-final, I wonder who of the members of the jury she's had as a
teacher...  More or less the same applies  for the style-less Russian Nikiforov.

The final will start next week on Wednesday evening.  Like the semi-final,
the final will also take part in three sessions (four singers each).  It
consists of non-baroque oratorio arias and opera arias, accompanied by the
orchestra of La Monnaie, conducted by Marc Soustrot.

Bye,  Margo

___     Margo Briessinck, Brussels, Belgium      ___
___     Email: [log in to unmask]          ___
___   "Without music, life would be a mistake"   ___

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