As parterre readers might know, I’ve been a long-time attendee of the Academy of Vocal Arts, together with quite a lot of their Giargiari Bel Canto competitions. These at all times have a particular sense of event, however maybe much more so this yr: the timing intersected with Opera Philadelphia’s Competition O22, and it felt by some means felicitous that whilst I sat within the Kimmel Middle’s Perelman Theater, a block away on the Academy was Rossini’s Otello.
Extra to the purpose, that is doubtless one of the best Giargiari yr in my expertise, evidenced in a number of necessary methods.
The primary was a really smart determination to present every of the 12 younger singers—all resident artists at AVA in several phases of their multi-year intensive coaching—the chance to sing two arias, moderately than one. Two arias is, I believe, the usual for quite a lot of comparable competitions, and for good cause. It may be an opportunity for the singers to shake off nervousness and heat up; it might probably additionally present totally different types.
As well as, this specific group have been of an unusually top quality, which made the competitors… properly, extremely aggressive. Through the interval, I listened in on a number of conversations amongst viewers members, and just about all people was having a tough time choosing solely a few favorites. (Giargiari has a complete of three awards: a first- and second-place, chosen by a gaggle of judges; and an viewers favourite, chosen by a poll given to attendees.) In truth, on the time the winners have been introduced by firm Vice President and Common Supervisor Scott Guzielek, he famous that Stephanie Blythe—one of many judges—had talked about what a very excessive normal it was.
Ah, sure—the winners, all three names to notice and keep in mind:
Lydia Grindatto (First Place). This soprano, a second-year artist, additionally impressed me final yr as Tatiana in AVA’s Eugene Onegin, each for her pretty and distinctive soprano, with its vibrant glow; and for her dedicated and detailed appearing and presence. Each have been evident right here as properly. This was a case the place the second aria actually clinched the deal. First, she provided “Donde lieta” from Bohème, which had form and poise, with all of the technical particulars mastered, however it didn’t register as notably particular. Within the second half, she sang a a lot much less widespread piece – “Robert, toi que j’aime” from Robert le diable—which sprang to life with radiant dedication and a stunning sheen within the higher octave.
Benjamin Dickerson (Second Place). I’ve adopted this third-year resident baritone with curiosity since I first heard him at AVA in a gaggle recital. He impresses particularly as an artist with fastidious style and magnificence; he jogged my memory immediately of Sanford Sylvan, a favourite singer of mine—and as with Sylvan, I can think about that Dickerson will make a significant profession in live performance music in addition to opera. His first aria, Pierrot’s Tanzlied from Die tote Stadt, given with a Lieder singer’s consideration to phrases and shapes, was to my thoughts essentially the most spectacular single providing of the night. His second aria, “Nemico della patria” from Andrea Chenier, stretched him—I can think about hard-core Verismo followers would need extra snarl and incipient chunk within the sound. To Dickerson’s credit score, although, he by no means pushed, and it was great to listen to such an immaculate legato line in music that doesn’t at all times get it.
Angel Raii Gomez. A second-year resident, Gomez acquired the viewers prize, which I might have predicted from the primary half. His melting lyric tenor has simply the type of glow and ease on excessive that dazzles, and each of his arias – “Languir per una bella” from Italiana in Algeri, and “Ah, mes amis” from, after all, La Fille du Régiment clearly raised the temperature within the room. The parade of excessive Cs within the Donizetti was certainly a marvel, together with that in every sequence he certain the repeats along with distinctive smoothness. There’s room for additional technical refinement, however Gomez is a performer to look at—together with a captivatingly relaxed ease and appeal which, just like the voice, makes one keep in mind the younger Pavarotti.
Personally, my selection would have been Dickerson for first place, and Grindatto for second. However that’s a fairly shut, and I can’t dispute the outcomes right here. Nonetheless, I wish to additionally name out two singers specifically whom I believe deserve particular consideration:
Kevin Godínez. This second-year resident baritone has a very luscious chocolate-y shade to his sound—each observe was an aural pleasure. He confirmed wonderful line in “Cento leggiadre vergini” from Il Corsaro. However the true breakout was in Gianni Schicchi’s “Ah, vittoria!,” the place Godínez’s ease and visual good humor have been completely fascinating—and the piece was properly and really sung.
Cumhur Görgün. The one first-year artist on this yr’s Giargiari competitors, this younger Turkish bass definitely made me sit up and take discover. Bodily fairly slight—and naturally, additionally younger—Görgün’s sound already suggests a real basso cantante. The second aria, “Come dal ciel precipita” from Macbeth, actually requires extra constant tonal weight, which I think about will include time. However he completely shone in Barbiere di Siviglia’s “La calunnia,” delivered right here with sly innuendo and welcome understatement in a approach that made the outdated chestnut sound recent and genuinely humorous.
I definitely sit up for listening to all these artists—and a number of other of the opposite contenders—once more throughout AVA’s season.