Reviewed by Andy Wilding
35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition
Semi-Finals 2nd Day
Baxter Concert Hall Cape Town, Thursday 30 June 2016
(This is Part Two of the semi-finals review, for Part One just scroll down.)
Due to the extremely high standard of the contestants in the Belvedere Competition I find myself delving deeper into what makes a successful singer. In this semi-final stage, every contestant has beautiful intonation and tone. The ten singers reviewed here are exploring further aspects of their performance, such as good acting and character development; the subtle use of volume dynamics; the structure of the aria; the phrasing of each line; and many other subtleties that make perfecting the art of singing an infinite journey.
Raehann Bryce-Davis demonstrated how to structure an aria dynamically by using her projection strategically to create exciting crescendos that contrasted with softer passages. She sang “O ma lyre immortelle”, Gounod Sapho, in her deep rich mezzo, making good use of a piano interlude to develop her character. Her finish was intense, demonstrating her power and range.
Noluvuyiso Mpofu has lovely dramatic facial expression and body language. Her passion and strong lower register create an authority that wins the audience over and attracts their sympathy. Her “Martern aller Arten” Mozart Die Entfuhrung, was accurate, and sweet even in her higher register. My heart melted and my eyes watered.
“Der Holle Rache” Mozart Die Zauberflote. One does not attempt this aria lightly. Its glorious heights and time-suspending leaps are a temptation the cost of which is perfection, or death! Marielle Murphy chose perfection and she achieved it with heart-pounding bravery. Her accuracy was as astonishing as Mozart intended, but Murphy went another level deeper, mellowing her tone to create subtle changes of colour in her voice that made no two repetitions the same. She reserved her power strategically for the peaks of those coveted heights. She strikes a convincing character, and with a voice like her’s, she may well be crowned Queen of the Stage!
As if by deliberate contrast to Mozart’s haughty Queen, the following act was Massenet’s Thais. Dreamy, romantic, gentle, and revealing incredible depth of sweetness, Solen Mainguene presented “Dis moi que je suis belle”. Her stage presence was captivating, it was as if she was alone with her thoughts. She is a convincing actress, becoming visibly rattled and despairing before finding herself again. Her dynamics are astounding, at times an intimate pianissimo that draws the audience in, as if to hear a secret. How alluring, and what a range!
Bozhidar Bozhkilov has an expansive deep round tone that is delightfully easy on the ears. He has appealing, warm stage presence, and his dynamic structure is exciting, moving from a purr to a roar in “Come dal ciel precipita” Verdi Macbeth.
Diana Rosa Cardenas ticked a number of boxes for me. She is a natural actress, communicating her character by facial expression and eye contact. Her stage presence is captivating, giving a real laugh when required, that sounded like it could be her actual laugh. Her dynamics tell her story on their own, in wonderful crescendos and piano sections. She has a highly developed embouchure technique (shaping of the mouth) that allows a variation of tone in repeated phrases, so that no two are alike. “Je suis encore tout etourdie” Massenet Manon, was a master-class in the art of singing.
In “Ach, ich fuhl’s” Mozart Die Zauberflote, Julietta Aleksanyan clearly chose an aria that would showcase her heart-stopping finesse and exquisite sense of line. Her performance was lyrical and complex, perfect intonation, with utterly captivating presence.
Ki Young Jang will do well in a big opera houses and out-door venues, or even stadiums. His projection is remarkable, and he has the reserve to cresendo his forte astoundingly, and yet he also has the phenomenal ability to control his full roar and bring it down to a gentle word. He has a wonderful friendly presence, delivering a charming “Che gelida manina” Puccini La Boheme.
It’s hard to be sure but I think that Anna Gorbachyova was the best coloratura we have heard so far, her intonation in the semiquavers was flawless, incredible. Her “Marten aller Arten” Mozart Die Entfuhrung, was a highly technical performance of beautifully sculpted lines and dynamic phrasing that made use of her full dynamic range, crescendoing from pianissimo.
Misaki Moreno is a dramatic, enchanting performer. She interpreted “Partir o ciel desio!” Rossini Il viaggio a Reims to showcase the full range of her voice, from a strong mezzo to her preferred soprano register. I enjoyed her tasteful application of power and beautiful phrasing. She is also captivating in her facial expression, a sensational performer.
Where ever you are in the world, you can watch the
35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition FINALS
STREAMING LIVE ON THE INTERNET
SATURDAY 2 JULY AT 6:00pm (GMT+2)
CATCH THE FREE VIDEO BROADCAST HERE: http://www.capetownconcerthall.com/