Review: BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World 2015 - 2nd Main Prize Concert @ SDH
Two years ago, I missed BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (I was in Suffolk). Now, I finally get the opportunity to frequent this world class singing festival.
I would sadly miss the first few days, Chapter were screening filmed operas and we are rehearsing Little Shop of Horrors. But for the rest of this week, I shall be drenched in all things opera and song as this competition is seen and heard throughout the world.
A fine list of singers were in Cardiff for this Tuesday slot. Kelebogile Besong sang a mesmeric mix of Verdi, Mozart, Gounod and a native Zulu opera called Princess Magogo. Her highest point was for sure the Zulu work, rich in its evocative orchestration and sweet and proud singing. How could the evening get any better?
Maltese entrant, Nico Darmanin with a disappointing standard programme of Verdi, Mozart and Rossini was next. His voice has a strangeness to it, yet also sounding very conventional. It felt like the low point of the night.
Wales' own Celine Forrest caused a stir. Her heartfelt renditions of Mozart, Puccini, Weber and Gounod made for perfect listening. It seemed for a short while that a hopeful Welsh entry could make it to the finale.
Jaeyoon Jung of South Korea (imagine if North Korea ever entered?!) had a brilliant delivery of all his arias. Very expressive and filled with finely detailed artistry. The Donizetti, R. Strauss and Puccini were standard but thanks to his efforts were made spectacular. He could have almost won this round...
Then came American Lauren Michelle. Another fine choice of a native work (always goes down well with the judges) with Carlisle Floyd's Susanna, which is said to be most popular in the States, has a gorgeous aria Ain't It A Pretty Tonight. The Embroidery Aria from Britten's Peter Grimes was sung with subtly and a sublime nature, as it should be. She ended the night the show stopping aria of Violetta's from Verdi's La traviata. Her stage presence was electric and even fascinating. She was a worthy winner of this round as her thrilled family and I stood in a grand, whooping ovation for her. Who knows, she may win the big prize!
What is a total disaster (and almost ruined the evening) for one third of the stalls audience is the roaming camera on a huge crane. Swaying in and out of the way for many of us, this is a huge mistake, as it accommodates the TV/online audiences, but at the convenience of the audience physically present. This absolutely has to go.
Wonderful music making in the heart of Cardiff.
Good luck to all the singers!
Rating: 4 stars
- Weeping Tudor stars in Little Shop of Horrors at Bishop of Llandaff - get your tickets here!
- BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015 continues till Sunday 21st June 2015
- All concerts are on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast
Image Credit: BBC Website