La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Queen Elisabeth Singing Competition Prize Winners

The winners are:

1. Szabolcs Brickner (Hungary)
2. Isabelle Druet (France)
3. Bernadetta Grabias (Poland)
4. Anna Kasyan (Georgia)
5. Yury Haradzetski (Belarus)
6. Gabrielle Philiponet (France)

I am speechless. First prize to a tenor, one of two in the finals. Only two sopranos made it to the top 6, out of 46. Really comparing different voice categories are comparing apples and oranges. There should be different and separate competitions. Or prizes for men and women separately, like in a few competitions already. I have to say I never expected Brickner to win. I guess the jury heard from him something I didn't hear over the webcast.

Of the 15 Korean singers, the largest group in the competition, not one made it to the top 6, which included two French singers. I can't understand Dutch, so I can't say for sure, but I believe there were some disagreements from the commentators over who should have won. I think many were surprised by the outcome. When the fifth prize winner, Yury Haradzetski was announced, there were a few loud boos - bad behavious from a few in the audience that was totally uncalled for. Then the remaining 6 finalists were brought on for bows and to shake hands with the jurors. It must have been very strange to shake the hands of those (at least some of them) who didn't put you in the winner's circle! Particularly moving was the Korean soprano Yoon, who cried her way through the ovations and the handshakes. I don't think they were tears of joy. I hope she is not disheartened - she is a wonderful singer and will go far. But I hope they heard what Maestro Ono said in the interview - losing doesn't mean one isn't good. There are all sorts of factors. It is the next 10 years in these artists' careers that will determine who the real winners are.

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  • I have just been moved almost to tears by, for me, a totally unknown piece sung by Bernadetta Grabias ... Joan of Arc by Tchaikowsky ... I could feel the poor woman burning. And yet our stupid commentator dared to say that he was left 'wanting more' from her rendition. I wonder whether he can actually sing !. I found the programme by accident as I was 'turning off' to go to bed and stayed mesmerised by her voice. She is my winner for the night and I look forward to finding recordings of her. If the rest of the final was as good, you had a veritable treat.

    By Anonymous Wanda Lipski, At 24 May 2008 at 19:00  

  • This is another case where the broadcast experience may differ from the live in the hall experience. My experience with the Montreal International Music Competition shows that these two experiences are different. Broadcast sound engineers are trained to make sure that captured sound are amplified or deamplified to transmit at an equal level. Recorded or broadcast performances are great for evaluating the timbre and performance, but cannot recreate how well a musician projects, which is also important to the judges and live audiences.

    Maybe competition organizers should consider giving a prize for a jury in the hall and a separate prize for a jury listening to the broadcast.

    By Blogger Wah Keung Chan, At 25 May 2008 at 02:17  

  • For me there was no doubt that Brickner was the clear winner. He had the best stage presence, maturity and artistry combined with a colorful, althugh not huge voice (yet). Noone had a comparable integrity in their performance, especially like Brickner's performance of Mitternacht by Mahler. This was the piece that elevated Brickner's performance far above the others. Too bad, that you have not even mentioned it in your "article". I guess we should be thankful to the jury to have discovered such an amazing talent, musicianship, not only another soprano with perfect technique what we heard so many times among the other candidates.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 26 May 2008 at 10:36  

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