By Wah Keung Chan
The Montreal International Musical Competition (MIMC / CMIM)
semi-finals began last night with six strong candidates. La Scena Musicale’s
daily coverage also began with live tweeting on the LSM Facebook page
La Scena twitter account
, with a comment about each singer.
In our detail review of each session on the blog, we will
discuss each singer and give a grade out of 100 in vocal technique and
GIACOMO PUCCINI * « Donde lieta usci » ~ La Bohème
LEONARD BERNSTEIN * « My name is Barbara », « Jupiter has
Seven Moons », « I Hate Music », « A Big Indian and a Little Indian », « I’m a
Person Too » ~ I Hate Music
JOSEPH HAYDN * « Berenice che fai? »
Starting about 9 minutes late, MIMC led off with Canadian
soprano Emily Duncan-Brown whose voice was at once warm with a clean timbre.
However, when it goes in the upper register, along with power comes a quick
vibrato that is somewhat distracting. Her opening piece of “Donde lieta usci” from Puccini’s La Boheme
was careful and measured to the point of conveying little feeling to the
audience, although there were one or two lovely crescendos. She followed with a
good performance of Bernstein’s song cycle “I hate music”; better musicality,
but at times over sang the part. Over singing was quite the problem for most of
the singers this evening. She finally came alive with an emotionally charged
performance of Haydn’s “Berenice
che fai?” Duncan-Brown was dramatic and convincing through the
recitative and the long aria. A common mistake is to choose a work that is too
long, and the ending didn’t quite sit well with the soprano.
: Voice 87, Performance 80.
Yuri Gorodetski, tenor,
MOZART * « Il mio tesoro » ~ Don Giovanni
* « Vesennie vody » | « Pokinem, milaya… »
VLADIMIR SOLTAN * «
Oi, kalinushka, oi malinushka »
RICHARD STRAUSS * «
Auf, hebe die funkelnde Schale » ~ Heimliche Aufforderung
TCHAÏKOVSKI * « Kuda, kuda » ~ Eugène Onéguine
Not the best
technician, Belarus tenor Yuri began with a fast yet nimble reading of “Il mio
Tesoro” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The voice sits in his mouth and was at
times nasal, and didn’t project very well. However, Gorodetski seem to come
alive in the second set of Rachmaninoff songs. His voice sat better in a more
natural placement, and more importantly, he brought nuance and emotion to the
text. His performance of Vladimir Solta’s “Oi, kalinushka, oi malinushka,”
which starts softly before a crescendo and ends softly again, was the turning
point; it was a dramatic and touching interpretation and Gorodetski’s style
started to grown on me. It suddenly dawned on me that Gorodetski is the Philip
Philips (2012 Amercian Idol winner) of the MIMC, not the best technique, but
has a certain musicality. After a good performance of Strauss, Gorodetski ended
with a convincing portray of Lenski’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegian.
The tempo was a bit fast for my taste, but was probably chosen to suit the
tenor’s limited technique. The audience responded with rousing applause.
: Voice 77, Performance 90.
Eric Jurenas, countertenor,
ANTONÍN DVORÁK * « Zigeunermelodien » Mélodies tziganes
JONATHAN DOVE * « Dawn, still darkness » ~ Flight
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL * « Al lampo dell’armi » ~ Giulio
For me, American countertenor Eric Jurenas is a paradox.
When he started Jonathan Dove’s “Dawn, still darkness,” he showed a good
countertenor tone. However, too many high screaming lines resulted in a hoarse voice.
His Dvorak songs sounded tired and he tended to over sing. More of the same in
the Handel aria “Al lampo dell’armi” from Giulio Cesare. The crowd love it, but
by the end, I concluded that Jurenas has only two dynamics, a medium soft
unsupported sound and loud. My advice is to work on the dynamics in between and
bring more nuance.
: Voice 80, Performance 85.
Sasha Djihanian, soprano,
AMADEUS MOZART * « Deh vieni, non tardar » ~ Le Nozze di Figaro
OBRADORS * « El vito », « Al amor »
DELIBES * « Les Filles de Cadix »
FRIDERIC HANDEL * « Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me? » ~ Semele
BELLINI * « Qui la voce sua soave » ~ I Puritani
STRAUSS * Cäcilie
is the best word to describe Canadian soprano Sasha Djihanian, who represented
Canada at the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. She came out
poised, with an inviting smile. Her five-second slow bow to the audience and
jury however seemed contrived, perhaps something she learnt through the years; it’s
a mannerism she should loose, as some audience members found her stuffy.
when she started Mozart’s “Deh vieni, non tardar” from Marriage of Figaro, we
heard the most professional voice yet in the competition; there was a clean,
clear, well projected tone, with a perfect legato that cuts like butter.
Moreover, it was a touching performance. A dramatic flare greeted songs from
Obrados and Delibes, and she showed how to sing loud without shouting. Her
Handel aria Semele was tender. Djihanian showed she has the voice for Bellini’s
Puritani aria, but perhaps it was not such a wise choice, as she ran out of
steam at the end of the long aria, as she had to cut her high ending short. The
soprano recovered well enough in Strauss’s Cäcilie.
: Voice 95, Performance 90.
Miriam Khalil, soprano,
BENJAMIN BRITTEN *
The Tower Scene ~ The Turn of the Screw
HENRI DUPARC *
" L'Invitation au voyage", " Le Manoir de Rosemonde"
GIACOMO PUCCINI *
" Si, Mi chiamano Mimi" ~ La Boheme
FERNANDO OBRADORS *
" Chiquitita la novia" ~ Canciones clasicas espanolas
FERNANDO OBRADORS *
" Del cabello mas sutil", " Al amor" ~ Canciones clasicas
Miriam Khalil showed good dramatics in the Britten, she sounded nervous as her
voice was not sitting on the air. Same nervousness and unsupported sound was on
show at the beginning of the Duparc, but in the middle of L’invitation au
voyage, her singing improved and she showed dramatic flare. Khalil was very
musical in Puccini’s “Si, Mi chiamano Mimi” from La Boheme, but she ran out of
steam at the end. She recovered well in the Obrados songs, with some tender
moments in the second song. Khalil has a warm timbre, but needs to improve her
breath support to match her musicality.
: Voice 80, Performance 88.
John Brancy, baritone,
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS * « Bright is the Ring of Words » ~
Songs of Travel
VINCENZO BELLINI * « Ah ! per sempre » ~ I Puritani
ANTONÍN DVORÁK * « Koljias », « Nereidy » ~ Opus 50 | « Mé
srdce asto v bolesti » ~ Opus 2
AMBROISE THOMAS * « O vin dissipe la tristesse » ~ Hamlet
Twenty-three-year-old American baritone John Brancy came out
with a friendly smile and a present voice in the Vaughan Williams. The voice
sometimes has a shaky vibrato, but Brancy brought lots of musicality to his
singing. In the Bellini, Brancy exhibited a nice legato and style, which he
carried to the Dvorak songs. The baritone finished with flare in the aria from
Thomas’s Hamlet, ending with nice top notes with a tenor-like ring.
: Voice 85, Performance 90.
Labels: Concert_Review, MIMC 2012, Montreal, voice