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Day 2: Canadians Lead the Charge at Voice Competition

By Wah Keung Chan / June 2, 2002

Mélanie Boisvert
Mathieu Lavoie
Canadians Mélanie Boisvert and Joseph Kaiser were the best singers of Day 2 (May 31, 2002) of the first Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition. Soprano Boisvert impressed with a free well projected voice that soared through Salle Pierre-Mercure; combined with an innate musicality and a presence for the stage honed in Germany, she became the crowd favourite. Singing second to last on the day, baritone Joseph Kaiser impressed with the most captivating presence thus far in the competition. In all, 15 singers competed on Day 2 of the three day semifinals.

After a tremendous first day of competition, Armenian soprano Varduhi Khachatryan continued the display of talent with an impressive showing. In the afternoon session, Hungarian mezzo-soprano Gabriella Létai-Kiss treated the audience to a fine musical performance, but her voice was two shades too grey for my tastes. When Boisvert, who followed Létai-Kiss, opened her mouth, the two-third full audience knew they were in for something special. The Pie Jesu from Fauré's Requiem showed in the petite soprano an excellent legato and an impressive vocal project. Her performance of the aria "Grossmächtige Prinzessin" from Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos brought the house down.

Joseph Kaiser
Marc-André Brouillard
Turkish bass Burak Bilgili began the evening session with an imposing presence and delicious musicality. The night however belonged to baritone Joseph Kaiser. The author has heard Kaiser on several occasion since Kaiser was 16, and knew him to be one of the most sensitive promising young musicians; not having heard him for two years, the quality of his voice was not known. The performance Friday night served to be Kaiser's big unveiling. Kaiser's choice of repertoire was perfect, presenting variety that showcased his strengths. Beginning with Monteverdi's "Dormo ancora" from Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria Kaiser showed that he was a dramatic force. The pièce de résistance was Kaiser's performance of Ravel's Kaddisch; not only did he captivate the listener but the song sat perfectly in his voice and a rich ring emerged. If Kaiser is able to bring this kind resonance to the finals, he could take the first prize.

Stay tuned for detailed comments of the competitors of Day 2.

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