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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 10, No. 8

Montreal International Music Competition Notes

by Wah Keung Chan / May 14, 2005

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As in 2002, this edition of the MIMC in Voice consists of three rounds. In the first round, the recordings submitted from 190 singers from 47 countries were played blind before a local jury to narrow the field to 49. Of those invited, 45 singers (17 Canadians, 7 Americans and 6 South Koreans) accepted to take part in the semifinals, which consist of a 25-minute piano-vocal recital of the compulsory work “Amore” by Jocelyn Morlock, two art songs, one operatic aria and an oratorio excerpt. Using pass-fail-maybe system, the top 12 are selected for the finals, where the singers are accompanied by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra directed by Daniel Lipton, in a program of one oratorio aria, an orchestral art song and three operatic arias. The final outcome is based on a ranking system. As lasting impressions before an orchestra are always important, experience and choice of repertoire can play a major factor in the results. In 2002, many will remember that the orchestra led by Stefan Lano was often out of sync with the singers. Less experienced singers faltered. American soprano Jennifer O’Loughlin, visibly upset, walked off the stage in a huff after finishing her turn.

In a live voice competition, both judges and public evaluate the contestants on the quality of the voice, performance and onstage presence. Singers choosing the right repertoire to show off their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses do best. In 2002, Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman won over both jury and public with a poised and charming final round in a technically safe program that showed off her fine legato and pianissimo. Lessons well learnt from her second-place finish (behind Marie-Nicole Lemieux) in the 2000 Joseph Rouleau Competition.

  • Five Contestants return from 2002: Russian baritone and finalist Mikhail Davydov,  Korean soprano and finalist Sin Hyung Hwang, Canadian sopranos Chantal Dionne and Kelly Hodson, and Mexican soprano Lucia Salas.
  • Canadians to watch: baritones Phillip Addis and Peter McGillivry and soprano Shannon Mercer.
  • Masterclasses: On May 15, three of the celebrity judges, soprano Shirley Verret (10 AM), tenor Carlo Bergonzi (2 PM), and soprano Dame Gwyneth Jones (7 PM) will present public masterclasses at Salle Claude Champagne (UdM).
  • Follow the competition: The Semifinals (May 10, 11, 12, 13) are open to the Montreal public (Centre Pierre-Peladeau) and webcast live. The finals will be held at Theatre Maisonneuve on May 16, 17 and 18. Espace Musique and CBC will broadcast the finals live. Unfortunately, despite the popularity of Canadian Idol, neither ARTV nor other networks will telecast the MIMC. Visit http://www.jeunessesmusicales.com for more info. La Scena Musicale will follow the competition daily at http://www.scena.org

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