Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mathy Awards final

As promised, I did attend the final. Despite not feeling particularly well and facing a 1.5 hour drive just to see a concert on my own and then sleep on a friend's uncomfortable sofa bed. Would've been a shame to waste my ticket...

I went, I listened, I LOVED. What a fabulous night of singing! Sitiveni Talei started things off. Looking suave (yet cheeky) in his tails, he opened proceedings with a beautifully phrased The Call from Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs. I adore this cycle, and although Love bade me welcome has always been my favourite of the set, Mr. Talei's performance won me over immediately. I may have a new favourite... The warmth and effortless projection of his voice was immediately appealing, as was the heartfelt sensitivity and extremely musical phrasing. His English diction was almost faultless - a few words flew into the skies but mostly it was extremely clear. A stunning beginning which left the audience silent for a few moments before warm applause.
Nicole Car followed, looking lovely, with a beautifully sung Mahler song from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. This is a lovely warm voice and well-produced... very technically sound (if a little flat in pitch at times) yet I felt the connection to the text was lacking a little. Still, an impressive performance.
Michael Lampard contributed a lovely Ah per sempre from Bellini's I Puritani. His singing is very fine, the voice is delightful in quality and he is interesting to watch. Perhaps a little more bel canto line would be desired, yet I found his performance very pleasing.
Sky Ingram impressed far more this time, with a beautiful Morgen. She is lovely to watch on stage (and her elegant green dress far surpassed the more ostentatious purple number worn by Nicole Car) and her voice was warm, rich and lovely. I enjoyed her singing immensely.

Second time around, Sitiveni Talei was a characterful Papageno... the 'suicide aria' may have seemed a strange choice but as soon as he started it made perfect sense. Mr. Talei is Papageno. He has the cheekiness required as well as that stunning chocolate-hued voice. It was a very funny, beautifully sung performance that had the audience both laughing and completely in sympathy with poor Papageno's plight! I felt, then, that he would win the Audience Prize. He certainly got my vote (and before you ask, even though he was my favourite from the semis I went to the final with a clean slate and open mind!). "That's going to be hard to beat", I said, to nobody in particular... however the person in the seat next to me decided to chime in her agreement. "Magnificent", she said.
So Nicole Car followed with D'amor sull'ali rosee from Trovatore. An odd choice, perhaps. Again a lovely sound, but... No pianissimi, and a seeming lack of understanding of the Verdi style. Mind you, she is young and she will learn. However it left me wondering why. I think I would've preferred to hear her sing something like Micaela's aria. Still, very fine singing again and she is someone I look forward to hearing in the years to come.
Michael Lampard's Guglielmo (Rivolgete) was fine, very fine indeed. Full of character and vocal colour. I enjoyed this performance immensely. No more to add on that one.
Sky Ingram sang a stunning Song to the Moon from Rusalka. Gorgeous. Glorious. Beautiful. I am at a loss as to why I did not enjoy her singing last time. Simply stunning.

yet I was still hoping for Mr. Talei to come up trumps. While the judges were deliberating, we had the opportunity to hear this year's Opera Awards winner, bass Shane Lowrencev. Well, the opportunity to hear him wasn't fully enjoyed as quite often he was inaudible through the orchestral textures. After a decent Banco and a better-than-average Don Basilio, we were treated to a rather fabulous Soliloquy from Carousel. He seemed much more in his element here, and capped it off with some blazing high notes which leave me wondering if he is really a true bass. The colour of the voice is dark, yet the top is so well-produced (and much more audible). All the same it was frustrating as I enjoyed the timbre of his voice and wanted to hear it more.

Finally, the announcement. After the general prizes were announced, it was time for the winner: Sitiveni Talei. A huge roar went up from the crowd. Not surprising, as I was right in predicting he'd won the Audience Prize. He looked surprised, but spoke very well upon accepting the award.

I was pleased. I look forward to hearing him sing often. What a wonderful night out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

why? Because I can.

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


10% Logical, 22% Spatial, 45% Linguistic, 39% Intrapersonal, 18% Interpersonal, 80% Musical, 14% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 8% Naturalistic!

"This area has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones and music. They normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. In addition, they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information, and may work best with music playing in the background.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, and composers." (Wikipedia)">Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test at

Monday, October 13, 2008

"What makes this emptiness?" "Tell me when these silences began..."

A variety of things, including persistent (but not life-threatening) ill-health and subsequent bed rest, have prevented me from updating this blog. I have little of musical merit to report on, so I shall merely say that I am here, and I will report on more when I have more to report on.

yes, I do love my long-winded, confusing sentences.

Music has taken the back seat, rather firmly, at this point in time. This will be remedied as soon as possible.

Oh - anyone who correctly identifies which opera my subject line comes from, you get... um... a comment saying you're clever.

Ciao for now.