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SEEN AND HEARD COMPETITION REPORT
13th Julian Gayarre Singing Contest:
Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra. Conductor: Ramón Tébar. Teatro Gayarre de Pamplona. 17. 9.2010. (JMI)
The Julián Gayarre singing competition takes place every two years in Pamplona and has reached now its 13th edition. On this occasion the lack of mezzos, basses and even baritone voices among the finalists was rather surprising although this deficit does seem to confirm the situation in the much of the world of opera so far as rising vocal talent goes. Among the nine finalists there were 6 sopranos, 2 tenors and only one lyric baritone. I am also fairly convinced that there were no others who deserved to get through to the final, since no more than 5 of the finalists were truly worthy to be there in my opinion.
The Jury headed by Teresa Berganza granted the following prizes.
Female First Prize. Hye Kyung Choi – South Korea
This South Korean soprano (26) cuts a nice figure. Her voice has a quite remarkable quality as a lyric soprano and is very homogeneous through the whole range. She was quite good in the Countess’s recitative and aria “Dove Sono”, from The Marriage of Figaro which is an almost perfect piece by which to judge a singer. In Mimi’s “Raconto” she was also good, but perhaps a little short of emotion. She deserved the award.
Female Second Prize. María Elena Sancho Pereg - Spain
Ms Sancho Pereq is a soprano (28) from San Sebastian. I had excellent references for her personally, from her performances as Musetta in Irun last year, from her Sofia in Il Signor Bruschino with the British Youth Opera and also her L’Ensoleillad in Massenet’s Cherubin at the London Guildhall last spring. She is a singer absolutely ready to go, with an attractive voice and a lot of expressiveness. She was outstanding in Norina’s recitative and aria from Don Pasquale and good, but at a lower level, in Amina’s recitative, aria and cabaletta of from La Sonnabula. Without question she was a very firm candidate for the top award even though the jury preferred Hye Kyung Choi.
Male First Prize. Julien Dran – France
A French tenor aged 26. His voice is of only fair quality and he is also rather short in ability as an interpreter. He sang “Una furtiva lagrima” without much interest and “Ah, mes amis”, where he produced all the high Cs, but little more than that. In my opinion, the male first prize should have been declared unfilled.
The Teresa Berganza Prize. Tatiana Trenogina - Russia
This Russian soprano (26) has an attractive figure and a fairly rich middle range. To my mind, her greatest problem lies in the upper register, which was often rather shrill and almost shouted. Teresa Berganza’s choice was certainly not mine.
Among the rest of the finalists I would like to mention the Romanian soprano Gabriela Istoc, a beautiful young woman with a very attractive soprano, who sang the wrong repertoire. The Spanish soprano María Eugenia Boix was an interesting singer too. Both of them should have promising futures ahead.
José M Irurzun