Friday, June 24, 2011

About Cardiff

Valentina Naforniţă won the Cardiff Singer of the World last Sunday, so she had better get used to people spelling her name without those diacritics at the end. I admit to being a bit disappointed she won it, or rather that somebody else didn't win it, but I realised subsequently that what put me off her somewhat was her acting style, with arms and face in constant motion. When I just listen, I'm much more impressed. Andrei Bondarenko, who won the Song Prize and was my favourite, does most of his expression with his eyes; actually in comic arias he's reminiscent of a young Michael Palin. His final piece in the Song Prize final - the last song in Sviridov's Russia Cast Adrift - was a real discovery for me, a right barnstormer for the pianist.

Other favourites for me were Máire Flavin - I expect to be seeing her name show up in recordings of baroque operas and the like - and Olesya Petrova, who I thought might win in the final. A couple of other highlights were Wang Lifu's impassioned, despairing performance of Mahler's "Der Tamboursg'sell" and Hye Jung Lee's spectacular "I am the wife of Mao Tse-Tung" from Adams's Nixon in China, which starts at about the 7-minute mark below:

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