This evening I will be at Garsington Opera (now at beautiful Wormsley Park) for Danny Slater's much appreciated production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. And dinner is provided by Jamie Oliver's Fabulous Feasts (at a price....). I am hoping for better weather than last year when I took the picture of the opera pavilion you see above, all covered in gloomy clouds. This is a fabulous location and a real summer opera going treat. I will be back there on Sunday for the opening of their Hansel and Gretel - and next week I will spend two days at Glyndebourne.
And when I get home afterwards (at around midnight I guess) I may have news of the next "round" of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the world.....for those of you not wired up to Twitter, Facebook etc..........
Meanwhile how nice it would be to see the gardens at Wormsley in full sunlight.
I will be writing this week about the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. It is advertised as being a kind of Olympic games for singers with the winner to be called "The world's greatest opera singer". This of course is nonsense - but it is a great competition nevertheless and in the concert yesterday five of the 20 candidates performed. Jamie Barton, about whom I wrote here on Saturday, delivered a stunning performance and has won round one - whatever that means. Anyway Jamie was fantastic and sets the bar very high indeed.
There is another concert this evening with a further 5 singers, and this will continue with another 5 tomorrow and Thursday. I gather that the "winner" of each of the concerts goes into the final - and I assume that the best runner up joins them. If this is the case it does not deal very satisfactorily with the possibility that the three best singers of the twenty appeared in the same concert......maybe last night?
I have no idea whether iPlayer works around the world - but if it does then you can watch the whole splendid enterprise wherever you are, the climax coming on Sunday evening.
I will report back on the result of this evening's group around 11pm UK time. The participants are Maria Celeng, Luthando Qave, Loriana Castellano, the wonderful Gala el Hadidi from Egypt and Yale, and Alexey Bogdanchikov.
This is all fun stuff!
PS - I understand that it is NOT necessarily the winner in each group that goes through, but the five overall best. That is good, and right of course.......
PPS - it seems that the second concert is only available to those of you in Wales - sorry! I will catch up tomorrow!
PPPS - thanks to Twitter - news is that our dear Maria Celeng, a Neue Stimmen prizewinner in 2011, was the winner of concert 2.
It is pretty nice to be back in London and coping with a slightly les frantic schedule. Today was a combination of postponed, not urgent, medical appointments, and a couple of really delightful encounters with colleagues. And in addition dealing with the rather large bunch of mail stuffed into my mailbox over the last nearly three weeks. It seems to be a complete waste of effort to say "please no junk mail"..........
Christoph Meyer, Generalintendant of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein joined me for a drink at the Garrick. He has been here today to meet with colleagues - something that opera company directors have to do, and in which they largely take pleasure. He is also here to see The Perfect American at the English National Opera.
And then there was the real delight of seeing Diane Paulus, fresh from her Tony triumph. We had a lovely dinner with a good deal of sentimental reminiscences from our joint pasts, going back a good 15 years I suppose. And as is usual at the Garrick we bumped into colleagues from other branches of the theatre. Diane did 7 productions for us at COT during my time - and to an extent they defined out achievement over those 13 years. It was a real treat to see her...........we are most fortunate in our colleagues.
I will return to Neue Stimmen issues over the next 24 hours. Meanwhile it is late and time to sleep.
We finished the Europe auditions in Düsseldorf this afternoon. All that is left is South America and Mexico, and that will wait until the end of July. Meanwhile we can finalise a list of those who will go on to Gütersloh for the final rounds in October.
We did not add to the tally in Düsseldorf although there were some nice additions to the waiting list. I want to leave space for the anticipated candidtes from Latin America - there will be five to eight I guess based on past form. But São Paulo is a new destination so there may be surprises there.....
And now, this coming week, the opera world's attention will be focussed on the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest. I am glad to see three former successful Neue Stimmen contestants taking part - Luthando Qave, Mária Celeng, and Kihwan Sim. And in addition the lovely Jamie Barton who was a Met Grand Prize winner when I was on the final round jury in 2007. So I will be watching with extra interest - and comments no doubt!!
I will be leaving for the airport within the hour and will be safely home in London by 8pm.
Frankly it has not been a stellar day. But tomorrow is another one. We start at 10 am and finish in time for me to leave for a 6:25 pm flight to London. So we live in hope. Meanwhile the waiting list has increased by a few, so all is not lost, certainly not for tenors and mezzos.
The evening has been rounded off with dinner at a delightful restaurant in Andreas Strasse in the old part of Düsseldorf. This was Tante Anna. It is the Spargel season - and this is as good as it gets. In Michelin speak - worth a detour.
I have little else to report - but over the weekend when I return to London I hope to do a thorough review of Neue Stimmen 2013 up to this point. But now I have to prepare for tomorrow with a rare 8 hours of sleep.
We have a little pause in the middle of the afternoon...........and we always need that! It gives me the opportunity to show you the view from the room. This is a rehearsal room on the top floor of the opera house here in Düsseldorf - and from here you can see the new Daniel Liebeskind building still under construction opposite the Park Hotel. We will restart in a few minutes.........
It was a mere 6 hours yesterday in Düsseldorf - this compared to two days of 11 hours each in Berlin. And it is the same today. We start at 1pm and shoud be out of there by 7pm. Yesterday was pretty average - today may or may not yield some finalists. But it is getting tight and we are just waiting for another knock out singer to blow us away.......to add to the splendid group now approaching 30 who are through to the finals.
This morning I have spent more than two hours tidying up the results from Warsaew, Kiev, Vilnius and Berlin. I thought I would have a few hours off - but no! Now it is 12:45 so I will miss lunch.
Look here again around 10 pm German time.
Soprano Saltanat Akhmetova from Kazakhstan (with Sebastian Stoermer) auditioning June 12 2013
We had another hard day yesterday with our stalwart pianists, Sebastian Stoermer and Jonathan Alder, playing for no less than 65 singers with all of whom they rehearsed as well. So it was another hard day bringing the total in Berlin to 125 over the two days and yielding three finalists for October, plus a handful of outstanding singers who will have to be on the waitlist.
We remain short of tenors and mezzos so these are the likely candidates for Düsseldorf and the remaining cities of Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Mexico City where I will be in late July and early August. However it remains the case that it is quality rather than voice type that determines the successful ones, but voice type can be a tie breaker. Typically this will be the case when dealing with the waiting list.
So I am off to Düsseldorf on the 10:15 flight from here this morning and then in auditions from 1:00 to 8:00 pm. There will be a similar session tomorrow, and a 10:00 am start on Saturday after which I fly back home to London. In Düsseldorf we will be joined by Christoph Meyer, Intendant of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, who was also with me in Cluj two long weeks ago.
So it is all go with not a lot of time to relax or get to performances.......but I have a nice next week in prospect with my first visit of the year to Garsington on Wednesday, as well as a dinner date with our old friend Diane Paulus who is in London briefly, fresh from her triumphant Tony award win last weekend!
Now I must pack for my last leg of this trip..........
It was another long one - but some good success! But it is now midnight so we will have to wait until the morning for the fun stuff! Patience.......
And I will then be off to Düsseldorf for another tthree killer days. I am not sure that I am up to five 12 hour days on the trot!
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