23. May 2011 · Comments Off on And The Winners Are … · Categories: Announcements, Opera

I spent Saturday evening in the California Theatre, listening to the ten finalists for the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition … and Irene Dalis was in the hall! I would have spoken to her, to welcome her back, but so many were already doing that and I thought perhaps she would be growing weary of it all. But welcome back, Irene!

The singers were wonderful. Some were even more than wonderful. Below is the list of finalists, in the order they appeared in the competition (If I found a site for them there’s a link):

Shawnette Sulker, Soprano; Guyana
Evgenia Chaverdova, Mezzo-Soprano; Russia
Jennie Litster, Soprano; Nevada
Krassen Karagiozov, Baritone; Bulgaria
Jasmina Halimic, Soprano; Bosnia-Herzegovina
Rebecca Davis, Soprano; Nevada
Evan Brummel, Baritone; California
Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste, Soprano; New York
Christopher Bengochea, Tenor; Montana
Alexandra LoBianco, Soprano; Florida

And here are the winners:
First Place: Alexandra LoBianco
Second Place: Evan Brummel
Third Place: Christopher Bengochea
Wagner Prize: Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste
Audience Favorite: Alexandra LoBianco

I thought the awards were appropriate, but I was really sorry not to see Krassen Karagiozov awarded anything. I was incredibly moved by his excellent performance. Ah well … this is why competitions drive me nuts; I want everyone to win, and I want my faves to be up there for sure!

One thing that became VERY clear to me after sitting through this competition: Mozart can make or break a singer. While the other composers’ show off a lot of things, Mozart points out all sorts of issues, and especially points out any intonation problems. No surprise, I suppose — he’s used for a ton of instrument auditions as well because he does the same thing there. (Jouvanca, you were fab with your Mozart!)

I’m already looking forward to next year. Maybe I can convince more of my Opera San José orchestra pals to attend to. It’s really great fun!

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