Judges and other creatures

The judges make their decisions by voting without discussion so there is no rationale given for the results.  Anyway while they were doing that I tried to guess what might result.  I divided the field into three lists; Probables, Maybes and Probably Not.  Here’s my list:

Probables: Brancy, Chaieb, Krisna, Sharvit, Taffot and You.

Maybes: Neher, Osowski, Park, Summerfield.

Probably Nots: Fanyo, Fischer, Punkeri, Simard-Galdès, Tayloe.


Needless to say the judges had different ideas.  The semifinalists in alphabetical order are:

  • John Brancy (no surprise!)
  • Rihab Chaieb (also not unexpected)
  • Axelle Fanyo (let’s talk about that!)
  • Clara Osowski (fair enough)
  • Irina Jae-Eun Park (OK)
  • Tomi Punkeri (?!?)
  • Gemma Summerfield (not surprising given the buzz on social media)
  • Julien van Mellaerts (no surprise)

Obviously compared to my list there are only two real surprises; Fanyo and Punkeri.  The selection of Fanyo, and to a lesser extent, Park, suggests the judges were open to a very operatic interpretation of artsong which would seem, on the face of it, to make the idea of separate song and aria competitions a bit redundant.  That said, Gemma Summerfield was all style and restraint in a very English sort of way.  I guess one can’t expect stylistic consistency from a very large panel.  Punkeri I just don’t get and I thought Krisna and You were very unlucky to miss out.


Not all the livestream viewers were impressed

The other aspect of the day, and especially the evening, was what was happening on social media.  The performances were being livestreamed by CBC and plenty of people (and the odd cat) seemed to be watching.  I couldn’t watch the Twitter feed in real time as I was in the hall with my phone off but I caught up at the breaks.  It was almost like there was lobbying going on for some candidates; notably Gemma Summerfield.  I wonder if the judges noticed?

And today is another two session day with the first sixteen of twenty four Aria competition singers competing.

Photo credit (the first one): Tan Lan Truong

5 thoughts on “Judges and other creatures

  1. Pingback: Lope Hernan Chacón: Judges and other creatures – Lope Hernan Chacon

  2. An aspect that could be interesting to discuss as well is…how differently do we who are watching online experience these singers? It is very difficult to judge the size of a voice, or issue of balance between singer and pianist when listening to what is essentially an electronically transmitted and enhanced performance. IMHO Neher should have made it through…online at least, she struck me as delivering a true lieder/melodie/song performance. Beautiful tone, great diction and superior expression – would love to have been in room when judges made their decision about her.

    • Interesting. I found her performance a bit hit and miss. Some of it was gorgeous but at other times she was a bit fluttery or even strident. FWIW the judges don’t discuss. They give the individual scores to the Chair who collates them. Discussion is not permitted.

      • Good to know [the latter!] No colluding a la figure skating in the 1980s!!! I agree with your comment regarding opera vs song sections…if you’re going to have the latter [and fantastic that they’ve added song this year] then, perhaps reward the singers who are obviously more suited to the song repertoire. Lord knows no one can make a career of the latter anymore, but in these special circumstances, at a competition dedicated to song…why not recognize those especially suited to it vs another singer who might have a good chance at moving forward in the aria section? Anyway…one could debate about this forever…

  3. And your experience of Neher in the hall speaks to my point about online listening vs live I think…singers can make very different impressions when heard through Sennheiser headphones!

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