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.
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