It’s always an interesting evening. It’s the first chance of the year to see what the Conservatory has to offer. The first thing I noticed was that the tenor famine seems to be over. There were four tenors on offer to two baritones. Just the one mezzo though and more sopranos than I could count.
So, as ever, I’m not going to do a comprehensive, blow by blow review but just draw attention to some of the highlights from my perspective. There are a few students who seem “stage ready”. The voice is there and they have the stage presence to win over an audience. Rachel Miller fits that bill. She gave a really compelling account of “Il segreto per esser felici” from Lucrezia Borgia. Lovely singing and quite compelling characterization.
Baritone Noah Groves impressed too with a well characterised Erlkönig. It didn’t have the demonic intensity of, say, John Brancy but the four voices were distinct and there was a hint of menace. He was back later too with Katelyn Bird to do the Papagena/o duet. They were very funny and seemed to be having loads of fun.
Tenor Christopher Miller gave us “Ah! Mes amis” from La fille du régiment and had the notes and the chutzpah to attempt it.
The discovery of the evening though was nineteen year old first year undergrad Anna Wojcik. She produced an accurate, mature sounding and nicely characterised version of Zerlina’s second aria “Vedrai carino”. I haven’t heard singing this good from someone so young since Emily d’Angelo burst onto the scene. One to watch.
Among the flock of sopranos (what is the collective noun for sopranos?), a couple of the more advanced students showed promise without completely blowing me away. Marta Woolner sang Michaela’s third act aria from Carmen with accuracy and power and pretty decent control. Giulianna Misasi showed some pleasant richness of tone in “Si, mi chiamano Mimi” and Kateryna Khartova showed some interesting colours in Schubert’s “Vedi quanto t’adoro”.
There were a couple of duets from soprano Militza Boljevic and tenor Stefan Vidovic. Both showed voices that seemed to have lots of potential but seem a bit diffident right now. I also enjoyed baritone Benjamin Loyst’s four part arrangement of “Down by the Salley Gardens” which he sang with fellow first years, sopranos Diana Agasian, Victoria Del Mastro Vicente and Vivian Illion. It was cute.
So there we are. Lots of talent and we’ll see where it all goes. Piano accompaniment was by Rachel Andrist, Pieter Tiefenbach and Brahm Goldhammer.