Jonathan Pell, Summer of Opera, Part 7

by Megan Meister

The view from the ballet studio atop the Opera de Lyon

Only nineteen singers today, and only three who “crashed and burned.”.   The majority of the rest of them sang decent, but unexceptional auditions, but there were a few who really impressed me for various reasons.

One was an American baritone named Randal Turner who started off with Starbuck’s aria from the end of Act I of MOBY-DICK.  I was dumbfounded when he announced his selection, but very proud.  Many of the other people hearing the auditions had never heard the opera, and it created quite a “buzz.”  I have no idea how he got his hands on the music, but I intend to find out !

The best singer was probably the young Russian baritone (he is only 24) Andrei Bondarenko.  He just won the Song Prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition last week, and I certainly understand why.  Apparently, he is in the young artists training program at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, but he is already a remarkably talented young man.

I also liked a very pretty young Australian soprano with the unforgettable name of Suzanne Shakespeare, who sang part of Zerbinetta’s aria from ARIADNE AUF NAXOS and “Ach ich liebte” from Mozart’s ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO.

There was also a very interesting counter tenor from Siberia, and an American bass who is based in Europe named Ethan Herschenfeld, who is already scheduled to make his Dallas Opera debut this spring as Dr. Grenvil in LA TRAVIATA.

Another promising day tomorrow.  We are scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. and
go until 5:00 p.m., when I leave for the airport and my flight to London.

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