Which is the MOST DIFFICULT ARIA ORATORIO for a soprano? I would appreciate any suggestion.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Hi Mortisia. I came across this site on the internet and thought that you might find what you were looking for in here somewhere... lol. i dont know much about soprano's and opera etc... hopefully this'll help.
Regards, Hendrik Snyman.
Queen Elisabeth Competition
Hi! Here is the report of the Queen Elisabeth Competition I promised.
For 3 evenings I was glued to the television, watching all those marvellous
singers. I have learned a lot just by watching them!
In contrast with the previous rounds where the jury chose the pieces the
candidates had to sing, the program of the final was the free choice of each
singer. They could decide in which part of the vocal music - Opera, Lied or
Oratorio - they feel most at ease. Each singer had to compose a program of
about 25 minutes chosen from a very extensive list (you can find it on the
website of the competition: very interesting to expand your own
repertoire!). The only restrictions were: at least 1 opera-aria and 1
oratorio-aria. The music had to be written after 1750 because it had to be
executed with the modern orchestra. (For those who didn't knew: in the
semi-finals the candidates had to perform a Baroque program with a
specialized orchestra on the pitch 415.)
This rule (the own choice of the program) was very new this year. In the
previous editions (the competition is once on 4 years for voice) the accent
lay on the opera-singing and mostly the large (operatic)voices came out in
the final result. This year I asked myself again: what is the jury looking
for? The best all-round singer? The most promising or special, magnificent
voice ? The most interesting interpreter or personality? Well, at the end of
this report, you can discover the verdict!
Yet one remark before telling the story of the three final-evenings: quite
special in the judgement procedure is that every member of the jury
(composed of 16 really important names in the singing world such as Joan
Sutherland, Grace Bumbry, Nancy Argenta, Tom Krause and José van Dam) has to
give their own points and that there is no way of deliberating or debate
about the outcome of the votes. So surprises are likely to arise!
The first evening started with the 25-year-old Canadian soprano Karen
Wierzba. She chose a varied program of Mozart (Et incarnatus est), Strauss
(Lied: Amor), Verdi (Falstaff: Nanetta) and Poulenc (Les mamelles de
Tyrésias: Thérèse). Wierzba has a (not so special) light coloratura-voice,
which she uses with a fine personality and intelligence. Especially in the
Poulenc she knew how to captivate the public.
The next singer was the soprano Marina Poplavskaya (22, Russia). She chose
next to Haydn (die Jahreszeiten) 3 opera-arias: Bellini (Giulietta: Oh
quante volte), Gounod (Faust: Marguérite) and Glinka (Ludmila). There had
been a lot of doubts about the presence of Poplavskaya in the final, I
didn't agree with this because she has a great voice and incarnated her
opera characters so well in the semi-finals. But however after her
performance in the final I have to admit the doubts were legitimate. I was
disapointed because of her failing technique, she sang terrible false and
her interpretation was only based un Diva-gesticisme. I still think she has
a marvellous voice and she's still young so she has many years to improve!
After the break sang the Romanian tenor Marius Brenciu (26) Mozart (concert
aria Per pieta), Meyerbeer (L'Africaine: Vaso de Gama), Verdi (Macbeth:
Macduff) and Tsjaikovsky (Evgeni Onegin: Lenski). Brenciu has a warm but not
often too weak tenor voice. He brought a whole different spectrum of opera
characters but, in my opinion, many of this roles are (not yet) for his
voice. Maybe he can sing one aria but certainly not the whole role. He
didn't make a strong impression on me.
The last singer for this evening was the Korean Soprano Sunhae Im (24), who
was the best singer for me this evening. She chose 2 oratorio-arias: Brahms
(Requiem) and Mozart (Et incarnatus est) and 2 opera-arias: Offenbach
(Olympia) and Thomas (Hamlet: Ophélie). Her light-lyric coloratura-voice has
a very pleasant timbre. Her coloratura-notes don't sound like a vocal
exercise but she manages to colour them for her interpretation. Her 2
oratorio-arias had a admirable simplicity and a fantastic legato and
breath-control. Unlike many of the other Korean singers in this competition
she expresses her personality through her pieces.
The second evening begins with the Korean countertenor David Dong Qyu Lee
(22). He sang Schumann (Das Paredis et die Peri), Händel (Caesar), Berlioz
(La villanelle) and Rossini (Tancredi). This young countertenor has a
vivacious personality. But rather than interpreting his music he smiles the
whole time to the public (a real charmer of the public!). He had a lot of
problems with his technique and his intonation. And one can doubt about him
singing real mezzo-roles and Lieder with his male voice but I believe this
discussion is already going on in vocalist...
The Belgian soprano Véronique Solhosse (31) is the next candidate. The
pressure on her had to be very large being the only Belgian competitor left
in this stadium of the competition (you could see her being stressed and
fatigued). I expected a lot from her because of her fine performance in the
semi-finals (and because her voice and her repertoire resembles a bit mine!)
Her program was: Duparc (Phidylé), Mozart (concert aria: Non temer, amato
bene), Dvorak (Rusalka) and Verdi (Leonora: Pace mio dio). Duparc and Mozart
I found a little tensed and uninspired. Rusalka was very beautiful; this
role is really for her lyric voice. Leonora on the other hand was too early,
she had to push to get over the orchestra and I missed the tragic nature.
She left me a little disapointed.
The next competitor was the very young Canadian bass Robert Pomakov (19). He
chose 4 heavy arias: Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique), Gounod (Mephisto),
Boito (Mefistofele) and Moussorgsky (Boris Godounov). My opinion is that he
sang extremely well for his age but that his -already very mature - voice
isn't not yet ready for those pieces. He's real podium personality and
empathises incredible with the part. He's a great promise for the future
when guided right!
The last singer of the evening was the Dutch alto (mezzo??) Margriet Van
Reisen (28). She sang Mozart (Laudamus te), Mahler (Ich bin der Welt
abhanden gekommmen), Moussorgsky (Songs and Dances of the Death) and Rossini
(Isabella). She has a very introvert (even a little sad) personality which
suites the Lieder of Mahler and Moussorgsky very well. She brought them with
a lot of depth and insight.
And then the last evening of the finals which promised to be the best one if
one could follow the performances of the semi-finals.
First sang the Canadian alto (also a mezzo?) Marie-Nicole Lemieux (24).
She choose for her last performance in the competition: Mozart (concert
aria: Io ti laschi, e questo addio), Mahler (Liebst du um Schönheit and Ich
bin der Welt abhanden gekommen), Tchaikovsky (Pikovaya Dama: Pauline) and
Berlioz (L'île inconnue). She was the favourite of the public because of her
innovating but yet very simple and generous personality. A great all-round
singer with a marvellous warm timbre and an almost flawless technique. Every
piece of music had his own right style and interpretation. She's my
favourite too! I loved her colour in the Mahler Lieder. (I'm a great Mahler
fan. I wrote an essay about the Kindertotenlieder and would love to hear her
The second candidate was the French baritone Pierre-Yves Pruvot (29). He
sang Ravel (Don Quichotte a Dulcinée), Martin (Sechs monologues),
Mendelssohn (Elias: Es ist genug) and Rossini (Figaro). I was very surprised
because I didn't hear this singer in the semi-finals. He has a warm baritone
voices and is a fantastic Lied-interpreter. But also his Mendelssohn and
Rossini were very good. Very interesting program brought by a great
The 27-year-old Syrian soprano Lubana Al Quntar sang Berlioz (Le spectre et
la rose), Verdi (Aïda), Puccini (Suor Angelica: Senza mama) and Bernstein
(Songfest). Without doubt is this the most interesting, spectacular and
special voice of the competition; You may remember what she sang in the
semi-finals: Rusalka and the Queen of the Night! And now she sang again
dramatic and lyrical pieces. Her interpretation was more convincing in this
round but still not yet so profound. But I heard from her current teacher
that she only began really studying classical singing when she came to
Europe last year in September. She discovered then her tremendous vocal
capabilities. But she has still a way to go in discovering the nature of
And then last but not least the soprano Olga Pasichnyk (32, Ukraine).
She made a very good impression in the semi-finals being the most allround
singer with a very lovely lyrical voice, a solid technique and an
intelligent personality. But she also the oldest one in competition and has
already a lot of podium experience. her program was: Mozart (Exsultate
Jubilate), Verdi (Glida: Caro nome), Debussy (L'enfant prodigue: Lia) and
Britten (Les Illuminations). I was a little disapointed in her performance
this evening: Mozart was good, Verdi was very beautiful but technical not so
perfect (specially in the high notes). Lia is certainly not for her voice:
she really had to push hard to get over the orchestra and as a result her
technique failed her suddenly. And, as in the Britten, her French was really
But of course she's a very interesting competitor as she showed in the
And then the waiting for the verdict of the jury began!! They had to
pronounce 6 laureates and give a special price for Opera, Oratorio and Lied.
And I don't want to keep you in suspense so here is the list!!
1st price Marie-Nicole Lemieux
2nd price Marius Brenciu
3rd price Olga Pasichnyk
4th price Pierre-Yves Pruvot
5th price Lubana Al Quntar
6th price Margriet Van Reisen
The other finalists (in alphabetical order)
David Dong Qyu Lee
Special price for Opera: Marius Brenciu
Oratorio: Olga Pasichnyk
Lied: Marie-Nicole Lemieux
And do I agree with the jury? Well I made my own judgement yesterday evening
and I had the 6 laureates in the same order, except for the places 2 and 4
(I switched those)!
The special prices were more difficult and I don't agree with the jury
giving the opera price to Marius Brenciu. I also don't agree with his second
place. Is the world that short of real tenors??
Ok, this was my (very personal) report of the competition. I hope I have
given some idea what the competition is like. We've got an appointment for
2004! (I'm planning on entering myself then!)
P.S. I'm going to a after-competition concert on 4th June and I'm invited to
a reception with the Laureates! Exciting!!!!
Good luck Mortisia
- 1 decade ago
"Let The Bright Seraphim", by G.F. Handel. From Samson.
If you want more tough baroque arias get a copy of 'Handel, 45 Arias from Operas and Oratorios for voice and piano" (high), vol 1. (Sergius Kagen). Published by Inernational Music Company, NYC.
- Brandy BLv 41 decade ago
One of the most difficult has to be the "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's Magic Flute