Ok, I'm going to be really cautious in what I'm about to write.
This will not be a rant.
This is not a "sore loser" kind of statement.
I will just say that today I, and some of my colleagues and bosses, heard a range of singing that is best described as ranging from brilliant to questionable, and it just so happened that more than a few questionable performances got rewarded by this particular region with encouragement, "best voice type" prizes, and even 1st through Nth place of the competition.
My personal performance: The best recording I've ever gotten of Lakme- first cadenza really shone, and spot-on coloratura, and a pretty darn good Durch Zartlichkeit as well- although I've sung that one better in auditions.
I can't really talk about other performances, lest it be too easy to figure out who I am, where I sang, who else sang, etc.
All I can say is that yet again it is proven to me that this business is so much about "who you know".
ie- if a judge just happens to be your coach/director, or if another judge has accompanied you at your school, or if another judge is YOUR previous teacher---are these not conflicts of interest and shouldn't they be addressed? We all know where we went to school- we're all about the same age give or take 5-7 years and it's not that tough to figure out that when one of the judges walks up to a winner afterwards with big hugs and congrats and see you in class---that doesn't make all the unknown singers feel good. When a judge is giving comments and knows that you're sick because he heard you last week in NYC and hopes you get better soon---again, not helpful to those people who the judge HASN"T heard- well or sick. EVEN though I absolutely believe that the judges can be completely fair, it's inherently not fair to judge someone who you have heard before and whose potential and current work you are familiar with against someone who you're hearing for 10 minutes for the first time.
And finally, regarding "encouragement".
What are the criteria for encouragement?
Because today they "encouraged":
consistent pitch problems in a whole cabaletta of a piece-entire phrases and pages sung sharp, inappropriate repertoire choices (dramatic soprano followed by soubrette aria), uneven tone and what seemed to be "2" distinct unconnected voices (chest and middle), and non-acting so you don't sacrifice tone.
Now, as far as the winners who are moving on to NYC:
A very talented singer who I am proud to share the stage with, and a very talented lady who I had the pleasure of hearing for the first time today.
Good luck to them.
Oh yes, let's not forget my comments.
They were all over the page today and absolutely at odds, which makes it hard to take any of them to coaches or work on regarding my future performances or auditions.
French: Great, couldn't understand it.
Acting: Amazing, so involved, not enough, too much.
Voice: Great high notes, accurate, not great high note, connect your middle voice to your high note, love your silvery high notes.
It was a long day, followed by yet another performance. I'll be so glad when I'm flying back here on Tuesday morning after the last competition I'll have for about a month.