Gorgeous singing ought always to be acknowledged. And I was just going to list a bunch of my favourite performances at random, but then I thought I'd have a little fun and arrange them into some highly personal and biased awards. Indulge me.
English song or aria, any century and any age group:
3. Ieti Leu'u & Tamsyn Matchett - "It was a lover and his lass" (Quilter)
2. Michael Gray - "What pow'r art thou" (Purcell). But see below.
1. Claire Barton - "It was a lover and his lass" (Madeleine Dring).
Lied, theoretically drawn from any class but I didn't see the 18 & under 21 class:
VHC Julien Van Mellaerts - "Die beiden Grenadiere" (Schumann)
3. Claire Barton - "Rote Abendwolken ziehn am Firmament" (Brahms)
2. Michael Gray - "Waldesgespräch" (Schumann)
1. James Adams - "Waldesgespräch" (Schumann)
Much more Schumann than Schubert this year so I'm happy about that. I can't get enough of "Waldesgespräch".
French song except that nobody ever sings any!
2. Michael Gray - "Au bord de l'eau" (Fauré). I didn't actually see him sing it but I know the song and I know Michael and I'm certain it was a raging success.
1. Amanda Meadows - "Les chemins de l'amour" (Poulenc)
Somebody like the Alliance Française really ought to establish a French song class. I count just 12 items in French in this year's competitions and half of those are for the ODT Aria. Allez-y, les enfants! France has 18th century arias too, you know, and they're a whole lot more interesting than "Caro mio ben".
New Zealand composition
3. Ieti Leu'u - "Sweet and low" (Helen Caskie)
2. Rosel Labone - "Song" (Anthony Ritchie).
1. James Adams - "The force that through the green fuse" (David Farquhar) Serious kudos to the accompanist - sorry, collaborative pianist - on this one too.
17th or 18th century aria
3. Ieti Leu'u - "Tergi l'ingiuste" (Handel)
2. Amanda Meadows - "Sposa son disprezzata" (Vivaldi)
1. Michael Gray - "What pow'r art thou" (Purcell)
With special mention to the Vivaldi aria which Michael was originally going to sing, "Orribile lo scempio" from Tito Manlio. I'm still sulking about his not having sung it but as replacements go, the Purcell was pretty fabulous.
I'm enjoying myself. Let's have some more prizes.
The "I Know It's Not Really About the Frock But Even So..." Prize for Best Dressed: Rosel Labone.
Mr Congeniality: Ieti Leu'u. You can't watch him sing without smiling.
Prize for Warming My Pedantic Heart by Pronouncing Ralph as Rafe: Julien Van Mellaerts.
Shatteringest Invocation of a Higher Power: James Adams, "Gethsemane" (Lloyd Webber). I'm still in shock.
Prize for Obeying My Telepathic Commands: Amanda Meadows, who gave me both Vivaldi and two Poulenc songs.
The "mi fai dimenticare" Prize for Outstanding Performance of Repertoire Which As Far As I'm Concerned Actually Belongs to Yvonne Kenny: Rosel Labone, for Walton's "Daphne", Claire Barton for "Ye banks and braes".
Most Improved: Amanda Meadows.
Seriously Promising: Jessie Densem. (I swear I'd decided this even before she won the "Most Promising" prize.)
Obvious Superstar: James Adams. You heard it here.