This afternoon I had the pleasure of adjudicating a Mozart Violin Sonata class at the side of Hungarian-American violinist, Zoltan Szabo. It was a pleasure hear such excellent playing from Eva Aronian and Sarah Bliel. It was also fun to recall my school training as a double bass player from grades 7-13! These young virtuosos were far beyond that, but in my adjudications I invited them to listen to Mozart opera arias and concert arias sung by Edita Gruberova and Diana Damrau. The Opera Aria (Advanced Standing) classes were tonight, as this evening finished my adjudicating in Calgary. The singing was a complete pleasure to listen to. The task of comparing excellences is a difficult one. I was told that my remarks were always “positive and poetic.” While I appreciated the compliment, I immediately thought of those who were visibly upset because in performing, their reach had exceeded their grasp, or they did not receive the kind of placement or recognition they’d hoped for. I asked the singers to consider their intrinsic goals, congratulate themselves for those they had met, and give themselves a “Good to know!” for those they had not. For all the feedback I gave them, they were to consider the content (whether positive or “Good to know”) either helpful/useful, or irrelevant. That way, they could move forward.The prize winners of the Opera Classes (Advanced Standing) are pictured here with me (from left to right): Hannah Pagenkopf, soprano, Allyson Hop, soprano, me, Abbey Curzon, soprano, and David Ng, baritone. They all brought their best, and their best made for an exciting evening. I am grateful to Mary Ross, Executive Director of the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival for her invitation, and for the exceptional level of organization the festival enjoys. It is Canada’s music festival “mother lode,” and I am honoured to have been a part of it.
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