We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Theo Hoffman
Sol Jin
Jakub Jozef Orlinski
Sean Michael Plumb

Brian Vu

Our passion is witnessing the development of young artists and we can think of no greater thrill than seeing them on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera. You will have to look on the Met website to learn whom the judges chose from among the nine finalists.  We prefer to write about the young artists that we have been following right here in New York. They are all winners!

Each young artist had the opportunity to show off two contrasting arias, one in each half of the program.  Baritones were  prominent with Jakub Jozef Orlinski the sole countertenor.  The pure angelic quality of his instrument is ethereal. Although his "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows" from Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream was excellent, we preferred his "A dispetto d'un volto ingrato" from Handel's Tamerlano since it gave him such an opportunity to show off his crisp fioritura.

And now to our four magnificent baritones! Sol Jin evinced a noteworthy mature coloration and was most convincing as Germont Père in "Di Provenza il mar" from Verdi's La Traviata; the dramatic impact of his acting was substantial. Later, hearing him in Russian was a special treat--"Ya vas lyublyu" from Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame. He could definitely handle both roles.

Theo Hoffman was incredibly moving as he filled "Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen" from Korngold's Die Tote Stadt with a depth of longing and nostalgia that went straight to the heart. There is something very special about his vibrato. He was also excellent in "Dieux! qui me poursuivez" from Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride in which he displayed his forceful side.

Sean Michael Plumb had a lovely tonal quality in "Bella siccome un angelo" as he tried to "sell his sister" in Donizetti's Don Pasquale. His voice swelled to an impressive climax. His Russian, in an aria from Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, was superb.

Brian Vu used his entire body to convey the dashing personality of Figaro in his "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia. His versatility was evident when he showed his serious side in "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from Gounod's Faust.

The other winners were all superb and we cannot recall a year with such fierce competition. The nine finalists were winnowed from a field of 1500 representing 42 cities. What an achievement to get to sing on the stage of the Met!

(c) meche kroop

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