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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Jin-Xiang Yu
Celeste Frazier
Melissa Kornacki

Viktoriya Vita Koreneva
Raymon Geis

Last night we heard the performances of the finalists in the Lyra New York International Vocal Competition, adjudicated by Conductor Daniel Beckwith, Artists Manager Peter Randsman, and voice teacher Judith Fredricks, Artistic Director of Opera New York.

Fifteen artists were heard and First Prize in the Art Song Division was awarded to soprano Ji-Xiang Yu whose melismatic singing in Messiaen's challenging "Acteon de Graces" showed off a beautiful line and fine French diction.

First Prize in the Oratorio Division was won by mezzo-soprano Melissa Kornacki who wisely selected the "Agnus Dei" from Rossini's Messe Solennelle, to show off her highly operatic sound and gorgeous vocal line. Her deep resonant voice made the most of it and we would love to hear her as one of Rossini's mezzo heroines.

In the much larger Opera Division, first prize was awarded to soprano Celeste Fraser for her lovely delivery of "Song to the Moon" from Dvorak's Russalka. "Ah! Fuggi il traditor", Dona Elvira's aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni received an intense performance.

Second prize was given to mezzo-soprano Viktoria Vita Koreneva, who gave a very committed performance of "Adieu forets" from Tchaikovsky's Joan of Arc, in Russian of course. She also sang "Je suis gris" from Massenet's Cherubin.

Tenor Raymon Geis took third prize for a most expressive and affecting performance of "Gott, welch dunkel hier" from Beethoven's Fidelio. He has a pleasing timbre and a lot of power to offer.

We wish that more prizes had been offered.  We particularly enjoyed tenor Kyuyoung Lee's easy and joyful performance of "Di miei bolenti spiriti" from Verdi's La Traviata.

Soprano Chan Yang Lim's bright soprano added to her believable performance of "Stridono Lassu" from Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci.

Michael Fennelly did his customary fine job of accompanying.

This was the first of what we hope will be an annual competition, one of a very few that imposes no age limits.

© meche kroop

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