The Handel Singing Competition 2007
St George’s Church, Hanover Square
Semi-Final & Final Rounds – 16 & 23 April 2007
1st Prize – Derek Welton
2nd Prize – Christopher Ainslie
Audience Prize – Anna Devin
Accompanists Prize - Asako Ogawa
Both harpsichord and piano were made available for accompanists (both were in approximately in equal demand) and under the rules instrumentalists other than keyboard players are also welcome (none on this occasion were in evidence). A recitative and two arias were required, one of which must be in English. Inevitably, there was some duplication of choice, but the evening melded into a very enjoyable concert, at the end of which the adjudicators were commendably prompt in announcing their choice of 6 singers for the final.
So, the competition re-convened in celebratory mood a week later with church be-decked for St Georgestide. This time the London Handel Orchestra were on the platform with Lawrence Cummings directing, and what an evening of music it proved!
Whilst the jury were adjudicating the audience were kept busy filling in their voting slips, comparing notes in an obviously contended buzz of excitement.
In summing up, Chairman of the Jury Ian Partridge confirmed that they had found all the singing to be of a very high class. Their judgement was based on the finer details: variety, communication, phrasing, ornamentation, above all a relationship with Handel and affinity for his style. I noted that the winners chosen by the jury were the two finalists who had taken part in Masterclasses with Michael Chance earlier in the Festival – coaching obviously well absorbed.
Ian Partridge (Chairman); Michael Chance; Catherine Denley; Lindsay Kemp; Stephen Roberts
Julia Riley – mezzo soprano
Gillian Ramm – soprano
Joana Seara – soprano
Semi - Finalists
Lina Markeby –soprano; Emmanuelle De Negri – soprano; Sarah Moule - soprano
William Townend – baritone; Rhona McKail – soprano; Suzanne Lommier – mezzo soprano
Alexandra Rawohl – mezzo soprano; Karolina Gorgol – soprano; Andrew Radley - countertenor
Eamonn Mulhall – tenor (withdrew)