For over three decades the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) Australian Singing Competition (ASC) has helped discover and fund career opportunities for some of our region’s finest talent in opera and classical singing.
Last weekend, five young singers cams closer to realizing their dreams when they were selected to participate in the finals of the 2016 competition. They are Morgan Balfour, Eliza Boom, Jarvis Dams, Nicholas Tolputt, and Sarah Wang.
The IFAC ASC evolved from a bequest made by Marianne Mathy-Frisdane, a distinguished teacher of opera and classical singing, and now manages a number of premier development programmes in music and the performing arts. This year the prize pool for what is known as The Mathy is more than $200,000.
Dr. Haruhisa Handa, the chairman of IFAC has again sponsored an orchestra for the finals.
After heats were conducted in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland and London, the semi-finalists participated in a workshop with Conservatorium singer and lecturer, Anke Hӧppner and were interviewed, during which time they outlined their plans for their careers.
Capably compered again by Greg Lenthen with a brief introduction about each singer and aria or song in the first half, he mentioned there had been a late withdrawal, but didn’t name Fleuranne Brockway, mezzo-soprano, from Western Australia.
Greg introduced the National Adjudicator, Lyndon Terracini AM, and the semi-finals adjudicators, Rowena Cowley, Lisa Gasteen AO, and Benjamin Schwartz, from the SSO.
In the line- up of the semi-finals concert were:
Sarah Ampil Soprano, NSW Heimliches Lieben (Liszt) Je suis encore tout étourdie Manon (Massenet)
Morgan Balfour Soprano, NSW Oh! Quand je Dors (Liszt); Ah! Tardai troppo…O Luce di quest’anima Linda di Chamonix (Donizetti)
Anastasia Bickel Mezzo Soprano, QLD In the Silence of the Mysterious Night (Rachmaninov); Ces Lettres Werther (Massenet)
Eliza Boom Soprano, NZ Cherry Valley Three Pastoral Songs (Quilter); Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante Carmen (Bizet)
Jarvis Dams Baritone, NZ Nacht und Träume (Schubert); L’orage s’est calmé Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Bizet)
Zoe Drummond Soprano, NSW Monica’s Waltz The Medium (Menotti); Apparition (Debussy)
Frederick Jones Tenor, NZ Lunge da lei…De’ miei bollenti spiriti (Verdi); Sure on this shining night (Barber)
Nicholas Tolputt Counter Tenor, NSW Stille amare Tolomeo (Handel); Silent Noon The House of Life (Vaughan Williams)
Sarah Wang Soprano, NSW Come scoglio Così fan tutte (Mozart); Les Filles de Cadix (Delibes)
After some glorious singing, Lyndon Terracini announced the winners alphabetically.
All semi-finalists were awarded a range of prizes including Huntington Estate wines. Other prizes included courses of French and Italian lessons to Sarah Ampil, Anastasia Bickel, and Nicholas Tolputt.
Eliza Boom won a place at the Lisa Gasteen Summer School; Zoe Drummond won the AOAC Lieder prize and Frederick Jones won the Tinkler Encouragement Award.
The five winners worked with renowned soprano, Barbara Frittoli, in a master class on the following day.
Leona Geeves for SoundsLikeSydney©