On Friday evening I was at the RAM again - this time for the graduate students not yet in the Royal Academy Opera, but doing some operatic exercises nevertheless. And rightly the emphasis was put on Mozart - no less than four scenes, one each from from Così, Idomeneo, Zauberflöte, and Entführung. All very important and challenging stuff! This is fundamental to the education and training of singers of course..........
As one would expect there were some striking young talents on display - and invidious though it may be to mention them in particular, there were three that stood out for me. They included the Ilia - Verity Wingate who somehow seemed to emerge from the pack, as it were. Interesting. A vocally beautifully endowed baritone Robert Garland was an impressive Demetrius in the excerpt from Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream, and Lorena Paz, also in the Britten, once again showed special promise as Helena.
It was very good news that included in the programme was an excerpt from Jonathan Dove's Flight. This was an entertaining end to an ambitious evening - with special mention due to Dutch mezzo Liza van der Peijl - a big personality, natural performer, and of vocal distinction.
Last night the Andrea Chenier from the Royal Opera was relayed live on BBC Radio 3. It was a thrilling performance in every way, with Jonas Kaufmann extraordinary in the title role. Having seen Bergonzi, Carreras and Domingo in this opera over the years I can say confidently that this is as good as it gets. I will try to get to the performance on Tuesday - sold out so I will have to go on bended knee - probably without success!