David Fox: Another year, and another reminder that cultural life is not the same, eh, Cameron? The Academy of Vocal Arts’ signature Giargiari Bel Canto competition (which focuses on opera, though not exclusively bel canto) was, of course, by necessity done virtually this time. To AVA’s credit, I thought they did an accomplished and admirably smooth job in adapting this event to video. Each of the 12 young singers had their pre-recorded moment, accompanied by Danielle Orlando at the piano, with distancing protocols clearly respected. That it was done in their home theater (the live competition is usually held in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater) felt very right. I actually appreciated the sense of intimacy, and seeing the individual singers more as rising artists and less as “contestants.”
Cameron Kelsall: AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater is one of Philadelphia’s hidden gems, a beautiful jewel-box with elegant murals and great acoustics, where we’ve spent many lovely nights. It was nice to see it again, even if only through a television screen. It was nice, too, to see AVA taking a bigger leap into creating content for streaming. After a somewhat rocky experiment in live broadcasting last month with the Music, Give Us Hope recital—which was musically superb but technically shaky—the production quality all-around was on par with that of Opera Philadelphia, which launched its streaming channel just one day earlier. And the event served as a reintroduction to the public of many second-, third- and fourth-year resident artists who have been unwittingly silenced for months…
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Categories: Criticism, Music, PARTERRE BOX, Philadelphia
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