Night and Day: Wednesday, March 13, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Opera-and-Coming

This week’s event of choice is a singing contest, though it won’t be televised and we can assume that none of the distinguished panel of judges will be wearing a muscle t-shirt and delivering snide remarks in a British accent. No, the tenth biennial Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition is here to showcase the brightest young talents in the field of opera singing.

The 12 semifinalists have many local ties. There are graduates of SMU (soprano Lisa Forstmann), TWU (soprano Christina Major), and UNT (sopranos Marianne Cope and Kristen Wunderlich), plus a sprinkling from other Texas schools. Previous years’ competitions have had a number of contestants from abroad, but this year’s field is all-American. Soprano Awet Andemicael (born in Ethiopia) and baritone Erik Nelson Werner (educated entirely in Germany) may be the closest things to “international” singers.

Sad to say, the singers haven’t chosen much in the way of unconventional arias to sing. Most of their offerings fall squarely within the traditional 19th-century German-Italian-French repertoire. The most unusual selections are modern English-language arias from Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All and Britten’s Billy Budd as well as Baroque showpieces from Gluck’s Alceste and Handel’s Alcina. Let’s hope that future fields of competitors exercise a bit more boldness, but let’s also wish that this year’s crop can bring enough freshness and creativity to make their familiar arias seem new.

The Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition is Fri-Sat at McNair Rehearsal Studios, 301 E 5th St, FW and Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $8-70. Call 817-731-0833.


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