The singing competition was held over the first weekend of October in glorious Autumn sunshine in the city of Karlsruhe, coinciding with the celebrations of 25 years of German re-unification.
A large group of Wagner Society members gathered to watch the events over three days, growing in size as the weekend progressed. There was a considerable contingent from France (the Wagner Societies of Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse were represented), the UK (London and Scotland), Singapore (on the lookout for singers for their 2016 production of Der fliegende Holländer) and of course a large number from various German Verbands. Several members of the Praesidium of the RWVI also attended.
17 semi-finalists performed in the evening of October 1st in the Badisches Staatstheater, who had most kindly sponsored the event by donating the use of their premises for the competition. Each singer, accompanied by one of three talented young pianists, performed two pieces, of which one had to be by Wagner. There was a noticeable predominance of female singers, and of these, the majority were sopranos. The singers came from far and wide – Japan, Korea, UK/New Zealand, USA, Australia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Croatia, Poland, France, Austria and of course Germany. Many of these were currently studying or working in Germany. The quality of singing was pretty high, although it was observed by many (the author of this piece included) that several of the singers appeared to be more comfortable in their non-Wagner Fach! We heard, as one so often does at Wagner singing competitions, several renditions of Einsam in trüben Tagen and Dich teure Halle, although the variations in interpretation held the attention of the audience and led to much lively discussion during the interval. There was a great deal of talent on display, even if not always of the Wagnerian type and the audience greatly enjoyed the evening, forming and voicing their own opinions of who should be chosen to proceed to the finals.
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(Article by Andrea Buchanan, on website of Richard-Wagner-Verband-international e.V)