International Singing Competition Final
The Grange Festival 2017
Musical competitions are seen by many as necessary but unrepresentative in an art form where direct comparison is subjective and direct competition unartistic. However, they can provide a supportive showcase for burgeoning talent and are often the first opportunity a singer has to perform in public in a fully professional context.
The competition will be shaped in such a way as to reflect the artistic vision behind The Grange Festival, whilst being mindful of the needs of the wider musical world of the 21st century. In order to achieve this, some basic tenets are necessary: powerful vocal communication is transformative to a listener; beauty of sound and strength of projection will be points of reference; clarity of intention, flexibility of delivery, comprehensibility, personality and a passion to communicate should also all be considered as fundamental requirements. A great singer encapsulates all these and more. This new competition will encourage judges to focus on all these in their deliberations.
The art of singing is also the craft of singing. Different periods of music give singers a variety of opportunities and require diverse strengths. Earlier repertoire lays great store in skills of rhetoric, declamation, improvisation and imagination, where later music focusses on legato line, colour and power. To quote the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, “…. music prior to 1800 speaks, while subsequent music paints.” Competitors at The Grange are invited to consider these notions, and wherever possible delight their listeners with an awareness of them. Variety of repertoire is therefore encouraged at each stage of the competition.
Singers have one thing available to them which is not available to all other musicians: words. This competition will be concerned as much with celebration of text as celebration of sound.
It is intended that every competitor reaching the final stage should be considered a winner. Both the semi-finals and finals will be public events on stage at The Grange. In addition, there will be masterclasses in the week before the finals, thus placing this competition firmly at the heart of the working process of preparing and making music. The award of The Grange Festival contracts, as well as prize money to the three highest placed finalists, also makes this new competition an important and useful showcase for young singers on an international level.