We had our final session this afternoon and have chosen no less than seven to go to Germany in October, including one Uruguayan who flew in from Montevideo. There are three sopranos, of very different kind, a true mezzo (as opposed to one of those second soprano types) two tenors and a bass.
This is my fourth visit to Buenos Aires and there has been an enormous rise in the level achieved since my first trip in 1999. In 2003 an Argentinian was the overall winner. I feel sure than more than a couple of these will get through to the last twelve and I should not be at all surprised to have a prize winner here. The seventeen year old has gone through - she will be eighteen in two weeks and is not in fact so very much younger than Cecilia Bartoli was when she auditioned for me at the age of eighteen. So there are precedents for such early maturity. They were all very happy as you can see from this group (click on it to see everyone) which also includes Jutta, Tota and Carlos - and me! One qualifier is missing - he had to go straight off to a rehearsal for the Zemlinsky.
The morning began with a delightful eavesdrop on the rehearsal for the Beethoven concert this evening. The conductor was an accomplished Brazilian - Ligia Amadio. She is Music Director of the Sao Paulo Orchestra. And she was completely in command of the orchestra which has, on the whole, a quite relaxed approach to rehearsals........Bruno Gelber was in muscular form. Alas I had to leave for my auditions so could not stay for the Emperor concerto which I have no doubt he dispatched with appropriate energy.
This evening I have a farewell dinner with Jutta and leave tomorrow morning for Santiago.