Fourteen young singers, mainly former participants in the final stages of recent Neue Stimmen competitions, have been in Gütersloh all week taking part in masterclasses and other "training" activities, with Edda Moser, Francisco Araiza, John Norris and Gustav Kuhn. They have been supported by a formidable array of music staff, including our old friends Celine Dutilly, Peter Nelson and Rafaello Cortesi.
Yesterday evening's relaxed "end of term" concert was enjoyed by a large group of distinguished guests from Gütersloh and from further afield, even from as far as Bayreuth! We had singers from the USA (Dominic Armstrong), two each from Argentina, China, and Russia, as well as representatives from Chile, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Romania, Israel and Slovakia. This varied group of young singers getting together is very typical of the international spirit and scope of the Bertelsmann Foundation's activities.
A feature of the program was the opportunity to hear "folk songs" from Russia, Denmark, Israel, China, and Japan. Otherwise we had healthy doses of Mozart and Rossini, with a Richard Strauss song thrown in as seasoning.
I am returning to London this afternoon and am looking forward to a real rarity from Opera Rara this evening, Donizetti's Belisario in a concert performance at the Barbican.