In theory we have to reduce 40 singers to 20 over these two days. It seems that we have 25 singers actually showing up for the final stages - five drop outs. With a substantial amount of money there for the winning it always seems strange to me that the absentee rate is so high. All competitions suffer, however, from much the same tendency. And for us I suppose it can be something of a relief!
We had 17 yesterday and will hear the balance today. We are not making the cut until this evening of course. It is an odd fact that so many of the good ones come towards the end. Yesterday the afternoon seemed better than the morning, and I have little doubt that by the end of the day we will have a fine set of semi finalists, contending tomorrow for the ten places allocated for the final round with orchestra on Saturday evening.
We had a change of jury - I am the only one remaining from the Antico e Barocco group. Our chairman was to have been Gerard Mortier. In his absence Serge Dorny agreed to stand in but will only be here from tomorrow. However we had the great pleasure of having the Lyon Opera's Director of Artistic Production, Robert Körner, standing in for him for these two days. Robert is one of the most capable of the younger generation of European opera administrators - and is clearly headed for a top position somewhere soon.
The revered veteran Italian Edoardo Müller, who worked with all the great singers of the last 60 years, including Renata Tebaldi herself, is the most genial of wise heads and he keeps us sane and balanced. We also have Gianni Tangucci whose experienced around the Italian operatic pantheon is unrivalled - and that delightful soprano Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, an old friend from Glyndebourne days where she sang Nanetta some years ago.
It is a lovely day again today - such a joy to wake up to this every morning!