Korean wins Montreal song contest

Korean wins Montreal song contest


norman lebrecht

June 08, 2018

The South Korean tenor Mario Bahg won the Aria Grand Finale of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM).

An American baritone John Brancy won the art song prize.


  • Emil says:

    Moderately encouraging note: Mario Bahg was far from perfect. He slipped on the way down from a high note, messed up some text, etc. So the judges recognized artistry, not mechanical infallibility (as one often hears about competitions)

    Less encouraging: Bahg was definitely not the most interesting (or, in my opinion, best) candidate. Emily D’Angelo, 23 year old Canadian Mezzo, was quite superior, both in artistry and skill, and got second prize. But D’Angelo might have made a crucial mistake by reserving two of her best arias “Smanie Implacabili” and especially “Dopo Notte” for the semifinal rather than the final. As for Brancy, he deserved an unquestionable place in the top 3 for aria (his Per me Giunto was exceptional), but might have been excluded on account of his melody prize.

    • Jake Kane says:

      It is stupid to judge a singer by a few mistakes. Mario showed his technique and artistry close to perfection that night and won first place in all juries and audiences unanimously.

      • Emil says:

        You judge an artist by what he shows. As I said, I consider D’Angelo (and, to some extent, Brancy) to be superior in musicianship, technique, and professionalism. I say professionalism, because to me, one error is certainly excusable. But three quite serious errors in six arias, to me, that’s starting to be a lot. Messed up the text in Je Crois Entendre Encore, screwed up just after the final high note in Rossini’s Cujus Animam (both in semi), and there were some tempo issues and coordination with the orchestra in Il Mio Tesoro in final. None of these are disqualifying. But three errors in 30 minutes of singing, on arias that he has chosen because it’s the best he has to offer, is worth noting, for sure. Finally, if you read what I wrote, I said specifically that the fact that he won was “moderately encouraging”, as the jury overlooked mistakes to recognize artistry, and didn’t expect technical flawlessness.

        As for “winning first place with all juries and audiences”, well, D’Angelo won the audience prize, and the one Montreal full-time classical critic (Christophe Huss, Le Devoir), while praising Bahg, stated he would have preferred D’Angelo in first place.

        So, is Bahg a bad choice? No, certainly not. Is he the best choice? In my opinion, no he isn’t.

  • margaret brancy says:

    I totally agree with your opinion!

  • V.Lind says:

    What, no corruption?