Joe, Mikey and I journeyed down to Canberra for the weekend for the National Eisteddfod. Traditionally, it's a fairly big aria contest and the prize used to be around $15,000. Well, the Eisteddfod has lost a large sponsor, I believe, and so there was a one-off "Centenary Aria" prize of $5,000 instead this year. I have to say that I found it incredibly strange that the Eisteddfod was running a raffle for which there were large cash prizes. I would not have thought that to be an economical use of funds. What's wrong with winning a meat-tray? I'd be stoked if I won some food or wine! Seemed like a big waste of money to me.
I continued my tradition of never winning a single thing ever at the Canberra Eisteddfod, not even a highly commended or 4th placing. Very therapeutic for one's ego, I must say. The adjudicator was Dr Jean Callaghan (not a singer, I'm led to believe, but more of a musicologist) who wrote lots of illuminating things about my technique.
The aria contest had many, many withdrawals, so many so that only five of us showed up for the actual competition! Ridiculous. The winner was Sonia Anfiloff, my co-Masters soprano at ANU who was home
from Vienna for a few months. Utterly deserved - she's a total babe and
sang like "Vissi d'arte" like a dream. Wonderful. I have aspirations of learning that aria now...
My wondrous Joseph Restubog took these 2 beautiful photos of the competitors: