One of the things about competitions is that they are prone to surprises and upsets. They don’t always turn out as expected and often not as desired. Proof enough was the very unexpected twist of events at Saturday night’s final round of the Dr. Luis Sigall Classical Guitar Competition in Viña del Mar. (See “Classical Guitar in Viña del Mar: 36th Dr. Luis Sigall Competition” for information leading up to the finals).
Eighteen young guitarists from 12 countries were invited to participate in this prestigious competition. Eight made the semi-finals, and the 3 finalists, Marco Sartor of Uruguay, Sebastian Montes of Chile, and Daniela Rossi of Argentina, performed with orchestra on Saturday night.
The finalists were assigned the piece they would play.
Luck of the draw.
Marco Sartor was the first to take the stage and performed Concierto para guitarra y pequeña orquesta, by Héitor Villa-Lobos of Brazil. His execution was flawless, but unfortunately his guitar was drowned out by the orchestra, and even during the solo passages it was hard to hear, a fact that the judges neither missed nor dismissed.
Sebastián Montes followed with Fantasía para un gentil hombre, by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. He played beautifully and moved the audience such that they applauded until he returned for a second bow.
I am not impartial. He is my favorite. We, his family, were there “en patota.”
Daniela Rossi closed the show with the most famous of all pieces for guitar and orchestra: Joaquín Rodrigo’s Aranjuez. She played with confidence and personality, and those in the know commented on her creative interpretation.
Intermission. Nerves. Tension.
The audience voted for their favorite.
Hair was combed; lipstick reapplied.
The evening’s 3 stars paced.
The public congratulated them.
Some asked for a photo or autograph.
The remaining 15 participants speculated.
The musicians in the audience opined.
What was taking so long?
Time drags on–3 0 minutes… 45… an hour–and this can only mean one thing: the jury is not in agreement.
The lights flash, we return to our seats. One look at the jury, now on stage, and we know. They have done serious battle. Our hearts begin to sink.
The usual round of speeches begins. Why is it that every speaker has to repeat interminable lists of Illustrious Toms, Esteemed Dicks and Honorable Harrys, along with their mothers and brothers and cousins and important neighbors? All the blustering blah-blah must have added at least another 20 minutes to the already torturous suspense.
Finally, the awards:
Best Chilean non-finalist Award: Renato Serrano (29) (trip for 2 to Laguna San Rafael)
Audience Favorite: Sebastián Montes (Yay, Seba!)
3rd Prize: Marco Sartor… surprised murmurs…
2nd Prize: Sebastián Montes… shocked audience response…
1st Prize: Daniela Rossi… stunned
Sartor and Montes were far and away the favorites going into–and coming out of–this event. Those who had been following the competition considered it a toss-up for first and second. The final outcome was completely unexpected and frankly, unexplainable.
And with that, I will refrain from further comment, lest I be accused of sour grapes. Not the case. There is much to be said about the outcome of this event, but I will wait for others more qualified and less involved to say it… while I bide my time, mulling this mystery and weighing my words.
El Mercurio: “Un duro round vivió la final de “Dr. Luis Sigall”
El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “La compleja votación en la final del Dr. Sigall”
El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “Final de “Dr. Luis Sigall” envuelto en la polémica”