Although judges have a great deal of leeway about the structure and length of the evaluations they provide (some are shorter, some may be longer—others are provided in a matrix format, where the judge ranks each of a number of specific criteria) the paragraphs below represent a sample of the quality of evaluation we aspire to provide to every contestant who reaches Finalist status or higher in the competitions of The American Prize.
(Please note that judges' assignments are rotated annually, based on their qualifications, areas of interest, years of service and availability for a particular stage of the process.)
Here is what Dr. White wrote about one opera contestant. (The name of the vocalist has, of course, been removed.)
A warm, resonant, and strong sound.
This is a well-produced tone! Very grounded and easy.
X has a strength to his sound that is very much based on resonance and a strong control of breath energy. There is no pushing to his tone and his upper range is well managed.
His lower range is well set within his body.
He has a good sense of textual phrasing.
His command of languages is spot on! He seems very at ease with French especially. (His strong character work here helped tremendously).
While I think his Rossini was not the strongest of his submissions, I did very much enjoy the attention he placed into his character (he seems to be having difficulty with managing his breath here).
X is a fine performer and a delight to listen to. His reverberant, warm voice is produced with such ease as to draw you in to hear every nuance. He has an intensity to his delivery that makes one want to see and hear just what he is to do next.
Dr. Jay White
Associate Professor of Voice
Hugh A. Glauser School of Music
Kent State University