Two UC Irvine singers took top awards at the 1986 International Musical Eisteddfod held in the Welsh city of Llangollen over the summer. The prestigious festival, widely considered a platform for launching new talent, was founded in 1947 as an offshoot of the National Eisteddfod, which has been held annually since 1880.
Competing this year were about 8,000 singers from two dozen countries, ranging from Austria to Yugoslavia.
Linda Rose Linnebach, 27, took first place in the soprano division, then triumphed over three other first-place winners for the International Singer of the Year award.
Soprano Frances Young, 24, won the International Young Singer of the Year award, an accolade awarded to singers under 25.
Linnebach was not expecting to win one--much less two--top awards.
"In previous years (1979 and 1984), UCI had not gone beyond the preliminaries, so I hadn't planned on going further," she said. "So I had no music for the finals.
"Luckily, someone from the chorus had 'Quando me'n vo' (Musetta's Waltz song from Puccini's "La Boheme"), and I was able to sing that."
Linnebach had first competed against 20 other sopranos, singing the mandatory Schubert's "Die Allmacht" and her own choice of Ives' "The Circus Band."
Young, who entered the field against 50 young competitors, won with "The Trees on the Mountain" from Carlisle Floyd's opera "Susannah" and Faure's "La lune blanche luit dans le bois."
Linnebach and Young went through a 1 1/2-day-long elimination process. But in between their solo competitions, they also participated as part of the UCI choruses in the choral competitions.
In fact, neither had known that she had advanced to the finals.
Young said: "I didn't know I had made the finals because I had to leave for the choral competition right after the preliminaries.
"Someone came running down to tell me. But I didn't even know where I should go for the finals. Luckily, someone was able to tell me."
Joseph Huszti, chairman of the UCI music department, said there are 37 major competitions in the International Eisteddfod, ranging from youth through adult solo contests to various choral and folk dance meets.
Any soloist in the world may attend and, after qualifying, participate in the competitions. But choirs must arrive by invitation only.
The two UCI groups--the Concert Choir and the California Chamber Singers--were the only choirs from the United States to be invited, Huszti said.
"Four of the 12 semi-finalists were from UCI," he said. "To have that many semi-finalists from the same country and from the same school--and then to have two take such top awards--that's really unprecedented."
Linnebach, who was born in Garden Grove, graduated from USC in 1980, studied for a year in Salzburg and Vienna and expects her master of fine arts degree from UCI in June. She won the equivalent of $225 and a bronze trophy.
Young, born in Indio, went to Long Beach City College for two years before transferring to UCI. Young also won $225 and a silver trophy.
Linnebach said: "My goal was not to compete, it was to sing well. I had gone there to sing in the chorus and solo competitions because I wanted the experience and was testing myself and seeing how intense I could be.
"But if you focus on competition, you lose focus on your talent and on how to make a beautiful sound."
Young hopes to sing professionally after graduating at the end of the current academic year.
"But I want to continue studying here because I'm really happy with the training here," she said.
The other UCI students who were among the 12 semi-finalists in each of their respective voice divisions were mezzo-soprano Nancy Beach, tenor Andy Kicklighter and bass Michael Geiger.
Some lucky young dancers, ages 9 to 13, will get a chance to appear with the New York City Ballet during the company's engagement, Oct. 15-19, at the Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.
The young dancers, to be selected by audition, will be cast in roles specifically choreographed for children in Balanchine's "Mozartiana" and Peter Martins' "Songs of the Auvernge."
Auditions will be held at 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the Center. Students must have a minimum of three years of ballet training, and their height may not exceed five feet. For further information, call (714) 556-2121.
The UC Irvine Extension division will offer a short course entitled "The New York City Ballet: Balanchine and the Neoclassical Ballet," on Oct. 8, 9 and 20.
The class, which will meet from 7 to 10 p.m. at the university's Alumni House, will be taught by Olga Maynard, professor of dance at UCI and senior editor of Dance Magazine.
Maynard's focus will be on the revolutionary contributions to the style and repertory of ballet by George Balanchine, widely regarded as the premier choreographer of the century.
Maynard also will discuss aspects of "pure dance" and the Neoclassical style of dancing. In the concluding session Jillana, one of Balanchine's prima ballerinas, will reminisce on dancing for the great choreographer.
Films will be shown.