| September 1, 2015
| September 1, 2015
“A favorite at the Met since 2013, Opolais shone in two excerpts on Saturday, August 15. The arias by Verdi (the famous “Willow Song” and “Ave Maria” from Act IV of Otello) and Boito (the contemplative “L’altra notte in fondo al mare” from Act III of Mefistofele) were apt pieces to showcase Opolais´s silky, relaxed delivery. She and her husband, Andris Nelsons, teamed up for the BBC Proms two years ago with the same music by Verdi (accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), and they received raves for their “fresh, intricately textured and unusually probing account” . . .
One of the reasons the Opolais name is on everyone´s lips is due to her uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time (and prepared to step in when a need arises). In 2010, she replaced Nina Stemme in the title role of Martin Kusej´s controversial production of the Bayerische Staatsoper´s sometimes shocking (and gratuitously violent) Rusalka. She distinguished herself as a marvelous singing actor and her riveting performance is featured in the company´s 2011 DVD [here] . . .
While she has established her name at the Bayerisches Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, and the Met with racy, wild stagings of Manon Lescaut, this concert showed a more subdued and subtle side of Opolais´s personality. The Telegraph has called her “the leading Puccini soprano of today,” but if we want to hear her sing Puccini, we´ll have to make the trek down to the Met next season. Highly charged phrases with floating high notes weren´t the only goal of long sections: the clarity and focus of her voice triumphed through understated moments that demanded control. The Boito selection was propitious, as Opolais is preparing for two more role debuts at the Staatsoper next season: Helen of Troy and Margherita in Boito´s Mefistofele (opening on October 24). Opolais will also travel with the BSO in May 2016.”
Laura Stanfield Prichard – The Boston Musical Intelligencier