What the critics said…
…of her ARMINIO CD
BEST OF THE YEAR — PERFECT CASTING
Standout individual performances in 2001… Vivica Genaux in Handel’s Arminio (Virgin).”
- The Editors, Opera News, January 2002
The excellent mezzo Vivica Genaux sings Arminio with a firm, flexible voice. Her vibrant lower range is an asset as she vividly conveys the prince’s contempt for his Roman captors.
- George Loomis, Opera, November 2001
This set does make abundantly clear why mezzo Vivica Genaux is widely hailed as one of opera’s up-and-coming “it” girls. Something special happens when she starts to sing – something that sets off a thrill, something that her warm, vibrant tone, razor-sharp diction, boldness of attack and sensational technique only begin to explain. Genaux has…pizzazz? Élan? Decide for yourself, but try not to miss the defiance with which she spits out the captive prince’s recitative in Act III, or the sheer spunk she brings to the wickedly difficult ‘Fatto scorta al sentier di gloria.’
- M. Lignana Rosenberg, Opera News, December 2001
Vivica Genaux interprets the title role with a mezzo that is perfectly controlled, with a pleasantly tart timbre, also with elegance and crystalline diction.
- W. Borchers, Das Opernglas, February 2002
This first recording of this unknown opera seria features Pittsburgh-based mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux in a spectacular performance of the difficult title role. The opera itself, hastily written at a time when the composer was suffering with poor health and personal problems, is lower-drawer Handel and was quickly forgotten after a run of six performances in 1736. Still, it contains many beautiful arias – designed to showcase the talents of great singers – and there is indeed some impressive vocalism on the two discs of this set. Genaux sings her several bravura arias with endless breath control and accuracy in the rapid coloratura lines. She also is heartrendingly expressive in the recitatives, which carry the plot forward but, in the manner of Handelian librettos, do not always make sense. The remainder of the cast is acceptable though not on Genaux’s level, and the instrumental ensemble under Alan Curtis is downright dull. Genaux’s contribution more than makes up for this, and the set fills a valuable if minor gap in the recorded repertory.
- Robert Croan, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 6, 2002
There’s been quite a buzz about Genaux, and she delivers the goods in the title role. Her voice is warm and voluptuous, but also nimble and clear, ideal for Arminio’s heroic passages. She impresses most in the heartbreaking prison aria ‘Vado a morir,’ singing with fragile tenderness.
- Craig Zeichner, Early Music America, Spring 2002
Vivica Genaux is extremely impressive in the title role with a very personally colored mezzo that moves through the role’s wide range and difficult tessitura with commanding ease. Her timbre proves that she is predestined for heroic male roles. Virtuoso coloratura ornamentation (Si cadrò), tragic expressiveness (Vado a morir) and heroic aplomb (Fatto scorta) are all equally convincingly delivered.
- Bernd Hoppe, Orpheus, 2002
Vivica Genaux in the title role shows off her burnished mezzo (reminiscent of Marilyn Horne) to great advantage.
- Joel Kasow, Culture Kiosque, November 23, 2001
Genaux sings and portrays Arminio with intelligence and a steady, admirable tone.
- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com, Review No. 4025
Curtis’ cast is a splendidly consistent one and he draws really fine singing from them. Genaux has a heavy voice with a slightly metallic core that reminds me favorably of Maureen Forrester.
- John W. Barker, Record Guide Productions, January/February 2002