Sunday February 18, 2018 10:20 pm


What the critics said…
…of her IRENE in concert performances of Vivaldi’s BAJAZET


“A goddess in an evening gown.”

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At L’Arsenal in Metz, France:

The only holdover from the cast of the recording, Vivica Genaux assumes without a trace of any difficulty her starring role and rewards the audience with her breathtaking virtuosity, gorgeous musicality and the magnificently burnished tones of her lower register…
- Pierre Degott,, April 2, 2008

At Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain:

The character of Irene is much more important in Vivaldi than in Handel, since the Venetian composer (or maybe his colleagues!) dedicates three very difficult and beautiful arias to her, particularly the terribly taxing one in the first act, an authentic test for any virtuoso singer. Vivica Genaux’s Irene brought the house down. She tackled the enormous difficulties of her Act I aria with true mastery and commitment, and I am only sorry that she was not cast as Andrónico in Tamerlano. This was the best performance from her that I have seen so far.
- José M Irurzun, Seen and Heard International, March 28, 2008

At the Salle Pleyel in Paris, France:

There remains Vivica Genaux…. Beyond the impact of her physical appearance, her vocal performance proved superior to that of her partners. The incredible speed, the length of breath, the exuberance in ornamentation, the octave leaps of ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato’ wound up bringing the audience to its feet. The following aria, ‘Sposa son disprezzata,’ in revealing a side of Irene that’s less spectacular but more feeling and every bit as much accomplished, ended by crowning the singer the Princess of Trebizonde and queen of the evening.
- Christophe Rizoud,, March 28, 2008

At the Teatro La Fenice/Teatro Malibran in Venice, Italy:

Bajazet is already known from a recording. The aficionados who had come to applaud Vivica Genaux in ‘Quel guerriero’ were not disappointed; she was a goddess in an evening gown.”
- Roger-Claude Travers, Diapason, December 2007

The sole survivor from the 2005 recording was Vivica Genaux in the marginal role of Irene. The Alaskan mezzo astonished the hall with ‘Qual guerriero,’ a treacherous showpiece written by Riccardo Broschi for his brother Farinelli, bristling with inter-registral leaps extending over two and a half octaves and featuring endless florid passages in semiquavers. In contrast, another Farinelli suitcase aria, ‘Sposa, son disprezzata’ (by Geminiano Giacomelli), supplied evidence of her great dramatic powers and faultless legato technique. The salvo of curtain calls that ‘La Vivica’ received from the demanding Venice opera crowd is unprecedented in recent times.
- Carlo Vitali, Opera Now, January/February 2008

The star of the evening was certainly Vivica Genaux, to whom ODB-Opéra has devoted a file/webpage. Her first aria, ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato,’ received an ovation such as I’ve rarely heard in Italy. To tell the truth, they ambushed her. The aria is daunting, terribly difficult, technically, and despite a few extra breaths necessary for the little lungs of the American mezzo (adopted child of Venice, however), her execution was perfect. Equally magnificent: ‘Sposa, son disprezzata’ and ‘Son Tortorella.’
- Jérémie Leroy, Ringuet, ODB, October 12, 2007

At the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier:

The diva Vivica Genaux, as Irene – what a remarkable singer – was totally able to execute the roles pyrotechnics from first note to last.

Genaux scored a remarkable triumph with the audience, with each of her three arias rapturously applauded, particularly the notoriously difficult ‘Qual guerriero’.”
- Nicolas Pierchon,, July 31, 2006

Of particular note were two mezzos, Vivica Genaux and Romina Basso, who absolutely took one’s breath away with their sublime virtuosity, vocal flexibility and tremendous presence.
- Robert Sabatier, La Gazette de Montpellier, July 28, 2006

Vivica Genaux, as the abandoned Irene, panther-like and seductive, is a mezzo coloratura who could teach a few tricks to the most agile castrati. How does she do it?
-Michèle Fizaine, Midi Libre, July 26, 2006

There was rather more integrity in Vivaldi’s Bajazet, with Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante ensemble subsuming Baroque performing principles into exquisite music-making. Vivica Genaux was the only refugee from Biondi’s star-studded recording and she brought the house down with scattergun virtuosity.
-Francis Carlin, Financial Times, July 31, 2006

Vivica Genaux set off fireworks with her amazing coloratura and remarkable stage presence. Her astonishingly high level of facility with this music shows why she is a specialist in the Baroque repertoire.”
-Gisèle Laval, L’Herault du Jour, July 26, 2006

It was left to Genaux to single-handedly provide just that dose of glamour at the Opéra Comédie of Montpellier. Her raising coloratura in the aria ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato’ brought the house down on July 24, in an evening that sorely needed similar thrills and vocal risk-taking from the rest of this solid cast.
- Stephen Mudge, Opera News, November 2006

Already familiar from the recording, Vivica Genaux’s Irene radiates an undeniable stage presence…

…the technique is sovereign, and the character’s differing emotions are portrayed with subtlety: her entrance aria, at the end of one, ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato,’ lets loose a fireworks display of vocalise that created a sensation, while the emotion was palpable, on two, in the famous ‘Sposa son disprezzata.’”
- Christian Peter,, July 27, 2006

We must underscore here the absolute mastery of Vivica Genaux as Irene, the scorned princess. Her mastery, served by a faultless technique, allows her to triumph literally in this role, leaving the public awestruck by such vocal facility, in thrall to great art.”
-Marc Laborde, Ut-Mi-Sol, September 2006

Held over from the recording, the North American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux shone with vocal pyrotechnics, nervous in ‘Qual guerriero in camp armato’ then transformed into sensitivity in ‘Sposa son disprezzata.’ “
- Asier Vallejo Ugarte, Scherzo, December 2006

The prize goes to Vivica Genaux, the only singer present who performed on the recording, in her role of Irene, with some tremendous arias, among them the most complicated we’ve seen onstage and that Farinelli made famous, ‘Qual guerriero in campo armato,’ with arabesques, innumerable variations and ornamentations. She also sang one of the most memorable scenes of seduction with her aria ‘Son tortorella,’ when trying to attract Tamerlano.”
- Jordi Maluquer, El Ciervo, December 2006

We rediscover the sole singer retained from the recording, Vivica Genaux, still stunning in her virtuosity; one of the stars of the evening.
- Philippe Gelinaud, Opéra Magazine, September 2006

Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, the only singer from Biondi’s already-famous recording of Bajazet from 2004, proved seductive in her ardor and ease in interpreting Irene.”
- A.U, AFP, July 25, 2006

At the Kanagawa Kenritsu Ongakudo Hall in Yokohama, Japan:

…miraculous technique of the singers…” “Although there was only one performance, the ultimate in Italian Baroque style was realized.”
- A.U., Kanagawa Newspaper, February 26, 2006

Of the vocalists, one who did not fail to meet such high expectations was Vivica Genaux, who sang the role of Irene…with magnificent and dizzying speed.”
- A.U., Asahi Newspaper, February 23, 2006

At the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria

Vivica Genaux (as Irene) positively shimmered with the spiraling coloratura roulades of her bravura arias…”
- Gerhard Kramer, Die Presse, January 23, 2006

Two singers set themselves apart from the ensemble by means of their dramatic presence and vocal brilliance – Manuela Custer and Vivica Genaux. The latter should be particularly singled out for her gleaming and acrobatic coloratura.
- Judith Schmitzberger, Kurier, January 23, 2006

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