Sunday February 18, 2018 10:20 pm


What the critics said…

Vivica Genaux as Ariodante and Polinesso

As Polinesso (photo © Alvaro Yañez) / Ariodante (photo © ML Hart)


at Theater an der Wien

Especially Vivica Genaux did an outstanding job in creating a musically and dramatically convincing villain.
-Martin Robert Botz, Der neue Merker, September 17, 2008

…[the singer’s] ability to imbue her mezzo voice with roguish masculinity.
-Gerhard Kramer, Wiener Zeitung, September 17, 2008

Coloratura specialist Vivica Genaux as ruthless Polinesso is cast from stronger metal than the other singers.
-Walter Weidringer, Die Presse, September 17, 2008


at the Barbican Centre-London

As the villain Polinesso, Vivica Genaux sang with a steamrolling efficiency that reminded me of her compatriot, Marilyn Horne…
-Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, March 29, 2007

As the treacherous Polinesso, Vivica Genaux pulled off the feat of making a potentially one-dimensional character complex by carefully sketching in his pain after his initial rejection. At the same time she set every single one of Handel’s rapid-fire vocal patterns perfectly in place, combining the musical and dramatic sides of her performance in an unbroken sequence of unified gestures.
- George Hall, The Guardian, March 30, 2007

But the singers did their own conjuring, too, with vocal colour and gesture. As the scheming Duke Polinesso, Vivica Genaux added her dark alto to the mix…[coming] across like Shakespeare’s Iago…
- Michael Church, The Independent, March 30, 2007

…the viperish, dark and spiky-toned Polinesso of Vivica Genaux…
- Hillary Finch, The Times, April 2, 2007

More vocal fireworks came from Vivica Genaux as the villain Polinesso, and she prowled the stage with predatory intensity.
- Serena Fenwick, Musical Pointers, March 28, 2007

Vivica Genaux decisively reclaimed Polinesso for the fair sex, her tone duskily warm, with a nice touch of resin in the lower register, her agility fail-safe.
- Rodney Milnes, Opera, June 2007


at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées-Paris

Vivica Genaux, whose low notes are richer now and whose upper register has gained in sparkle, offers a precise, sexy portrayal of Polinesso….
- Eric Dahan, La Libération, March 20, 2007

Vivica Genaux…made the villain Polinesso virtually as seductive as he was malevolent.
- Caroline Mazodier, La Tribune, March 16, 2007

Rousset has a knack for finding the right voices and that’s what makes or breaks an opera seria.” “…this cast is near-perfect. Vivica Genaux rattles off villainous Polinesso’s coloratura with evil intent… Ariodante can be a long evening. Would I sit through it again? Yes, several times.
- Francis Carlin, The Financial Times, March 19, 2007

Vivica Genaux’s exotic, nasal vocal qualities, forcefully dynamic characterization, threatening presence, as well as the elegant, masculine silhouette she cuts all helped to create a most credible, memorable Polinesso. If the last word in vocal coloring or contralto power were missing, the American mezzo more than compensates with her clear diction and precision of her coloratura, with its slightly throbbing vibrato.
- Brigitte Cormier,, March 22, 2007

It was left to Vivica Genaux in the role of Polinesso to supply exciting vocal pyrotechnics…
- Stephen J. Mudge, Opera News, June 2007

The ‘Black Prince’ Polinesso was embodied by Vivica Genaux, who fired forth the roles pyrotechnics with precision.
- Jacques Doucelin, Ópera Magazine, May 2007

The best aspects [of the performance] were vocal, coming from the top international cast…the American Vivica Genaux (Polinesso) through her virtuosity and her virile timbre…
- A.U., AFP, March 15, 2007

Vivica Genaux doesn’t only count on her vocal art to portray Polinesso as cruel and vindictive: her presence, her bearing, her figure and the ease with which she portrays a male role all combined to create a sympathetic approach to her character’s odious jealousy.
- Michel Parouty, Les Echos, March 19, 2007

Vivica Genaux as Polinesso coiled like a serpent around her hatred, withdrawn in her delectable abysses, makes use of icy perfidy and restraint, before unfurling in the meandering jubilation in a refined ‘Se l’ingano sortisce felice.’ Her strangeness, with its dammed-up violence, like that of Iago, festering with consuming discontent and an undulating virtuosity.
- Emmanuelle Pesqué, France Musique, March 24, 2007

Vivica Genaux applied her agile, smoky timbre to the role of Polinesso…
- Frank Cadenhead,, March 26, 2007

Vivica Genaux turned in another note-perfect performance as the ill-intentioned Polinesso.
- Francis Carlin, Opera Now, July/August 2007




at the San Diego Opera

Women Wow on Handel’s Stage: Led by Vivica Genaux, the Distaff Element Shines in San Diego’s Ariodante “Genaux was a thrilling, vocally triumphant Ariodante.”

The production in San Diego, by John Copley, was created by the Dallas Opera for exciting young singer Vivica Genaux. That alone should be attraction enough for San Diegans. An unknown when she made her debut with the company five years ago in Rossini’s The Italian in Algiers, she immediately won over just about everybody and has been back often. Now, the world knows the agile 32-year-old mezzo-soprano as a rising star. Her singing Saturday was spectacular.
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2002


Anyone who knows anything at all about music and singing will be thrilled by the level of excellence achieved by San Diego Opera’s first venture into Handelian territory. Ariodante boasts a flawless assembly of seven — count ‘em seven — principal singers, all of whom are perfectly cast. Some observers are saying this is the finest group of singers ever brought together on the stage at Civic Theatre.

Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux is utter perfection as the work’s eponymous hero who is driven to despair by the apparent infidelity of his betrothed. Fabulous! There is no other word for Genaux’s performance. She looks fabulous and sounds fabulous. She actually makes you believe in her character – a phenomenal achievement for any woman singing a ‘pants part.’ It is worth a 1000-mile drive to hear her heartbreakingly sincere second-act aria, ‘Scherza infida.’ Elsewhere she dazzles with her musicianship, and on opening night her final duet with Ginevra had my seat companion blubbering like a baby.
-David Gregson,, February 2002

Genaux was dashing and endearing as Ariodante, a role she sang in Dallas in 1998. Her agility and breath control were often exceptional, as in the challenging aria ‘Dopo notte,’ which inspired ‘brava’s’ from the audience.
-Valerie Scher, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 11, 2002

As she was at the 1998 premiere [of this John Copley production] in Dallas, mezzo Vivica Genaux was on hand to do some of the best singing of her young career as the opera’s eponymous hero. Her musicianship proved virtually flawless, and she was able to negotiate the most complex passages as if they were not in the least daunting. Most impressive was the way she seemed to believe in her character, as if this stereotypical Baroque ‘trouser role’ possessed a third dimension. Her Act II aria, ‘Scherza infida,’ was heartbreaking, and elsewhere she looked and sounded dazzling.
-David Gregson, Opera News, May 2002

Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux returns to San Diego Opera in the pants role of Ariodante. It’s obvious why Genaux loves playing these baroque roles formerly sung by castrati, as they allow her to show off her astounding coloratura fireworks, particularly in the first-act closer, ‘Qui d’amor,’ and the second-act showpiece, ‘Scherza infida’.
- Pam Kragen, North County Times, February 14-20, 2002

Vivica Genaux, justly renowned for her coloratura ability, carried off this trouser role with excellent Handelian style, singing with incredible agility as she brought her character from a naive youth to a mature, resourceful leader. The second act aria, ‘Scherza, infida, in gremba’ was truly a gem that showed her ability to sing the most difficult ornamentation with apparent ease.
- Maria Nockin,, March 2002

Although no one would believe that the beautiful Genaux was actually a man, her voice was up to the task to running this three-act marathon. Every aria she sang was breathtaking.
- Tracy Landers, La Jolla Light, February 14, 2002

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