You may have heard him (Bruno de Simone) in the role a dozen times, yet find him unique and surprising over and over. The same is true for Vivica Genaux’s Angelina, whose polished mezzo and awe-inspiring coloratura, piercing the loudest ensemble with ludicrous ease, belie from the very start her status of helpless little orphan, appealing for some tenderness to a band of six huge rats (the production’s surrealistic novelty, recovered from Perrault). In her final triumphant aria, Genaux even adds more coloratura to Rossini’s dizzying original, thus deservedly ascending the throne as bel canto’s current Queen.
- Carlo Vitali, Opera Now, July/August 2008
The Angelina of Vivica Genaux was sung with total, unreserved credibility. She projects a spontaneous personality far from the fragile girl found in some traditional lines of interpretation, totally masters the difficult tessitura of the role and its myriad ornamentations. She is already queen while among the rags.
- P.-E. N., Diapason, April 2008
Vivica Genaux sets off a sensation with her refined portrait of Angelina. Her instrument, with its exemplary suppleness, lines up the fioriture with wondrous precision, the low notes growing elegantly deeper and still sparkling without recourse to senseless, cheap chest effects.
- Éric Pousaz, Opéra Magazine, April 2008
Vivica Genaux, who was born in Alaska, is a miraculous mezzo-soprano… Once she appears on stage, La Vivica as all have learned to call her, in the same way people refer to the great divas, everyone else pales in comparison. She is young and beautiful. Furthermore, she has extension, bronze and agility in her voice which could make (Marilyn) Horne and Farinelli’s ghost envious. . She has portrayed the most daring and audacious roles for which the above artists are justly famous.” “From the opening aria ‘Cera una volta un re’ to the shaking duet with Ramiro ‘Un soave non so che’ and going on to the final success of ‘Naqui all’affanno’ with its andante and a triumphant rondo, ‘Non più mesta accanto al fuoco’, La Vivica excels in her new and exciting ornamentation that usually tend to be dropped.
- Carlo Vitali, La Regione Ticino, March 14, 2008
Her technique and vocalises are mind-blowing
- Claudio Poloni, ConcertoNet.com, February 18, 2008
And she [Angelina] is Vivica Genaux. Her physical presence is thrilling; her body is like something out of a dream, which befits this story! And with that it brings along a voice shaded with amber-tones, floating, but which ‘swings,’ too, with its wild attack and its feline virtuosity, with warm low notes and high notes tossed into flight.
- Benoît Berger, Forum Opéra, February 17, 2008
The magic wand, in this production, is named Vivica Genaux. The American mezzo-soprano is one of the most sought-after exponents of this role, which she has sung on the world’s greatest stages. She has the physique of a princess, a charm from which goodness glows not by theatrical artifice but by spontaneous radiance, and a bronzed, sensual and broad voice, with a sleek timbre, which unspools the wildest lines with laser precision.
- Jean-Jacques Roth, Le Temps, February 15, 2008
Vivica Genaux first of all gives Angelina a beautiful depth of character. Very far from the naive teenager in search of Prince Charming, the mezzo-soprano from the Frozen North stirs up the embers under the ashes of her hearth. The fire of her femininity is no flash in the pan. It slowly casts its glow on a voice that comes from the chest in lower notes and that open to the light on high notes. A remarkable purveyor of vocalise, Vivica Genaux doesn’t merely offer virtuosity. Her technical facility and the velvety amber of her smooth timbre carry Angelina to the total assumption of femininity and grace.
- Sylvie Bonier, Tribune de Genève, February 15, 2008
at the Michigan Opera Theatre:
Vivica Genaux, who last sang at MOT as Rosina, emerged even more brightly here as a keen actress with an agile mezzo.”
- Michael H. Margolin, Opera, November 2006
Vivica Genaux, as Cinderella, has a compelling stage presence. …her florid coloratura was outstanding and her acting was sympathetic and convincing. There was beauty in her smile.
- Dina Winter, Grosse Pointe News, May 18, 2006
So entertaining is the MOT production of Rossini’s brilliant comedy ‘Cinderella’ that you simply never think about the virtuosity required of every singer on that stage. It’s a terrific show – vivacious, colorful, infectiously tuneful and very funny.” Musically, La Cenerentola can’t fly without a dazzling mezzo soprano in the title role. In Vivica Genaux, this show boasts a spectacular singer who also lights up the stage with a smile of Julia Roberts’ wattage.
- Lawrence B. Johnson, The Detroit News, May 16, 2006
Much of the credit must go to mezzo Vivica Genaux, a much-heralded young American singer with enough charisma to light up Broadway. She has a basically bright, clear voice but can call upon an infinite variety of color shadings in all registers, from a dusky bottom to ringing top. Her technique is striking but what was so impressive Saturday was that she didn’t merely race through Rossini’s coloratura fireworks like a machine but, rather, she sang these leaping melodies with arcs of lyricism and understanding.
Her final showcase, ‘Nacqui all’affanno e al pianto’ (‘I was born to sorrow and tears’), was delivered with the joy of revelation, sending us out of the theater on the high of the reversal of fortune and a moral that tells us that goodness will triumph over evil if we believe strongly enough in love.
-Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press, May 15, 2006
at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris:
…a carefully picked cast, headed by media darling Vivica Genaux in the title role, that fulfilled its promises. Vivica Genaux may sound like a mini Marilyn Horne but her virtuosity, musicality and precision are shown off in Rossini much more than in Handel. We’re used to plumier voices in the role but Genaux’s Angelina had the advantage of never sounding matronly.
- Francis Carlin, Opera Now, September/October 2003
Rossini’s comic masterpiece is at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in a zany new production staged by Irina Brook and with Vivica Genaux in stunning coloratura form as the Cinderella figure. Musically matters were in solid shape. Genaux, a mezzo coloratura of unshakable security, built to a dazzling climax in the rondo finale, all without slighting her stage business.
- David Stevens, International Herald Tribune 5/21/2003
On stage Miss Genaux’s characterization invites sympathy and she sings with great aplomb; her spontaneity and vocal stylishness are most rewarding.
- Michel Parouty, Les Echos, May 19, 2003
Vivica Genaux is stupefying! Her vocalism is absolutely impeccable.
- Renaud Machart, Le Monde (Paris), May 22, 2003
The star of the evening is Vivica Genaux. She is a Cenerentola rock-steady in her vocal technique and with a sense of style always up to the demands of her role. If in the past one might have harbored some doubts about the size of her voice, in this production she proves she can be perfectly integrated with the other singers and particularly with the Concerto Köln.
- Alessandro Di Profio, Il giornale della musica, May 22, 2003
The American Mezzo possesses a real stage presence, producing a quite touching Angelina, perfectly adept at dealing with role’s high-flying coloratura demands.
- Jean-Luc Macia, La Croix, May 20, 2003
Now for the awards ceremony: after last summer’s Rinaldo in Montpellier and her Rosina in the Barbiere at the Bastille, Vivica Genaux has given us an ideal Angelina.
- Luc Décygnes, Le Canard Enchainé, May 21, 2003
He [conductor Evelino Pidò] relies on an exceptional talent – Vivica Genaux’s amber-hued voice is an absolute delight.
- Olivier Olgan, La Tribune, May 20, 2003
- at the Pittsburgh Opera
Opera’s Cenerentola with Genaux is a ball!
It’s taken 10 years, but Pittsburgh finally has formally met its newest opera star. Pittsburgh, let me introduce Vivica Genaux. ‘Vivica Genaux, please meet applause.’ The circumstances would prove invigorating for Genaux, who put on quite a show. Control, precision and beauty could describe her voice as well as her acting. She spun virtuosic lines with grace and might. She sang arias with radiance and vulnerability. And she played the part with convincing innocence and street smarts. Most important, her singing technique matured as her character grew from daydreaming servant to enlightened princess, guided by Rossini’s evolution of the song style.
- Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 18, 2002
Genaux’s brilliant portrayal of Angelina — who is Cinderella — emphasizes that this Pittsburgh Opera debut was long overdue. Rossini wrote florid music for Genaux’s character, but her agile performance is far more impressive than just brilliant. She makes the coloratura sound natural and expressive. And the feeling she brings to the simpler lines of her little aria near the start of the opera, and which will be heard again, is remarkable for its poise and sincerity.
- Mark Kanny, Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA), November 21, 2002
- at the Seattle Opera
A telling moment, indelibly imprinted on this audience mind, was Rosina’s first appearance, behind bars, on her balcony. Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, who has already made her mark as a Rossini singer, made her Seattle Opera debut at this performance, as did Relyea and Patriarco. Not only did she look and act the quintessential Rosina — slim, vivacious and very pretty — her voice encompassed her florid runs with clear ease, on pitch and with low tones as rich as an organ’s and high ones as sweet as a bell. Her voice has expressive depth and timbre.
- Philippa Kiraly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 8, 2000