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What the critics said…

Vivica Genaux’s voice offered ravishing brilliance


Vivica Genaux as Penelope

at the Bayerische Staatsoper/Munich Festival – 2003 

Vivica Genaux, who makes the loving couple perfect in its complexity, is the kind of queen who’s worthy of struggling against fate. To outward charm and graceful movement, she brings a voice that is distinctive, interesting, creamy and artful, as well; she phrases in a dream-like balance between affect and taste. She and Gilfry really make a towering, human couple confronted by the gods.
- Michael B. Weiss, Landschute Zeitung, July 17, 2003

As Penelope, young mezzo sensation Vivica Genaux, while visually unconvincing as a mother of a grown young man, was deliciously sexy, and her keen theatrical skill served her well. She handled Monteverdi’s vocal latticework with a secure, awesome grace; it would be hard to imagine another currently active mezzo who could deliver such a vivid portrayal.
- Frank Cadenhead,, August 8, 2003

Vivica Genaux was Penelope, well-known for Rossini roles. Despite her character’s sadness and dejection, she was able to convey this in a sincere and disarming manner. She possesses a velvety timbre which is seamless from top to bottom.
- Gianluigi Mattietti, Il Giornale della Musica, July 2003

For Ulysses and Penelope, Rodney Gilfry and Vivica Genaux found excellent, inspired sounds: there’s a real abyss that opens up between these characters’ wild despair and ultimate happiness. The long moment of recognition and the reuniting of their voices, with which the opera comes to an almost unreal close, was wonderful.
- Gottfried Knapp, Süddesutsche Zeitung, July 15, 2003

There was rejoicing, as well, for the gorgeous singers: Vivica Genaux’s voice offered ravishing brilliance.
- Volker Boser, Abendzeitung, July 15, 2003

Penelope’s cunning was embodied by Vivica Genaux with equal parts dramatic and vocal intensity opposite the tonally precise, soul-damaged Ulisse of Rodney Gilfry.
- Andreas Grabner, Münchner Merkur, July 15, 2003

at the Bayerische Staatsoper/Munich Festival – 2001

Vivica Genaux is an exceptionally attractive, charming Penelope. In devout loyalty, she experiences her fate of waiting with an array of impassioned intensity: she’s capable of suffering and, all the same, being revived in a short-lived moment of joyous dancing. Her gentle appearance (draped in the noblest of robes), her dark-toned, agile voice and her vivacious nature all fuse into an image of the Ideal.
- Gabriele Luster, Münchner Merkur, July 19, 2001

The cast was effervescent. The central couple of Vivica Genaux and Rodney Gilfry were sensational in their vocal richness and dramatic spontaneity.
- Francis Muzzu, Opera Now, November/December 2001

Vivica Genaux absolutely conquers the role of Penelope with the enormous range of her brilliant mezzo.
- K.L., Berliner Morgenpost, July 20, 2001

Indeed, the still imagery of this production leaves by far the most lasting impression: Penelope’s waiting, in an isolated world surrounded by oppressive men, is acted with remarkable intensity (and eminent beauty) by Vivica Genaux. Her performance ingrains itself to memory by a wealth of dramatic subtleties: in one moment she’s a shy deer, in the next a distressed lover, then, as a sensuous, young woman, she flings herself desperately into life’s pleasures only to freeze up into a stiff mask. Her vocal performance equals the superb level of her dramatic presence: Genaux captures the audience with a strong, colorful mezzo, highly refined phrasing, exquisite diction and an appealing voice throughout the registers.
- W. Borchers, Das Opernglas, September 2001

Vivica Genaux was utterly persuasive in the role of Penelope.
- Hannes S. Macher, Main Echo, July 20, 2001

In her opening monologue, Penelope sings only of her restlessness and unhappiness in what must be one of the longest and darkest laments imaginable – wallowing, as it were, in gloom and despair. Vivica Genaux sings it most beautifully and powerfully.
- Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine, July 19, 2001

The singers in this production provided the greatest pleasure. A better cast for this Ulisse can scarcely be imagined. Vivica Genaux (Penelope) sings grippingly of her anguish, and she is a most attractive woman, easily stirring up lust and desire in men.
- Marianne Reißinger, Augsburger Zeitung, July 19, 2001

In the final scene, the gorgeous, extremely talented Vivica Genaux, with a luminous voice engenders a Madonna & Child/Pietà image, creating remarkable tension just by being silent.
- Beate Kayser, TZ, July 19, 2001

A beautiful woman – utterly aware of her charms – has succumbed to despondency and self-neglect. Her robes filthy, her hair in disarray. She nearly surrenders to the incessant overtures from her parasitic suitors. The stunning, radiant, gentle Vivica Genaux sings affirmingly with a stellar vocal line.
- Sybill Mahlke, Der Tagesspiegel, July 19, 2001

The cast was outstanding and of the highest quality right down to the smallest role. Alongside the strong Rodney Gilfry who performed with an energetic vigor, it was Vivica Genaux as Penelope who captured the audience by melding expressive diction and beautiful lyrical song into an entity.
- Karl Georg Berg, Die Rheinpfalz, July 21, 2001

Vivica Genaux’s Penelope was highly vivid and full of style.
- Matthias Exner, Orpheus, November 2001

Penelope waits for decades for Odysseus to return. Vivica Genaux paces slowly through the endless rooms, as if in a trance, struggling with the deprivations of her frozen love. In her arioso monologues she realizes such sensitive expressions, faltering between her need to mourn and a yearning desire to bemoan her fate.
- Otto Paul Burkhardt, Südwestpresse, July 19, 2001

Beginning with Vivica Genaux’s Penelope (reminiscent of the young Irene Papas), a dream cast sings and acts with beautiful vocal shading in all registers, clearly contoured characterizations and a sensitivity to a continuum of human emotions.
- Wolf-Dieter Peter, Bayern 2 (Radio), July 18, 2001

Penelope’s dignified, pain-filled composure couldn’t be better illustrated than by Vivica Genaux.
- Eberhard Iro, Landshuter Zeitung, July 19, 2001

Both Vivica Genaux and Rodney Gilfry heighten their magnetic, supple singing with a sense of urgent intimacy.
- Joachim Lange, Frankfurter Rundschau, July 20, 2001

Once again we enjoyed a luxury, first-class cast right down to the secondary roles. They were led first and foremost by Vivica Genaux as Penelope, who possesses treasurable vocal material.
- Jörg Riedlbauer, Badisches Tagblatt, July 21, 2001

Judging the production by its singers revealed the great wealth of talent on hand, particularly with the principle duo Rodney Gilfry/Vivica Genaux, who echoed masterfully the delicate emotional and spiritual depths of the characters.
- Volkmar Fischer, Rheinische Post, July 23, 2001

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