What the critics said…
…of her ROMEO in BELLINI’s CAPULETI e i MONTECCHI
Pittsburgh Opera makes magic with ‘Capulets’
…the hero is portrayed with the consummate artistry of Vivica Genaux, When Genaux and Claycomb sing their big duet — Romeo unsuccessfully urging the timid Giulietta to run away with him — their combined sounds are vocal heaven. The melodies are so beautiful in themselves, that Bellini was able to recycle some of them from his now-obscure earlier operas. It’s up to the singers to infuse them with new meaning and emotion, and the present duo is expert at that. They provide an evening of gorgeous singing, appealing as pure sound but pertinent to character and drama.
Genaux gets the first chance to shine, entering Capulet territory disguised to plead forgiveness on Romeo’s behalf. Genaux has a unique sound, quite unlike any other singer in memory, and her delivery of Romeo’s opening recitative contains authority and a range of color from vibrant metallic low notes to thrilling, strong highs. The pleading lines of “Se Romeo t’uccise un figlio” (If Romeo killed your son) give way to a thrilling delivery of the cabaletta avowing a fight to the death for his love. In the final scene at the tomb, Genaux makes Romeo’s grief all but unbearable.
- Robert Croan, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 2008
Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux offered an emotionally intense portrayal of Romeo, with some striking coloratura and a fabulously wide range from top to bottom. The youth of her Romeo was striking when serving as an envoy for his family in trying to negotiate peace with the Capulet men at the start of the opera.
- Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 5, 2008
Mme Claycomb’s co-star is Vivica Genaux, who has emerged as a pre-eminent artist in the trouser roles. Much of Romeo’s music lies high in the mezzo range and Genaux has a brilliant top. If she rarely seemed the bloodthirsty warrior that the libretto implies, she played a convincing young man of Romantic sensibility. Seeing Genaux perform a dramatic bel canto trouser role – Romeo in particular – is an experience to be treasured.
- William Burnett, operawarhorses.com, May 5, 2008
-At Minnesota Opera (2001) (with soprano Sumi Jo as Giulietta)
Without two strong vocal and dramatic presences in the [two] lead roles, this opera falls flat, and no amount of fancy direction or inspired baton-waving can save it. Happily, this production boasts two compelling performers, the Alaskan mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux and the Korean soprano Sumi Jo, who command the stage in terms of both music and characterization, lifting the proceedings to some kind of higher level of interaction between words and music. If the most admired pairing in these roles in recent decades was Beverly Sills and the late Tatiana Troyanos for the Boston Opera in the mid-1970s, surely Genaux and Jo are their equals.
Remembered fondly for her forceful Arsace in this company’s Semiramide last season, Genaux put forth an ardent Romeo, a fiery young warrior whose love for Giulietta takes over his life. Showing no vocal strain at any point, Genaux sang with fresh tone and easy, unforced power, delivering even the role’s most florid writing clearly and evenly.
- Michael Anthony, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), January 29, 2001
Romeo is the stunning American mezzo Vivica Genaux, who continues to give the Minnesota Opera some of its most memorable nights. Genaux has exactly the right voice, with its strong duskiness and authoritative bel canto technique, to make this trouser role work. It more than works – Genaux and [Sumi] Jo [as Giulietta] seemingly were born to sing this show together, which is reflected down to the final chilling moments in the tomb.
- Jay Furst, The Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN), January 29, 2001
Genaux is everything her previous appearances lead one to expect. She sings with a distinctive timbre, bringing a real personality to the music, not to mention a facility for tossing off coloratura. Her performing enlivens the whole production.
- William Randall Beard, The Pioneer Press (St. Paul), January 29, 2001
The rapidly rising mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux sang Romeo and proved an ideal partner for [Sumi] Jo. Their duet ‘Ah! Crudel, d’onor ragioni’ was exquisite. Genaux is also petite and trim and a totally engaging actress.
- John Koopman, Das Opernglas, March 2001
Genaux is well experienced in doing trouser roles and portrayed a convincing and polished Romeo.
- Roger Steiner, Opera Actual, March/April 2001
Vivica Genaux wielded total control of a range of more than two octaves, from booming low notes to a trumpet-like top, unfurling phrase after phrase of brilliant coloratura. Genaux is known to the Met only as Rosina, which is too bad; it is a role she at least co-owns (with Kasarova), but it does not give her opportunity to show her immense talents as a dramatic actress.
- H.H. Morant, Parterre Box, Vol. 45 (Spring 2001)