Lisette speaks to Platea Magazine about her upcoming Zarzuela Concerts
London, UKWednesday October 27, 2021 - 6:30 PM
|Violetta Valery||Lisette Oropesa|
|Alfredo Germont||Liparit Avetisyan|
|Giorgio Germont||Christian Gerhaher|
|Doctor Grenvil||Blaise Malaba|
|Flora Bervoix||Stephanie Wake-Edwards|
|Baron Douphol||Yuriy Yurchuk|
|Marqués D' Obigny||Jeremy White|
Richard Eyre's beautiful production provides the perfect setting for Verdi's opera about a courtesan who sacrifices all for love.
last night, we were to hear Lisette Oropesa, a soprano at the top of her game whose Violetta blew away audiences in Madrid last year as well as at The Met. She did not disappoint.
The keystone of her performance was a truly formidable level of technique. Whatever technical aspect you talk about – breathing, placement of vowel sounds, details of Italian diction, legato, timbre, emphasis of bel canto phrasing or many more – Oropesa had them all under control, with supreme confidence in her ability to make her voice do anything she wanted it to. Technique brings freedom: the freedom to choose the exact interpretation of every phrase and to know that it’s going to come out exactly the way she wants it to. Opera singers are constantly making difficult decisions and Oropesa seemed to make every one in a way that was musically and dramatically felicitous. I’ll give just one example: in “Addio, del passato”, when Violetta bids goodbye to the past from her deathbed, she gasps for breath between phrases. How loud to make the gasp? Too loud and you break the musical flow, maybe sounding contrived. Too soft and you sound too healthy. Oropesa nailed the balance exactly right – as she did in hundreds of other places.
With that musical freedom came an ability to make every word of the role count, whether it’s the glitter of Act 1, the cheerfulness turning to despair of Act 2 scene 1, the impossibility of an exit from her grief at the card playing scene or the inevitability of her terminal illness of Act 3. Her performance convinced at every point even as we enjoyed the music.— David Karlin • Bachtrack
Bob Crowley’s sets, famously marked by heavily architectural semi-circular structures choked with objects that get in the way (banquettes, a gambling table, hoop skirts), never seemed to pin Oropesa to the spot as it did with other performers. In Act I she vibrated with life and young innocence, hitting the coloratura heights in the climactic Sempre libera without the brilliance ever seeming forced. The open warmth of her tone, lack of affectation and gentle half-voice allowed her to easily display unfettered hurt and vulnerability, much needed as the libretto carved from the Alexandre Dumas play La Dame aux camélias presses on.— Geoff Brown • The Times
As with her Gilda, Oropesa welds sound with sense to create a characterisation of great depth and subtlety. Vocally, Violetta holds no terrors for her: the reckless coloratura of Act I is admirably secure and capped with a dazzling high E flat; the lyricism with which she yields to the moral demands of Christian Gerhaher’s Germont is at once heartbreaking and exquisite; and the emotional and physical anguish of the final scenes are all the more powerful for being etched with such unsentimental restraint. Suggesting fragile beauty on stage, she realises the breathlessness of tuberculosis – and, tellingly, the panic that accompanies it – with unsparing vividness, and throughout we really do believe in the intensity of her feelings for Alfredo and their power to transform and overwhelm her.— Tim Ashley • The Guardian
Oropesa shows total command of her vocal instrument, thrilling with her expansive dynamic and expressive range. Dramatically, she is at her best in the heart-rending final act, as Violetta in the final stages of consumption, clinging to the hope of a final meeting with her beloved Alfredo (Liparit Avetisyan).— Inge Kjemtrup • The Stage
In Act 2, Oropesa found a little more colour and warmth, making us feel, through her command of the legato line and her sensitivity to the text, her very human struggle to deny mortality and fate. She paced the tension brilliantly, revealing the anguish of love relinquished and a heart broken. Perhaps she cannot rely on an innate lyrical quality to convey Violetta’s passion and despair, but Oropesa is a natural singing-actress, and the pathos of Act 3 was heart-wrenching. The expressive details were emphasised but not exaggerated, even if she looked as hollowed out and haunted as a phantom. Indeed, this fragile Violetta was so evidently close to death that it was painful to endure her memories and her prayer, even as it was beautiful to hear them. In ‘Addio del passato’, despite the stunning soaring lines, somehow Oropesa seemed to intimate a body on the cusp of breathless collapse. Even the depiction of the momentary, delusory belief in recovery, known as spes phthisica, was more convincing than I remembered from previous performances, the surge of adrenaline sending the languishing Violetta spinning around the room, only to slump, lifeless, into Alfredo’s well-timed embrace.— Claire Seymour • Opera Today
From then on there was greater warmth, emotion, passion, heartbreak and despair as Oropesa’s commitment to the character became evident and she totally won over the audience to deserve the standing and cheering there was at her curtain call. Her ‘Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core non-puoi comprendere tutto l’amore’ at the end of Act II was dignified and deeply affecting. Later when she relinquishes her love for Alfredo to the girl he will eventually marry (‘Prendi: quest’è l’immagine’) it was heartrending.— Jim Pritchard • Seen and Heard International
Lisette Oropesa suspend le souffle du public chaque fois qu'elle ouvre la bouche et l'assistance aurait visiblement souhaité un bis pour "Sempre libera". Le contrôle des aigus et suraigus parachève celui de la ligne vocale au point de ne plus sembler surprendre. Mais ce rôle permet aussi d'apprécier le registre grave mélodieux de la soprano. Les deux rôles chantés par Oropesa cette saison à Covent Garden (Violetta et Gilda) ont en commun d'opérer une transition au cours de la soirée entre les qualités virtuoses et une concentration vocale à l'intensité du drame, moins brillante et plus tragique.— Mark Everist • Olyrix
I cannot remember when I last saw the entire audience at the Royal Opera House rise to their feet to applaud a singer, but rarely can a full-house standing ovation have been better merited than the one given to Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa on the opening night of Verdi’s La Traviata on 27 October.— William Hartston • Daily Express
This singer has everything: a beautiful voice, flexible enough to convey great extremes of emotion, superb acting ability, and the ability to dominate the stage and captivate the audience totally. Even more remarkably, this was the 17th revival of Richard Eyre’s glorious 1994 production of Verdi’s most popular opera, yet thanks to Oropesa’s stunning performance, it looked fresher than ever.
Oropesa is a Violetta with everything as her intricate portrayal of the character is just as mesmerising as her superlative singing. The various situations, moods and states of health that Violetta finds herself in mean that the demands placed on the singing and acting are constantly changing, yet Oropesa remains thoroughly convincing from start to finish. In arias such as ‘Sempre libera degg’io’ the underlying sumptuousness in her sound is complemented by complete mastery of technique and phrasing so that it positively glistens and gleams. On the other hand, in ‘Addio, del passato bei sogni ridenti’, the inherent security in her voice is paradoxically used to convey the most convincing image of frailty. Her acting is also effective as even her arm gestures are in keeping with the wider picture, whether palms are facing outwards so that arms follow the curve of her dress, or hands are coming together as if the emotion she is feeling is so strong she can practically cradle it.— Sam Smith • Opera Online
Given that there are six sopranos scheduled to sing Violetta this run, that will be of paramount importance. Having caused a sensation with her superbly sung Gilda (Rigoletto), which opened the season, Lisette Oropesa returned to perform Violetta for the first time at Covent Garden, and rightly brought the house down. Most of the world’s most illustrious sopranos have graced this staging over the years, but you’d have to go back a long way to find one with such prodigious talents as Oropesa, who embodies the role so fully.
With a rock-solid technique, she sounded completely at ease across every facet of the role – thrilling coloratura in ‘Sempre Libera’, dispatched with pinpoint accuracy and perfectly tuned runs, wonderfully spun lines, perfect breath control – and acted the role as if her life depended on it. Deeply moving in her Act II ‘Dite alla giovine’, heart breaking in the final act’s ‘Addio del passato’, she capped her thrilling interpretation with an emotionally shattering ‘Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo’, alongside her former lover, Alfredo, which left few, if any, dry eyes in the house. Without a doubt she is one of the finest, most complete Violettas to grace this staging in its almost 30 year history.— Keith McDonnell • Music OMH
Ne risulta un ritratto completo dell’evoluzione del personaggio di Violetta, sicuramente una delle più efficaci nella lunga storia di questo allestimento. Nel primo atto, Oropesa mostra una bella padronanza tecnica dello strumento con un buon controllo del fiato e senza nessuno sforzo nel dispiegare le fioriture di “Un dì felice, etera”, così come le agilità della cabaletta “Sempre libera” dove centra il Mi bemolle sopracuto, mentre in “Follie! Follie! Delirio vano” Oropesa trasmette quella frenesia e quel turbamento latente che agitano il personaggio. Lasciatasi alle spalle le difficoltà tecniche del primo atto, la voce inizia ad acquisire maggior colore e spessore interpretativo. Dopo il confronto con Germont, Oropesa esordisce in “Ah, dite alla giovine” con una lunga e sostenuta mezzavoce in piano dal legato curatissimo (uno dei momenti musicali più belli della serata), a cui si oppone poi la disperazione di “Morrò! Morrò!”, enfatizzata da un battito di pugni sul tavolo.— Pietro Dall'Aglio • Conessi all'Opera
Dabei wird es wohl schwierig sein, die makellose Leistung von Lisette Oropesa zu übertreffen. Die amerikanische Sopranistin ist ein Phänomen, Publikumsliebling und eine der großen Verdi-Sängerinnen der Gegenwart. Dies konnte sie bereits vor einigen Wochen als Gilda in Rigoletto beeindruckend demonstrieren.
Was zeichnet ihre Violetta aus? Eine atemberaubende Klarheit in der Höhe, technische Perfektion und die Fähigkeit, die Partie bis in die kleinsten psychologischen Verästelungen auszudeuten. Von der fliederhaften Leichtigkeit des Duetts „Un dì, felice, eterea“ bis zum letzten, schmerzhaften Aufbäumen im letzten Akt („Addio del Passato“) gelingt es ihr, Höhen und Tiefen ihrer Figur perfekt darzustellen.— Andreas Schmidt • Klassik Begeistert
Lisette Oropesa is the Violetta of your dreams: spirited, dignified, and singing with the sweet, liquid lyricism of a blackbird before daybreak. I’ve rarely heard a Covent Garden crowd explode like they did at the end of Oropesa’s ‘Sempre libera’, and even more rarely with such good reason.— Richard Bratby • The Spectator