Don Pasquale

How do you brew a great opera experience?  Mixing Donizetti and Oropesa is a great start.  Operas are not a one-person show, ever.  They are the result of many talented, dedicated contributors.  So, I feel guilty raving about one team member in particular, but I am going to rave about Lisette Oropesa, right now, right up front for everybody to see.  She is already a veteran of the Metropolitan Opera and has spent the last couple of years perfecting her craft working in Europe. I previously saw her perform live in 2016 at the Kennedy Center and was impressed.  She recently won the Richard Tucker Award, the top opera award.  When she appeared for the first time Saturday night in Pittsburgh Opera’s Don Pasquale, the impact was even greater than the change from black/white scenery to color suggested; like a light bulb, the life in the performance came on, Donizetti meets star power.  There were other excellent performances and other important good stuff to talk about, but let’s get the ‘why you must not miss this performance’ out of the way up front.  Pittsburgh, go see and hear Lisette Oropesa while you can.

April 30, 2019

Norina (Lisette Oropesa) dozes at her writing desk. Did her husband die of natural causes? It seems unlikely. All greed, wit and wide, sexy eyes, with a sweet, fast vibrato, trills as neat as pinking shears and a prodigious appetite for the texture and flavour of the Italian language, Oropesa holds the performance.

The Times
July 17, 2017
Anna Picard

Lisette Oropesa is the production’s Norina. She delivered exactly what was expected; perhaps the finest performance of a soprano heard in the Benedum since the last time she was here. She knows how to modulate her large, brilliant voice to the requirements of the part without slighting the role in any way, and acts with a comic flair equal to the dramatic intensity which has been winning her increasingly glowing acclaim in heavier roles. She has astonishing control of a pitch-perfect trill which she can sustain almost to the length of the train on one of the gowns she wore last night – and that flounce stretched half the width of the stage, turned a corner in the wings and came back on again. Her every tone, every gesture, were operatic magic at its best.

PGH in the Round
April 29, 2019
George B. Parous

There are some voices in opera that are so sublimely expressive that they stand out like a Michelangelo fresco in a black and white film. Pittsburgh Opera’s season finale production of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” features such a voice.

Soprano Lisette Oropesa, no stranger to the Benedum Center stage, was recently granted the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, granted annually to an American singer on the precipice of a dazzling career. Her performance on Saturday showcased impeccable clarity of tone and articulation coupled with exquisite lyricism.

Ms. Oropesa, for her part, was enchanting, moving swiftly from coquettish to incendiary as the plot to humble Pasquale coalesces. With her rising prestige confirmed by the Richard Tucker Award (other winners include Renee Fleming and Joyce DiDonato), Ms. Oropesa’s career is likely poised to blossom in the coming seasons.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
April 28, 2019
Jeremy Reynolds

Whilst every singer was good in their part, Lisette Oropesa who played Norina was nothing short of a revelation. It wasn’t just her singing that stole the show but her acting abilities, her last laugh instead of being sung, coming out as a snort, her actions, every movement that Oropesa made on that stage was exactly the right one to make and I am not surprised that at the curtain call it was her who made the building cheer, stomp and clap louder than for anyone else.

The Stuart Review
Aug. 15, 2017
Stuart Review

...Lisette Oropesa's show-stealing Norina.

The Cuban-American soprano was equal to all her character's skittish bel canto demands. Hilarious, endearing and blest with immaculate timing, she made the cruel challenges of her Act 1 cavatina seem like throwaway lines and single-handedly gave the evening its class.

What's on Stage
July 14, 2017
Mark Valencia

The stand out performance of the evening was Lisette Oropesa in the role of Norina. Her Norina was a cool customer, ready to use her looks in order to secure financial stability and social respectability and with a contemptuous attitude towards the elderly Pasquale. Her handling of Donizetti’s vocal fireworks and coloratura was absolutely outstanding. The decorative vocal lines flowed with a mellifluous ease and she brought wonderful tone colouring to the vocal line and thrilling top notes.

Seen and Heard International
July 18, 2017
Robert Beattie

Oropesa doesn’t have a huge voice but it’s a carefully placed one that sits absolutely securely but lightly on the roulades. This was a prima donna performance in every sense, and the foot-stamping accolades Oropesa received were totally deserved. At first there was a slightly hard edge to the tone - perhaps it was intended to reflect Norina’s flintiness - but in her Act 1 duet with Malatesta, and during her raging assault on Pasquale in the final act, Oropesa’s accuracy and ease were notable.

Opera Today
July 16, 2017
Claire Seymour

Vocally, Oropesa was well ahead of the pack. Her command of phrasing of the coloratura is exceptional: she can accelerate into a run and shape the dynamic as she leads up to a high note which she duly nails in the middle, with no vibrato needed to mask any possible inaccuracy. The timbre is always perfectly smooth and controlled – even when executing complex runs and complex acting moves – and there’s plenty of power to ensure that she’s being heard above the orchestra. Oropesa’s voice had something of a hard edge, but that may well have been a deliberate point of characterisation: in the one scene in which Norina genuinely softens, her love scene with Ernesto, her voice acquired a sweetness that was notably absent for much of the evening. It was a properly starry prima donna performance.

July 14, 2017
David Karlin