Friday, May 11, 2018

Praise for Aida

Alexandra LoBianco as Aida. Philip Newton photo
"A visual knock-out." - Oregon Arts Watch 

"Few productions have been as eye-catching and unforgettable as Zambello and RETNA’s." - Bachtrack 

"... with lots of action and bold design elements that constantly shift and move." - The Seattle Times

"What a gigantic, dramatic, sweeping show with powerhouse voices (of course)." - M.J. McDermott, Q13 Fox News

Milijana Nikolic (Amneris). Philip Newton photo
"Milijana Nikolic brings Amneris, the Egyptian princess also in love with Radamès, a regal mien (complete with tiara), casting sidelong glances like poison darts, swanning about, emoting grandly—and she’s magnificent." - Seattle Weekly 

"There’s a lot to see in Michael Yeargan’s ingenious, inventive set, and in the vibrant, red-and-gold hieroglyph/graffiti-influenced designs of the artist RETNA. They’re strikingly effective: these designs might be seen on today’s urban street scene, yet onstage they evoke ancient hieroglyphics." - The Seattle Times

"The secure vocal beauty of soprano Marcy Stonikas in the much smaller role of the High Priestess (was) gratifying."- Bachtrack 

Seattle Opera presents Verdi's Aida. Philip Newton photo
"In the role of Radamès, the ill-fated commander who loves Aida, Brian Jagde displayed superb power and focus, but also was able to dial down that Wagner-sized tenor a bit in his more tender scenes with Aida." - The Seattle Times

"From (Leah Crocetto's) first soaring phrase, the uncommon radiance and beauty of her highs won the audience over. Her acting, too, was deeply convincing. 'Ritorna vincitor! ... received the longest applause of the evening. Low notes had telling power, highs glowed, and every phrase was rounded with finesse." - Bachtrack 

Leah Crocetto makes her Seattle Opera debut as the title role in Aida. Philip Newton photo
"The chorus, prepared by John Keene and absolutely essential to the success of Aida sang with strength and accuracy." - The Seattle Times

"The discovery of the night was the Radamès, Brian Jagde, his voice bold, bright, and resonant, effortlessly hall-filling. A heroic Italian-style tenor to the marrow, he makes an ardent, boyish Radamès—and if he can deepen and darken his stage presence, he could be the Otello I’ve been waiting 24 seasons for Seattle Opera to find." - Seattle Weekly 

Members of the Seattle Opera Chorus in Aida. Philip Newton photo
"Despite the famous grandiosity of the opera, this show never feels static, largely because of Jessica Lang’s imaginative choreography." - The Seattle Times

"At times, the stops are fully pulled out when the stage holds nine dancers, a half-dozen well-choreographed young boys, the entire chorus, and handful of main characters ... No detail — or cost — seemed spared." - Oregon Arts Watch 

Dancers perform choreography by Jessica Lang in Aida. Philip Newton photo
"SO has double casts for main roles (which) are no longer segregated into 'gold' and 'silver'; both sets of singers are equally skilled with different kinds of complementariness. Main roles require big sings, and the opera’s 11-performance run is a marathon, so a dual cast is essential." - Oregon Arts Watch 

"Even the smaller roles shone: Eric Neuville’s lyrical Messenger, and the powerful Marcy Stonikas as the High Priestess." - The Seattle Times

"Superb lighting from Mark McCullough and Peter W. Mitchell ensured that every decorative element of Yeargan’s scenery would make its mark." - Bachtrack 

"Verdi’s music is superb, and was excellently played by the orchestra under John Fiore." - The SunBreak 

"... an imaginative balance between the show’s big-moment pageantry and the intimate smaller-scale scenes ... this production is never static, always evolving." - The Seattle Times

"The opening-night cast on Saturday presented American soprano Leah Crocetto in the title role. Her voice is beautiful, large and vibrant, and she is a passionate actress." - The Seattle Times

"John Keene’s chorus was superb, and E. Loren Meeker’s stage direction surprisingly effective." - Bachtrack 

"(Francesca Zambello and E. Loren Meeker) did not let the spectacle steamroll Aida’s human story ...  they got the balance of the opera’s grand moments and its intimate ones just right, so we care about the characters and their troubles." - Queen Anne News

"Bass-baritone Alfred Walker can always be counted upon for a stellar performance, and he nearly stole the show as Aida's father Amonasro." - Seattle Gay News 

"On Sunday, an alternate cast took over the principal roles. Alexandra LoBianco gave a subtle but impassioned performance in the title role; her Radamès, David Pomeroy, proved an excellent singing actor, and Alfred Walker made a compelling Amonasro." - The Seattle Times

"Verdi undoubtedly would have appreciated that I felt both uncomfortable with the opera’s aggressive, overwhelming nationalism and pain for Aida, Radamés and Amneris’ predicaments. And kudos to the cast, musicians and production team for taking me there — and, of course, for the magnificent music." - Queen Anne News

"I left the auditorium feeling very moved by the sorrowful, touching end of the faithful lovers, and the broken hearted princess whose love brought death on the very man she had hoped to marry... (The production) tells a great story, both on a personal and a political level, and it uses all the considerable resources of our wonderful Seattle Opera Company to its fullest." - Seattle Gay News 

"A major selling point, rightly, has been the artistic design by the street artist RETNA, whose graphics evoke both graffiti and, in a nod to the opera’s setting, hieroglyphics. It gives this repertory favorite a fresh, contemporary look ... Anita Yavich’s costumes for the women’s chorus are a heady riot of color, and the two together combust like fireworks." - Seattle Weekly 

"But this grandly, this opulently, this eloquently? Unless Verdi is on your hate list, you won’t be disappointed by this three-hour Aida, no matter how often you’ve heard it before." - Oregon Arts Watch 


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