Vincenzo Bellini
I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI - Romeo
Paris / Opéra National de Paris / Bastille / 1996

© Le Figaro, 8. November 1996, Seite 23, Pierre-Petit

... Mais le bonheur total nous vient des dames. ... Quant à Romeo (rôle travesti), c'est la Bulgare Vesselina Kasarova. Une mezzo aux graves impressionants, aux aigus francs et faciles, avec un style qui rend pleine justice à l'aspect masculin du personnage, tout en nous ménageant sans cesse des plages où nous sommes profondément touchés par son sens de la vraie poésie. Et puis, on comprend que Bellini ait choisi une femme pour le rôle, dans la mesure où rien n'est plus sublime que ces duos où les deux voix s'emmêlent, s'imbriquent, se nouent et se dénouent d'une ineffable manière ...

© Opernglas, Februar 1997, Seite 12 - 13, Peter Blaha

... Ein zweifaches Debüt feierte dabei Vesselina Kasarova. Erstmals betrat sie eine Pariser Opernbühne. Und zum ersten Mal hat sie in ihrer Karriere den Romeo gesungen. Ein hoffnungsvolles Nachwuchstalent ist die junge Bulgarin längst schon keines mehr. Sie hat sich in den letzten zwei, drei Jahren mächtig weiterentwickelt und als eine der bedeutendsten Mezzosopranistinnen unserer Zeit etabliert. Ihr Repertoire, noch mehr jedoch die Art ihres hohen künstlerischen Anspruchs, erinnern an die grosse Teresa Berganza. Denn so wie für ihre ältere Kollegin ist auch für Vesselina Kasarova die Basis ihrer Kunst eine phänomenale Technik, die es ihr erlaubt, ihren herrlich klingenden Mezzo über alle Lagen hinweg instrumental zu führen. Das war auch ihr Trumpf als Romeo. Denn alles an Ausdruck ergab sich bei ihr wie selbstverständlich ganz aus der vokalen Linie. Lyrische Kantilenen spann sie fast ins Unendliche fort. Immer wieder setzte sie aber auch dramatische Akzente, ohne dabei zu forcieren. Das Pariser Publikum schlug sie mit dieser Leistung völlig in Bann. Im letzten Bild hätte man im Auditorium eine Stecknadel fallen hören können. Vesselina Kasarova als Romeo - das ist ein Ereignis, wie man es in der Welt der Oper nicht alle Tage findet. ...

© Opernwelt, Januar 1997, Seite 42, Gerhard Persché

... In dieser Balance von Gesang und Darstellung ist freilich Vesselina Kasarova, die mit dem Romeo ihr Paris-Debüt gab, nahezu unübertrefflich: Beide Bereiche sind stimmig miteinander verzahnt. Nie hört man leere Phrasen, bloss brillant gesungene Koloraturen etwa, jeder Ton "meint" etwas, noch sieht man oberflächliche, etwa nur den Gesang unterstreichende Gesten. Die Stimme mit der fülligen Tiefe und leuchtenden Höhe, bruchlos verblendet, scheint gegenüber meinem letzten Höreindruck (Adalgisa vor eineinhalb Jahren in Zürich) womöglich noch biegsamer, eleganter geworden. Der Abend gehörte vor allem der Kasarova. ...


Vincenzo Bellini
I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI - Romeo
Dresden / Dresdner Musikfestspiele / 1998

© Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 3. Juni 1998, Hans Peter Altmann

Der Abschlusstag der Musikfestspiele bescherte im Opernhaus Belcanto in Reinkultur. Stand schon die Uraufführung der Oper "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" im Zeichen der Primadonnen, die Romeo und Julia verkörperten und dem Komponisten Vincenzo Bellini 1830 einen grossen Erfolg brachten, so waren es auch jetzt in dieser konzertanten Aufführung Lucia Aliberti (Giulietta) und Vesselina Kasarova (Romeo), denen die Begeisterung des ausverkauften Hauses galt. Man ist schnell geneigt, bei der Beurteilung der beiden Damen die vor Jahrzehnten auf der Höhe stehenden Starsängerinnen heranzuziehen. Ich glaube, genau dies ist nicht allein am Platze. Jene waren die ganz Grossen ihrer Zeit - sie ist vergangen. Die Aliberti und die Kasarova gehören zu den ganz Grossen unserer Tage, ohne dass sie imitieren. Sie sind tragende Persönlichkeiten von eigener Art und Ausprägung. Wovon soll man schwärmen? Beide verfügen über stimmliche Vorzüge, über grossartige Technik, über die Möglichkeit, mit brillanten Koloraturen zu glänzen, über die Kunst, tiefe Emotionen glaubhaft zu vermitteln. Welch enorme Stimmumfänge führen sie ins Feld, bleiben in extremen Lagen immer angenehm. Wo sich zwei solch hochwertige Edelsteine zu einheitlichem Schmuckstück fügen, kann Bewunderung nicht ausbleiben. Und alles vollzieht sich ohne Allüren, eben mit jener Selbstverständlichkeit, die nur Grossen zu eigen ist. Da werden die Stimmen weich wie Watte, dann wieder messerscharf, genau dem jeweiligen Vorgang entsprechend - grossartig. ...

© Opernglas, Juli/August 1998, Seite 25 - 26, S. Mauss

... Bei dem durchgehenden Weltklasseniveau muss dennoch Vesselina Kasarovas Romeo an erster Stelle genannt werden. Sie vermittelte mit ihrem schonungslosen stimmlichen Einsatz eine reale Bühnenatmosphäre auf den Konzertbrettern, wie sie packender auch in einer szenischen Produktion nicht denkbar gewesen wäre. Und bereits mit der fulminanten ersten Stretta "Ostinati, e tal sarà" demonstrierte sie die Stärken ihres wunderschön warm timbrierten Mezzosoprans: strahlend und sicher kamen die Acuti, glatt gelangen die Registerwechsel, und sicher formte sie die Fiorituren. Auch in den Ensembles gelang es der Kasarova, ihr Feuer auf die Partner zu übertragen. ...


Vincenzo Bellini
I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI - Romeo
New York / Avery Fisher Hall / 1999

© New York Times, 27. Oktober 1999, Anthony Tommasini

The Bulgarian-born mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova has what is arguably the most distinctive voice in opera today. Her singing is neither conventionally beautiful nor technically consistent. But her earthy, dusky-toned, vibrant voice is unforgettable and deeply affecting.

Appearing on Monday night with the Opera Orchestra of New York under the conductor Eve Queler, Ms. Kasarova held an audience at Avery Fisher Hall in thrall as Romeo in a concert performance of "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," Bellini's version of the Romeo and Juliet story, though based not on Shakespeare but on a minor 1818 Italian tragedy.

Many listeners respond immediately to Ms. Kasarova's poignant, sensual singing. For others her work takes getting used to. Yet, though Ms. Kasarova has become an major international artist, this was only her second New Yorker appearance. Ms. Queler was responsible for the first as well, when Ms. Kasarova sang in a concert performance of Rossini's "Tancredi" two seasons ago. Shortly after that the singer pulled out of a scheduled Metropolitan Opera debut due to illness. She is to make her Met debut as Strauss's Octavian next fall.

When Ms. Kasarova began on Monday night her singing was rather insecure, and there was a pinched quality in her high notes. She may be working too much right now. The performance was at Avery Fisher Hall rather than the Opera Orchestra's usual and preferred site, Carnegie Hall, because Ms. Kasarova could offer Ms. Queler only one free date and Carnegie Hall was already booked. That's a tight schedule.

But as Ms. Kasarova warmed up, her singing grew increasingly confident. She is not a powerhouse of bel canto manner of Marylin Horne, but her smoky, shimmering voice is enveloping. The flights of fioriture are never showy displays, but rather elegant elaborations of long-spun lines. In the tomb scene with Giulietta, some of Bellini's most pensive and quietly tragic music, Ms. Kasarova caressed the pianissimo phrases with plaintive, disarming beauty. ... Ms. Queler has always been a sensitive conductor in this repertory. "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" has never been performed at the Met. For this chance to hear it, especially with Ms. Kasarova, opera lovers are in Ms. Queler's debt.

© New York Post, 27. Oktober 1999, Shirley Fleming

Eve Queler knows a good voice when she finds one, and she finds one quite often.
Two years ago, conducting Rossini's "Tancredi" with her Opera Orchestra of New York, she introduced a sensational Bulgarian mezzo-soprano, Vesselina Kasarova, to local audience.On Monday at Avery Fisher Hall she brought Kasarova back, in the trouser role of Romeo, to appear with another major "debutante", a French soprano named Annick Massis. The two of them paired up powerfully in Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi." The blighted love of Romeo and Juliet was couched in beautiful sounds. ... If there is one moment that most of us wait for in bel canto opera, it is the moment that finally brings the two protagonists together in one of those ravishing duets that send soprano and mezzo off on flowing lines of parallel melody. Massis and Kasarova soared wonderfully through theirs. As for Kasarova, she continues to display the brilliant top and darkly resonant lower range that so impressed two years ago, and she commands a remarkable range of color. Her great scene at Juliet's tomb was a tour-de-force of emotional focus and could not have been more vivid if it had been fully staged. (Speaking of which, she is scheduled to make her Met debut in Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" next fall.)

© orpheus, Februar 2000, Seite 57, Ruth Berges/B.H.

Vesselina Kasarovas zweites Auftreten in New York fand erneut unter Eve Queler in der Fisher Hall statt, wo die Dirigentin und ihr Opera Orchestra of New York Bellinis I Capuleti e i Montecchi zur konzertanten Aufführung brachten. Die Mezzosopranistin erfüllte die musikalischen Anforderungen des Komonisten mit ihrer dunkelglühenden, in der höhe funkelnden und in jedem Register makellos ausgeglichenen Stimme mit Glanz. Mit starker Empfindung und jeden Zuhörer unwiderstehlich mitreissendem Ausdrucksvermögen stellte sie einen sympathisch berührenden und schliesslich tragisch umflorten Romeo dar. ...


Vincenzo Bellini
I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI - Romeo
Chicago / Lyric Opera of Chicago / 2001

© Chicago Sun-Times, 3. November 2001, Seite 26, Wynne Delacoma

Highly recommended

Music scholars are quite right in emphasizing that Bellini's 1830 opera "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" has no direct relationship with Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," written more than two centuries before. But the tale of the tragic young lovers, in circulation from the 15th century, is a potent story even without Shakespeare's verse. And when an opera company snares such megawatt vocal and acting power as Hungarian soprano and Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova for its Giulietta and Romeo, Bellini's bel canto masterpiece becomes as searing as the finest Shakespearean production. Lyric Opera of Chicago first presented "I Capuleti" in 1985, and Thursday night opened its revival of designer Ulisse Santicchi's darkly handsome production with Rost and Kasarova. Making his Lyric debut, Bruno Campanella was in charge in the pit, pacing the action briskly, though the orchestra sounded thick and less than elegant in spots. But with Rost and Kasarova supported by a refined, passionate Lyric chorus and strong singing from the opera's other principals, especially the Tebaldo of Italian tenor Fabio Sartori in his U.S. debut, this "I Capuleti" is a major achievement of Lyric's current season. ... The rich, smoky timbre of Kasarova's low register took on sinister force in Romeo's furious Act I confrontation with Capellio, Giulietta's imperious father, nicely played by Jeffrey Wells. The near-duel between Romeo and Tebaldo, Giulietta's designated suitor, looked stagey, but the rough textures of the pair's hurled insults was chilling. In more tender moments, the clarity and varied color of Kasarova's mezzo revealed a heartbreakingly naïve young lover. Whether pleading with Capellio for Giulietta's hand or expressing stunned anger at her tomb, this was a manchild facing profoundly adult torment. In the opera's duets, the lovers' voices soared, twisted and doubled back on each other like vines, sometimes fighting to break free, often serenely choosing the same path. With Bellini's simple accompaniment often disappearing completely, the a cappella vocal lines seemed to glow in the silence of the rapt auditorium. This week marks the 200th anniversary of Bellini's birth, and Lyric's elegant "I Capuleti" is a fitting tribute both to his memory and the bel canto opera style he typified. Gorgeous voices, attractive singing actors, tastefully sumptuous costumes and sets take us beyond merely "beautiful singing" into the deeper emotional realms that every opera composer from Monteverdi to William Bolcom strives to lay bare.

© Chicago Times, 5. November 2001, Seite 5-3, John von Rhein

The perfect couple

Kasarova, Rost superb in Lyric Opera's ‘Capuleti'

In today's operatic world, where major companies that produce Italian bel canto masterworks are casting them with singers patently unsuited to the special demands of the music and style, Lyric Opera is giving us the real thing. The company's revival of its well-remembered 1985 production of Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," now playing at the Civic Opera House, rides to vocal glory on the superb performances of Vesselina Kasarova, in the trouser role of Romeo, and Andrea Rost, as his Giulietta. Without artists of this calibre, "The Capulets and the Montagues" would have a hard time holding an attention-span-challenged audience that comes to the opera expecting dramatic action along with singalong tunes. Bellini's distillation of the romantic tragedy is a fairly static affair, for all the delicate beauty of its vocal writing, while the star-crossed lovers are almost the entire show. It's not Verdi, nor is it close to Shakespeare, either. But for those willing to suspend disbelief and revel for almost three hours in the singing of two of today's leading mistresses of bel canto, this "Capuleti" amply justifies Lyric's revival of the still-handsome production by Giulio Chazalettes and Ulisse Santicchi, a timely celebration of the bicentennial of Bellini's birth. In 1985, Lyric's first professional Chicago staging of the opera served as an apt showcase for the U.S. stage debut of soprano Cecilia Gasdia. This time around, it provides a fine role debut for Rost - last season's Gilda in "Rigoletto" - as well as Kasarova's first Romeo in Chicago. Vocally they are exceptionally well matched. Indeed, so beautifully do the Hungarian soprano and the Bulgarian mezzo-soprano blend voices in their unison duet in Act I that Giulietta and Romeo seem truly united in spirit. ... Kasarova was scarcely less good. She cut a convincingly boyish figure in her tunic and tights. She used her smoky lower register to musical and dramatic effect, even if her upper range betrayed a few impure attacks at the very top. Her agility in coloratura and exceptional array of vocal colors, spanning a wide vocal compass, painted a convincing young man passionately in love. Always there was palpable emotional urgency behind her vocalism, especially in the tomb scene, which came alive dramatically almost despite itself. ...

© Carol Stream, 8. November 2001, Seite 31, Rohit Mahajan

Bellini simply breathtaking in stunning Lyric staging

... Superior singing abounds in this production. Mezzo soprano Vesselina Kasarova's voice is equally authoritative in her role as Romeo. As the part requires a singer with a higher pitch, women typically play Romeo. Bellini specifies this voice-type perhaps to convey the youthfulness of the character. ...