Tenor Gregory Kunde triumphs as Calaf in the Turandot staged by Teatro Comunale di Bologna

2019-06-17
Tenor Gregory Kunde triumphs as Calaf in the Turandot staged by Teatro Comunale di Bologna

Last May 28th the Teatro Comunale di Bologna premiered a new production of Turandot –in conjunction with the Teatro Massimo di Palermo and  the Badisches  Saatstheater Karlsruhe– with stage direction by Fabio Cherstich and musical direction by Maestro Valerio Galli. The American tenor Gregory Kunde embodied Calaf, a role he has recently performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton Maestro Zubin Mehta, and also at the Arena di Verona Festival and the Teatro Real of Madrid. His work has been commended by the specialised press with the following words of praise:

-      “Although the conductor does not stop and the applause must be brief, this is no insult to the tenor, whose triumph is undeniable, but rather a tribute to the opera, which can thus be enjoyed without a single note being missed or a single transition squandered. Even the most renowned fragments sound as fresh as the first time and, thanks to Gregory Kunde, we again feel that shiver when we hear “Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me”, a melody that has suffered from a certain degree of burnout and banalisation. The American tenor puts out high note after high note and gets the audience going, but not because of his tremendous outflow of vigour –although the energy of his timbre is undisputable– but because he manages to convey the strength and vitality of the Unknown Prince, and because these high notes are the culmination of a singing line that is intelligent and noble, conceived at all times for legato and for a fluid dynamic articulation, in which solemn and heroic phrases blend with a very sweet whisper, such as in the “O mia piccola Liù” recited mezzo voce over the slave girl's lifeless body.” Roberta Pedrotti (L’ape musicale)

-      “Gregory Kunde's Calaf is monumental. His performance is brimming with generosity and no effort is spared. Amidst well-projected high notes showing mathematical precision and incisive phrasing that allows him, with his usual ease of emission, to give the right accent and expressivity, he put the icing on the cake with a moving “Nessun Dorma” that went far beyond audience expectations.” Grigorij Filippo Calcagno (Leri Oggi, Domani, Opera)

-      “Gregory Kunde is a thoroughbred that starts to kick when he sees the icy princess before him….There is tremendous energy in the soldier Calaf's voice, with its crystal clear timbre and immense volume... It seems that the passage of time brings only advantages to this performer who is increasingly dynamic in terms of voice and the strength of his character on the stage.” Maria Teresa Giovagnoli (MTG Lirica)

-      "Despite his age, around 65, Gregory Kunde gives us a Calaf that is far from negligible:his ease of voice emission, his broad phrasing and his vibrant, luminous and well-sculpted sound surpass all expectations.” Gilberto Maurizio Mion(Teatro.it)

-      “Gregory Kunde deservedly receives applause in the middle of a scene, and also an impressive final ovation. Born in 1954, the American tenor surprises audiences with the solidity and power of his upper register (his interpolation at the end of the riddle scene is nothing short of amazing), showing confidence and absolute control of his instrument. He enriches the phrasing with nuances and mezzo voces that are especially fitting in the arias “Non piangere Liù!” and “Nessun dorma!”.” Marco Faverzani / Giorgio Panigati (OperaLibera)

-      “Gregory Kunde lends his boundless voice to Calaf […] in terms of vocals he impresses especially with the brilliant and full high register that he displays with utmost assurance [….] The second performance's large audience shows great warmth and offers a big applause to Kunde in the middle of a scene, right after “Nessun Dorma”. The spectacle is a great success, with special waves of enthusiasm directed towards the aforementioned Kunde...”. Filippo Antichi (Connessi all’Opera)

-      “Gregory Kunde returns to Bologna after the triumphant concert of two weeks ago and again he prevails with his brilliance and timbre, which shine especially in the high notes. He chooses, naturally, the higher variation for “Ti voglio ardente d’amor!” (in contrast with his counterpart in the alternative cast) and regales the audience with a high C that astounds listeners with its ease, expansion and brilliant sound. His command of the role exudes confidence and even arrogance”. Silvano Capecchi (OperaClick)

-      "Gregory Kunde has the extraordinary luck of having the vocal chords of a thirty- year-old combined with the experience gained by one who has passed the line of the 60s. His Calaf chisels every accent and the words take on their full meaning in vibrant and passionate phrasing. Kunde's Calaf is a man, not a hero, able to be the father of his own father and also of Liù; “Non piangere Liù” is perhaps more tenderly calming, beautiful and moving than we have ever heard it. His “Nessun dorma” also stands out because the tenor does away with any kind of heroic whim and instead projects a dimension of intimate reflection.” Alessandro Cammarano (LeSalonMusical)