Tenor Gregory Kunde triumphs yet again, this time with Andrea Chénier at the ABAO-OLBE

2017-06-05
Tenor Gregory Kunde triumphs yet again, this time with Andrea Chénier at the ABAO-OLBE

Bilbao's ABAO-OLBE closed its 2016/2017 season with Andrea Chénier, which on this occasion had Gregory Kunde in the leading role. Just as in Rome, the American tenor has been highly acclaimed by both critics and audiences. The following words of praise have appeared in the specialised press:

-  “The U.S. born tenor Gregory Kunde had already made quite an impression in Bilbao two years ago with a double performance of Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1946) and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919). Following his debut in the role of Andrea Chénier last month at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, he has once again given audiences robust and refined singing, impeccable phrasing and perfect musicality, from his Un dì all’azzurro spazio (one of opera's most beautiful arias) to the final apotheosis, with his Come un bel dì di maggio in between”. Frederik Verbeke (Eklektika)

-  “At this point speaking of what has been called 'the Kunde miracle' is rather trite and repetitive. Miracles do not happen without work and effort and the American tenor has demonstrated that he has plenty of both. But what continues to be admirable is the apparent ease with which he takes on new 'tenoresque' challenges and adds, to an already long list of roles, one with such appeal as Chénier. Hearing him in the performance I am referring to one would think he has been singing the role for years, and that he has, after all that time and countless performances, given it his own personal stamp. But no. Kunde made his debut in the role this very season. Amazing. He takes on Chénier in a classical, canonical manner, with utmost commitment and no fear. Every single one of the high notes, the touchstone of the role, was perfectly placed, with exact projection and elegance, all of them sounding clear and limpid every time. He does not disappoint in the other registers either, although it is only fair to point out that a few notes sounded rather fatigued in the more piano sections. But starting with a splendid "Un dì all'azzuro spazio" and moving to the grand duet of the second act and then "Come un bel dì di Maggio" and all the way through to the tremendous ending, his work was impeccable. Bravo, maestro”.  Javier del Olivo (PlateaMagazine)

-  “Andrea Chénier was Gregory Kunde, who in this most recent and surprising stage of his career is taking on roles as a spinto lyric tenor and sometimes even as a clearly dramatic one. The American singer's voice was a perfect match for the requirements of a part in which he appeared to move very comfortably. Even considerably better than in his recent successful appearances in Spain, characterised as Otello, Pollione and Arrigo, which I have had the good fortune of seeing. His great voice projection and warm phrasing prevailed with naturalness over a middle and lower register that was stronger than on the previous occasions and also more homogenous.  José Amador Morales (Codalario)

-  “Kunde's presence and vocality on stage are tremendous, with an upper range that is powerful and ringing and a line of singing that is noble and expressive. All of this, along with a truly noteworthy dramatic dedication makes his Chénier convincing and moving, and absolutely thrilling to the audience, especially in his first act aria and in the duet with Maddalena in the second act”.  Jesús Aguado (Mundo Clásico.com)

-  “Gregory Kunde gives life to the charismatic poet Chénier. The American tenor sings the role with impressive technical ability and uninterrupted emotion that even reaches the phrase endings, which demonstrates the great care the artist devotes to the interpretation required by each of his roles”.  Susana Santolaria (Act Teatro Bilbao)

-  “We find once again, to our great joy, the electrifying duo formed by Gregory Kunde and Anna Pirozzi. With the memorable Roberto Devereux performed on this very stage less than two years ago, the directors discovered the great appeal of bringing together this U.S.-born tenor and the Italian soprano. The vocal arrogance, the impetuous temperament and the musical sense that the artists have in common never fail to bring the audience to their feet when the two voices sound together. The tenor's sense of security continues to arouse the same admiration, especially when he takes on a clearly difficult score, a score that demands the perfect blend of tenderness and courage. Whether as a poet, an ardent lover or a bold revolutionary, his Andrea Chénier shines with elegance and grace, and with the brilliant health of a voice that appears to have no limits. We could mention any one of his arias, but we were particularly dazzled by the third act with a "Si, fui soldato" brimming over with authority”. Nicolas Griennenberger (Classiquenews.com)

-  “And nothing more can be said about Kunde and Pirozzi, a pair that appears regularly on this stage and whose vocality and interpretation never disappoint”.  Nora Franco Madariaga (Gara)