Gregory Kunde triumphs in his debut as Renato des Grieux in the Manon Lescaut performed in Bilbao

Gregory Kunde triumphs in his debut as Renato des Grieux in the Manon Lescaut performed in Bilbao

Yet another success for the American tenor Gregory Kunde this season, this time taking on for the first time the role of Renato des Grieux, in the Manon Lescaut staged by the Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera (ABAO-OLBE) from February 20th to 29th. Gregory Kunde thoroughly impressed the critics, who described his  performances as follows:

- “The tenor Gregory Kunde is again up to his old tricks, that is, outstanding verismo, in a repertoire in which his voice expands joyfully and can reflect his beautiful squillo in the high range. He rose to the occasion and responded perfectly to the soprano, with all the romantic passion called for in this opera, thanks to his dramatic singing, full of strength”.  Nino Dentici (Diario El Correo)

-“Kunde is a vocal spectacle, a force of nature, a tenor who seems to never tire. (…) He hits the high notes with the steel of a sword and he sings the role of Des Grieux with good singing line, vibrant accents and an elegance that does not elude passion”.  Asier Vallejo (Diario Deia)

- “Many have spoken of the boldness and the dedication that Gregory Kunde shows on stage in this phase in which he is rapidly incorporating new roles to his long and fruitful career. If last year he debuted, on this very stage, as Turiddu and Canio, on Saturday he sang for the first time the role of Renato des Grieux in Manon Lescaut (…). In the second act, in his duet with the soprano, sparks began to fly and we started to hear that voice of his that we so admire. But in the third and fourth act was when Kunde demonstrated, once again, that he is an exceptional singer, thanks to the freshness of his instrument that runs with amazing ease in the highest notes of the range. Especially moving was his Ah! non v’avvicinate! where he maintained the vocal tension in a very difficult scene with no apparent effort. It was the fourth act, the most touching and genuinely Puccini of the entire opera, where the two main characters gave the best of themselves, creating with their singing and acting all the emotion called for in the libretto and the score”.  Javier del Olivo (Revista Platea Magazine)

- “Gregory Kunde continues to make history and we have the opportunity and immense fortune to be witnesses of his achievements. New role, new debut and new irrefutable success by the American singer (…) Des Grieux is a perfect match for the tenor, as the role allows him to offer a portrait that is fresh, passionate and vocally lusty. It is a pleasure to see him sing very complicated passages with great ease but not for that reason with any less devotion and generosity. The role is devilishly challenging. In the first act alone Puccini gives him two arias and two duets that are highly demanding. Kunde’s high register is pure gold, as he is capable of sustaining tessituras that move constantly between the F and the A with impeccable musical results and letting out true lashes of the whip in the numerous B flats that fill the staff as well as in the less abundant B (spectacular in the "con te portar dei solo il core" and in the "guardate, pazzo son"). The oppure of the C above high C in the fourth act ("ah Manon") was one of those sounds worth remembering. But Kunde does more than just offer high notes: his musical intelligence for dynamics is undeniable, with varied phrasing and total absence of monotony, with a middle range having an attractive and unmistakeable colour and a great imagination that allows him to dive into the text with an intention that leaves no one indifferent”. Rubén Martínez (Revista Codalario)

In upcoming engagements we will have the chance to see Gregory Kunde in Idomeneo at Les Arts de Valencia, in Les Troyens at the Hamburg Opera, in Otello at the Cincinnati Opera, with James Conlon, in Il Trovatore at the Royal Opera House of London, with Maestro Noseda. In addition, following his success with Norma and Rossini’s Otello in the Gran Teatro del Liceu, he will soon be giving a concert performance of Verdi arias in the Barcelona theatre.