July 24, 2016
Soprano Amanda Majeski returns to Santa Fe Opera as the Countess in Capriccio, the opera Richard Strauss called his "conversation piece for music." She is joined by the legendary mezzo Susan Graham, as well as bass-baritone David Govertsen, tenor Ben Bliss, and baritone Joshua Hopkins.
Conducted by Leo Hussain in a new Tim Albery production, performances run July 23 through August 19, 2016. Tickets can be purchased on the Santa Fe Opera website.
Read more reviews:
“Everything revolves around the Countess. Soprano Amanda Majeski portrays her with casual charm and sincere warmth, creating a character in control of her world and secure in her situation. Politesse is so deeply imbued in her character that she carries it without the slightest self-consciousness. Majeski’s soprano is tightly focused, her intonation is spot-on and her delivery rolls forth with conversational naturalness. Her timbre is pure, sometimes approaching a “white sound” that allows prominence to head resonance. Her vocalism harks back to a kind of singing we don’t encounter much today. If you heard her pure timbre and pristine diction on a recording, you might guess it was an opera star of the 1940s or ’50s — and a fine one. Her singing has a reined-in quality that proves apt for the portrayal she has crafted. A slight quiver enters her voice now and again, adding a quality of wistfulness. It adds to the vulnerability she allows herself to display in her touching final scene, where she recognizes that her aesthetic elegance is a barrier to her own emotional fulfillment — an acknowledgment she bares to herself alone, out of view and earshot from anyone else. [Some] had trouble being heard in a couple of climactic phrases, though not Majeski, whose tone penetrated the texture without sacrificing its beauty."
Santa Fe New Mexican
"The rising soprano Amanda Majeski sings this touchstone Straussian role with gleaming, resonant tone and insightful musicianship..."
"Amanda Majeski seems pre-destined to play the Countess. Her cool, secure, limpid soprano is just what Strauss had in mind when he endowed the role with lovely conversational passages, airy flights above the staff, and haunting musings on the philosophies of art and music. Ms. Majeski’s pure tone and knowing, fluid delivery harkens back to great Strauss interpreters of the last century, a direct connection to a revered roster of interpreters. Her traversal of the Countess’s last great monologue was a thing of great beauty, infinite variety, and sublime vocalization. Moreover, Majeski has a regal and poised presence, her carriage leaving no doubt that she is “royalty.” Her achievement is such that she may just be unequalled in this part at the moment."
“In the lead role of Countess Madeleine, Illinois soprano Amanda Majeski provided the vocal power required to complement Strauss’s soaring melodies and the elegance appropriate for the gentler music of Madeleine’s introspective moment.”
"As the Countess, Amanda Majeski sang her long phrases with free flowing tones that kept their focus as they blossomed out over the audience. A fabulous Strauss singer whose sound recalls German sopranos of the previous era such as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Irmgard Seefried, she she portrayed the noble lady as a refined heiress with consummate good taste."
“Amanda Majeski turns in a sparkling performance as the glamorous Parisian Countess Madeleine. [The voice] has an exceptional flexibility, easily enough to traverse the many vocal hurdles of this difficult role. She gives the final scene, a last meditation on the question of words and music, a transcendent quality.”
"As Strauss’ multi-faceted, somewhat enigmatic Countess, Amanda Majeski provides a poised central figure. She’s played the vulnerable aristocrat in the past—Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Figaro. Here Majeski sings from the heart in a role that’s a semi-composite of the composer’s great heroines, the Marschallin and Ariadne. It’s a limpid, lucid portrayal, nowhere more distinctive than in the searching final monologue, Strauss’ most enraptured."
Santa Fe Reporter