Aspasia in MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO – Welsh National Opera in Birmingham, Cardiff, May, June 2009
As an object of desire to virtually all the men in the narrative, Aleksandra Kurzak’s Aspasia achieved a different kind of plausibility. She never fully persuaded one that Aspasia had much of an inner life, but that says more about the work than about Kurzak. In the Act II aria ‘Nel grave tormento’ the text speaks of a war between love and duty but Mozart relies on a rather clichéd alteration between allegro and adagio that accepts too easily (for modern tastes) the mutually exclusive absolutes of moral allegory – these are issues of which Mozart would become a far subtler master, but not just yet. It was perhaps only in ‘Pallid’ ombre’ in Act III that, with the lovely interjections on oboe assisting her efforts, she had the opportunity to really move the audience –an opportunity she grasped well… Kurzak at least had some wonderfully florid writing to get her teeth into and this she did very attractively, throwing off complex runs with conviction and ease and often producing some dazzlingly beautiful effects. This was especially the case in the duet with Sifare, ‘Se viver non degg’io’, which closes Act II – where the echoic runs of both Bell and Kurzak were stunningly delivered (the musical beauty of a kind strangely at odds with the verbal substance of what was being sung).
Seen and Heard International - Glyn Pursglove
…soprano Aleksandra Kurzak shone as Aspasia, with a lovely bloom to her sound as well as instrumental agility. In her second act duet with Bell, she demonstrated the teenage Mozart's implicit understanding of matters of the heart.
The Guardian - Rian Evans
The Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak looked and sounded perfect as Aspasia, the woman wanted by both father and sons, with no hint of strain in the role’s many floridly decorated passages. In her third act recitative and aria, as she contemplates suicide, the music suddenly gains expressive profundity and we glimpse the greatness to come in its suggestion of Countess Almaviva’s sadness and the lovelorn Pamina.
Birmingham Post - Norman Stinchcombe
Hearing Aleksandra Kurzak’s Aspasia was certainly a joy. Of all the singers, this Polish-born soprano was the most sweetly expressive, the most quivering about the eyes; and Aspasia had much to quiver about, trapped in a quandary with King Mitridate and his two jealous sons.
The Times - Geoff Brown