Rachel in LA JUIVE - Bayerische Staatsoper, München, June 2016
Aleksandra Kurzak as Rachel positively surprised, I have heard her in live performance as well as recordings mostly in bel canto repertoire, thus listening to her even in the first act, it was clear that her voice has matured and rounded, and is on the path to become more dramatic, and suited for heavier, like Verdian repertoire. Even more impressed I was of her stage presence and engaged acting, and I believe we have another diva in making – have to keep close attention of Aleksandras future roles and progress!
The performance of Aleksandra Kurzak is just amazing. Originally booked for the second female role of Princess Eudoxie, she swapped to the part of Rachel after the decline of Kristina Opolais. Her Rachel is real, her affection for her father and her lover moving, her despair and her emotional conflict oppressive, and all is expressed in a dry, flexible and vibrant soprano.
The great surprise came from Aleksandra Kurzak in the role of Rachel, in which she replaced Kristine Opolais. Initially, she was intended to perform as princess Eudoxia. Although in principle the role of Rachel could seem out of reach for her voice, it is certain that Kurzak managed to make it her own with an homogeneous instrument, easy in the high range, smooth in the medium and skilful in the low range. What most convinced from her Rachel is in any case the credibility of her characterization, by a surely praiseworthy embodiment and commendable staging commitment. If she continues on this path, Kurzak's career should be very interesting.
Aleksandra Kurzak is making a remarkable role debut as Rachel. The voice of the Polish singer has significantly changed in recent years; while she built up a wide baroque or Mozartian repertoire, excelled in belcantist coloratura soprano’s roles and as Gilda, she is now ready to address more lyrical and dramatic soprano roles. The beauty of her tone and the dramatic possibilities of the singer impressed. She was originally called by the Bayerische Staatsoper to sing Princess Eudoxia. Following a cast change, she was offered the title role, and this role debut is a great success both in terms of vocal performance as well as regarding her theatrical commitment on stage.
Nevertheless, the best performer of the evening was Aleksandra Kurzak as Rachel, the title role, La Juive. The fast pace set by de Billly at the end of the first act surely highlighted her coloratura. But in the second act in her aria "Il va venir" after the duet with Leopold, she was impeccable, singing with gusto, without difficulty whether the range is high or low, with a good technique, power and very sustained rendition. Bravissimo also for her confrontation with Eudoxie.
The designated substitute was Aleksandra Kurzak, originally scheduled for Eudoxia. And that has caused many raising of eyebrows, given the differences in the writing of the two roles. Yet the result is quite surprising. Her expressive impetus, her strong vocal and scenic commitment, her sonorous projection, her ability to sustain airy pianissimi and her imperial top notes, her obvious desire to rock the stage without any sparing, were admirable. And in the end she was rewarded with the most convinced ovation.
Aleksandra Kurzak, originally expected as Eudoxie - which was understandable after her Adina of "L'elisir d'amore" in which she delighted us last fall alongside his Roberto - is the surprise of the evening. She was promoted to Rachel. And straightaway most memorable! The only green silhouette in these black smoked scenes, lit by magic silver or steel reflections, here she is: black-haired, sober and tense, and passionate without even a spoken word, vibrant figure (even when silent) who intuitively finds the same discrete poignant intensity that marked the character composed by Antonacci a decade ago. But with what a singing! A singing of pure French style with, in "Il va venir...", the appropriate intercuts, more compelling than the singing itself; and with a paste, a breadth of means, a suddenly spearing radiance in the high range, a must have in this role. A tragedian was born on the stage of Munich, fulfilling and even exceeding the expectations inspired by her sublime Maria Stuarda at the TCE a mere two years ago. She sings her Rachel with the same vocal generosity that Falcon - who created the role - had probably injected in it. May she take care of herself better than did this human torch, too quickly consumed. You can expect anything of her after this Rachel!
L'oeil et l'Oreille
Aleksandra Kurzak as Rachel outshone everything. Vocally and dramatically, she demonstrated her great dramatic format. Her passionate duet with Léopold in the second act was a highlight of the evening.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The excellent distribution invited to Munich provides an optimal efficiency to Halevy's melodist talent. Awesome on the field of voice and dramatic expression, Aleksandra Kurzak and Vera Lotte Böcker as Rachel and Eudoxie respectively decline the feelings' spektrum of passion from quest for love to despair, each in her own way, unique and wonderful.
Aleksandra Kurzak achieves the monstrously heavy role of Rachel, almost casually and is cheered for that.
Aleksandra Kurzak is a Rachel with a beautiful tone and a lot of dramatic potential.
Alagna's wife Aleksandra Kurzak is in the title role, the big surprise: a coloratura soprano with much dramatic potential and a beautiful timbre.
Aleksandra Kurzak, very moving in her acting, appeared in her best vocal shape.
Unanimous enthusiasm about Aleksandra Kurzak's artistic performance.
The reading of Fromental Halevy's opera conducted by Bertrand de Billy slapped the audience of the opening night of the summer festival of the Bavarian opera house. Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak were brilliant. The intense dramatic rendition, the melodic beauty and the spectacular vocal performance of the production moved a room that cheered for more than 10 minutes the protagonists of the show. Roberto Alagna (Eleazar), shining in his great aria and other appearances, contributed to the undeniable success of the evening, as well as a great Aleksandra Kurzak, transformed into an awesome stage performer in the role of Rachel.
Aleksandra Kurzak's Rachel provides great satisfaction. First because of her facial expressivity and her acting that draws all the attention. And then the voice: a top range impregnated with the painful color of passion, a full-voiced low soprano register, emphasis and warmth in the dynamic vocals, a great temperament and a deep tone that comes from the soul… However, I hear a dramatic singing that sounds at once chaste and sensual, melodic and subtle. In the last act, Aleksandra Kurzak sobbed and spit and suffers - and yet sings still wonderfully.
Aleksandra Kurzak’s Rachel brought all of her bel canto sensibility to the part. She was originally scheduled to sing Eudoxie but switched to Rachel when the originally-cast Kristīne Opolais withdrew. [...] Her singing gave an immense amount of pleasure. Her legato was absolutely immaculate and she gave us some beautifully-placed pianissimi at the top of the voice. Her diction was slightly foggy but her fearless vocalism really was astounding. This was something special indeed. [...] Kurzak really demonstrated how important a bel canto technique is in being able to sing healthily. [...] Tonight gave us a gripping and compelling evening of opera.