Santuzza & Nedda in CAV/PAG - ROH Covent Garden, July 2022

A scorching Cav & Pag at Covent Garden … It was the Alagnas who rode heroically to the rescue. Aleksandra Kurzak took on the roles of Santuzza and Nedda (thereby requiring an acting double because Damiano Michieletto has each character silently appear in the intermezzo of the other’s opera) and Roberto Alagna sang Canio. […] This revival contains the best singing I’ve heard in this staging. Kurzak was a perky Nedda, light and agile in the birdsong trills of “Stridono lassù” and very funny as Colombina in the clowns’ play. I wasn’t quite prepared for the impact of her Santuzza, though, where her soprano revealed a powerful depth and weight. Her “Voi lo sapete” revelations were terrific and she rasped a vicious Easter curse too. […] With such a great cast, don’t hesitate to grab a ticket. Bachtrack Rate : 5 stars - by Mark Pullinger for Bachtrack

[As Santuzza, Kurzak’s] distraught creation of a woman left desperate and vengeful when Turiddu abandons her is unforgettably moving. […] Pag is almost literally a barn-storming experience: its central characters are actors and its climax an increasingly gripping show-within-a-show that audiences watch with mounting horror. […] Kurzak is vocally ideal as a Nedda who fights hard for her freedom – and indeed her life. - George Hall for The

The female leads too were substitutions with Polish Soprano Aleksandra Kurzak performing brilliantly to sing both Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Nedda in Pagliacci. Had it not been for the publicity covering the changes, I would have been writing about the brilliant casting. […] Last night’s productions pulled together some fabulous singing and acting from the soloists with a strong chorus and a charming children’s choir that offered as much dramatically as vocally. - Fiona Maclean for London Unattached.

Outstanding Performances Complement Brilliant Production in Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Before opening night, quite a few cast changes had to be made for various COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related reasons, but no one could have been disappointed with the final line-up that emerged. Aleksandra Kurzak plays both Santuzza and Nedda with a soprano that can be tender, feeling, sumptuous or impassioned. Her performance as Santuzza is particularly sensitive, while as Nedda she is very clever at putting on a show in the play and keeping the action going, even while showing that she is rattled inside. - Sam Smith for Opera Online Website.

Aleksandra Kurzak playing two contrasting women in this demanding double bill conveys a FRAGILE, damaged Santuzza with a core of PASSION and a gnawing sense of right and wrong, while her Nedda is FLAMBOYANT and HEADSTRONG. London audiences have been treated to the BEST. by Claudia Pritchard for Culture Whisper

Aleksandra Kurzak is more CAPTIVATING as the heartstrong Nedda than the mousy Santuzza, but she NAILS THE SINGING IN BOTH, complete with gut wrenching vocal lamentations and a bitter Easter curse. […] As regards the singing, this cast is worth the splurge. Although Covid scuppered the original intentions for the cast, it was imperceptible on the night; the CHEMISTRY is spot on. So, … take a trip to the ROH … It will sort you right out. - by Tacita Quinn for City AM

REMARKABLE TOUR DE FORCE for Aleksandra Kurzak engaged to the rescue in both titles. A positive surprise as Santuzza … the right amount of DEPTH and WELL-INTEGRATED RANGES, BEAUTIFUL HIGH NOTES, NICELY RESONANT MEDIUM & LOW REGISTERS, not artificially inflated … The right fragility and abandon … Not overloaded with invective but a dramatical characterization very effective … A Nedda full of VITALITY … Particularly BRILLIANT with her sopranile instrument … WARM and UNBRIDLED applause … a BEAUTIFUL evening and one of the most SUCCESSFUL performances in terms of singing, direction and conducting this season at the ROH. With such a cast, Michieletto's performance is AN ABSOLUTE MUST-SEE. -  by Pietro Dall'Aglio for Connessi all'Opera - Rate: 5 stars

Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna bring LONG-AWAITED STAR POWER to Michieletto’s Cav & Pag. A hark back to the exhilarating memories and level of performance of the late 70’s and 80’s. Aleksandra Kurzak’s rose to all Santuzza’s musical and dramatic challenges … her IMPRESSIVE SOPRANO VOICE has gained more WEIGHT … She believably enacted Nedda’s longing for freedom and desire … her singing appropriately had SENSUALITY, COLOUR and rhythmic FLEXIBILITY. Truthfully, it was a MASTERCLASS IN HOW THESE ROLES CAN BE SUNG - by Jim Pritchard for Seen and Heard International

The night belongs to Aleksandra Kurzak who doubles as Santuzza, Turiddu’s disconsolate lover in Cavalleria Rusticana, and as Nedda, Canio’s unfaithful wife, in Pagliacci. If anyone hits home the duality of love, it is her; Kurzak’s chameleonic vocal performance renders the desperation and celebration promised by romance with all its heart wrenching complexity. - Alexander Cohen for The Indiependent

As Santuzza a newly-found WEIGHT to the voice, and she uses it THRILLINGLY throughout. Not only does Aleksandra Kurzak possess the necessary CHEST VOICE, but her top notes EASILY rode the orchestra too… A DELICIOUSLY-SUNG Nedda … Equally at ease in the coloratura as she had been earlier as Santuzza … PALPABLE ONSTAGE CHEMISTRY with Roberto Alagna. What a TRIUMPH! A FABULOUSLY SUNG, and gloriously conducted double bill, that will rank as one of the ROH’s undisputed HIGHLIGHTS. -  by Keith McDonnell for musicOMH

ENTHRALLING performances by Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak … SUPERB replacements … A GREAT TRIUMPHANT evening's entertainment … The great Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak took the leading female roles in both operas with GREAT EFFECT. - by Hartston William for The Daily Express

Luxury replacements arrived all round. […] Aleksandra Kurzak pulled off the biggest challenge of all, taking on the intensely demanding soprano roles in both operas. The proud possessor of an Alpine vocal range, Kurzak matched the gut-punch of her low notes with snow-bright brilliance at the top, while her emotional projection, especially as Cav’s Santuzza, could rip out every heart in the house. Even if we had heard nothing else, the duet where Santuzza and Turiddu are trapped in their mutual hell of passion, jealousy and guilt, as performed by Kurzak and Baek, would have left you feeling you’d had a full night of opera that could not be bettered. […] […] With the conductor Tony Pappano unleashing red-hot orchestral playing and chorus director William Spaulding spearheading his charges’ wonderfully multidimensional expressiveness and power, the performers’ energy seemed to feed one another, lifting the evening to an exceptional ensemble triumph for everyone. - by Jessica Duchen for iNews - Rate: 5 stars

Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak is now the one on serious double duty instead. She makes a scorchingly intense Santuzza in Cavalleria — armed with surprisingly inky low notes — and finds a winning combination of haughty and vulnerable as philandering Nedda in Pagliacci. - by Neil Fisher for The Times

UNQUESTIONED STAR: Aleksandra Kurzak as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana at the Royal Opera House.
Aleksandra Kurzak was a deeply touching and vulnerable Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and a sensual and courageous Nedda in Pagliacci – singing, throughout, with vibrant lyricism and heart-piercing sweetness. In the strapping, sun-kissed glow of Pappano’s orchestra everything comes together, and the result is a pair of passionate and compelling thrillers inhabited by desperately believable characters. - by Richard Bratby for The Spectator