about Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
|"Lieberson sings from the very center of her being, and in this imaginatively programmed recital of Handel arias, German lieder, French melodies, and Spanish songs with Robert Tweten as the sensitive piano accompanist, she held the audience spellbound. The sheer technical control was staggering -- the seamless transitions from head to chest registers, the fine thread of focused tone floating on the breath, the subtle coloration of words. Better, every expressive nuance served the needs of the music at hand with an exquisite inevitability. Lieberson gets her own diva showcase at the Met later on this season, as Dido in Berlioz's Les Troyens, and I can't wait."--from Peter G. Davis's review for New York magazine of New York recital.|
|"The highlight of the afternoon was the passionate singing of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in La
Anunciacion, giving her plenty of opportunity not only to show off the
range of her voice and her beautiful timbre, but also to show utter
commitment to the tortured text she was singing."--from a posting at opera-l by Vincent Thunissen about the November 30, 2002, Amsterdam premiere of John Adams' El Niño.
|"Hunt Lieberson's Dido was a marvel, her lustrous tone bringing nobility and passion to her portrayal. But her artistry goes beyond mere vocal performance. She embodies the character so completely that her singing becomes a natural extension of her emotions," wrote Mike Silverman in Newsday of February 11, 2003, about a performance of Les Troyens at the Met.|
|"The audience favorite was clearly mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, whose career was Boston-based for years. Hunt Lieberson filled her first starring role with the [Met]--Dido, Carthage's queen--with deep feeling, superior musicianship and largely luxurious sound. And she looked gorgeous in Anita Yavich's costumes."
--from a review by T. J. Medrek in the Boston Herald of February 12, 2003.
|"The plaintive beauty of her voice, the intelligence behind every phrase, the mix of subtlety and passion, all these qualities and more endowed her distinguished portrayal," wrote Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times of February 12, 2003, about Lorraine Hunt Lieberson as Dido in Les Troyens at the Met.|
|"The only participant who seemed to be dwelling deep inside Berlioz's world was Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; as the love-drunk Dido, she delivered a tour de force of style and emotion. She is the closest thing we have to a Callas—an artist of supreme intelligence who is also a transfixing presence onstage. From the moment she made her entrance, you understood what Berlioz was trying to achieve: she gave those cool, hieratic vocal lines the detailed gravity of a Baroque lament, marking out the metrical heartbeat of the music while giving each syllable a precise expressive value. There were shaky moments at the beginning—she sometimes shrieked at the end of a phrase, as if the high notes were mice—but for the most part she mastered a role that many opera buffs had deemed too heavy for her. The lady can sing anything, including the blues."--from a review of Les Troyens at the Met, by Alex Ross in The New Yorker of March 3, 2003.|
|"Every phrase that Hunt Lieberson sings seems gorgeous of tone, perfectly controlled and mines perilously deep seams of emotion and expression. But she is not a histrionic singer - rather, she boils emotion down until it is reduced to a powerful, concentrated essence."--from article by Charlotte Higgins, dated August 8, 2003, at guardian.co.uk.|
|"It is Lorraine Hunt Lieberson as Irene, however, returning to the role she sang when the production was new, who compels attention whenever she is on stage. Her body language is as expressive as her rapturous singing, and the way in which she delivers the opening aria of the third act - 'Lord to thee, each night and day' - is worth the price of a ticket on its own."--from a review by Andrew Clements, dated August 12, 2003, at guardian.co.uk of a Glyndebourne staged peformance of Handel's Theodora.|
|"The opera world is seeing an abundance of good mezzo-sopranos these days, and one of them, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who made her Twin Cities [Minnesota] debut Thursday night, has risen to the top.
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"The whole evening was an exercise in unerring taste, musicianship and well-honed skill. Lieberson's voice is the slender, sensuous type of mezzo, rather like that of Frederica von Stade. It's so well-produced, though, that she can sing softly, as she did in the first Brahms song of the night, and still be heard. She handles words in many languages with care, and she has what every recitalist needs, the ability to seize upon the central mood of a song and sustain it. She has great stage presence and an assured sense of theatricality, though her communication is always direct, without artifice."
--from a review by Michael Anthony for startribune.com, December 5, 2003.
"If Lieberson is given more opportunities like Wednesday's to demonstrate her astounding skills, she'll be more than the mezzo of the moment: She may become the next great singing star of the classical world," wrote Rob Hubbard for Pioneer Press.
"What a voice, and how many things she can do with it! And how much more of it you get to hear live. After last night, I feel that the recordings I have are only a
shadow of the real thing. From the smallest still pianissimo to that
incredible forte, and such gorgeous, gleaming sound."--Chris Mansfield at lieder-l.
|December 18, 2003
In an article for guardian.co.uk about the musical high and low points of 2003, Andrew Clements named Lorraine Hunt Lieberson the outstanding individual of 2003.
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - there is no better mezzo-soprano in the world today. British audiences had two chances to hear her at her glorious best in 2003: as Irene in Theodora at Glyndebourne, and at the Proms, singing Britten's cantata Phaedra and Jocasta in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex."
|"Lieberson is probably the world's gretest living Handel interpreter," wrote Lloyd Schwartz in the Boston Phoenix of December 19, 2003.|
|December 26, 2003
"Artist of the year
"One singer — the phenomenal Lorraine Hunt Lieberson — gave three of the greatest performances I’ve ever heard. She took on two major (and diametrically opposite) French roles and made them her own: the haunted Mélisande in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, at the Boston Symphony Orchestra (see below), and the noble, infatuated, betrayed Dido, Queen of Carthage, in the Metropolitan Opera production of Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens, which Bostonians could hear on WHRB’s live broadcast. Lieberson’s collaboration with pianist Peter Serkin for the FleetBoston Celebrity Series was the best vocal recital of the year, with more Debussy, indrawing Brahms, sizzling Handel, and heavenly Mozart. Her creamy, intimate, heroic voice filled the huge Met house and Symphony Hall as easily as it did small Jordan Hall.
"She also made one of the year’s most beautiful recordings, for Nonesuch, a souvenir of the two powerful Bach cantatas dealing with 'last things' that Peter Sellars staged for her. Craig Smith conducts the Emmanuel Orchestra, and there’s the heart-easing obbligato oboe of Peggy Pearson. 'Lorraine can do anything,' composer Peter Lieberson (her husband) said at a special public discussion at Harvard University. She demurred, but I concur."
--Lloyd Schwartz in Boston Phoenix.
|Joshua Kosman writes at sfgate.com that at the June 17, 2004, matinee performance of Mahler's Second Symphony by the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, "the solo contributions by mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian were superb."|
|"Friday's performance of Symphony No. 2 in C minor (the `Resurrection's' real name) at Davies Symphony Hall was many things: a spectacle; an inspired spiritual blowout; a live recording session (the orchestra is committing all of Mahler's symphonies live-to-disc for its SFS Media label); and a chance to hear two exquisite singers in solo roles.
"One is mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who rendered the fourth movement's `Urlicht' song with such direct emotion that this quiet hymn to the `Primal Light' of redemption covered the hall like Gilead's balm. It's only five or six minutes long, but `Urlicht' is the heart of Mahler's multi-leveled symphony. Hearing it sung by this great artist is an event, reason enough to attend one of the 90-minute performances."
--Richard Sheinin in Mercury News of June 21, 2004.
|"A glorious voice captures a saint's struggle in 'Theodora': Lorraine Hunt Lieberson spellbinds audience in Handel's oratorio," by Patrick Giles, National Catholic Reporter, January 28, 2005.|
|November 26, 2005
"Composer Peter Lieberson has inscribed the score of his 'Neruda Songs' 'to my beloved Lorraine,' and his wife, mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, sang the triumphant East Coast premiere of his extraordinary, indrawing song cycle with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra yesterday afternoon.
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"Yesterday's concert marked Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's return to performance after a six-month sabbatical because of health problems. Dressed in contrasting shades of crimson, with a new short, curly hairdo, she looked and sounded glorious. Her singing is never just about singing, though her voice is lustrous and her vocalism superb. She doesn't create 'effects'; instead she expresses contrasting states of being and feeling with what is apparently utter, fearless candor. 'Ay,' she cries in hope and despair in the third song ('may your silhouette never dissolve . . .'), and the tone sounds wrenched from her vitals. The last word of the cycle is 'amor,' repeated three times, and she charged each with a different color and feeling, the last, quiet, serene, and sublime. One thought of the end of Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde.'"
--from review by Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe.
"Hunt Lieberson’s presentation was first-rate, featuring fine Spanish enunciation, sturdy chest tones, a lyric yet substantial midrange and a high register that effortlessly moved from understated power to controlled hush. Her sharpened sense of melodic sculpture was especially impressive, nuanced to a degree rare among vocalists in or out of the new music sphere. Both piece and singer richly deserved the standing ovation received."
--from review by David Cleary in the Boston Herald.
"With great relief I can report that Ms. Hunt Lieberson performed on Friday looking radiant and sounding wonderful. . . .
". . . Every phrase of Mr. Lieberson's new work seems to have been crafted with his wife's beautifully earthy voice and keen expressive instincts in mind.
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"Ms. Hunt Lieberson might have been a little weak in her lower range, but it hardly mattered. One moment she would send a phrase soaring with plaintive intensity and dusky sound, and the next she would plead with her lover not to leave, sounding pale-toned, breathy and painfully human.
"When the final song ended in a whisper, she held the spell and did not break character. It seemed like half a minute before the audience intruded upon the silence and began a prolonged standing ovation for the performers and the composer."
--from review by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times.