KRITIKEN

DVD „PIQUE DAME“ / Paris Bastille Opera Board 

games in the madhouse

Piotr Tchaikovsky’s opera ‚Pique Dame‘ is rarely found on the repertoire of Europe’s opera houses, given that Tchaikovsky described the piece as his ‚masterpiece‘. Perhaps the language seems too foreign, too complex the plot, unsatisfactory also the claim of the Grand Opéra, who made of Puschkin’s novella a spectacular staging. So a stroke of luck, when a large opera house decides to stage this work adequately on stage, happened in 2005 at the Opéra National de Paris. The singer-song is almost exclusively Russian-speaking, for the musical direction is responsible Gennady Rozhdestvensky. A recording has now been released by TDK as a double DVD.

The ‚Russian counterpart to Carmen‘ deals with the story of NCO Hermann, who falls in love with the noble Lisa. Their fate, however, is determined by the secret of the old countess, a player who gave away her love to learn the secret of three profitable cards. In his dissatisfaction, Hermann asks to discover the mystery and throws not only his love, but also his own life into the balance – and loses. Lisa kills herself and he ends up in the madhouse.

The director Lev Dodin has again based the dramaturgy of the action, which is heavily influenced by mass scenes and elements of the Grand Opéra, closer to the more focused model of Pushkin. The story begins at the place where Hermann’s fate is fulfilled – in the madhouse where, as a prisoner, he sees the tragedy of his life playing out before his eyes over and over again. Dodin renounces the large sumptuous decor, shiny uniforms and magnificent pictures. Everything takes place in front of the clinic-green walls of the lunatic asylum, in which the acting persons feel visibly well. Hermann walks across the stage as an already drawn man in a dressing gown and pajamas, he performs the act of love with Lisa in the hospital bed. It’s not just about gambling addiction, but the illness of a whole society, chronic dissatisfaction and identity crises. The three cards, which are supposed to bring profit and luck, stand for the indomitable desire to play poker higher and higher, to win at any cost – and thereby forfeit life itself. The walls of the clinic surround ourselves as well; Dodin succeeds in abstracting the historical narrative into today’s world of life without giving in to self-referential directorial theater.

Musically, this recording is worthwhile in every respect. Vladimir Galouzine is an impressively illustrious Hermann. He shows the disease and the madness in all the drastic, at the same time he reflects the very different emotions of the music in a rich way. His tenor voice knows no rudeness, and the passages created with heroic impetus fit perfectly into the big picture. He is assisted by Hasmik Papian as Lisa , who masters the balancing act between vulnerability and sensual self-confidence musically. Irina Bogatcheva is the secret-witted Countess, with great stage presence and dignified aura in her voice.

In the orchestra pit, Gennady Rozhdestvensky directs a colorful Parisian orchestra, which, unfortunately, sometimes goes down a bit dynamically. Rozhdestvensky is at home in Russian music like no other, you can hear him in picturesque phrases, richly balanced orchestral sound and suspenseful composition of the score. Thus, this recording is a worthwhile enrichment in the discographic Tchaikovsky repertoire.

Four stars each in the categories:
„interpretation“, „repertoire value“ and „directing“

Paul Hübner, Klassik.com

CD „HOMMAGE À KOMITAS“

Second salvation of a significant
human heritage

The soprano Hasmik Papians, wistful and long-suffering, comes over to us as if from distant mountains. Father Komitas affects everyone, he did not create exclusive national music. To be sure, such famous songs as „Without shelter“ (Antuni), „Shouts, cranes“ (Kantsche, Krunk) and „Oh, dear deer“ (Ach, Maral djan) envision the fate of the Armenian people; in their mixture of Slavic profundity and oriental ornaments they are quite peculiar – but their message is as humane as it is universal. An important heritage of humanity! Komitas collected thousands of these peasant songs around 1900 shortly before their annihilation and edited them as choir or piano song. AUDITES Edition equals a second rescue.

Volker Tarnow (scores – No. 7), 1. 11. 2006

The songs of the Komitas

The Armenian priest Father Komitas (1869-1935) was an eminent musician. In 1915, fate miraculously saved him from the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. On April 24, 1915, the day on which the state-organized genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire began, Komitas was arrested and deported to Constantinople with several hundred other Armenian intellectuals. While nearly all the other deportees were murdered, Interior Minister Talaat Pasha ordered the return of eight prisoners, including Komitas. Presumably, the American ambassador Henry Morgenthau and the poet Emin Yurdakul had intervened for Komitas. But on his return, the composer found his valuable collection of songs devastated. What was preserved was in a chaotic state. He could no longer fully recover from the events he had to witness. Friends sent him to a Turkish military hospital the following year because of his deteriorating mental state. From there he was brought to Paris in 1919, where he was first admitted to a private clinic in Ville-Evrard. From 1922 until his death in 1935, he lived completely withdrawn in the psychiatric hospital of Villejuif.

Komitas, like Bartok and Kodaly, had collected folk music and traveled all over Armenia. He also composed many of his own songs (including texts by Goethe, Lenau, Storm and Uhland) and remained true to the style of the Armenian song. From what has been preserved in his collections, the Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian, a singer who has given us so many beautiful hours here in Luxembourg in so many memorable opera performances, and the Armenian pianist Vardan Mamikonian, 35 titles, have earned impressive program, the effect of which you can not resist unless you are prepared to pay attention to this beautiful music and the profound lyrics.

Rémy Franck (Pizzicato – 11/2006) 01.11.2006 
– Awarded the Supersonic Award! –

The Armenian Bartók

If it had not existed, perhaps the incomparable treasure of Armenian folk music would have been lost forever: Soghomon Soghomonian (1869-1935), known and still legendary among his compatriots under his priestly name Komitas. Similar to Bartók, with whom he is often compared, he collected countless folk tunes of his country and published them in the form of songs and choral works. In the clergy, he did not consistently come across love. This did not prevent him from making Armenia’s music known abroad, especially in Paris – and with great success: among his admirers was Debussy. During the genocide of the Armenians 1915-1917 he escaped the murder, but was deported.

Komitas is often considered too one-sided as a collector of folk music; At the same time, he was a composer of great individuality, who in his songs made the essentials of Armenian folklore into something very personal that has no role models in the music of the early 20th century. The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian presents 26 of these songs in a duo with the piano virtuoso Vardan Mamikonian in a very tasteful and emotional, but never sentimentalizing way; You can feel the deep bondage of the interpreters with the music of their compatriot. As an encore, there are nine previously largely unpublished songs on German texts that Komitas wrote during his studies in Berlin between 1896 and 1899 – sympathetic miniatures that complement the image of this composer, without adding essentials.

Thomas Schulz (Fono Forum – 12/2006)
01.12.2006

Armenian soul

‚Armenia will live as long as Armenian music lives.‘ And to keep them alive, even more, to lead them to themselves was considered by the Armenian singer, choral teacher and composer Komitas (1869-1935) as his highest duty. Born Soghomon Soghomonian in the Ottoman Empire, at the age of 24 he was ordained a priest in Edschmidzin (near Yerevan, capital of today’s Republic of Armenia), but musically showed clearly sophisticated tendencies. Throughout his life, his ministry should therefore move in the field of tension between spiritual and secular spheres. On the part of the church he saw himself violently hostile because of intensive efforts to the ‚primitive‘ Armenian folk song, which he gathered extensively and sat as piano-accompanied art songs, but was hardly allowed to publish. A scholarship enabled him to study extensively in Berlin, where, inspired by Verdi and Wagner, he dreamed of the (never finished) composition of an Armenian national opera. Despite great success, especially in Paris, he always returned to his homeland and to Edschmiadsin.

During repression and genocide, Komitas did so: in 1915 he was arrested along with hundreds of other intellectuals and sent to a deportation camp near Ankara for several weeks – an experience that changed him. His mental state deteriorated steadily, spending the last two decades of his life in various psychiatric institutions. The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian and her compatriot Vardan Mamikonian are now setting a memorable monument to this highly emotional and deeply moving life with ‚Hommage à Komitas‘. In addition to 26 Armenian songs, nine (only 2005 premiered by both artists) settings German poetry (including Goethe, Lenau and Uhland) were selected for the album.

Komitas‘ music, corresponding to the latently yearning, melancholy folk lyrics, is always in a state of suspended melancholy, broken only occasionally by light moments of emotional blossoming or humor. The intimate simplicity of the melody, the transparency of the often minimalist piano movement and the special coloring of Komitas‘ musical language make each song into a substantial miniature, a snapshot of the Armenian soul.

Andreas Schubert (www.klassik.com – 12/2006)
13.12.2006

Armenian and occidental

It is more than deserving that in July 2005 soprano Hasmik Papian produced an extensive CD recording on Komitas‘ songs. This edition is not only comprehensive, but unique. Apart from 26 Armenian songs, the latest album contains nine original German-language Komitas songs. The bridge between Armenian musical conception and Central European music history has succeeded excellently. Hasmik Papian sings every song sensitively. Their simple vocals are not dramatically exaggerated, but focus on the poetic peculiarity captured by Komitas and its composing. Just as concentrated acts Vardan Mamikonian, who feels completely in the melodic gesture of all songs, as a competent partner on the piano. In the ideal interplay of voice and piano, every Komitas song, whether German-language or Armenian, reveals an intimate familiarity of interpreters with poetry. Hasmik Papian and Vardan Mamikonian conceived and recorded their „Hommage à Komitas“ in the year of their 70th anniversary. It has become an important document. Its editorial value is already adequately secured by the competent interpretation, but is also enhanced by an extensive booklet with an informative essay by Claude Mutafian and multilingual – German, English, French and Armenian in the original font – printed poetry texts. And because not the interpreters, but the composer Komitas is in the foreground, his last vocal work, the 1915 „Children’s Prayer: Our Father“, has been recorded. Komitas relinquishes all support to a supporting piano part. For Hasmik Papian, that was probably a very special incentive: she sings this solo especially touching.

Ludolf Baucke, Armenian-German Correspondence No. 133/134 – year 2006, Issue 3 & 4

NORMA

Norma – an opera for divas

The role of Norma is more than risky for a dramatic soprano. Hasmik Papian jumped in the title role at the last moment for five performances for Susan Neves. Far from the hurricane that some may expect as Norma, she begins her first performance (with the famous aria „Casta diva“) piano . The singer goes from the piano to the forte without a break and finishes her great aria with some damned fair di voce… Throughout the performance, her legato is magnificent, her voice not only spectacular in her agility, but also of her own beauty. In addition, there is a consummate, sensitive and intelligent installation of the whole role, with which she is very familiar – she has sung them successfully on the most glamorous stages in the world. For this game, where one always wonders if she should be sung better by a Wagner heroine or by a bel canto singer, Hasmik Papian impresses with a very personal and dramatically effective style. As far as the stylistic and technical approach is concerned, she is closer to Joan Sutherland than Maria Callas; her Gallic priestess is halfway between the mother, possessed of child murder, who personified the callas, and the fragility,

Ms. Papian deserves a better frame than a miserable stage set and mediocre Comprimari. But everything rested on her interpretation; and this opera for a diva retains all charm when the singer’s interpretation succeeds – even when she is not surrounded by the best. But luck also came from the ditch. Under the musical direction of Jean-Yves Ossonce, equal to the greatest conductor, the Orchester National de Montpellier presents itself with consummate mastery. Ossonce avoids all the cliffs of the score and proves to be an accomplished connoisseur of Bellini’s orchestration. The conductor pays homage to the rubato in the necessary manner and impresses from the moment when the curtain rises, with a reading that storms all the summits.

Nicolas Pierchon at www.resmusica.com ,
June 26, 2007

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Spectacular „Norma“:
A towering, all-encompassing
portrayal of Hasmik Papian

Opera Colorado brought the Vienna-based soprano to Denver for this production, and it’s easy to see why. Hasmik Papian is well-versed in this game, which is considered one of the most difficult of the entire opera repertoire; she impresses in every way and brings Norma’s strength, charisma and vulnerability across.

Above all, she manages to skilfully master the infinite vocal challenges of this role-the jumps over two octaves, the diabolically difficult ornamentation, and the rapidly changing dynamics-with almost perfect articulation and breathtaking phrasing; every sound is in place. It seems to have an unlimited reservoir of vocal colouration; she can be powerful and seductive. Their singing is always beautiful, the tension never subsides – despite the immense effort that this role requires.

Denver Post, 21. 2. 2006

The kind of vocal art that we can
only dream of!

Hasmik Papian proved that the advance laurels for her Norma were at most one: understated. The Armenian soprano continued to rise through the impossible requirements of the role, creating an unexpectedly human characteristic of the role. Her „Casta Diva“ was floating, captivating and wonderfully centered, with an unforgettable diminuendo). Equal to her, Irina Mishura gave Adalgisa a powerful voice, elegant grace and grace. Her duets with Papian took the open-air lovers‘ breath away.

Rocky Mountain News, Denver (Colorado), 18.2.2006

Criticism Norma.jpg

Make room, Maria!

Half a century ago Maria Callas was the queen of bel canto, turned that ornate style of singing singing in vocal acrobatics. But ended their reign since Hasmik Papian, the role of Norma – Vincenzo Bellini’s ancient Druid high priestess, who had previously been the prime role of Callas – appropriated.

The throne now belongs clearly the Papian, which debuted on Thursday, 16 February 2006 at Opera Colorado, where it was first performed „Norma“, Bellini’s vocal extravaganza from 1831. The Armenian super soprano had the audience in the packed Ellie Caulkins Opera House to be holding its breath – out of respect for the power and the ease with which they Bellini’s challenge proved equal.

In a sense, Papian embodies two types of voices in one: on the one hand, a dramatic soprano with a full, full-bodied voice and the guts to carry her through the full scale of Norma’s tortured emotionality; at the same time, it can compete with the best lyrical voices that exist today in terms of tenderness and fluency. „Norma“ is written in long melodic phrases, and Hasmik Papian knows how to give them shape, color and endurance. Watching it is like singing a masterclass.

Russian-born mezzo-soprano Irina Mishura as Adalgisa, Papian is an equal partner in the duets that form the heart of the score. This is the best teamwork, and it brings a dramatic force into the action that is not immediately suspected in Bellini’s melodic simplicity. The two sweep aside those jokers who translate „Belcanto“ with „nonsensical libretto“. Papian and Mishura move from one emotional extreme to the next, exposing the vulnerability that makes the story compelling – and touching.

„Norma“ is a triumph for Opera Colorado; the few remaining cards should be sold out soon.

Daily Camera, Boulder (Colorado), 18.2.2006

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A great evening for „Norma“ lovers

An ideal cast of the title role and unusually good ensemble performance made October 12 a great evening for „Norma“ lovers. David DiChiera, director of the Michigan Opera, had released the production of Bellini’s masterpiece in 1989 (a light year for opera relations); the title role was sung by no one less than Joan Sutherland. He then stored stage sets and costumes in the hope that someday an equal occupation would be found for them – and so it was in this resumption.

Norma has become a parade role for the Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian. She sings with exceptionally warm tone – a golden sound of opulent sweetness – and remarkably balanced Tessitur. She has the size, the stylistic grace and the sense of the line, which are the ideal vocal profile for the role of Druidenpriesterin, as evidenced by an ethereal „Casta Diva“. Hasmik Papian gave the numerous ensemble scenes with Norma safe vocal balance, without trying to push it into the foreground – a very rare quality among the divas who sing this difficult role.

Irina Mishura was an ideal partner for Papian; the duet „Mira, O Norma“ with the Cabaletta „Sì, fino all’ore estreme“ were highlights of the evening.

John Koopman, Opera News,
New York City, December 2005

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„Norma“ at the Montreal Opera

The Opéra de Montréal had been secured with the occupation of the Armenian Hasmik Papian, who has caused a sensation internationally as Norma since 1999; the soprano fulfilled her long-wind expectations, clinging to the vocal lines in Bellini’s score with a minimum of refractions and sublime dynamic nuances. Less fierce than Callas, less stratospheric than Sutherland, her art – and her conception, by the way – approaches Montserrat Caballé, a succession that is also suggested by some sublime decrescendi on long-end high notes.

Le Devoir, Montréal, 20. 9. 2005

A voice
shaped like the golden sickle

Zum Saisonauftakt hat Norma, die Oberpriesterin der Druiden, uns entzückt, uns gefesselt und uns bewegt. Die armenische Sopranistin Hasmik Papian muß man sich merken. Die Stimme hat den für die Partie nötigen Umfang; darüber hinaus verfügt die Künstlerin über große Gaben als Tragödin. Allen Opernfans ist die Ikone Maria Callas präsent; aber das was wir am Samstagabend in Montreal gehört haben, ist ganz auf der Höhe der großen Sängerinnen, die es mit dieser schwierigen Rolle aufgenommen haben.

www.resmusica.com, September 2005

Norma hat den ganzen Saal verzaubert

Hasmik Papian als Norma hat eine sublime Leistung erzielt und damit von ihrem ersten Auftritt an die Bravos der Zuschauer geerntet. Sie hat den ganzen Saal verzaubert und mit ihrer Darbietung deutlich gemacht, über welche Meisterschaft sie nach so vielen Jahren in dieser Partie verfügt. Die Rolle ist als eine der schwersten Sopranpartien bekannt, doch ich habe nicht gezögert, mich den Ovationen des Publikums anzuschließen. Beim Zuhören habe ich mehrfach Gänsehaut bekommen – zunächst durch die Stimme, aber auch durch das schauspielerische Talent, mit dem sie in ihren Bann schlägt. Es ist ihr gelungen, die Zerrissenheit der Figur spürbar werden zu lassen. In einem Interview mit Pierre Vachon sagt die Sängerin: „Für mich ist Norma eine moderne Frau; sie ist wie alle Frauen heute.“ Und genau so spielt sie die Rolle auch und begeistert das Publikum damit zu ungewöhnlichem Beifall.

Le Délit, Montréal, 20. 9. 2005

Cheering approval

On Saturday evening, the Opéra de Montréal won the day. Anyone who has seen a performance of „Norma“ in the era of Maria Callas knows that the audience is sitting on needles until the Druid High Priest has finished her aria „Casta Diva“ in the first act. Will she bring the right, shimmering intensity and the power to climb the heights with ease? If so, then she will be able to handle the evening. If not, then – yes, then another kind of tragedy begins. When the final chords of Norma’s Invocation of the Moon in the Salle Wilfred Pelletier had died away, the audience expressed its cheering approval of Hasmik Papian as Norma.

For the Armenian soprano the role is not new. In fact, she has spent much of the past decade honing her role throughout Europe, and increasingly for some time on this side of the Atlantic. Their interpretation of the powerful and tormented spiritual leader of the oppressed Gauls is perfect. She has a strong voice of rich texture and she is an actress. With a less good cast, the second act may degenerate into a series of poorly designed melodramas. Norma’s inner struggle to save her children from slavery by murder or to let her live and leave her to an uncertain fate was wholly credible.

The Globe and Mail, Toronto, September 2005

The Montreal opera is
lavish and powerful

L’Opéra de Montréal opened on Saturday brought a successful „Norma“ for the premiere. The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian showed a powerful presence in the title role, and music director Bernard Labadie conducted a sensitive and dramatic performance.

On her debut at the Montreal Opera, Papian lyrically sounded her rich, terribly beautiful soprano, clinging to each vocal line with sensitivity and finesse. She was wonderfully convincing.

Times Argus, Barre (Vermont, USA),
September 2005

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„Norma“: Nice to die for

Vincenzo Bellini’s dramatic opera „Norma“ is the rubicon of every singer who wants to be a diva. Whatever the soprano has achieved before, when she masters this extremely heavy title role – considered by many to be Hamlet’s counterpart – she instantly enters the airy regions of a star, equal to a Maria Callas or a Joan Sutherland. Most critics and musicologists consider the role of Brünhilde in Wagner’s Ring Tetralogy to be even more challenging for a soprano.

The Washington Opera was smart enough and fortunate to hire the outstanding Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian as Bellini’s passionate Druid priestess for the first production of „Norma“ ever at this house, which premiered this week at DAR Constitution Hall. The quality of her performance at the premiere was dying and inspired the entire cast to new personal highs in musical skill.

Hasmik Papian’s vocal range is amazing, and she must be, especially in „Casta Diva“ („Chaste Goddess“), Norma’s luminous performance aria. With technically skilled legato and instinctive sensitivity to the acoustics of Washington Opera’s retreat, Hasmik Papian effortlessly glides from forte to pianissimo in her almost unbearably beautiful rendition of that prayer to the goddess of the moon.

Staggering between raging and silent prayer for the rest of the opera, Norma is a role that goes through all the musical and emotional ups and downs. Hasmik Papian’s crystal-clear voice guided the audience through every nuance with an apparent ease that made them forget the hard work required. It was a breathtaking, heartbreaking, unforgettable performance.

HIGHEST EVALUATION: FOUR STARS

TL Ponick, The Washington Times,
September 2003

The Washington Opera digs out pure gold
with Hasmik Papian in the title role of ‚Norma‘

At just the right moment, the moon rose above the Constitution Hall on Tuesday, as the premiere audience flocked to the performance of an opera famous for its exquisite prayer for the „chaste“ and „unveiled“ goddess of the moon. The sight of this silver moon should prove to be a good omen.

Bellini’s „Norma“, one of the masterpieces of the Italian style known as bel canto, is known to be difficult to stage, largely because of the technical and interpretive demands it places on the soprano in the title role. For that matter, every singer in the cast must be able to record it with Bellini’s eloquent, chopinean melodies, and must also find a way to fulfill the music as well as the drama with emotional truthfulness. The new staging of the Washington Opera succeeds admirably, at least where it matters.

Without further ado, Norma rises and falls with the power of Norma. As a Druid priestess who forgets her sacred oaths and gets involved with a Roman occupier, Norma represents the center of the opera beyond good and evil. She must convince herself that she is a decent woman deep in heart and noble in the end. We can only believe in them if their voice controls us as firmly as Bellini’s vocal lines. And if she manages to win us over right away with her prayer to the moon, „Casta diva“.

Many a soprano is so overwhelmed by the long, tense phrases of this aria that she would have wished the game would have been filled with another „chaste diva“. But Washington Opera dug up pure gold with Hasmik Papian. From the first notes of her performance scene on Tuesday, the singer proved her claim to the role and the score.

That was really accomplished skill. Intensified by a dark glowing low register, her voice caught the attention, while her phrasing art captured the beauty of music and drama alike.

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun,
September 2003

A voice that makes Bellini’s „Norma“
sound

Bellini’s „Norma“ is one of the most difficult to fill operas. It is a monumental masterpiece of the 19th century and the demand for it is great. But the title role is so monumentally heavy and risky that there are seldom enough singers who can handle it. Sopranos who fail in this role, such as Jane Eaglen some time ago in catastrophic fashion at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, are not easily redeemed by this curse. The game is considered sacred, and if anyone makes minced meat, it remains, like Hamlet, in the sin register as a misstep.

The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian, who sang the Norma on Tuesday evening in a new production at the Washington Opera (as a premiere on this opera), is guilty of no offense against the game. The necessary talents, which arise only from good genes and the gifts of nature, have them in abundance. The Papian can sing Norma, a song that Bellini himself once called „encyclopaedic“ – in the way that matters most: her voice is the right size, has good clarity, shiny polished lush Fluency and impressive expressiveness … her singing is fabulous. The coloraturas were sung exactly and with the right intonation, and well interwoven with the larger-scale lyrical tessitum of the roll.

The scenes with Norma and Adalgisa, a mezzo-soprano, are among the most impressive and sensually touching of the opera; as if you are moving your hand along a perfectly turned railing as you descend a dark Gothic staircase. Hasmik Papian and mezzo-soprano Irina Mishura made these moments magical by adding their voices to equal ease, perfectly timed and balanced.

It was all the more impressive given the added difficulty in the Washington Opera’s alternate quarters until the reopening of the Kennedy Center next spring, the Constitution Hall. The orchestra, headed by Emmanuel Villaume, sits behind the singers; In order to keep in touch with the conductor, they rely on monitors around the stage.

The one advantage of such an arrangement is the proximity of the singers. When the music is so good and the drama so close to the audience, almost nothing can go wrong. The new „Norma“ of the Washington Opera is highly recommended for opera beginners and connoisseurs alike.

Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post,
September 2003

Pure magic

Vincenzo Bellini’s „Norma“ will be appearing at the Washington Opera for the first time this season. And despite the adversity of the DAR Constitution Hall, the staging brilliantly manages to stage the strange spiritual world of the Druids, where we experience the emotional exposure of their High Priestess, Norma.

Almost everything has succeeded here, but the success of the production is attributed to the Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian, who sings Norma. With her incredibly intense, yet subtly superior performance, Papian carries the entire opera from the moment she sets foot on the stage.

‚Norma‘ is known as the bel canto opera, a term that essentially describes the way the singer proceeds from one tone to the next. In the bel canto, the ideal is to create the feeling of a constant gliding, by the phrases and moods of delicacy are carried. Hasmik Papian is a sublime expert in this art, singing with velvety softness and embracing the sounds with her voice. It’s pure magic. Their rendition of the famous aria „Casta Diva“ in the first act was brilliant and at the same time full of underlying emotional gloom.

Hasmik Papian’s priestess is a phenomenon. You can feel the young, strong-willed girl in Norma, who instead of the radiance of a young beauty now has the magical attraction of a mentally and morally self-determined adult woman. It makes us experience the grandeur of the struggle with its emotions when its eyes pierce us like laser beams: in a moment like glowing coals of revenge, in the next soft and vulnerable.

This staging is one of the best that the Washington Opera has released in a series of seasons. In order not to miss, everything is allowed: go begging, take out a loan or become a thief.

Kate Wingfield, MetroWeekly, Washington DC,
September 2003

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Controversy over Norma DVD

Hasmik Papian hat 2003 mit viel Idealismus und großem Enthusiasmus in einer Verfilmung der Bellini-Oper „Norma“ in ihrem Heimatland Armenien die Hauptrolle übernommen. Gedreht wurde an spektakulären Schauplätzen; als Kulisse für das Drama zwischen Druiden und Römern im antiken Gallien dienten u. a. der griechische Tempel von Garni aus dem 1. Jh., die Ruinen der Palastkirche von Zwartnotz und das Höhlenkloster Geghard. Der Film von Boris Airapetian wurde 2005 erstmals im Kino gezeigt (u. a. in Russland und in Eriwan). Die Sopranistin hatte jedoch keine Gelegenheit, ihn zu sehen.

Umso größer war ihr Entsetzen, als ihr eine DVD-Veröffentlichung des „Norma“-Filmes auf dem renommierten Label Decca der Firma Universal in die Hände fiel und sie feststellen musste, dass im 2. Akt weite Teile der DVD mit Aufnahmen anderer Sängerinnen unterlegt waren. Die Künstlerin sah sich gezwungen, gegen die Verbreitung dieser DVD einzuschreiten und stellte vor dem Münchener Landgericht den Antrag auf einstweilige Verfügung. Das Gericht teilte im wesentlichen ihren Standpunkt; es kam jedoch zu einer außergerichtlichen Einigung mit Universal Deutschland. Die DVD wurde inzwischen aus dem Handel genommen und wird eingestampft. Der Vorfall fand ein unerwartetes Medienecho; hier Auszüge aus den Ausgaben zweier Zeitungen vom 18. Januar 2007.

Süddeutsche Zeitung Abendzeitung Munich

The „Norma“ DVD with Hasmik Papian , which was published by opus arte , is also on the market in the title role, based on the Amsterdam staging of Guy Joosten.

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Gripping „Norma“ in Amsterdam

Nelly Miriciou did not sing; In their place the Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian jumped in. And what an idea she has given us! She has all the sounds in this incredibly difficult game, and she sang it boldly and convincingly. She was able to send out brilliant coloraturas where it was needed, but she was equally capable of great delicacy and subtlety. Her balanced legato in the scene, when she is about to kill her children, was captivating. This was a born Norma: an idea for the treasure chest.

Ian Graham, www.ballet.co.uk, March 2005

Ian Graham nominated Hasmik for his Amsterdam Norma as „Female Newcomer of the Year“ in his „My Opera Highlights for 2005“. 

A modern diva

The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian, who stepped in for Nelly Miricioiu and is at home on all the major stages in the world, succeeded in achieving a very satisfactory Norma. The voice, whose timbre is sometimes velvety soft, sometimes of beautiful metal, has the necessary flexibility and length of the breath. By giving the role a proud figure, the artist expresses the various feelings that the title-heroine goes through.

Luxemburger Wort, March 2005

Sopraan Papian derde in titelrol opera Norma

Papian verving in Rotterdam al eens de zieke Nelly Miricioiu in a concertante Norma, dus hair coming optredens, dead Miricioiu weer beter is, staan ​​in a traditié. Papian publishes a grander stem-and-branch-engraving Aliberti in the tweede helft van de première, maandagavond. Papian kent de al vele paint zongen rol en kan in the omstreden enscenering van Guy Joosten na hair entree as de diva Maria Callas ook na wat snelle instructies al perfect acteren. Ze bouwt hair Norma capabel op lyric maar ook furieuze passages, beweeglijker en spirited ogend dan Miricioiu. In de vinig stijlvolle, luidkeelse voorstelling is ze verreweg de best.

NRC Handelsblatt, March 2005

Infortunios bellinianos

Hace treinta años, la primera producción de Norma despues la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue un los de los mayores desastres de la historia de la Ópera de los Paises Bajos antes de la inauguración del Muziektheater … incluso Cristina Deutekom, por mucho que lo intentara, no fue capaz de salvar aquella tarde.

El 7 de marzo 2005, el estreno de norma en la nueva época de la Ópera de los Países Bajos fue quizás el mayor desastre que ésta haya sufrido nunca. Esta vez, como protagonista Nelly Miricioiu probablemente tuviera la peor tar tu su vida profesional. Afortunadamente, Lucia Aliberti, que había cantado los últimos ensayos entre bastidores, cantó el segundo acto pero fue obvio que no estaba cómoda con un papel que había interpretado muy pocas veces en el escenario.

Seis días más tarde las cosas habían mejorado, ya que en la segunda representatción la armenia Hasmik Papian sustituyó a las otras dos, y cantó con una voz tranquila, seguridad musical y una convicción dramática que parecía contradecir el hecho de que hubiera tenido unos cuantos días para ensayar.

Scherzo, April 2005

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Jubel für Papian

Als Norma gab Hasmik ihr Debüt an der Wiener Volksoper. Das Lob für Hasmik Papian war einhellig. Mühelos meisterte sie die dreigestrichenen C’s, schattierte selbst bei hohen Tönen noch dynamisch. Auch die lyrischen Passagen besaßen jenes Maß an Belcanto-Qualität, das für diese Musik unabdingbar ist.

Heilbronner Stimme, 1998

Die beste aller möglichen Normas

A more than happy surprise. The Armenian Hasmik Papian proved to be an almost perfect interpreter of the title role. Their coolly timbred soprano possesses sufficient elasticity, repeatedly finds the right plasticity of the sound in passages requiring so much expression, loses the variability of tone shading only in the uppermost layers and only has to produce pressure in the extreme depths. The voice was therefore impressive in the quietly flowing „Casta Diva“ -Arie.

The Opera Glass, Hamburg, 1998

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Wonderful Hasmik Papian

It was a perennial blessing to listen to this wonderful artist, who plays the role less as a tragedian – like Callas – but prefers to remain true to her own temperament, which, above all, plays on the elegiac. A pliant voice, immaterial high notes, a perfect vocal line, an infinite breath, a timbre that moves us unceasingly: all this has given us an unforgettable „Casta Diva“. The 8,350 spectators caught their breath to better enjoy the perfection of this aria, which begins almost like a murmur and allows the superb voice of Hasmik Papian to gradually take off with total ease and complete stylistic confidence. She has made us happy from beginning to end with her pure, almost immaterial beauty.

Le Figaro, Paris, August 1999 

ERNANI

Finally a great Verdi soprano again

Concert performance of Verdi’s ERNANI at the Flemish Opera Antwerp: the three main actors were first-rate. With Hasmik Papian (Elvira) finally enters again a great Verdi soprano the stage – stylistically perfect she dominated the whole spectrum of pianissimo to fortissimo and also has enough volume.

Orpheus, Hamburg, 1998

NABUCCO

Happy new replacement

The resumption of the Dresden state opera production of Peter Konwitschny in the Semperoper had a happy hand: Paolo Gavanelli (Nabucco) and Hasmik Papian (Abigaille) celebrated, beside the Staatskapelle and the choir, the biggest triumphs … With southern passion Hasmik Papian, which seemed to live out the strong emotions with vocal artistry and inner tension, but also managed to make the wounded, suffering soul believable with adequate means.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, January 7, 2005 

Emotions and effects

The Semper Opera shows the resumption of Verdi’s „Nabucco“ … Powerfully eccentric, Hasmik gives Papian Nabucco’s counterpart Abigaille. The Armenian singer, to experience in this game between Milan and Tokyo, is for the first time in Dresden.

Saxon newspaper, January 7, 2005

A sound festival in Dresden

In a repertoire performance, splendor and blessing spread out in the Saxon State Opera. Since 1996, Verdi’s ‚Nabucco‘ is on the program in a production by Peter Konwitschny . Konwitschny’s modernization of the work was controversial at the time. Still unsettled his updated view of the conflicts of the people of Israel with the Babylonierkönig belonging. Ultimately, however, the provoked contradiction is productive, as it leads to a political, religiously muddled mixed mood, through which also personal and erotic strands of relationships wind, and the resulting conflicts, whose deadly insolubility affects every reasonably sensitive contemporary.

Die 29. Aufführung seit der Premiere wird ein großer Abend. Marko Letonja tritt zum ersten Mal ans Pult der Staatskapelle und es beginnt zu knistern. Da geht ein Dirigent ans Werk, der weiß was er will. Vorzüglich das Zusammenspiel mit dem fulminanten Chor in den mitreißenden Ensembleszenen, und dann, tausendmal gehört, ‘Va pensiero, sull´ ali dorate’ – der Gefangenenchor – unsentimental doch berührend mit einem Piano des ganzen Chores am Ende das erschauern lässt.

Die enorm fordernden Hauptpartien sind glänzend besetzt. Paolo Gavanelli als Nabucco überzeugt durch die Kraft seiner Gestaltung. Wookyung Kim als Ismaele ist erneut das Tenorglück der Semperoper. Voller Noblesse und hoheitsvoller, priesterlicher Unnahbarkeit singt und spielt Georg Zeppenfeld the Zaccaria. And the wonderful ladies! Hasmik Papian as Abigaille knows no fear of the abysses of this madness. She takes us on a journey into her torn soul landscape with a number of beautiful and just as much desperately desperate tones owed to the primer. Christa Mayer gives the Fenena very warm, fragile sounds. The women convince with temperament and passion, above all vocal presence in all situations. Verdi and Dresden, that’s a tradition. It is, however, such a performance proves it, not a glancing review, it is a fact. As for the future of the Italians in Dresden, the foundation is laid for the most beautiful visions.

Boris Michael Gruhl, 10.12.2006 
www.klassik.com

Verdi’s „Nabucco“ in the Grenoble Cargo:
Heroic!

Grenoble is currently in a state of grace. „If only he was permanent,“ said Laetitia Bonaparte. The beautiful Hasmik Papian in the role of Abigaille is in no way inferior to her older empresses Tebaldi or Callas. Papian has a powerful dramatic soprano on a large scale; it has given us moving moments that were entirely appropriate to Abigailes passion for the throne and for Ishmael.

Affiches de Grenoble

LA TRAVIATA

The star of the evening

The star of the evening was the soprano Hasmik Papian. She sang the violetta with lyrical grace. From the tingling beginning of a party late at night to her tragic death, Papian filled the Music Hall with a warm, golden tone and a seemingly effortless technique. Her acting skills gave the character the touching sensuality of physical fragility and emotional vulnerability.

The Cincinnati Post, August 2003

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Beautiful dying

The charming stage death of Verdi’s „La Traviata“ was wonderfully dying on Sunday evening at the Bonn Opera House by the young soprano Hasmik Papian. With a clarity, a sparkling, never strained voice and a fragility rarely seen on stage, even by big names: girlish, desperate, touching. Stormy applause for Hasmik Papian as „La Traviata“. If you do not want to see Violetta die, it’s your own fault.

Bonner Rundschau, 1994

An Armenian substitute
dominated sovereignly as Violetta

She has a soprano of remarkable purity, which she masters technically and belcantistically. In her lecture, which strictly avoids veristic effects, the clear vocal line dominates. As the title heroine, Hasmik Papian dominated the revival at the Graz Opera House. The Armenian, who graduated last year from a number of important Western European debuts (in Stuttgart, Hamburg and Vienna), replaced her sick Grazer colleague.

Kleine Zeitung, Graz, 1995

The complexity of a role

With the Armenian Hasmik Papian was a very sensitive, in their movements naturally acting singer and actress at work. Outfitted with a very soft timbre, Papian was able to present Violetta on several levels, presenting the complexity of this role, leaving all their partners in the rain.

New newspaper, Graz, 1995

DON CARLO

Selected moments with Elisabetta
at the Festival Chorégies d’Orange

What a devil this Verdi was sometimes when he reverses the vocal typology (and the mezzo has to sing high notes while the soprano has to go down into the depths). Only Hasmik Papian is really in their place. She embodies an indefatigably lonely Elisabeth, who, after she has put on the queen’s robe against her will, is more and more broken in her rich personality, as she is not allowed as a queen for the Infant.

The moment in which we were given an insight into their inner self in the last act („Tu che le vanità“) was a pure moment of the exalted one. He can be measured with the performance in the recital of Dame Gwyneth Jones (Classic Limited Edition), on the zenith of her vocal art (1968)!

www.resmusica.com , 2001 

AIDA

The biggest success of the season

Three sold out performances of „Aida“ with consistently strong cast. Especially the first Amneris of Denyce Graves was eagerly awaited. But the greatest success of the season was the Aida of Hasmik Papian. She was vocally confident and wrote each note into the air, drowning out the sounds of the triumph scene and lay flat on her back for the delicate sung final duet.

Opera, London, 2003

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Metropolitan Opera: excellent Aida

Fortunately, the role was taken over by Hasmik Papian, who sang excellently, performed the role convincingly, and (which is unusual in the Met these days) even looked like an Ethiopian slave by appearance. She sang a heartfelt „Ritorna vincitor“ and sank down on her knees for „Numi pietà,“ the final section of the aria, when Aida desperately begs the gods for advice and compassion. Hasmik Papian drove safely through the difficult, exposed passages, expertly accompanied by Placido Domingo in the ditch. She let out a lithe, warm tone that floated down to the farthest corner of the room and flooded to swell majestically in the great climbs.

newyork.citysearch.com , 1999

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„Aida“ – really „celeste“

These are those incomparable evenings, if that’s the case. With her Aida, Hasmik gave Papian a fabulous debut. Her voice is soothing and blooming upwards. With long breath she succeeds in all the difficult phrases and also a fragrant pp. – Basically, one wonders: why only now? The much-vowed Volksoper-Norma Hasmik Papian took a long time for my taste, until it came from the belt to the ring. Dignified Papian would have been earlier and more frequent appearances. Also in her second „Aida“ performance, Hasmik Papian proved that her well-placed soprano is capable of dynamically filling not only the smaller House of the Volksoper, but also the State Opera Room. It shows tasteful phrasing in the Nile aria – the technical test of every Ethiopian princess – has power long breath and has personal, recognizable timbre. Who offers more?

The new Merker, Vienna, 1999

Radiant soprano

The orchestra of the Vienna State Opera under the direction of Marcello Viotti was again able to develop its strength in the Aida performance on November 28, 1999, which explored the entire musical greatness of the Verdi composition. The Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian shone with her brilliant soprano as Aida . With her, the opera visitor experienced all the turmoil in the soul and heart of the Ethiopian princess between the Egyptian general Radames and her fatherland. The young singer is a master of the art of phrasing, as was evident in her Nile aria.

opera.medianotes.com , 1999

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Leipzig: Strong and unanimous
the jubilation for the ensemble

The performance of Hasmik Papian is brilliant. There is the expressive outburst, the firm height, the fine piano, everything effortlessly connected, a beguiling song of dreamlike security.

Orpheus, May-June 2004

The true star on the Nile

Leipzig: very high vocal and musical level at „Aida“ at the Opera House. It was really fortunate that the title role could be played by the singer Hasmik Papian, who had to step in just a few days before the premiere for the originally planned, indisposed cast. This outstanding dramatic soprano, with impressive volume and great vocal power, dominated the entire vocal ensemble and became a true star on the Nile. Nonetheless, the Armenian singer did not lack great vocal sophistication and great sophistication in the piano passages, counterbalancing the moments of dramatic intensity.

L’Opera (Milan), April 2004

These eyes conquer Leipzig now!

Picture newspaper, April 2004

The famous Nile scene radiates unusual intensity. On the evening of the premiere, especially the full-sounding, expressive voice of Hasmik Papian contributed to this.

Central German newspaper, April 2004

Gold in the throat

Vocally and technically beyond any doubt: Papian still masters them, these wide, content-laden legato bows of bel canto. Her timbre is breathtaking, her power almost scary – and she shows that she can sing very softly at the top.

Leipziger Volkszeitung, April 2004

Musically a festival, April 2004

Magnificently sung: the Armenian soprano with an incredibly powerful voice, which in boundless arches only takes the audience’s breath away.

Saxon newspaper, April 2004

Hasmik Papian in der Titelpartie findet die rechte Dosis gefühliger Zerrissenheit. Vielleicht ist sie diejenige, für die sich ein Ausflug in die Leipziger Oper lohnen könnte.

Freie Presse, April 2004

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Vredenburg te klein voor klankgeweld Aida

Kon het daker maaraf, dachtikgisteravond tijdens Valery Gergjevs concertante uitvoering van Verdi’s opera Aida in muziekcentrum Vredenburg. Gergjev joeg de solisten bij wijlen dwars door dit klanggeweld van koor en orkest. Het waren vooral mezzosopraan Olga Borodina (Amneris) en sopraan Hasmik Papian (Aida) die deze gevoelige momenten op fenomenale wijze ten gehore brachten. Hoe schitterend zacht je in Vredenburg kunt zingen liet Papian meermalen overtuigend horen.

Utrecht Newspaper,1999

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Riesengroße Karriere

Als Aida tritt heute – leider nur ein einziges Mal – die sensationelle Hasmik Papian aus Wien auf. Wir haben diese herausragende Sängerin und sehr schöne Frau gestern in der Probe gehört und können ganz bestimmt bescheinigen, daß die riesengroße Karriere, die ihr nach ihrer Zeit am Großen Theater in Warschau zuteil wurde, völlig verdient ist.

Polnischer Rundfunk, Warschau

OTELLO

Wie die Scotto zu ihrer besten Zeit

Überwältigend die Stimme der Armenierin Hasmik Papian als Desdemona, mit gewinnender Ausstrah-lung, vokal reich an Körper, Dichte und Süße wie ein echter soprano spinto, mit der Phrasierung und den „piano“-Endungen eines lyrischen Sopran. In der letzten Szene erinnerte sie mich an die Scotto in ihren besten Zeiten.

ABC, Sevilla, Oktober 2002

… brilliant Hasmik Papian, with a voice of great density and dark tint, with a great dramatic expressiveness …

Diario de Sevilla, October 2002

Simply sensational

Hasmik Papian’s Desdemona seemed rather cool in the role drawing, an interpretation that blended very well with her big voice – she sang Norma and Nabucco – and her dark timbre. Very precise in the duets with Otello, she reached her climax during the concertato in the finale of the third act, „A terra, si, nel livido fango“ where she was simply sensational ; the role seemed almost too small in the very last scene of „Ave Maria“, which she sang with passion.

El Mundo, Seville 

VERDI REQUIEM

Bewunderswerte Sopranistin Hasmik Papian

Großer Abend in der Oper von Nizza! Ein leidenschaftlicher und Leidenschaften erregender Abend, ganz in der Tradition der Kunst der Oper! Das „Requiem“ von Verdi, dieses kraftvolle Werk, grandios und monumental, wurde vom Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, dem Opernchor und einem renommierten Solisten-Quartett, das von der bewundernswerten Sopranistin Hasmik Papian dominiert wurde. Schon für sie allein hätte sich der Besuch der Aufführung gelohnt. Ihr zur Seite Ildico Komlosi, Neil Shicoff und Julian Konstantinov.

Nice Matin, 2000

TOSCA

Tosca sonnt sich im Jubel

The musical indulgence continues. In the Essen Aalto Theater, cheers, whistles of enthusiasm and bravos accompanied the resumption of „Tosca“. The exuberant applause was a cast of cosmopolitan level. Hasmik Papian, who performs in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Vienna and La Scala in Milan, sang the title role with a passion for lush melodies and fervent passion. Her brilliant, confident soprano, clear and relaxed even in the heights, harmonized ideally with the powerful heroic tenor of Janez Lotric.

West German Allgemeine Zeitung, Essen

With a different sign

Hasmik Papian and not, as originally announced, Gabriele Schnaut sang the first Tosca of this year in Haus am Ring. Hasmik Papian, the young Armenian soprano, was the title role of this Puccini, not with a dramatic attitude but with an ever increasing passion. And because she also gave a vocally almost flawless performance, she finally received the most applause of the evening.

The press, Vienna

LA BOHÈME

New voices for „La Bohème“

Bei der Vorstellung „La Bohème“ an der Washingtoner Oper am Donnerstag gab es zwei Debüts. Die Hauptrollen wurden von Hasmik Papian (Mimì) und Antonio Lotti (Rodolfo) gesungen. Ihre abgerundeten Töne in der hohen Lage und eine ausgezeichnete Ebenheit über den gesamten Stimmumfang treten musikalische Qualitäten zur Seite, die die Sopranistin weit bringen werden. Die beste Beziehung entwickelte sich nicht zwischen den Geliebten auf der Bühne, sondern zwischen dem Dirigenten Daniel Oren und Hasmik Papian. Oren hielt die Pause in der berühmten Arie „Mi chiamano Mimì“ mit sicherem Theaterinstinkt gerade lang genug aus – eine unwirkliche Ewigkeit lang, so daß der Herzschlag aussetzt und man den Atem anhält, bis er das Publikum mit dem Abschlag wieder losläßt und ganz leise in den B-Dur-Akkord übergeht. Mit Hasmik Papians süßem Pianissimo, so hinreissend gesungen, war das ein Moment, der einem eine Gänsehaut einjagte.

The Washington Post, 1996 

LA RONDINE

From the shudder of beauty

New Year’s Eve performance at the Bonn Opera: Hasmik Papian made her debut as Magda in Puccini’s „La Rondine“. For the soprano of Armenian origin, the role became – as already „Traviata“ or „Donna Anna“ – a great triumph. No wonder that the Bonn ensemble member sings at the Scala soon … Soon, the swallow (Rondine) swung open, opened her voice and – what a beautiful terror! – kidnapped with her lucid-powerful soprano in other spheres. Shudder of beauty.

Bonner Generalanzeiger, 1997 

SUOR ANGELICA 

Splendid

Not the usual coupling – but this rather original combination was no less convincing. Both operas („Suor Angelica“ and „Pagliacci“) were heavily cast; far larger houses could be proud of such a cast. Hasmik Papian, with her great spinto voice, was a moving Angelica, though less peaceful than usual. In the confrontation with her aunt, she became a princess again. In her aria she let wonderfully full tones flow and ended up with the soft high A that dictates the score: gorgeous.

Opera Today, April 2005

„Suor Angelica“ at the Liège Opera:
Refined cast

Hasmik Papian is an exquisite Angelica; Balanced in all registers, it combines natural grace and dramatic credibility. Her „Senza mamma“ is staggering.

La Libre Bélgique, April 2005

A beautiful voice

This opera – with simple action – with which Puccini reached the pinnacle of his art, is sung by the Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian in the title role; she is in demand at the most important opera stages in the world. A beautiful voice, expressive, moving.

Cinemaniacs, April 2005

Great elemental passions

The interpretation of the soprano Hasmik Papian had all the advantages to convince: warmth, beauty of the timbre, fineness in the nuances and power of expression. Fiorenza Cossotto, the great legend, embodied the Princess Aunt by her side.

Le Soir, April 2005

PIKOVAJA DAMA (PIQUE LADY)

An exciting voice
and a good actress

Toronto: The Canadian Opera Company put Tchaikovsky’s „Queen of Spades“ on the program, in a production by the Welsh National Opera (directed by Richard Jones). Her strengths were clearly on the musical side: Hasmik Papian made her debut in Canada as Lisa; she used her big, exciting voice and turned out to be a good actress. She was an excellent partner for Vadim Zaplechny’s Hermann.

Opera News, New York City, 2002

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Le triomphe magistral de la voix

À l’orée de l’été, sur la scène de l’Opéra Bastille, les mélomanes, amoureux de la voix ont retrouvé avec bonheur le pouvoir émotionnel que suscite la tessiture de la soprano arménienne dans le rôle de Lisa de l’opéra « La Dame de pique » de Tchaïkovski. Cette œuvre est un théâtre habité par une atmosphère d’inquiétante étrangeté, celle des régions les plus obscures de la psyché où les frontières mouvantes du réel interrogent la conscience et la connaissance pour résonner sur les images mentales d’un rêve intérieur … Hasmik Papian interprète Lisa. La soprano s’identifie de toute sa sensibilité au rôle qu’elle incarne, coïncidant avec une évidence naturelle à cette jeune femme vulnérable et fragile pour délivrer au public la poésie et la grâce du personnage, mettant au service de l’opéra, l’éventail de sa maîtrise du chant, et son instinct théâtral. Avec une intelligence mêlée de pudeur et de sincérité, sa voix donne accès à l’intime par sa capacité à traduire les nuances de sentiments contrastés.
La courbe vocale exalte les accords secrets des troubles du cœur, se plie pour exprimer l’espoir ou la crainte, la mélancolie ou la douleur et dessine l’emmêlement sinueux des sentiments. La beauté transparente de son timbre aux accents déliés et clairs, lumineux dans les aigus, intenses dans les graves, traduit le frémissement de la musique. Les couleurs de sa palette vocale aiguisent un jeu subtil d’intensité pour atteindre la plus juste émotion et chemine à travers des sonorités tantôt fulgurantes et radieuses, tantôt sombres et désemparées.
Hasmik Papian chante ces figures d’amoureuses qui peuplent le répertoire du bel canto que la soprano défend de tout son art, répertoire qui magnifie le triomphe magistral de la voix, le plus sublime des instruments.

Marguerite Haladjian dans:
Ashkhar (Le Monde), June 2005

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A great opera evening in Madrid

The expectation was high, as always at big opera evenings, in the first place of course because of Plácido Domingo’s performance; it is a privilege to hear Domingo in an opera like this one. More than appreciative by his side, the nobility of Nikolai Putilin and the sensitivity of Hasmik Papian.

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Hasmik Papian – a unique soprano

When she conquered the great opera stages, ‚Aida‘ was something of her business card. She gave the role a delicate and sensitive disunity, as a victim of a love that makes her guilty in the eyes of the world, given her destiny as a princess. Full of strength and delicacy, she embodied e

Hasmik Papian – un soprano incomparable

‘Aida’ fut sa « carte de visite » à son arrivée sur les grandes scènes. Elle y apporta une délicatesse sensible et déchirée victime d’un amour coupable aux yeux de sa destinée de princesse. Pétrie de vigueurs et de tendresse elle incarna successivement Léonora (du Trouvère), Anna (de Don Giovanni), Desdémone (Otello), toutes partitions à laquelle cette artiste, à l’origine violiniste, appliqua le geste raffiné et vibrant qui porte l’élan de la voix traitée comme l’instrument, le plus noble entre tous. Elle entre alors au firmament du Monde lyrique, emplie de fougue et d’espérances.

Les Chorégies d’Orange nous offrent alors un de ses premiers pas en France. Elle obtient un triomphe, relayé par la télévision de France 2. La robe rouge d’Abigaille, la silhouette magnifique et hiératique qui l’animent, demeurent dans notre mémoire, telle une brûlante apparition, une trace d’extase inaltérable. Tant de charmes, tant de versatilités opportunes, pour un rôle si « méchant », interprété par un visage, une allure, une voix presqu’angéliques !?

Deux ans plus tard, ce fut « Norma ». Tant à Orange (remplaçante) qu’à Marseille. Olympienne ; sa Norma se révéla à la hauteur du chef-d’œuvre mythique de Vincenzo Bellini, dans sa fierté intransigeante qui se lézarde d’acte en acte, irrémédiablement jusqu’au paroxysme du masochisme féminin. Une autre fois à Orange, ce fut Élisabeth de Don Carlos, victime crucifiée du pouvoir absolue ; cette année Mathilde de Guillaume Tell à Paris. La voix, son ampleur, ses larmes contenues. L’émotion pure inondant la prosodie.

La femme en scène est majestueuse. Norma mûrit en elle ; aujourd’hui encore la jeunesse du regard, la fluidité de l’allure portent à l’ensemble des traits d’une fragilité essentielle à l’émotion. La cantatrice au timbre moiré et limpide joue de riches nuances et des inflexions innées d’une voix conduite musicalement à la perfection. Dotée d’une ample tessiture, l’aigu éclatant sonne et vibre sur la largeur, la longueur, en souplesse, passant au-dessus de l’orchestre par des appuis et un souffle infaillibles. Son énergie semble puisée au tréfonds d’une âme indéfectible.

Et pourtant les nuances chatoient, le vibrato reste souple et rebondissant. Son chant ne «déborde jamais», tant la prosodie est précise. Violence, cruauté, passion et fièvre. Moments élégiaques, moments d’abandon. Pour transmettre les affects d’héroïnes si divers elit sait adopter les conditions psychologique de femme, de mère ou d’amante et créer les climates d’humeurs et de réaction, avec une attention psychologique irréprochable.

Amalthée, Le Commercial du Gard (janvier 2004)