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Musical World

Catherine Malfitano

  • Director, Artistic/Stage
  • Soprano

Reviews

Catherine Malfitano press reviews

JenufaCatherine Malfitano is no less harrowing in the role of Kostelnicka. Indeed, there were moments when she called to mind the late Leonie Rysanek, the only other singer in my experience who could make this character utterly monstrous and curiously sympathetic.Tim Page, Washington PostMadama Butterfly"Malfitano's Cio-Cio-San rivals the best one has heard. A singing actress of considerable vocal variety and subtlety, Malfitano drew a sharp contrast between the vulnerable, childlike Butterfly of Act I and the resolute wife and mother of the later scenes. The naive faith this Cio-Cio-San displayed in 'Un bel di' (sung as a slow narrative rather than as a showpiece) crumbled with terrifying swiftness at the realization of Pinkerton's insincerity. Butterfly's farewell to her child could have moved the Sphinx to tears."John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune"The soprano made a spectacular debut and the ovation at the end was ecstatic. It was also deserved. The beautiful Malfitano is without doubt one of the finest Puccini interpreters of our time...her singing was glorious...her total performance was devastating."Octavio Roca, San Francisco ChronicleMacbeth "Acting challenges fascinate Malfitano, and it was just a matter of time before she took on Lady Macbeth. At times, her Lady Macbeth both seemed to be operating in her own grotesque universe; during the banquet scene, swathed in showy red lame, she was a chilling figure. Dancing a vulgar little shimmy as she urged her wary guests to drink up, she became lost in a haze, drunk on images of royal glory. Vocally, Malfitano was outstanding. Though she cut easily through the orchestra, her soprano had a rounded, juicy edge even in the upper register."Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun Times"Catherine Malfitano gives to the role all of her consummate acting abilities. She inhabits the character with every inch of her body and every facial expression - proof of her complete identification with the part. Vocally, too, she sang effortlessly . . . there can be no argument about her absolutely first-class Sleepwalking Scene with its breathtakingly-on-the-mark ending high note."U. Ruhnke, Das Opernglas"She was mesmerizing theatrically in her first attempt at Lady Macbeth." William Albright, OperaA View from the Bridge "Malfitano brought her usual combination of dramatic insight and vocal brilliance to create a spirited but troubled Beatrice."Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun TimesKatya Kabanova " . . . Catherine Malfitano, having immersed herself in the title role, achieved the right tone in every scene. Vocally this was one of the soprano's finest undertakings, steady and expressive. At first bound by duty and convention, she gradually let her hair down, literally and figuratively. It's not easy to keep Kata's final scene from wandering, but Malfitano gave it pathos and poignancy."John W. Freeman, Opera News" . . . the title role provided soprano Catherine Malfitano with a triumph. She has long since proved her mettle in passionate, highly charged parts, and she brought a range of emotional gradations to this one, beginning with the touching recollections of her carefree childhood and rising to the exaltation of her illicit love and the demented intensity of her final plunge into the river. The brilliant timbre of her voice and the sensitivity of her acting made the picture complete."Shirley Fleming, The New York Post"The cast was properly dominated by Catherine Malfitano . . . a poignant heroine capable of expressing love, frustration, ecstasy and desperation with telling economy and searing intensity."Martin Bernheimer, OperaMahagonny "The blond wigged Malfitano, who has sung Jenny in Florence and Salzburg, threw herself into the role with her usual mesmerising vocal and dramatic relish, using body language and singing with much the same animal intensity as one heard in her singing. Another triumph for Lyric's singing actress in residence."John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune"One of opera's most compelling double threats in terms of singing and acting . . . Malfitano's shrewd, sexy Jenny . . . Malfitano's Jenny was three-dimensional making her tender love duet with Jimmy as believable as her bitter Alabama Song."Wynne Delacoma, ChicagoSun-Times"Catherine Malfitano sang Jenny exquisitely, a true lyric soprano relishing the beauty of Weill's writing for voice." Rodney Milnes The London TimesSalome " . . . a thrilling reprise of Luc Bondy's brilliant staging ofSalome, which has Catherine Malfitano . . . returning in better form than ever as the Princess . . . this is international opera at its heady best. At the second performance last weekend, these performers, and Malfitano especially, were accorded the kind of spontaneous ovation that you hear rarely in big international theatres these days."Hugh Canning, Sunday Times"Catherine Malfitano's Salome is in gleaming voice, a myriad of colours inflecting her subtle shifts of thought with laser accuracy, the stamina unwavering to the end. She catches both the childish and the knowing in Salome, unveiling the dark recesses of a damaged psyche. It is an extraordinary creation."David Blewitt, Stage"One of the subtlest aspects of Malfitano's riveting portrayal of Salome is that she doesn't glamorise the character - she is just a teenage brat who wants Jokanaan's head for dinner the way other girls want to borrow the car on Saturday night . . . she negotiates Strauss's most challenging climaxes with consummate accomplishment and . . . impersonates someone 30 years younger with total conviction, even to the last of those seven veils."Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph"Its principal glory is the performance of the title role by Catherine Malfitano. Just when one thinks she lacks the full weight (the 'voice of Isolde' as Strauss said), she shows no difficulty in riding the orchestral climaxes. Her portrayal is near-ideal in its progression (regression, if you prefer) from wide-eyed teenager to sex-obsessed monster whose final depravity while cradling the severed head of the prophet Jokanaan chills the blood even as one thrills to the vocal splendour of the final aria and Strauss's marvelous music for it."Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph"Catherine Malfitano repeats her 1995 performance of Salome as a spoilt, sexually overcharged Lolita figure, monstrously obsessed by the alluring purity of Jokanaan, reacting with schoolgirl-like spitefulness when he rejects her advances. The voice is in excellent shape, flexible and strong, easily capable of sustaining the twists and turns of the part."Stephen Pettitt, The Observer"We've seen a lot of Catherine Malfitano here, but nothing previously so thrilling - so convincing - as her Salome. One assumes that her desperate attempt to leap into the cistern after Jokanaan was a planned bit of staging, but it seemed so spontaneous that it brought shivers. Her dance, choreographed by Lucinda Child, for once seemed an improvisation rather than something out of a dance recital. But most importantly, Malfitano sang with lustrous vocal brilliance, beautifully contoured phrasing, and impeccably accurate pitch."William Shackelford, Opera"With the inimitable Catherine Malfitano back in the title role at Covent Garden, we have a Salome to die for . . . The moment she first hears his voice echoing in the dungeon below, she becomes a cat in heat; everything about her bespeaks desire. Her first great scene, in which she praises the whiteness of his body, the redness of his lips, and the beauty of his hair, is a virtuoso seduction. Her last, in which she makes love to his severed head, is an orgy of such intimacy that one almost feels one should not be watching. And how she sings! Strauss would have been in heaven."Michael Church, The Scotsman