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Diana Damrau

  • Soprano


Diana Damrau press reviews

Hänsel und Gretel
(Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London)

"the fast rising young lyric soprano star Diana Damrau spinning Gretel's music with such effortless charm and grace and reach at the top of the voice"
- The Independent, 2008-12-11

"Damrau, astonishing as always, is the perfect Gretel..."
- The Guardian, 2008-12-12

"Diana Damrau's Gretel: dramatically convincing and vocally superb"
- Evening Standard, 2008-12-10

Liederabend / Song recital
(Wigmore Hall, London)
"The German soprano Diana Damrau has become a cult figure of late. It is easy to see why. She is very much a diva, with all the intimations of greatness and excess the word implies. Her artistry is phenomenal yet paradoxical: you could perhaps describe her as the Meryl Streep of classical music, since she achieves a sense of total immersion in her material without ever quite letting you forget the powers of technique, intelligence and calculation that inform her singing. She also takes familiar music into new territory. We think of Berg's Seven Early Songs as an experiment in post-Romantic suggestiveness, though for Damrau they are more blatant - a sequence of torrid crescendos, shudders and gasps... Strauss's Ophelia Songs, lewd and manic, afforded us remarkable insights... Damrau's range extends way beyond the erotic. A second Strauss group, including Muttertändelei and Amor, was all maternal love and mischief. Samuel Barber's Mélodies Passagères allowed her to exploit that soft, high singing that is a pleasure in itself. She also gave us Daughters of Britannia, written for her by Iain Bell, which casts her as a series of legendary British heroines - Boudicca, Guinevere, Lady Godiva and so on - and envisions her as seductress, sorceress and warrior queen by turns. A scorcher of an evening, every second of it."
- The Guardian, 8.11.2008

"A judiciously chosen programme for her Wigmore Hall debut recital and plenty of glorious singing cemented Diana Damrau's position as Germany's leading lyric soprano... For her eagerly-anticipated Wigmore Hall debut she could easily have rested on her laurels and gone for a tried and tested programme, but it was testament to her musicality and depth of artistry that she presented a wide range of songs both stylistically and linguistically that also included a UK premiere. She began the evening with a wonderfully introspective reading of Berg's Seven Early Songs, teasing every possible nuance out of the opening song, Nacht (Night), and producing such an evocative pianissimo, always supported by rock-steady breath control and intonation, that as a listener one was immediately drawn into the singer's world. Indeed it was a privilege to hear such a poignant and deeply-felt rendition of these songs, the range of emotion and palette of vocal colours at her disposal was breathtaking and the sense of abandonment of the final song, Sommertage (Summer Days) was palpable. Barber's Mélodies passagères (Fleeting Melodies) showed off her idiomatic French whilst she plumbed the emotional depths with a wonderfully restrained account of Tombeau dans un parc (Tomb in a park). She followed this with a no-holds-barred performance of Ian Bell's Daughters of Britannia which was written specifically for her. Five legendary women from Britain's history lend their names to each of the songs: Boudicca, Maid Marian, Morgause, Guinevere and Lady Godiva and whilst Bell's idiom may not be revelatory he certainly knows how to write for Damrau's voice as she progresses from Valkyrie-like maiden (Boudicca), via lyricism (Maid Marian) to the coquettish Lady Godiva. Her English was faultless, as were the few notes she played on the piano at the end. A most beguiling song cycle that deserves repeated hearings. The second half was made up of Richard Strauss lieder and here she was at her most relaxed, elegant and opulent. Few singers are able to sustain such beautifully supported pianissimo singing as she can, and all her powers of interpretation fused together for quite exquisite interpretations of Wiegenlied (Cradle Song) and Muttertändelei (Mother-talk), whilst she saved flashes of her incomparable coloratura technique for the fiendishly difficult Amor (Cupid)."
- Music OMH, 5.11.2008

Lucia di Lammermoor
(New York Metropolitan Opera)
" 'Lucia' lovers are in luck at the Metropolitan Opera these days. Astonishingly, Friday night's revival marked the first time Diana Damrau, a German lyric coloratura, had ever sung the role. Yet she immediately made it her own, with a combination of splendid vocalism and keen dramatic insight... Damrau portrays a sturdier young woman happily in love with a neighboring squire, Edgardo, until she is tricked into thinking he has abandoned her. Her singing is likewise robust at the beginning, with house-filling high notes and expert ornamentation. But it's no mere exercise of vocal fireworks; there's a wonderful expressiveness in the way she modulates her tone and shapes the melodic line to fit the emotional moment. Later, in opera's most famous mad scene, she falls apart before our eyes, exploding in anger one moment, then floating mournful phrases that seem to hang in the air."
- Mike Silverman, Associated Press Writer, Oct 4, 2008

"A Scottish Castle, ruled by a Soprano... Ms Damrau dispatched the passage work, trills and top notes with aplomp. Her sound was warm, plush and clear. This frenetic Lucia, who sees ghosts and acts rashly, already seemed to be emotionally fragile. As Ms. Damrau played the daunting mad scene, the unhinged young woman, having stabbed to death the man she was forced to marry - the well-meaning Lord Arturo - was not vacant-eyed and spectral , like many Lucias. INstead she was fidgety and manic, all spastic bodily gestures as she lurched about the ball-room of Lammermoor castle before the horrified wedding-guests. She was like VivienLeigh's broken-down, jebbering yet still flirtatious Blanche DuBois in the final scene of "A Streetcar Named Desire". That Ms. Damrau executed the scene's spiraling vocal roulades sp accurately and held sustained high notes with such penetrating steadiness lent a quality of eerie control to Lucia's madness. And her gleaming top notes filled the house... it was Damrau's night. During the rousing final ovation she took to the stage like a rock star, looking exultant."
- The NY Times, Oct 6, 2008