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Musical World

Erin Wall

  • Soprano

Reviews

Erin Wall press reviews

Every time Wall, in the lead role of the beautiful courtesan Violetta, sang, the audience applauded. A few even shouted, “Bravo!” There was an electric excitement about the night, as if we were witnessing the birth of the next Renée Fleming or Anna Netrebko. The 32-year-old Calgary-born singer hit impossibly high notes with clarity, then brought her vocal range down to earth with a luxurious tone tinted by exciting coloratura accents. The role of Violetta challenges sopranos to reach the highest rung of their range, which many cannot fully approach. Wall scaled those heights with little evidence of strain. Her every note left us giddy with goosebumps. Her acting chops were just as exquisite. She was convincing in the role as a beautiful party girl looking for love only to find betrayal and redemption too late to matter. In the Act III dying scene, she looked like death warmed over — pale in tone, her hair unkempt and bent over coughing. We easily bought into the idea that she was wracked by consumption — modern-day tuberculosis. Her coughs sounded real, and prompted many in the audience to hack along — although it wasn’t clear if they were coughing out of sympathy or simply found her cough an excuse to release their own. There was a collective gasp in Saturday’s audience as Wall’s Violetta fell into the arms of her only true love, Alfredo, and died. In three hours, we had connected with Wall on levels that go beyond merely absorbing her as a character. We absorbed her as a presence. —Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star, April 27, 2008

"In Erin Wall, SFO gave us a Daphne to admire, applaud and remember. She poured her golden soprano into the part with an open heart and throat, commanding every dynamic level from a delicate thread of a piano to a full-throttled high C. She started off in solid voice, got even better as the opera progressed, and her soft high singing in the final transformation scene was the aural promise of earth's continuing bounty. She aptly conveyed a young girl's wish to remain a spiritual sapling, rather than move on to maturity and marriage." —Craig Smith, The New Mexican, July 15, 2007

I'm trying really hard here not to exaggerate. Still, for many of us in attendance at the Santa Fe Opera's new production of 'Daphne' last Saturday, it was a little like being Halley when that comet swam into view. Or Keats' historically incorrect Cortez at his first glimpse of the Pacific. But this time it was hearing Erin Wall sing the title role of Richard Strauss' late, nearly great 'bucolic tragedy' with power, feeling and conviction in one of those you-had-to-be-there SFO debuts that happen with any regularity. Remember Mariusz Kwiecien in '04 and Anthony Dean Griffey in '05? Well, you'll not soon forget Wall's Daphne. It's an unforgiving role, much of it lying in a treacherous register too high for comfort for most sopranos. Not here. The fearless, sweet and lovely Wall makes it sound easy, pouring out generous, burnished warmth, moving gracefully about the stage, creating a character for whom mortality is not enough and divinity too little." —John Stege, SF Reporter, July 18-24, 2007