Reviews

The occasion demanded something special and this new production of Rigoletto delivered the goods perfectly. Oliver Mears, the new overall Director of Opera at the ROH, delivered a confident and highly effective display of what a good director ought to bring to a classic such as this. All too often, even at the ROH, we have seen directors trying too hard to bring something different to an opera, rather spoiling the original intentions of the composer and librettist by imposing too much of their viewpoint into it. Mears gave us plenty to look at and think about, but the effect was to emphasize and enhance the original rather than distract from it. The plot of this opera is violent and tragic. Great staging, including a terrific storm scene where flashes of lightning seem to come from all parts of the auditorium, and Verdi’s magnificent music, superbly played by the ROH Orchestra conducted superbly by Antonio Pappano, we are treated to some stunningly good singing.Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan brings a gorgeously mellow tenor voice to the role of the dastardly Duke, while Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez is equally impressive as Rigoletto. The real star of the evening, however, was Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa whose show-stopping solo arias were stunningly good and her duets with the Duke and Rigoletto were almost equally impressive.With the highly respected British bass Brindley Sherratt in splendidly sinister form as Sparafucile, American baritone Eric Greene making an excellent Royal Opera debut as Monterone, and Romanian mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia giving a striking performance as Sparafucile’s slutty sister, this was a cast of outstanding talent and no weaknesses.The applause from the audience at the end was as thunderous as the storm of the final act, and it was not just in appreciation of the fact that the ROH was at last playing to a full house. This was a terrific performance of a fine production of a great opera. Welcome back, Royal Opera.

www.express.co.uk

The star of the evening was Antonio Pappano, whose account of the opening bars of the Prelude had the brooding intensity and foreboding of a master conductor. Astonishing, then, that a piece he so obviously loves hasn’t featured on his agenda in almost 30 years.Oliver Mears, in his first production since becoming director of opera, begins magically during the Prelude, with the cast in costume standing stock-still in a Caravaggio-esque tableau.Act Three is much enhanced by some splendid singing from Brindley Sherratt as Sparafucile – perhaps the best of the night. Good to see a Brit getting a look-in now and again at Covent Garden. A promising debut, too, from Ramona Zaharia as a sleazy and sexy Maddalena.There was a time when Covent Garden’s Rigoletto principals were at, or near, best in class. No longer. Carlos Alvarez has the biggest reputation, but his Rigoletto sounds a bit worn these days after more than two decades on the road.Liparit Avetisyan has a pleasing lyric tenor voice as the Duke of Mantua but is almost entirely devoid of charisma and star quality. At the great moment in Act Three when Rigoletto discovers his daughter dead in a bag, and offstage the Duke sings a reprise of La donna è mobile, Avetisyan brings no magic whatsoever to bear. Just another of the second-rank tenors the Royal Opera rather specialises in these days. The Gilda of Lisette Oropesa has all the notes but is still, at best, a work in progress. She has little of the assurance and presence of Covent Garden’s great Gildas of the past. Her grotty little charity-shop dress does her few favours. Not her fault, of course, but I can’t imagine Joan Sutherland in that. As for the American Eric Greene’s Monterone, he’s a good singer but miscast. The casting director could have found half a dozen better Brits on the Northern Line but, as so often, didn’t trouble to look.

www.dailymail.co.uk

The scenes involving the lecherous courtiers are often the most imaginatively done. The conspirators’ account of their abduction of Gilda to the Duke is accompanied by an amusing mime, but generally the locker-room mentality is ridiculed. Parallels with King Lear, with which subject Verdi was toying at the time, are heightened by the gouging out of Monterone’s eyes. Carlos Alvarez’s well-sung Rigoletto is suitably anguished, even if he doesn’t quite wring the withers on discovering his daughter’s murder. As often happens, the show is stolen by his daughter. Frequent reference is made to Gilda’s virginal purity. In her celebrated aria Caro nome, Lisette Oropesa succeeds in showing us both the virtuous flower and, with a flash of bare legs and an innocent roll on her bed, the sensual attraction she feels for the duplicitous duke. The extravagant ornamentation of the aria is delivered superbly, complete with real trill, yet with delicacy and subtlety. Brindley Sherratt is an aptly flinty Sparafucile, with Ramona Zaharia alluring as his sister, Maddalena.Liparit Avetisyan is a stylish, full-throated Duke and it’s in no way to his discredit that Pappano’s accompaniment of his famous aria La donna è mobile, with its animated woodwind flecks and swagger, elicits equal admiration. Indeed, Pappano brings his signature command of textural detail and rhythmic propulsion to the whole score. It was worth the thirty-year wait.

www.standard.co.uk

“Il senso di oppressione senza scampo imposto dalla regia trova perfetta corrispondenza nel grigio onnipresente delle scene spoglie, nel gioco luci vigoroso, nei costumi essenziali (che collocano la vicenda negli anni Sessanta del Novecento), nelle coreografie espressive, e, soprattutto, nella recitazione attenta, partecipe, credibile, dei cantanti. Cantanti che, oltre a saper stare in scena, hanno offerto prove vocali nel complesso lodevoli. Chiamata dal secondo cast a sostituire l’indisposta Martina Belli, Ramona Zaharia si fa apprezzare per il nitore della voce e l’espressività del fraseggio: una Carmen sensualissima e risoluta.”

https://www.connessiallopera.it/recensioni/2022/parma-teatro-regio-carmen/

“Zum starken Eindruck dieser Aufführung trug in der kleinen Rolle der Frederica d’Ostheim die Mezzosopranistin Ramona Zaharia bei, die in den Momenten ihres Auftretens in Statur und Stimme gleichermaßen starkes Charisma ausstrahlte.”

https://bachtrack.com/kritik-luisa-miller-dietz-aaron-rivero-stuttgart-juni-2015

Prigioniero di un’ossessione
Francesco Rapaccioni — 20 Gennaio 2022

…”Ramona Zaharia ha un fisico statuario perfetto per il ruolo pensato dalla regista e un volto iconico che rimanda a celebri attrici : una Carmen assolutamente ideale dal punto di vista esteriore ; la voce è ben usata e, più che sul fraseggio, si è apprezzata nei registri di canto che risultano bilanciati e per cui è risultata assai comunicativa, catturando l’attenzione del pubblico che l’ha applaudita a lungo, sia a scena aperta che nel finale ; nella Seguidilla i gesti e gli ammiccamenti rendono appieno non una donna seducente di suo ma come l’uomo

(Don José) la immagina e desidera.”

https://wanderersite.com/it/opera-it/prigioniero-di-unossessione/

OPERA BY WILLIAM GIUSEPPE COSTABILE CISCO11 FEBBRAIO 2022

Reggio Emilia, Teatro Valli, Stagione
d’Opera 2021-22
“CARMEN”
…”Dai cantanti chiede e ottiene il massimo, in particolar modo da Ramona Zaharia nel ruolo eponimo, mezzosoprano di ragguardevole e omogenea estensione, dalla tecnica ben consolidata, bella linea di canto, dizione scandita, piacevoli accenti di memorie quasi jazz. Supportata da un indubbio physique du rôle, il mezzosoprano romeno costruisce una Carmen iperseducente, ma mai languida, bollente senza essere dolciastra, spregiudicata, anche vocalmente: momenti apicali della sua performance non tanto la celebre habanera, quanto la chanson bohème (Les tringles des sistres tintaient), ove il cast nella sua interezza si scatena come per un rock and roll, e senza dubbio l’arioso lugubre e sensuale

dell’atto terzo (En vain pour éviter les réponses amères).

“Ramona Zaharia, giovane mezzosoprano rumeno, ha un tratto molto contemporaneo, asciutto e antiretorico. Canta bene tutto con una voce piena, ricca di armonici, di bel timbro e tiene il palcoscenico senza sforzo, sempre nel personaggio. Memorabile la seguidilla che inizia lenta e sommessa e poi cresce di intensità assecondata dall’orchestra, interessante anche la scena delle carte in cui la fredda consapevolezza prevale sull’orrore. Niente effettacci, molto buon gusto e grande prova nel finale, misurato e per questo straziante: è vero che Carmen non muore pugnalata ma strangolata, ma il suo Don José, deprivato di tutto, non aveva altre armi che le sue mani.”

https://www.operaclick.com/recensioni/teatrale/reggio-emilia-teatro-municipale-valli-carmen

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Written by Federica Fanizza
“due i cast che si sono mischiati nel corso del calendario, che è stato motivo di interesse, specie per quelle date che ha visto protagonisti la coppia definita dalla Carmen di Ramona Zaharia e dal Don José di Arturo Chacon Cruz. Lei, pratica del ruolo con voce piena di mezzosoprano capace di cavare voce profonda e di proiettarla verso le zone più acute del suo registro delinea una Carmen asciutta, essenziale nella modernità interpretativa di donna libera e sicura delle sue scelte affettive.”

https://www.sipario.it/recensioniliricac/item/14150-carmen-regia-silvia-paoli.html

“Special mention must go to bass Brindley Sherratt’s Sparafucile, the assassin. Sherratt brought a chilling sense of the Luca Brasi character from the Godfather to his interpretation. His sister Maddalena was tasked with luring his victims to their deaths and Ramona Zaharia’s sultry mezzo and Sophia Lorenesque looks brought a sense of dramatic authenticity to the character.”

https://www.london-unattached.com/rigoletto-royal-opera-house-review/

“An outstanding Carmen
Mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia came to Iasi from the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, where she is a permanent soloist. The artist from Timisoara is a well-known presence on other international scenes. The outline he reserved for Bizet’s heroine was remarkable. The patina of European theaters was strongly felt in singing and acting.
With a haunting, consistent timbre, dark in the middle registers and deep, bright in the high registers, the artist led the melodic discourse towards a “du chair et du sang” personalization of the archetypal character. She was suggestive in “Habanera” and “Seguidilla”, authentic through the sensual inflections of the voice in “Chanson bohème”, gloomy and with eloquent premonition in the difficult – as deeply nuanced – area of “books”, as well as dramatic in the confrontations with Don José.
Ramona Zaharia sang with panache, giving importance to the word, articulated with gravity and meaning, both in singing and in speaking prose, like an authentic tragedian of the theater stage. It must be said here that the conductor Cristian Oroșanu chose a version with spoken recitatives, but reduced to what is strictly necessary to support the fluent progress of the action.
On stage, Ramona Zaharia exhibited a fiery, impetuous temperament, an intense experience and an expressiveness that thoroughly detailed the diversity of the heroine’s moods.”

http://www.cimec.ro/Muzica/Cronici/CostinPopa363.html

“Mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia, a memorable Dalila
He was the star of the show “Samson and
Delilah”, in which he highlighted his precious sombre color timbrality, which opens wide in the acute register through a bright fan. The entry from the first act “Je viens célébrer la victoire”, soft, warm and sweetly expressive, gained consistency and sensuality in the aria “Printemps qui commence”, for the heroine to show her true face through the energy of the call “Samson, recherchant ma présence” and passionate invocations of “Amour! Viens aider ma faiblesse”, which included a spectacular long vocalized phrase with sharp B flat and serious “chest” sounds, impressively accentuated. With a cursive, exciting and seductive vocal line as an expression in the aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from the same second act, Ramona Zaharia shook the hall with the furious exclamation “Lâche!”, confirming the penetration of the same high B flat. In the third act, ironically recalling in front of a blind and powerless Samson the events and the “strategy” of their meeting, Delilah dramatically and treacherously portrayed revenge.”

https://adevarul.ro/blogurile-adevarul/comemorari-si-un-oaspete-indelung-asteptat-2146830.html

“Membre de la troupe de Düsseldorf depuis 2014, auréolée de ces récents débuts au MET de New York, Ramona Zaharia est une excellente Dalila. Timbre de bronze, homogène du grave résonnant jusqu’à des aigus flamboyants, séduisante à souhait, elle incarne à merveille la femme fatale imaginée par Saint-Saëns.”

https://www.resmusica.com/2019/10/21/un-samson-et-dalila-musicalement-reussi-a-dusseldorf/

“Musical pleasure
Musically there was a lot to enjoy. The Romanian mezzo-soprano Romano Zaharia seems like a dreamed-up Dalila. She definitely has the physique du rôle and looks dazzling. Her voice is just as voluptuous, but has power especially in the higher regions..”

https://musico.nl/samson-et-dalila-in-dusseldorf/

“Letztlich ist es aber vor allem die opulente Klangmagie der Oper, die sie immer wieder weltweit auf die Spielpläne der großen Opernhäuser bringt und darin insbesondere die Dalila-Arien, die zum gestandenen Repertoire der Mezzosopranistinnen gehören. Keine Mezzosopranistin, die ohne diese Partie Anerkennung und Reputation in der Opernwelt gewönne.
Ramona Zaharia als Dalila beweist das an diesem Premierenabend im Zusammenspiel von sinnlich laszivem, erotischem Gesang und Spiel überaus überzeugend. Bestechend klar in den Höhen, findet sie in den Zwischentönen von lockender Verführung, Zweifel an Samsons Liebesbeteuerungen streuend sowie dem schlussendlich unerbittlichen Rachegedanke charaktervolle Zeichnungen.
Umschmeichelt sie Samson im ersten Akt – Printemps qui commence –, lockt sie ihn im zweiten mit erotisch aufgeladener, auf Rache sinnender, sich auf einem riesigen Tisch rekelnder Hinterhältigkeit –
Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix – und bringt ihn schließlich dazu, ihr sein kraftbergendes Geheimnis zu verraten. Der Zopf ist ab und damit Samsons Kraft verloren. Eine Kastration der männlichen Muskelkraft durch weibliche Verführungskunst.”

https://erpery.wordpress.com/2019/10/21/zeitlose-gegenwart/

“Ramona Zaharia begeistert in der Partie mit einem satten Mezzosopran und voluminösen Tiefen, die Dalilas Autorität unterstreichen.
…Zaharia gestaltet die Partie überzeugend lasziv mit samtigem Mezzosopran, der in den Höhen enorme Strahlkraft entwickelt und Samson (und den Zuhörer) in jeder Hinsicht einwickelt.”

http://www.omm.de/veranstaltungen/musiktheater20192020/D-samson-et-dalila.html

Auf mythologischen Spuren
“Ramona Zaharia verkörpert mit glutvollem, tiefgründigem Stimmklang nicht nur die zur Heldenikone stilisierte Femme fatale in Glitzerkostüm, sondern spürt musikalisch auch den menschlichen, persönlichen Enttäuschungen und Liebesgefühlen nach.”

https://magazin.klassik.com/konzerte/reviews.cfm?task=review&PID=7315

“Ramona Zaharia (Amneris), abbiamo avuto modo di apprezzarla lo scorso febbraio nella Carmen recensita dal Teatro Valli di Reggio Emilia. Anche in questo caso si tratta di un’artista di ottima carriera internazionale e l’ha dimostrato ampiamente nel corso di questa Aida donando al ruolo della principessa egizia una indubbia dose di carisma, perfidia e passionalità. Sul palcoscenico si è mossa con estrema disinvoltura mostrando l’eleganza ed il portamento confacenti ad una figura di tal rango.”
La recensione si riferisce alla recita del 27 aprile 2022.
Danilo Boaretto

https://www.operaclick.com/recensioni/teatrale/timi%C8%99oara-aida-occasione-del-75%C2%B0-anniversario-dellopera-nazionale-rumena-di-timi7