- Adalgisa (Norma)
- Anita (La Navarraise)
- Didon (Les Troyens)
- Eboli (Don Carlo)
- Judith (Le Château de Barbe bleue)
- Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana)
Alain Duault : It was a stroke of genius to have proposed to Béatrice Uria-Monzon, one of today’s most beautiful French opera singers – having triumphed across the world as Carmen and wanting to diversify – the idea of singing Adalgisa, the young priestess who reluctantly becomes Norma’s rival.
She is a great Adalgisa, with her fiery voice of dark gold, an intensity of expression, scorching phrases and a sound projection which gives a dramatic impact and motivates even more her profoundly committed acting: she is the triumph of the evening.
(…) The French mezzo Béatrice Uria-Monzon in the role of Adalgisa saves Bellini’s masterpiece. (…)All the same it is Béatrice Uria-Monzon’s Adalgisa who wins everyone’s approval. A great professional and perfect musician, the French mezzo knows how to breathe fire, passion and a vocal discipline – absent in the rest of the cast – into her character. In an instant the drama is here: fiery, explosive and tragic.
Anita (La Navarraise)
… to which merit is added by the impressive performance of the mezzo-soprano Béatrice Uria-Monzon : in this masculine worlds of ferocious warriors, she embodies a remarkable Anita, made even more intrepid and thrilling by the profound might of her tone.
Written for Emma Calvé, the title role outlines the portrait of a passionate, incandescent woman who has to travel through all love’s torments and display every state of the spirit in order to finish committed to a psychiatric institution in Bilbao less than twenty years later.
Needless to say that the great and beautiful Béatrice uria-Monzon makes a morsel out of this terrifying role, this condensed matinee Andalusian gazpacho Tosca. A certain passing fatigue works actually very well in her excellent interpretation, suffocated with accents, employing as ever a grandeur for Racinian excesses because of the acerbic fire within. Henceforth, an artist who has tended towards grandiose accents of the soprano, isn’t overdoing it here and that is all for the better.
Didon (Les Troyens)
Béatrice Uria-Monzon summons up a brilliantly expressive Didon with her clear and evocative timbre.
In their wandering, the Trojans finally arrive in Carthage and if from now on we no longer mention Berlioz’s marvellous music, it is thanks to Béatrice Uria-Monzon’s irresistible Didon, Carthage’s queen, and as singer and actor, Queen of this production of “The Trojans”.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, the great French Carmen, whose mezzo voice never loses its bass register and affords us glimpses of rapture and subtlety
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, royal as Didon, a role in which she gives a benchmark performance. Feline, sensual, a molten timbre, with impeccable projection, she is not only beautiful as she damns all the Trojans and Romans on earth, but her performance is radiant and profoundly moving
It is Béatrice Uria-Monzon, just as beautiful to watch as to hear, who carries the weight of the drama. Touching to the point of tears in her two arias, her death on the pyre reaches the heights of heart-rending emotion.
Within the operatic repertoire Uria-Monzon has landed her perfect role: with great force her timbre is unified, the voice is convoluted and intricate; she could attempt a Kundry tomorrow without any problem.
Her beauty, her aristocratic bearing, her full timbre, her authoritative declamatory style (whilst always knowing how to be tender) and her articulation are all perfectly pertinent to the part. As a debut in this role it is ground-breaking – culminating in the anthology’s final scene which leaves the audience close to tears.
(…)Béatrice Uria-Monzon’s Didon is particularly successful, if not outstanding. A sultry voice, a splendid timbre, the chant royal – which she knows how to interpret at its most gentle (magnificent moments sung in half tones) – are here impassioned, but more than that, it is the embodiment of the role which impresses. From the woman in love to the woman crushed by grief, via the furious Queen when she learns of the departure of the Trojans (the splendid break-up scene with Enée), the palette is wide and Béatrice Uria-Monzon masters all sides of her character with astounding presence. The emotion she breathes into her adieux and her profoundly moving death-scene are unforgettable moments. A significant interpretation.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, absolutely sovereign as Didon, whose high notes have as much substance as the lower register.
The Trojans in Alsace”, glory to Didon. It is Béatrice Uria-Monzon who is the triumph of the evening: her Didon has a magnificent texture, by turns radiant and sombre and well projected. The singer who for a long time confined herself to the role of Carmen, discovers here a tailor-made part in which she reveals herself to be a touching actress. Never before has the chorus “Glory to Didon” seemed more appropriate. Behind the high standard of interpretation one senses the guiding hand of Michel Plasson.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, tackling the role for the first time, is a strikingly beautiful Didon, regal in deportment and compellingly hysterical in rejection.
In Didon, Béatrice Uria-Monzon has found her ideal role. Here she is deeply moving and magnificent, radiant.
Eboli (Don Carlo)
I was largely very happy with Uria-Monzon very distinctive interpretation. I very much like the voice. The chest register is incredibly dark and dense like the Callas mould. She sings with colours and everything she sings seems to matter. I like any woman who can act, make me care about what she is singing and bark those low notes like a beast.I also have to love an Eboli who is for once more physically alluring than her soprano rival.
Take 2 : 08/05/13
Uria-Monzon was on better form with a marginally more accurate Veil Song and a quite brilliant « O Don Fatale.I was trying to work out what made her so engaging to watch on stage, but couldn’t put my finger on it. She moves a lot which can often be distracting and can come across as nervyness or mugging in other performers but here she just seemed to live onstage and her exceptional grace and fluidity of movement meant that there was never any question of the problems mentioned. It’s always tempting to call it « naturalness » onstage, that is there is nothing artificial that draws attention to the actor rather than the character but I’m not sure that is specific enough. And it’s not just looks – yes she’s naturally beautiful but there are other beautiful singers around who are not captivating onstage in this way. For me she will stick most in my mind I’m sure along with Halfvarson and Furlanetto. Will have to keep thinking what made her so appealing.
One of Béatrice Uria-Monzon signature roles is Carmen, so when she sang the Princess of Eboli, she brought a Carmen-like sharpness to the role, which was entirely in order. Her veil song was a showpiece but the song is a mask, since the princes’s true feelings are also hidden behind a veil. When she realizes her mistakes, her personality disintegrates. When Uria-Monzon sings of the convent, she suggests the horoor of living death.
Judith (Le Château de Barbe bleue)
… the acting of Willard White and Béatrice Uria-Monzon is particularly physical and passionate. The vocal performance of the American bass-baritone is admirable for its human characterisation, at the risk of losing some of the anxiety. The beautiful mezzo Béatrice Uria-Monzon is spot on, combining vocal polish with flesh and blood aggression
The mezzo Béatrice Uria-Monzon embodies a passionate Judith, thirsty for knowledge as required by Bartòk and his librettist. Her slender figure is belied by the sonorous projection of her repetitive summons, and she vigorously sweeps us along in the quest for truth until the climax – the opening of the sixth door which reveals the valley of tears.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon is a theatrically unsettling Judith, with an obvious expressiveness, whose vocal armoury bewitches the ear.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon makes the tragic destiny of Judith her own; desperate lover, woman thirsty for knowledge; she spins around like a feather in the wind of a tempest, the voice perfectly in tune and with an impeccable projection.
Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana)
« Maestro Georges Prêtre and Béatrice Uria-Monzon are the great triumphs; it is they who top the bill of this operatic event, transmitted live on FR 3 and France Musique. The most moving moment of the evening is the celebrated Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, conducted magnificently by Georges Prêtre, with a force and expressive and emotional power which are extraordinary (he celebrates his 85 summers very soon). The revelation of the evening is Béatrice Uria Monzon in her debut in the rôle of Santuzza. At no time does she let herself get carried away with any vulgar dramatics. The voice is always perfectly controlled, the diction is meticulous and her committed stagecraft is quite simply stunning. »
Béatrice Uria-Monzon assumes a vocally dramatic Santuzza – a range which suits her very well. The objectification of Woman in a world of incorrigible machos.
» Uria-Monzon, Alagna, Ko, Prêtre; the winning quartet. A work for which Béatrice Uria Monzon laid bare her feelings in this debut as Santuzza. She occupied the space, translating in full colour and anger the fervour of this betrayed and passionate lover. «
« Béatrice Uria-Monzon, leaving her usual range and type-cast rôle behind her, is completely at home in the heart-rending high register of the dramatic soprano and displays to us an agony of sadness, jealousy, rage and remorse with an authenticity which justifies the verismo style in its universal humanity. She is Tragedy in motion. She has become La Mater Dolorosa : the image of human sadness. »
« Béatrice Uria Monzon here takes on the role of Santuzza just as she is moving her career towards the dramatic soprano repertoire, which should quite quickly steer her in the direction of Tosca. A majestic top register crowns a projection rare in its power. For the time being, Santuzza is reconciled in her choices. But the talent of this artist doesn’t rest here. An actress without peer, down to the last detail, she knows how to portray this young victim of jealousy with an incredible passion ox deliros assassins (oh delirious assassin). A masterpiece! A worthy triumph was hers at the final curtain. »
Béatrice Uria-Monzon’s debut as Tosca
We have been waiting for this debut by Béatrice Uria-Monzon with understandable curiosity. Over the years, she has become the classic Carmen in all the operatic capitals of the world: Paris, Vienna, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, without counting Russia and Japan, and, naturally, the Festival of the Chorégies in Orange. Other mezzo-sopranos have successfully tackled the part which is one of the most electrifying roles in the operatic repertoire, notably Grace Bumbry and Shirley Verrett.
With her allure and beauty, Béatrice Uria-Monzon perfectly embodies this love-sick and jealous opera singer, becoming a tigress to defend herself against Scarpia’s assaults in the 2nd Act and who shows herself distraught with love for her painter-revolutionary in the 3rd Act. Her physical resemblance to Raina Kabaivanska, one of the most eminent singers who left us an indelible mark with her Tosca, is striking, and it is plain that this is not simply trivial flattery.
The timbre of the warm tones allows the voice, in the middle as well as the low register, the sombre inflexions one expects for this part (for example, in the 1st Act, in the response she gives to Scarpia whilst brandishing the fan “…Presago sospetto” or in the 2nd Act during the sadistic baron’s agony “Gaudami! Son Tosca”.) But you must still control the tension in the high notes during the confrontation with Scarpia in the 3rd Act, and deliver an exposed high C in the recitative during the murder scene in the 3rd Act.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon perfectly fulfilled all of this. Apart from the wild lyricism, all that remains for her to develop is the lightness of certain phrases in the 1st Act and the mezza voce style with which Magda Olivero or Raina Kabaivanska were able to embellish Tosca’s history (the spun and tenuto sound in the 1st Act “Egli vede ch’io piango” or the many contrasts in the 2nd Act prayer.)
The event of this season of performances in Avignon is, undoubtedly, the long-awaited debut of Béatrice Uria-Monzon in the role of the Roman opera singer. After her poignant Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana in Orange, her Chimène in Le Cid in Marseille, this great Carmen of our age continues to mature towards the important dramatic soprano roles. What allows her this expansion of repertoire is the total mastery of her vocal palette: even if the high notes demanded by Tosca, the Bs and Cs, shouldn’t be overlooked, she can negotiate them without effort, colouring them largely thanks to the solid support of her middle and lower middle registers, which adds a richness, sensuality and fruitiness to her high notes that one hardly ever hears from Toscas who are pure sopranos. Suffice to say, this is a great success for Béatrice Uria-Monzon. From the very beginning and the celebrated “Mario! Mario!” sung off-stage, one hears the full substance of the voice taking possession of the character. And at her entrance on-stage, this presence is confirmed both vocally and scenically. Dressed in a superb costume (well done Gérard Audier!), the young Floria Tosca is absolutely the young woman who has just met up with her lover: she has the freshness and youthfulness which is evident and which is understood – with a series of subtle gestures, delicate directed moves to show the interior understanding of the role; and so, before leaving Mario to his work, it isn’t as a jealous tigress that she asks him to “faire des yeux noirs; paint her eyes black” to the portrait of the Madonna he is painting, but as the mild whim of a child-woman, with a tender pout that Mario obviously can’t resist. But if the beauty of the voice and the intelligence of the direction constitute this Tosca in the 1st Act, it is the 2nd Act which establishes the heart of Puccini’s opera. In her sumptuous diva’s costume leaving the stage (which brings to mind the dress designed for Maria Callas by Franco Zeffirelli!…), Béatrice Uria-Monzon has her work cut out as she faces the terrible Scarpia who toys in a perverted way with her, who terrifies and disgusts her. It is here that the voice and the dramatic temperament must combine without contradicting each other: a complete technical mastery is required to inscribe the singing in its unceasingly variable rhythm, in its contrasts, and in its uproarious line, just as an equal mental capacity is needed to get across the extreme tension demanded by the opera’s character in each projected word, each gesture, each silence. And here again, Béatrice Uria-Monzon is admirable from beginning to end, giving everything, never letting herself be overwhelmed by the violence that she knows so well how to portray, daring subtle scenic effects (like the moment where she snatches up the knife… then puts it down… before seizing it again: all the internal conflict of the young woman is summarized here) – all this with a constant vocal assurance and powerful attack, the high notes always vivid, coloured. And the Prayer, the celebrated Vissi d’arte, shows her in her refined beauty, with a fullness of voice and the character completely personified. The 3rd Act, being less heavy, nonetheless demands complete implication both vocally and scenically, allowing for no relaxation: Béatrice Uria-Monzon takes her Tosca to the highest level, right up to the agonizing “Mario! Mario!”, an echo of the opening cry but which, this time, demonstrates the young woman’s complete despair as she discovers her dead lover.
If we are running to Avignon to see and hear this Tosca for Béatrice Uria-Monzon, we should however note the excellence of the rest of the cast, with the Italian-American tenor Riccardo Massi playing Mario with warm voice, rich in substance and with a stylised singing technique (although sadly lacking in stage presence), with the Korean baritone Seng-Hyoun Ko, discovered at the Orange Festival, with the ideal blackness for Scarpia, with a very good Sexton in Lionel Peintre and a charming shepherdess in Loreline Mione, all under the ardent, substantial but never exaggerated musical direction of Alain Guingal. After the success of her beautiful Tosca in Orange, Nadine Duffaut proposes a classic vision of the opera, with constants which reappear; the obsessive presence of the portrait of the Madonna throughout the three acts showing the weight of religion, the language of gesture used by the characters, and the significant details (for example, in the 1st Act Scarpia’s henchman who tramples on the white flowers laid by Tosca before the statue of the Virgin, or the wonderful theatricality of Scarpia’s death, as he falls backwards down the stairs to come face to face with … the portrait of the Madonna).
It is a beautiful performance and above all, the birth of a great Tosca: thanks must be given to Raymond Duffaut who dared to offer the role to Béatrice Uria-Monzon, thereby permitting her to climb to a new level in an already brilliant career. It only remains for him to invite her again to Orange… this time, as Tosca!
For her first Tosca, the French mezzo Béatrice Uria-Monzon accomplishes a very convincing change of tessitura. As Tosca, she offers a rich vocal portrait, which combines perfect evenness, careful phrasing, legato and mezza voce, and which never sacrifices the musicality to the accents which she knows how to execute whether imperious, authoritarian, or justly dramatic. In this role, the voice is highlighted by its solid support, its scope, its colours. As for the actress, she remains unparalleled, and has found in this highly dramatic heroine one of her best parts.
It was a torrid afternoon in Avignon, not only because of the seasonal sunshine but thanks also to the memorable encounter with Béatrice Uria-Monzon playing Tosca as the great tragedienne and Seng-Youn Ko giving a Scarpia in full Technicolor. Two Titans on stage, and what voices! The first night of the new production of Tosca at the Opera Theatre in this papal city is a success, applauded loudly and at great length by a transported public.
The best of the performance is in the vocal and scenic confrontation between Béatrice Uria-Monzon and Seng-Hyoun Ko. All the violence of passion is deployed across their voices and what is known as “verismo” is in evidence: excessive theatrical effects, realistic details, cruelty. The effect of the mirror is plain to see: Tosca, the “buon falco”, is here the double reverse of the predatory Scarpia. Suaveness and ferocity their lot in common: the whole of Act II exposes the varied registers of their vocal capabilities (the powerful top of Béatrice Uria-Monzon and the ease with which she passes from the high to the low register; the flexibility of the baritone of Seng-Hyoun Ko, the mastery of dynamics, a power which is never detrimental to the phrase). The perennial problem posed in this context by the aria “vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore” is resolved by the direction which places Tosca in the centre, under the painting of L’Attavanti/Mary Magdalene, at the top of a staircase, in a theatrical pose: Béatrice Uria-Monzon as actress plays the lyricism which must dupe Scarpia with complete conviction – and which clearly moves the audience. What a rare combination in these two interpreters; the flesh of the voice and the spirit of the body! To the seductive Don Juan-like bearing of Scarpia/Seng-Youn Ko is contrasted the refined elegance of Tosca/Béatrice Uria-Monzon, and the haughty allure of the diva. A Sunday afternoon of torrid sensuality.
… faced with Béatrice Uria-Monzon’s irresistible Floria Tosca, a dazzling stage presence in her azure spotted skirt, then sovereign of the stage in an imperial dress crowned with a tiara of flaming rubies, equally correct in gesture, always elegantand meaningful, as she is in her mobile expression, without exaggeration, of the face or a look, which summon the intimate detail for both the camera lens and the grand screen : a great actress. Just as with Mario, blunt and scarcely evolutionary, the role of Tosca is hardly psychologically profound, a passion that is somewhat summary and mechanical. However, with the complicity of the director, Uria-Monzon makes this too simple character into a real person, slipping abruptly from a humorous scene into tragedy, led by the events : capricious coquette, impulsive, jokey, mutinous more than imperious in the 1st Act, devastating and jealous diva, contemptuous, breathless with sadness in the 2nd, transported to the heroic archetypal tyrannized libertarian in the 3rd. There is even a perceptible evolution of the romantic gesture at the beginning to the grandiose gesture at the end. That this was a great actress was never in any doubt, however the case was out in terms of the singing in this bold debut, marking the passage of her tessitura from the sombre velvet of the mezzo towards the satiny brilliance of a high dramatic soprano. In fact, if we have been listening carefully to her voice since we first came across her, Uria-Monzon is a soprano after Cornélie Falcon; that is to say a dramatic soprano in the low and middle registers spiced with heroic and strong top notes. And in spite of some apprehension, we have to acknowledge here her convincing success in this role: easy beautifully toned high notes, supported by the solidity of a voice whose technique is flawless, with the emotional trepidation which comes with the combination of taking a risk and taking on a new role. An indubitable success.
A hit beyond any shadow of a doubt.