Winning the 2005 BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff:
“At last the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World has landed a good catch. […] The winner was Nicole Cabell from the US. At 27, she was the youngest of the five finalists, and already has a faultlessly gleaming soprano, a technique with no loopholes, and bags of confidence. It should not do any harm that she is also tall, slim and glamorous. Not many young singers would have dared to serenade the line-up of judges at this competition with such esoteric fare - a solo from Tippett's A Child of Our Time, one of Ilia's heart-stopping arias from Mozart's Idomeneo and a nimble Gallic showpiece from Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini. But whatever this soprano chooses to sing, her voice makes wonderful music with it.
The judges said this was the closest result for years, but Cabell was surely always going to be the winner.”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, June 22, 2005
The BBC Singer of the World competition has always been a testing week, but its extension to include a separate song competition has introduced an element of survival of the fittest. Thus, the emergence of the coolly accomplished American soprano Nicole Cabell as winner was predictable, her slender frame belying a remarkable stamina.
Crucially, Cabell's programme was more adventurous than most, with Mozart flanked by impassioned Tippett and a technically demanding aria from Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini. It was the joyful gleam of the Berlioz's final high cadenza that set the seal on her success.
Rian Evans, The Guardian, June 21, 2005
“Call it what you will — star quality, audience awareness, the wow factor — that, in the end, is what swings a jury. And when, at the weekend, they swung in favour of a 27-year-old American soprano called Nicole Cabell, there weren’t too many dissenting voices.
Cabell walks away with £10,000, a BBC and a Welsh National Opera engagement — and a memo, at the very least, in the diaries of opera intendants worldwide.
Earlier in the week, there had been murmurings. Cabell is from the Chicago Lyric Opera Centre, an institution not unknown to an erstwhile director of WNO. And she had already won a Marilyn Horne Foundation Recital. Horne was on the jury. And then, I suspect, there was the sour grapes factor: though it’s hardly Cabell’s fault if she has the glamour quotient of Shirley Bassey and Nefertiti combined.
When Cabell opened that great smiling mouth, what we heard was liquid gold: the real thing. Her finals programme, accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Carlo Rizzi, showed her sense of warm humanity, projected confidently within a technique strong enough to take it, in How can I cherish my man from Tippett’s A Child of our Time. Ilia’s aria Se il padre perdei from Idomeneo revealed Cabell as a stylish Mozartian. And she was spellbinding in her final cadenza from Entre l’amour et le devoir from Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini.”
Hillary Finch, The Times, June 21, 2005
Windy City Wonder Blows Away the Competition
… There can be little argument over who deserved to walk away with the first prize.
I didn't hear her during the heats, but, on the strength of her performance in the final, this year's laureate, 27-year-old Chicagoan Nicole Cabell, has dazzling star potential.
Her gorgeous soprano is rich and even, rising to a sumptuous top. Although she sings with a broad generous passion rather than a finely detailing brush, there were moments of spine-tingling beauty in arias from Tippett's A Child of our Time and Mozart's Idomeneo; "Entre l'amour" from Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini proved a harder nut to crack.
That she looks a complete smasher - tall and willowy, with a smile to die for - will do her career no harm whatsoever. Anyway, I can't wait to hear and see Miss Cabell again."
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, June 21, 2005
At the Song Prize Finals at the 2005 BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff:
"Following her rapturous reception by the audience for Concert 3 in the Main Prize competition, it was fairly obvious that American soprano Nicole Cabell would win equal approval in this concert. She is a striking figure on stage: tall, slim and beautifully groomed (hers have been the most elegant 'frocks' by far in the whole contest, for those interested in such things) she also has a voice of superb power and flexibility. Her programme consisted of pair of songs by Ravel ( Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, Nos 1 and 2) two pieces by Obradors (Canciones clássicas españolas Vol 1 Nos 1 and 6) and two items from Dvoràk (Gipsy Songs Op 55 No 4 , 'Als die alte Mutter,' and No 5 ' Reingestimmt die Saiten.') The unusual Daybreak in Alabama by Ricky Ian Gordon completed her set, complementing the same composer's Dream Variations, which she had sung in her Song Prize heat. The voice is certainly beautiful (faintly reminiscent of Renée Fleming sometimes) and she can do almost anything she chooses with it. This is what gives her such extraordinary audience appeal."
Bill Kenny, Seen and Heard, June 20, 2005
Nicole receiving her award from Dame Joan Sutherland.
Nicole Cabell, lauréate du BBC Cardiff Singer of the World
Après Dmitry Hvorostovsky et Bryn Terfel (ex-aequo) en 1989 mais aussi dans la masse des lauréats, de Monica Groop à Hillevi Martinpelto et une certaine Karita Mattila, le célèbre Concours lyrique de Cardiff a couronné dimanche 22 juin Ms Nicole Cabell, une Américaine de 27 ans.Elle était la plus jeune des 5 finalistes. La presse anglo-saxone salue une soprano particulièrement complète, à la technique sûre et d'une belle assurance en plus d'une réelle intelligence et... (last but not least?) un certain glamour. Elle aura séduit le Jury avec "esotérisme", choississant d'interpréter un solo de Tippett: A Child of Our Time, une aria d'Ilia (Mozart, Idomeneo) et une autre de Benvenuto Cellini de Berlioz.Quelque soit le répertoire abordé, les critiques ont soulignés sa parfaite musicalité.
Lachlan, Opéra Passion
Nicole Cabell was stunning visually, and a beautiful elegant singer also. Who else could possibly have won this heat? Her diction was also very near perfect. The stunning diminuendo at the end of the Menotti aria was sensational. She made this second rate music sound wonderful..and how many singers can do accomplish that? She could be the new sensation...it's somehow important that the audience should have an input. All the old folks on the jury know their stuff, but in the end, what matters is the singer's impact on the audience..that's what happens in the theatre. No one would choose John Tomlinson, for example, as a great singer based solely on tonal quality, but the impact he has in the theatre, his physical presence, his connection with the audience, exemplify what I mean. Having said that, I found the vocal quality of Nicole Cabell also very alluring. So I hope she goes far...
Roger D Bell
It was good to see Nicole Cabell sing Tippett (gloriously) and I think she has a fantastic career ahead of her.
As the Soprano Solo in Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Chicago Symphony:
"The players and chorus were fully engaged in the effort; two of the vocal soloists — soprano Nicole Cabell and bass-baritone Christian van Horn, standing in at the last minute for Wayne Tigges — beautifully, atmospherically contributed to it."
Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune, June 4, 2005
"Soloists Nicole Cabell, Guang Yang, Scott Ramsay and Christian Van Horn, all members or alums of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, navigated their difficult lines well for the most part. Soprano Cabell and bass-baritone Van Horn, a last-minute substitute, were particularly strong."
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, June 4, 2005
As the Soprano Solo in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Florida Orchestra:
"Soprano Nicole Cabell treated listeners with her sumptuous vocals on a text of innocence and heavenly pleasure."
Kurt Loft, Tampa Tribune, May 22, 2005
As the Soprano Solo in Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia:
"The celestial flight of the Lied for soprano was given to Nicole Cabell, a young and beautiful American whose European debut this was; hers is an emotional and lyrical voice for this piece, but through her "wiedersehen" ("I shall see you again") touched by grace, the audience was left with sincere emotion."
Giorgio Pestelli, La Stampa, May 10, 2005
"The soloists were an extraordinary, moving and extremely well-controlled Thomas Hampson as well as a wonderful and most musical Nicole Cabell."
Dino Villatico, La Repubblica, May 9, 2005
"… The melting sweetness of Nicole Cabell…"
Pietro Acquafredda, Il Giornale, May 10, 2005
In the Rising Stars concert at the Lyric Opera of Chicago:
"Nicole Cabell, now in her third year at Lyric, has been a singer to watch from the very start. Her ample, agile voice has a satiny edge, noticeable even in the flirtatious flights of the aria "Entre l'amour et le devoir'' from Berlioz's "Benvenuto Cellini.'' In the Act II duet from Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Cabell's lustrous tone was a lovely contrast to the brighter, more silvery soprano of Lauren Curnow."
Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times, May 2, 2005
Récital Opéra de Montréal Le Xe Gala:
Il est difficile, voire impossible de faire un compte-rendu complet et équitable d’une telle Odyssée lyrique. Retenons tout de même, du côté des voix féminines... la soprano Nicole Cabell, inconnue à ce jour, [qui] a chanté de façon admirable le « Chi il bel sogno di Doretta ? »
Jacques Hétu, ResMusica.com, December 7, 2005
... Ceux qui croyaient avoir tout vu... ont eu des surprises encore plus grandes dans la seconde partie. Car le choc de la soirée a été bref mais intense, avec une autre soprano : Nicole Cabell, créature littéralement tombée du ciel, qui chante l'air de La Rondine mieux qu'Angela Gheorghiu avec des attaques pianississimo filées quasiment irréelles.
Christophe Huss, LeDevoir.com, December 5, 2005
Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, Chicago, Sep 2005
The big surprise of the evening was Nicole Cabell’s Depuis le jour. This young soprano really knows what this aria is about and her singing was simply superb.