Monday, December 11, 2006

Nicole's Berlin "triumph"

“One could have expected to see the General Director [Kirsten Harms] appear in front of her audience at the Deutsche Oper in the darkest of moods in order to announce the sad news that the star-singer of the evening, Angela Gheorghiu, would not be taking part in the concert, as she had canceled literally at the last moment due to illness. Yet Ms. Harms appeared to be beaming - and quite rightly so. She had been able to secure the services of Nicole Cabell for the role of Juliette for this concert performance of Gounod's ‘Roméo et Juliette’. This turned out to be happy news. Miss Cabell came, sang and triumphed - and this in every respect. One does not just listen to Nicole Cabell with pleasure; she is also a joy to behold.”

Klaus Geitel,
Berliner Morgenpost,
December 9, 2006

“One forgot quickly that Angela Gheorghiu canceled at the last moment, as the American Nicole Cabell knew, after a timid start, how to fill with her voice the large space of the Deutsche Oper. Cabell, who is at the start of a world-class career and already has a contract with Decca and a debut at the Met, is still quite young and sang Juliette with the same wide-eyed innocence and pleasure in her (vocal) power of seduction that Claire Danes had in spades in Baz Luhrmann’s film.”

Wolfgang Fuhrmann,
Berliner Zeitung,
December 10, 2006

“The young American Nicole Cabell triumphed as [Angela Gheorghiu’s] replacement with a warm and high-placed soprano.”

Frank Kallensee,
Märkische Allgemeinde,
December 9, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nicole steps in for Gheorghiu

Once again, Nicole has been asked to save the day!

Angela Gheorghiu (left), who was scheduled to sing Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at the Deutsche Oper Berlin called in sick a few hours before the performance. Nicole had just finished singing Adina in L'elisir d'amore in Montpellier. She was due to fly to Berlin to start rehearsals for the forthcoming production of Idomeneo later in December. The Deutsche Oper management requested her to take over from the sick Gheorghiu and Nicole obligingly accepted.

Fortunately, the role of Juliette is in Nicole's repertoire. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will recall that she sang the Shakespearean heroine in a production at Spoleto's Festival in May-June of this year - to great critical acclaim. Partnering Nicole in Romeo is the American tenor Neil Shicoff. The conductor is Frédéric Chaslin.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nicole replaces ailing Broadway star

Broadway star Audra McDonald (left), scheduled to headline Cincinnati Opera's gala fundraiser called Some Enchanted Evening on Saturday, November 4, 2006 cancelled because of illness, the opera announced Friday and Nicole Cabell stepped in at the last minute.

Cincinnati Opera's artistic director Evans Mirageas predicts that Nicole will be "the next Renee Fleming." Nicole, who was in the middle of a run of concert performances of Gorecki's 3rd Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis, flew in to Cincinnati to replace Ms McDonald for the gala. After the performance, she flew back to resume the Gorecki concerts in Minneapolis.

Gorecki: "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" Reviews

The young soprano engaged by Vänskä for these performances, Nicole Cabell, displayed Thursday night at Orchestra Hall not only a remarkably rich sound that was firm and full, from the low notes of the second movement all the way up to high G, but also a close identification with the text, which speaks so tellingly of mortality and redemption.
Michael Anthony,
Star Tribune,
November 3, 2006

“But Vanska, the Minnesota Orchestra and soprano Nicole Cabell - the winner of last year's high-profile BBC "Singer of the World" competition - made it clear that this is a work best experienced in concert.
There are few deeper sorrows than that of a mother in mourning, and it is such sadness that suffuses Gorecki's piece. While Cabell's rich voice was ideal for its demands - dark, yet hopeful, immersed in its mood yet transcending it - this was as much a showcase for orchestra as soloist, particularly during the hypnotic closing of its first movement, when the cellos and basses whispered of loss and grief.”
Rob Hubbard,
Pioneer Press,
November 3, 2006

... it was Nicole Cabell who held my full attention as her melodious soprano voice sang the haunting notes of Henryk Gorecki's "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs." Composed in 1976, the Polish writer's three hymns bring together a 15th century lamentation, a 20th century prayer written on a prison wall by an 18-year-old, and a poem based on folk poetry using part of a church hymn. It is hard to describe the power of these three movements. Whatever Gorecki intended, Cabell (under the direction of Osmo Vanska) teased out deep sorrow from the notes on the page. Her repetition (in Polish) of the line, "He lies in his grave and I know not where though I keep asking people everywhere," was enough to bring tears to your eyes.

These songs were pieces of maternal pain in which mothers and children create a bond, despite the horrors and deep wounds that separate them. I have stood at the bedside of parents saying goodbye to dying children and even wept at the loss of a daughter stillborn with my wife. But Gorecki somehow has managed to capture in the combination of words and music the deep searing pain of a child taken too soon. Cabell, who won the 2005 BBC World Singing Competition in Cardiff, was like no singer I've heard yet in Minnesota. She pulled me into the music in a way I rarely have been before and reminded me of the power of music to capture human emotion, desire, and deep sorrow.
Brian T. Hartley

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Boston’s Bernstein Concert at Harvard Review

... the audience got its first taste of award-winning soprano Nicole Cabell, who sang “Kaddish” from Bernstein’s “Kaddish Symphony.” Cabell, who was phenomenal throughout the night, sang this long piece in a consistently high register but never showed signs of faltering. Backed by the women of the Bernstein Festival Chorus, as well as Yoshitaka Yamamoto ’08 on masterful organ and Carrie E. Andersen ’08 on percussion, “Kaddish” revealed the power of Bernstein’s music and left the audience stunned.

Cabell returned to sing the five-song cycle “I Hate Music,” sung from the perspective of a ten-year old. Hearing the prominent soprano sing in a childish style was odd at first, but Cabell pulled it off with flair and ease.

R. Derek Wetzel
The Harvard Crimson
October 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Porgy & Bess: Decca CD reviews

"The real find here is Nicole Cabell, a beautiful soprano who twists ‘Summertime’ into the bold opening aria that Gershwin probably hoped for."
Daniel Felsenfeld

Time Out New York
October 5-11,2006

"... Nicole Cabell as Clara and Robert Mack as Sporting Life produce the best performances. "
Andrew Clements
The Guardian
September 22, 2006

Nicole Cabell, Top Cardiff Competition Star, Sings at Barbican

By Warwick Thompson
Sept. 21

Nicole Cabell has the glamour of Shirley Bassey and Nefertiti combined, one critic panted. Throw in a voice like a shimmering rope of pearls, an exquisite legato and an instinctive understanding of French style, and you begin to approach the blistering talent of this Californian soprano.

Cabell, 28, shot to fame last year after a hands-down win at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, and made a hair- prickling debut at the Proms this year singing Britten's Les Illuminations. She's been offered a Decca recording contract.

Tonight at London's Barbican Hall, she sings the role of Princesse Eudoxie in a concert performance of Halevy's La Juive (The Jewess, 1835). The part marks her debut with the Royal Opera. I caught up with Cabell, who was looking chic and soignee, and not a little excited, in a dressing room in Covent Garden.

Thompson: First tell me a little about the role, Princesse Eudoxie. What happens to your character?
Cabell: It's a fantastic part. My husband falls in love with Rachel, a Jewess, and the church condemns them both to death. I have to beg Rachel to say that my husband was innocent, that he didn't seduce her, in order for his life to be saved. You get to see all Eudoxie's passion as she brings herself to this terrible act of desperation, begging a Jewess -- and her rival -- for a favor. But she'll do anything to save the man she loves.
Thompson: There's a famous aria, ``Je l'ai revu'' and quite a few duets. Is it a large role?
Lots of Passion
Cabell: It's a huge sing, really huge, with lots of coloratura and lots of passion -- and it's only a secondary part. I dread to think what's it's like for Rachel, the Jewess.
Thompson: Is it actually a coloratura role?
Cabell: If you give it to a coloratura soprano, it is. I'm a light lyric soprano, so it won't be so typically coloratura-ish, if that makes sense.
Thompson: You're looking absolutely terrific. Do you find there's any pressure to look great?
Cabell: Yes, there is. There are great singers who don't have conventional looks who aren't getting the parts they should. Thirty years ago, they might have had good careers. I should fight it, but actually I'm the one going to WeightWatchers, trying to stay trim.
Thompson: Would you be offended if I asked about your racial background?
African-American, Korean
Cabell: Not at all. Both my grandfathers are African- American, one grandmother is Korean, and one is white. I describe myself as multiracial.
Thompson: Does that have any impact on your career?
Cabell: No, I don't think so, at least not a negative one. Someone once said I'd be perfect for the role of Leila in The Pearl Fishers . I'd be happy if they cast me!
Thompson: You must be earning good fees now. What are you spending on?
Cabell: I'm saving up to buy some real estate, but it's tricky because I love shopping, clothes, haircuts, makeup. I'm a real spendaholic.

Warwick Thompson is a critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Great reviews for La Juive at Royal Opera

No less impressive was Cardiff Singer of the World Nicole Cabell as Princess Eudoxie: a shame it's a small part, but she shone in her classy Act III aria, showing dexterity in the demanding coloratura passages, particularly the cadenza.
Dominic McHugh
20 Sep 2006

As Rachel, Marina Poplavskaya [...] was neatly balanced by the bubbles and froth of her more privileged rival, the Princess Eudoxie (Nicole Cabell, in an auspicious Royal Opera debut).
Neil Fisher
The Times, London
21 Sep 2006

Last year's Cardiff Singer of the World winner, Nicole Cabell, was alluring as the coquettish Princess Eudoxie.
Fiona Maddocks
Evening Standard, London
20 Sep 2006

[...] Mark my words, stardom beckons.
It already has for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner Nicole Cabell. In the "decorative" coloratura role of Princess Eudoxie, whose "haute couture" vocal lines are as richly embellished as the jewels she craves, Cabell provided the kind of glamour and awareness that wins recording contracts. She just has - with Universal - and company executives were no doubt salivating at the quality of her show-stopping aria in act three.
Edward Seckerson

The Independent, London
23 Sep 2006

... But the real discoveries of the evening, beyond this unjustly neglected score, were the two sopranos both after the same man. In the title role, Russian Marina Poplavskaya proved herself more than ready to take on Donna Anna later this season, while American Nicole Cabell rose to some hypnotic coloratura.
Anthony Holden
The Observer, London
September 24, 2006

... But the big news on Tuesday night was the joint appearance of two young stars-in-the-making, the delightful American soprano Nicole Cabell (the most recent BBC Singer of the World, already armed with a Decca contract), fluting away insouciantly as Rachel’s love rival, Princess Eudoxie, and even more so the sensational Marina Poplavskaya, still a member of the RO’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, as the Jewess.
Hugh Canning
The Sunday Times, London
September 24, 2006

...excellent performances from Cabell, Poplavskaya, Schmunck, and the chorus...
Anna Picard
The Independent, London

24 Sep 2006

But vocally, it was ladies' night. Nicole Cabell, last year's BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, was a ravishing Christian princess...
Rupert Christiansen
Daily Telegraph
21 Sep 2006

But what gave this performance its class was the casting of Marina Poplavskaya and Nicole Cabell as Rachel and Princess Eudoxie. Both sopranos are on the springboard of a great career. [...] Both communicated a sense of drama. Cabell, confident but not cocky, adorned her coloratura with warmth, intelligence and glorious musicianship.
Andrew Clark
Financial Times
20 Sep 2006

Princess Eudoxie requires a coloratura soprano [...] [She]would be at home in something written by Donizetti. The bell-like voice of the bubbly Royal Opera debutant, Nicole Cabell, excelled as Eudoxie. [She] had sufficient heft to project over a consistently noisy orchestra in the ensemble scenes.
Jim Pritchard
Seen and Heard
Sep 2006

Nicole Cabell tossed of Eudoxie’s elaborate arias with enviable charm and ability.
Robert Hugill
Planet Hugill
September 25, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Liszt at Bard College

"... the concerts highlighted a lesser-known side of the composer, including works he wrote during a stint as a religious recluse.
But long before Liszt opted for the monastery late in life, he had a more serious, contemplative side, demonstrated by the appealing song Die Lorelei, expressively and elegantly sung by the superb young soprano Nicole Cabell on Friday. Listeners were also treated to Ms. Cabell’s velvety voice in the weekend’s final concert, on Sunday, where she sang “Tandis qu’il sommeille” from La Juive , by Halévy. "
Vivien Schweitzer,
New York Times
August 15, 2006

Franz Liszt and his Times

"The first concert included a selection of Liszt's songs, a genre in which he excelled, I believe. His settings are always striking and original, sometimes disarmingly simple and intimate and sometimes grand, employing operatic modes like recitative in a way that penetrates to the heart of the text, here masterfully sung by John Hancock and Nicole Cabell.

As a result, if I ever see a recital advertised with any of these names, I'll drop pretty much anything to go: [...] Nicole Cabell, soprano.... Were there stars? Absolutely. [...] Soprano Nicole Cabell sang Liszt's setting of Heine's "Die Lorelei" with penetrating intelligence and heart-rending expression. "
Michael Miller
Berkshire Fine Arts
18 Sep, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nicole in 'Porgy and Bess'

Nicole Cabell appears in the first ever recording of Gershwin's original 1935 production version of Porgy and Bess. This brand-new studio recording was made in Nashville following the first performances of Gershwin's revised version for more than half a century. Conducted by John Mauceri whose acclaimed recordings of Broadway classics include The King & I, Candide and a definitive series of Gershwin musicals, Gershwin's most popular score bridges the worlds of grand opera and the Broadway musical.

The recording , produced by Decca, features Alvy Powell as Porgy and Marquita Lister as Bess, with Nicole Cabell as Clara singing Summertime . It is due to be released in September 2006.

Nicole at the Proms II

Nicole Cabell
photographed after her performance
of Britten's Les Illuminations
at the Royal Albert Hall
on August 2, 2006.

Nicole's London Proms Debut

One concert last week stood out for the number of attractions on offer. It was as if a card-player who had been having a poor run suddenly found himself dealt four aces in one hand. [....] The fast-rising American soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 Cardiff Singer of the World, made her debut. Cabell is impressive for the technical ease of her lyric voice and her aptitude in a variety of musical styles. In Britten's Les illuminations she sang in good French, projecting enough of the underlying emotional ambiguities to make the songs come alive in this large hall
Richard Fairman
The Financial Times
August 10, 2006

Most impressive, however, was soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of last year's BBC Singer of the World competition. Britten's Les Illuminations has been part of her repertoire for a while now, and her full, rounded tones were perfectly suited to this sultry music, carried effortlessly above Andrew Davis's sensitive string accompaniment. The magical descent with which she ended Phrase was worth admission alone, her projection to the audience exemplary.
Ben Hogwood
August 4, 2006

The 2005 Cardiff Singer of the World, Nicole Cabell, found the implicit sex in the "murmurs and visions" of Les Illuminations, plumbing the contradictions between the sound and sense of Arthur Rimbaud's verse, while Evgeny Kissin and a somewhat retiring trumpeter, Sergei Nakariakov, were very much unequal partners in Shostakovich's bipolar Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings.
Edward Seckerson,

The Independent,
August 7, 2006

Nicole Cabell lived up to her 'Singer of the World' reputation with a ravishing performance of Britten's Illuminations. Cabell, with her floaty upper register, made us fully aware of the work's lush sensibilities.
Mark Mortimer

Nicole Cabell (the luminous, sensual soloist)…
Barry Millington,
The Evening Standard
August 3, 2006

Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony set a suitably light-hearted mood, followed by an expressive and captivating rendition of Les Illuminations by Nicole Cabell.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nicole in Tulsa

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and husband Bill Lobeck recently hosted Nicole Cabell and guests at their home in a fundraising event for the Tulsa Opera.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nicole Cabell in Trafalgar Square!

Londoners crossing Trafalgar Square recently would have seen this giant billboard
announcing the Opening of the 2006 Proms
and in the midst of it, a huge picture of Nicole Cabell.
Below, a close-up of Nicole's picture on the billboard

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ravinia Festival Review

Saturday's pre-Fourth of July concert was an amiable hodgepodge of star-spangled pops and other popular American classics by Bernstein, Copland and Sousa. But its central glory was Nicole Cabell, the extraordinarily gifted young American soprano who was making her first Ravinia appearance since winning the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition last year.

The Lyric Opera's star alumna has it all -- striking natural beauty, a killer smile, a statuesque frame a supermodel would envy, and, of course, that gorgeous voice.

She put her radiant soprano to crowd-pleasing use in a clutch of American musical theater classics from "Kismet," "Street Scene," "Showboat" and other shows, accompanied by the CSO and, in a brief cabaret turn on a darkened stage, by Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman at the piano.

Cabell was best in songs such as "Harlem on My Mind" and "And This is My Beloved," where her artistic poise, absolute sincerity of expression and alluring femininity were at one with the musical material. I would gladly have done without hearing orchestral excerpts from Verdi's "Aida" to have heard Cabell sing a few operatic arias. Maybe next time.

By John von Rhein
Chicago Tribune
July 3, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nicole in 'Wikipedia'

Nicole Cabell's entry in Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, has finally been published!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Nicole Cabell, Soprano

Nicole Cabell, the 2005 Winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff and exclusive DECCA recording artist, is fast becoming one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos of today.

Miss Cabell’s 2006/2007 season includes many exciting debuts, most notably with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Eudoxie in concert performances of La Juive, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall in Poulenc’s Gloria, the Santa Fe Opera as Musetta in La Bohème, the Opéra de Montpellier as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore and with Opera Rara in a recording and concert performance of the title-role of Donizetti’s Imelda de’ Lambertazzi. Other notable concert appearances include Carmina Burana and Honey and Rue with the Oslo Philharmonic and Andre Previn, an all-Bernstein evening at Harvard with Judith Clurman, the Gorecki 3rd Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä and a return to the Indianapolis Symphony for Mahler’s 4th Symphony with Mario Venzago. Miss Cabell also looks forward to recitals in London and Hammond, LA. Future projects include debuts with the Metropolitan and Washington Operas, the Teatro Real in Madrid, Opera Pacific and returns to Miss Cabell’s home company, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, all in leading roles.

Nicole Cabell’s past season was filled with debuts, especially in opera with the Palm Beach and Madison Operas for Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, with Michigan Opera Theater as Musetta in La Bohème and, last but not least, with the Spoleto Festival USA for Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. She appeared in recital in New York City as part of Marilyn Horne’s Birthday Gala at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as well as in Chicago, Buffalo and Bradford, PA. On the concert stage Miss Cabell was heard in Louisville in both the Poulenc Gloria and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Raymond Leppard in both cases, in Milwaukee in a program of Shakespeare-themed pieces with Nicholas McGegan, in crossover concerts with the Pasadena Pops and in Montreal Opera’s annual gala. She also sang in a Classical Christmas program with the Indianapolis Symphony. Later in the season, Nicole Cabell returned to Rome for concerts of Britten’s Les Illuminations and Mahler’s 4th Symphony with James Conlon and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. In the summer, Miss Cabell made her London concert debut at the Proms in Britten’s Les Illuminations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis; she returned to the Ravinia Festival for a crossover concert with James Conlon and to the Pasadena Pops for evenings of music from around the Mediterranean.

While a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Center for American Artists, Nicole Cabell had the opportunity to sing the title-role in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen in student matinees as well as to cover the roles of Marzelline in Fidelio and Rita Billingsly in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding. Miss Cabell made her extremely successful Orchestra Hall debut with the Chicago Symphony in concerts of Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Sir Andrew Davis conducting. She also made her European debut in concerts of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Antonio Pappano and Thomas Hampson; she appeared with the Florida Orchestra as the Soprano Soloist in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Florida Orchestra and Stefan Sanderling and in Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Baltimore Symphony. Nicole Cabell was heard in recital in Little Rock, AK.

The preceding year she sang Barbarina and covered Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and appeared as Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance at the Lyric Opera, having sung with the same company the role of Crobyle in Thaïs in the fall of 2002. In concert, she made her debut with the Oregon Symphony as the Soprano Soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Carlos Kalmar and repeated Barbarina with the Chicago Symphony and Daniel Barenboim at the Ravinia Festival. In the summer, Miss Cabell was also heard live on A Prairie Home Companion in a celebration of Ravinia’s 50th season and sang the role of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with the Grant Park Festival.

In concert, Nicole Cabell was a featured soloist in Ravinia's All Gershwin Concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of David Alan Miller, and participated in Ravinia's opening day concert, accompanied by Welz Kauffman. Miss Cabell has appeared as a soloist in Chicago's Grant Park Festival and Lyric Opera Center for American Artists Rising Stars in Concert.

Past roles include La Princesse in Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, La Femme in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Arsamenes in Xerxes, and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi.

Awards include first place in both the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition and the Women's Board of Chicago Vocal Competition. Nicole Cabell was a semi-finalist in the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and earned first place in the American Opera Society competition in Chicago. She is the 2002 winner of the Union League's Rose M. Grundman Scholarship, and the 2002 Farwell Award with the Woman's Board of Chicago.


Nicole Cabell was born in Panorama City, California, USA on 17 October 1977. She studied at the Chicago's Lyric Opera Center for American Artists and the Eastman School of Music. Nicole enjoys writing, working out, collecting music and shopping.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In 'Romeo et Juliette,' love is colorblind

Casting decisions in two productions at this year's Spoleto Festival USA might put a smile on the faces of some Parisian theater students.

Young actors who attend opera director Jean-Philippe Clarac's talks on the influence of politics on European theater often ask why more actors of color aren't chosen for theatrical roles traditionally played by white actors.

The French students wonder if it is possible for a thespian who is not white to be believed in a European drama set in the Middle Ages, Clarac said.
In theater, where the audience is asked to suspend reality to accept the unbelievable, the answer is usually yes. But with some roles, reality is vital to understanding the part.

The answer was yes Friday as the curtain rose on "Romeo et Juliette" at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium.

Nicole Cabell, an emerging opera diva who describes herself as multiracial, sings the role of Juliette, which has traditionally been played by a Caucasian. Juliette's cousin, Tybalt, is played by Victor Ryan Robertson, who is black.

And for the second consecutive year, baritone Nmon Ford, who is black, will play the title role in "Don Giovanni" when the Italian opera based on Spanish lover Don Juan opens Thursday on an elaborate set at Memminger Auditorium.
Two decades ago, eyebrows were raised as colorblind casting emerged in American theater. It is still rare to see a black actor in a role written for a white character, but the trend is becoming more widely accepted, said Clarac, who along with Olivier Deloeuil co-directs "Romeo et Juliette."
The stage directors said they didn't make the opera's casting decisions. But they are happy to have Cabell, a soprano, because of the quality of her voice. Her ethnicity fits their updated version of Shakespeare's classic set in America.

While Charles Gounod's score will carry the drama, Cabell's mix of African-American, Korean and European ancestry helps her embody the role of a modern-day Juliette, Clarac said.

"The fact that she is black is not a problem because that is America today. It is a multicultural society," Deloeuil said. "Opera has to speak to the society who attends it. Most of the time, the period setting and period costumes keeps it far away from you. If you see something that looks like your neighborhood, it speaks to you directly, and I think that is most important."

In an operatic performance, Cabell said, the performer's voice is more important than the singer's ethnicity or race. Society, she said, has relaxed the rules that reserve classical roles for whites.

For example, she said, operatic stars Leontyne Price and Marian Anderson "have paved the way to make it possible for people like me to come onto the scene." But the number of black opera performers is still small, she said, making their appearance rare.

Emanuel Villaume, Spoleto's artistic director for orchestral music, said a literal interpretation that the actor who plays Julius Caesar, for example, must look like Caesar, has been "an excuse for discrimination." He added: "Fortunately, this is changing."

Villaume selected Cabell after she won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest last year in Wales.

"People are accepting more and more the idea of an African-American singer for a role that is not originally an African-American role," he said. "After all, Otello was always played by great white tenors who were putting black faces on themselves. People accepted that. So why couldn't they accept it the other way around?"

Unlike their Parisian counterparts, young actors at the College of Charleston have seen colorblind casting in campus productions. For more than a decade, Todd McNerney, chairman of the college's theater department, has put the idea of colorblind casting before new students. Few have been surprised, he said.

Although McNerney said the best available actor should be cast in a role, regardless of race, that comes with one condition. McNerney said colorblind casting should be ignored if the race of a character is important to convey a specific political or sociological message. Colorblind casting fits better with classical pieces that tend to be mythical, unlike a contemporary play that is more realistic.

Art Gilliard, artistic director for Art Forms and Theatre Concepts, agrees.

Gilliard is directing Javon Johnson's play "Hambone," a Piccolo Spoleto production that opened Friday at the Footlight Players Theatre on Queen Street. "Hambone," in part, is the story of a black family's struggle to hide the secret that the lead character, Bishop, was fathered by a white man.
In this play, Delvin Williams, a black man, plays Bishop. It is important that a black actor portrays Bishop, Gilliard said. If not, the play loses its meaning, he said. Colorblind casting "is fine as long as it does not stop the story from being told."

Herb Frazier
Post and Courier

Photo Credit: Devon Cass

Roméo et Juliette at Spoleto: Reviews

Creamy Coloratura

This was the Carolinas’ first look at Chicago-based soprano Nicole Cabell after her 2005 triumph as BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. The soprano displayed creamy coloratura and a warm dramatic tone, plus stamina enough to deliver the long Act IV monologue and Act V duet with firm control. She’s an expressive actress, with a long, high-cheekboned face that would have interested Modigliani, and she supplied the action with the sense of doom directors Clarac and Deloeil wanted from the start.

Lawrence Toppman,

Opera News,
August 2006

Palmetto Pleasures
Spoleto Festival operas challenge and illuminate

Charleston’s yearly Spoleto Festival USA is a heady whirlwind of the arts is a lovely setting, with history, cuisine, and leisure opportunities almost too numerous to explore. And yes, there’s a gay vibe afloat if you look.

[My] quarry was operatic—“Roméo et Juliette,” suddenly and deservedly popular again. [The opera] featured outstanding ensemble work from soloists and chorus alike—sometimes hampered, sometimes aided by aggressively activist directors. Gounod’s Shakespearean tragedy was successful largely due to the stylistic conviction and lavish vocal gifts of its highly attractive leading couple. 2005 “Singer of the World” Nicole Cabell showed herself a finely detailed tragic actress, with truly a lovely sound and presence. Consonants could occasionally have been more distinct but she phrased with utmost musicality and feeling; the difficult potion aria was absolutely thrilling.

Take notice—the next major francophone tenor may be young Québecois Frédéric Antoun, who enacted Roméo with disarming sincerity as a dreamy loner. His darkish lyric voice offered admirable dynamic variety and beautifully forward diction. Despite occasional flatting in the tricky transitional “passagio,” high notes above it were secure and exciting. Both Cabell and Antoun have the goods for major careers.

The production by Opéra Français de New York’s Jean-Philippe Clarac/Olivier Deloueil drew some audience puzzlement—the action took place in a corporate funeral home, seemingly protected by a Mafia boss Duke (the veteran Malcolm Smith, very creditable). The Capulets were soulless technocrats and the Montagues a loose bunch of “retro hip” slackers; any sense of rival houses vanished.

Some touches misfired—flashlights in the audience’s eyes, a tired pseudo-Brechtian device which need never, ever be used again, and a gratuitous drag scene for Mercutio during his “Mab” narration, serving only to obscure the notably excellent style and voice of Paris-trained Kevin Greenlaw. However, certain scenes showed unusual flair and psychological insight, like a playfully sexy “Ange adorable” that really seemed like two adolescents meeting and an affecting, improvised-seeming wedding scene—in a lab room!

As Capulet, Brian Mulligan—so far only given crumbs at the Met—exhibited a fine, strong leading baritone. Despite iffy French, Rosendo Flores made a sonorous Laurent, here a mortuary priest and doctor. Christine Abraham and Victor Ryan Robertson brought fiery personality and good sound to Stéphano and Tybalt. Tomasso Placidi led with Romantic sweep but supported the singers’ phrasing, never neglecting Gounod’s coloristic detail.

By David Shengold
Gay City News
June 15 - 21, 2006

[Frédéric Antoun's] Juliette is Chicago-based soprano Nicole Cabell. She was the 2005 winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, the top prize for emerging opera talent. Cabell is tall and beautiful with a distinctive voice. Hers is a bright sound with bite. She also has the all-important middle and low notes that extend her repertoire possibilities beyond the chirper status. Her voice is gilded with a dusky overcoat that adds sensuality and gives sophisticated colour to her freshness. Her formidable coloratura placement is pitch perfect. Cabell's connection with text is also an actor's dream.

Paula Citron

Nicole Cabell sang her heart out in “Romeo et Juliette.” We just wish she had even more to sing.

Jeffrey Day
The State
11 June 2006

Ovation continues for 'Romeo et Juliette'

As part of Spoleto Festival USA, a new production of Charles Francois Gounod's grand opera "Romeo et Juliette" opened Friday night at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium to a packed house which [...] offered at the end a standing ovation that might have run on without end if the stage lights had not been dimmed.

[Maestro Tommaso] Placidi was lucky to have an exquisite Juliette in soprano Nicole Cabell, who portrayed one of the star-crossed lovers with genuine feeling and a rich imagination. Her voice is powerful and beautiful in style and color. She delivered, with grace and ease, some intensely moving and stratospheric vocal pyrotechnics, literally breath-taking. In addition to looking the part, her lyric-coloratura voice was second to none.

Tenor Frédéric Antoun as Romeo mirrored the high-caliber style of Cabell, with an impressive and fiery creation.

The Post and Courier
May 27, 2006

And, ah, the soloists. The title roles are beautifully filled. Nicole Cabell’s buttery, gleaming soprano caresses the ear nonstop, and she shows a true diva’s instincts onstage. She manages the transition from giddy young girl to fate-stricken woman very credibly. Her delivery of the harrowing “potion aria” — with its own mini-“mad scene” — is potent, vocally spectacular, and utterly convincing. She’s a true star in the making.

Frédéric Antoun is the perfect moonstruck adolescent. His rich tenor is smooth and even from top to bottom, despite a slight airy quality to some of his highest notes. His soft pianissimo passages are to die for. This young man was born to sing the French repertoire — he handles the language better than anybody (no surprise from a French Canadian).

Lindsay Koob
Charleston City Paper

And now to the main event? the new production of Charles Gounod's 1867 opera "Romeo et Juliette." [...] presented a modernized telling of the story, set in New Jersey of the 1960s or '70s, judging by appearances... [...] In this contemporary incarnation, the famous tale seemed more vital than ever? an extraordinary achievement, considering it's a plot that everyone knows. [...] In fact, there was not a single dull stretch. Much of the credit for this goes to the young stars, Frédéric Antoun (Romeo) and Nicole Cabell (Juliette), who seemed like two impulsive, love-struck kids, coincidentally possessed of superbly trained singing voices. Despite the lofty musical standards of the performance (and it sounded gorgeous), Antoun and Cabell - and indeed, the entire cast - were first and foremost dramatically credible. This is a challenge in a piece where, 10 minutes after meeting Romeo for the first time, Juliette has to say, "If I cannot be his, let my grave be my bridal bed." Cabell sang it and meant it.

The Post and Courier

May 29-30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Spoleto's Juliet is a joy to behold

Heroine in festival's operatic production has voice that justifies hype

CHARLESTON - It sounds at first like typical marketing hype: The British Broadcasting Corp. calls its vocal contest Singer of the World. Next thing you know, somebody will dream up a competition that declares its winner an idol.

But Nicole Cabell, who won the BBC's prize in 2005, makes the contest's name sound a lot more reasonable. When she's on stage at Spoleto Festival USA as the heroine of Charles Gounod's Romeo and Juliet, it's hard to imagine who in the world could make Juliet more compelling.

Cabell's Juliet exudes the passion of young love. Her voices sparkles and glows. No matter how high Gounod's rapturous melodies soar, Cabell exults in them. No matter how fierily she opens up in the music's big moments, her voice's shine is undimmed.

Even an operatic Juliet needs more than voice, of course. Cabell, youthful and svelte, is instantly believable as a girl swept up in romance.

Her broad smile must gleam all the way to the back row of Charleston's Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, where the production opened Friday night. Her lustrous eyes capture a wealth of feelings -- especially the darker ones that Spoleto's staging, big on death wish, plays up.

Frederic Antoun, just as youthful in sound and appearance, cuts an ardent figure as Romeo. His voice doesn't sail aloft as easily as Cabell's, but it rings. After Juliet leaves Romeo at the end of the balcony scene, his tender tones give her one last caress.

There and in the other two duets at the opera's heart -- the duo's meeting and the climactic tomb scene -- Cabell and Antoun have a magnetism that practically tells the story. That's lucky for Gounod, because they're surrounded by a staging that doesn't necessarily make sense.

This is the second time in recent years that Spoleto has shifted the immortal love story into the present. In 2004, for Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi Spoleto turned the clans into warring crime families. Now, directors Jean-Philippe Clarac and Olivier Deloeuil have cast Juliet's family as the owners of an ultramodern mortuary and mausoleum. Carol Bailey's sets give the production shape through Spartan but imposing panels.

That yields one moment of visual magic: During the balcony scene, the light that from yonder window breaks is coming from Juliet, lighting a bank of candles in a chapel.

But there's no hint as to what Romeo's family does or why they're at odds with Juliet's. Is the funeral business so cut-throat? Why does a funeral home need a phalanx of guards wielding billy clubs? Why does the mortuary let Friar Laurence -- decked out in clerical collar, lab coat and surgical gloves -- hang around with a corpse?

But the cast follows the leading duo's model, surmounting the questions through their energy, commitment and secure voices. Baritone Kevin Greenlaw's Mercutio is especially lively -- and unintimidated by the directors' gambit of having him sing about Queen Mab by turning into her in improvised drag, complete with bare breasts.

The festival orchestra, led by Tommaso Placidi, plays not only with power, but with a sleekness that suits Gounod's French elegance. The chorus mirrors that. Shakespeare's romance prevails.

Steven Brown
Charlotte Observer

Monday, May 22, 2006

Moving Fast

"Young soprano on the fast track" was how Anne Midgette, New York Times critic, described Nicole Cabell in a recent article.

Nicole to sing Gounod's Juliette at Spoleto, SC

CHARLESTON — Sitting in a hotel courtyard near a gurgling fountain, Nicole Cabell would draw anyone’s attention. She is tall and slim, her glowing skin framed by a cascade of dark curls falling onto her shoulders. She wears a flowing black skirt belted by a splash of rhinestones and a snug top.

She reaches down to rummage in her purse, pulls out a tissue, turns her head and blows.
“Very attractive,” she says with a smile. “I’m allergic to Charleston.”

Cabell, a 28-year-old California native, will make her debut at the Spoleto Festival USA this week as Juliette in the 1867 opera “Romeo et Juliette” by French romantic composer Charles Gounod.
The festival is one of many callers Cabell has received since last summer, when she was named the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in what is considered a top vocal competition. Cabell, who now lives in Chicago, was one of 24 finalists.

She knows how important the prize is, but she can joke about it.“It sounds kind of like a wrestling title,” she says with a laugh.“You should get a big belt if you win it.”

Landing at the top of the operatic heap isn’t something Cabell ever expected; she didn’t even know she could sing until she was 15. As a child, she was most interested in writing, pursing it with a passion even at a young age. Her mother encouraged her to take music lessons to be well-rounded, so she started studying flute at 12.

“It was opposite of writing —going from something that you do alone to being a performer,” Cabell says.

And she didn’t take to the performance part: “I’d shake — my whole body would shake.”

Still, she kept at it, until prompted by her mother again.

“I was singing around the house and my mother said I sounded good,” Cabell recalls. “She encouraged me to look around for a choir to sing in.”

Turns out a local chamber choir was holding auditions the next day, so she tried out and became part of the group. At 15, she started doing musical theater, mostly musical revues. A big fan of pop music, Cabell grew up listening to ’60s and ’70s sounds, thanks to her mom, “a former hippie.” She was a fan of ’80s music by The Police and Sade, and ’90s grunge.

“I love Pearl Jam,” Cabell said.

Deciding that she should continue singing, she went to a vocal teacher. “After a few weeks, she said, ‘I think you should study with my teachers,’” Cabell says. For the next two years, Cabell studied opera, a form she’d had no exposure to or experience with. She graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., in 2001 and was accepted into the graduate program at the Juilliard School.

“I was there for three days — well, actually two days,” Cabell says.

As soon as she started, the Lyric Opera of Chicago offered her a three-year residency at its center for young singers.

“When Nicole first got up to sing in my class, after three notes I knew she had it,” Lyric Opera center director Richard Pearlman told The Chicago Tribune last year. “The sound of her voice was so distinctive, the musicianship was at such an Olympian level, you couldn’t keep your eyes off her.”

Others sing her praises, but Cabell is very un-diva-like. She notes that she selected works to perform at the Singer of the World competition that “weren’t too taxing.”

Opera seemed to her to be an “unattainable, complicated thing.”

She mentions more than once that she was “afraid of forgetting the words.”

She was shocked she won the competition.

“At first I just didn’t want to make a fool of myself,” she said.

The heady praise she has received hasn’t gone to her head.

“I’m being very cautious in investing too much in reviews,” Cabell says. “You can’t take it too seriously.”
The closest she comes to bragging is talking about her first day in Charleston.

”I thought the first rehearsal was May 2, but it was May 1,” she says. “As soon as I got here, we had to sing the whole opera. If I can get off a plane, deal with allergies and sing that, I can do this.”

By Jeffrey Day
The State
Photo Credit: Renee Ittner McManus

Talent gets spotted at Spoleto

The next bright young thing often shines first at festival.

One of the strongest legacies of the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is the discovery of new talent.

This tradition started in 1958, when composer Gian Carlo Menotti began the festival in Italy, and it continued when the American festival started in 1977.

Early Spoleto discoveries were soprano Kathleen Battle, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and opera sensation Jessye Norman.

The new singer all eyes are on this year is Nicole Cabell, in the role of Juliet.

Kansas City Star

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Santa Fe Opera's 2007 Season

The Santa Fe Opera season opens on June 29 with La bohème, by Puccini, The opera will be conducted by Corrado Rovaris and staged by Paul Curran. Kevin Knight makes his company debut as set and costume designer; Nicole Cabell makes her company debut as Musetta.

More details of Nicole's performance schedule can be seen here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nicole Cabell interviewed in Chicago Sun-Times

Excerpts from an article entitled In competitive field, young voices heard from The Chicago Sun-Times:

"If you're fortunate," [Gianna] Rolandi, [director of vocal studies at Lyric's Center for American Artists] said, "you'll get with a good manager who can help guide you into the kind of roles you should be doing. We do that in the kind of guidance at the center, and it has to continue. Young singers have a hard time saying no."

After the Cardiff win "catapulted" Cabell's career, a part-time job at Starbucks was no longer part of the equation. Opera companies plan their seasons years in advance, and while Cabell is looking at roles at Lyric and the Metropolitan Opera in a few years hence, she sang Pamina in The Magic Flute in Madison, Wis., this spring and Musetta in La boheme last fall at Michigan Opera Theater.

"I'm so thankful and still in disbelief about the competition," Cabell said, "but I'm actually at a point where I have to work to get time off. The business is fickle, and if you win a competition like Cardiff or you have an amazing opening night like Erin [Wall], people knock on your door. You take roles and pay your dues by working really, really hard for a couple of years."

But Cabell is aware that too much work or inappropriately heavy roles can tear a young voice to shreds.
"I have these great people in my life," she said, mentioning Rolandi and her manager at Columbia Artists Management, Inc. "They help me stay away from the dangerous stuff and pick the healthy things. We're trying to take light repertoire now. It's tricky. Age 28 is not super-young, but also you can't just do anything you want."

By Wynne Delacoma
The Chicago Sun-Times
April 30, 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

'Shakespeare in Love' in Milwaukee: Reviews

Excerpts of reviews of Shakespeare in Love, Milwaukee Symphony's program of music related to the Bard's plays and scenes from them.

[Nicole] Cabell's voice is as smoky, deep and delicious as a great single-malt scotch. She blended beautifully with the capable [Carmella] Jones in the dreamy "Vous soupirez, madame," the Act 1 duet from Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict. Her canny, seductive interpretation of Porter's "So in Love" showed great stylistic range and topped the whole program. She should have had more to sing...

By Tom Strini
Journal Sentinel music critic
April 28, 2006

A lovely but rather static duet from the same opera [Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict] was uplifted by soprano Nicole Cabell, a clear and expressive lyric voice, and mezzo-soprano Carmella Jones... Nicole Cabell showed a deep, versatile talent in going from opera to Broadway.

By Rick Walters
Shepherd Express
May 4, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

'Magic Flute' sparkles

"The musical performance was crowned by the passionate, womanly Pamina of Nicole Cabell, recent winner of the BBC/Cardiff Singer of the World. Cabell’s "Ach, ich fühl’s" was a lovely piece of vocalism, intelligently shaped with meticulous attention to dynamic shading, her vibrant lyric soprano exquisitely floated above the staff."
Mark Thomas Ketterson

Opera News
July 2006

"Not enough can be said about the performances of [Sumi] Jo and Cabell, both of whom elicited enthusiastic responses from the audience... Cabell brought warmth and grace to her role along with her magnificent soprano, which floated effortlessly throughout the performance. Cabell, currently with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, is at the very beginning of what will likely be a brilliant operatic career, something few in Friday's audience would likely dispute. "

By Michael Muckian
Special to The Capital Times .

"Of the primary hero and heroine, lyric soprano Nicole Cabell had slightly the better of it, primarily because she has the most brilliant of the arias, which she sang with sweet and mellow power... "

By John Aehl
The Wisconsin State Journal.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Nicole Cabell in "The Magic Flute "

The Wisconsin State Journal

It's the first day of rehearsals for Madison Opera's production of "The Magic Flute," and Nicole Cabell has just arrived in Madison - from Barcelona, that is, via Rome and Chicago, getting separated from her luggage along the way.

But somehow, Cabell has it all together.

Strolling through the Concourse Hotel lobby with her long, slender frame, her striking features and thick dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, Cabell could easily be mistaken for a dancer or simply an exotic beauty. In fact, she's a 28-year-old, rising opera star - a "diva," technically, but without an ounce of the pretension that label might imply.

Though she's here for an opera role (she'll play Pamina in Mozart's "Magic Flute" Friday and Sunday, April 23 in Overture Hall), the down-to-earth Cabell is intent on developing a varied, well-rounded career for herself.
"I want to be a classical singer, not just an opera singer," she says, wearing jeans and sipping green tea in the hotel coffee shop. "I enjoy concert work, chamber music and recitals. I like to split my time up amongst all of them."

Lately, that splitting has been nonstop. Since she won the prestigious BBC Cardiff "Singer of the World" competition in Wales last June, Cabell has been traveling the world - including this month's stops in Rome and Barcelona. In December she recorded her first solo album in London under an exclusive contract with Decca Records. In January, she made a quick stop in Wisconsin for a Madison Opera-sponsored recital and audience chat.

"I've had a week off here and there," says Cabell, who also played Pamina in a Palm Beach Opera production in February. "But that's not really time off, because you have to prepare roles."

That's what happens when The New York Times calls one's voice "a light and outrageously beautiful soprano," the Chicago Tribune describes it as "limpid radiance," or The Detroit News praises one's Musetta in "La Boheme" as "electrifying."

"For the next year, (life) will be a little busy for my taste," says Cabell, reaching to turn off a ringing cell phone. "But - you have to pay your dues. I have to learn all these roles and do all these concerts because I have to build my repertoire. When you're starting out, you take the offers, because you want to work, you want to show people that you are enthusiastic about this business."

A self-described "Disneyland junkie" who loves movies and shopping as well as writing fiction, Cabell grew up in the "safe and predictable" California beach town of Ventura. She never really heard classical music as a kid, but she did play the flute in junior high band. And she played basketball with a friend who, like Cabell, loved to clown around imitating opera singers.

"Both of us had this weird inner knowledge that we could do it," says Cabell, whose ancestry is African American, Korean and Caucasian. "You know, you sing along with the radio, and I thought, 'Hmm, I can keep a tune.'"

Her mother encouraged her to join the school choir; she tried out for a school musical and was a hit. Only at age 15, Cabell began to notice that "People obviously can hear something, even if I can't," she says. "That's sort of how it's been: I've been walking through doors as they've been presented to me."

After three years of private lessons in high school (one voice teacher quickly referred Cabell to her voice teachers), Cabell attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. She then headed to the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago, now her home base, where opera talents undergo a three-year paid training program in everything from acting and stage combat to foreign languages and music. She found mentors in the center's director, Richard Pearlman, and opera superstar Marilyn Horne, among others.

"For me, it's important to go slow with opera," says Cabell, who also loves singing tunes from the Great American Songbook and mentions Dawn Upshaw, an opera singer known for delving into a wide range of styles, as a sort of career role model.

"Singing opera can be demanding on the voice if you take on the wrong roles."

Fortunately, Mozart's Pamina feels right. The character is the daughter of the Queen of the Night (played in the Madison Opera production by operatic superstar Sumi Jo), and has been abducted by Sarastro, the high priest of a brotherhood dedicated to wisdom and enlightenment. The Queen asks the prince Tamino (Richard Troxell) and her birdcatcher Papageno to rescue Pamina. In the end, Pamina joins with Tamino and both set off on a higher path.

"I think sometimes she can be played so reserved - and I think that makes for a dull Pamina," says Cabell. "The music is so beautiful and the lines are - perfect. It's difficult; it's exposed singing, with very light orchestra, and some of the most difficult pianissimo lines and high notes.

"But for me, if the character is too much like the music, she can be two-dimensional," she says. "I like to play her with a little more passion. She is never a fluffy person."

• Madison Opera

Photo Credit: Devon Cass

Sunday, April 02, 2006

From the Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall

Exciting highlights of Nicole Cabell's year.

Having recorded her first recital disc for Decca in London last December, Nicole Cabell has since taken part in a new recording of Porgy and Bess and is due to record the title role in Imelda de’ Lambertazzi for Opera Rara in London next March, in conjunction with a concert performance of this rarely performed Donizetti opera.

As I write this, Nicole is currently in Rome scheduled to sing the soprano solo in the Mahler IVth and Britten's song cycle, Les Illuminations under the baton of James Conlon at the Academy of Santa Cecilia. From there, she goes to Barcelona for a performance of the same programme .

Proms, Covent Garden, Spoleto!

In the coming year, Nicole will be making a number of important debut appearances. She is due to make her Proms debut in London in August. Once again, she will be singing Les Illuminations, Britten's settings of Rimbaud's prose poems .

Royal Albert Hall, London

Also in London, she will sing Eudoxie in Halévy's La Juive for the Royal Opera House in concert at the Barbican . She will sing Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at the Spoleto Festival, SC, Adina in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Opéra de Montpellier and the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro for Boston Lyric Opera.

In addition, she is scheduled to give her first London solo recital at St John's, Smith Square and to appear in a wide variety of concerts in Cologne, Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis and Carnegie Hall, New York.

Carnegie Hall, New York

Complete details of Nicole's Performance Schedule can be seen here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nicole in Royal Opera House Debut

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has just announced its plans for its 2006/2007 Season. These include two concert performances of Halévy's La Juive. Nicole will make her debut in the role of Princess Eudoxie. The performances, which will take place at the Barbican on September 19 and 21, will be conducted by Daniel Oren and mark the return of Dennis O'Neill to the Royal Opera House.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Soprano Cabell takes your breath away

In the world of art songs, it's sometimes necessary to apply the "Summertime" test, an informal measurement that charts a soprano's ability to bring vibrancy and finesse to the familiar George Gershwin number from "Porgy and Bess."
The bluesy melody draws a soprano to her limits, with notes so brilliant and transparent that it's impossible for singers to hide behind vocal pyrotechnics if they don't have the chops.
Nicole Cabell, who served a residency with the Lyric Opera of Chicago before being dubbed the BBC's 2005 Cardiff "Singer of the World" this past June, took the number's final trill to its apex, her voice then falling like drops of dew rapidly descending a gossamer thread with a shimmering luminescence.
Cabell not only passed the test, but set a new performance standard. The 150 people who gathered at the Madison Masonic Center for Sunday's "Opera Up Close" recital rewarded her with enthusiastic applause, but by then it no longer mattered. The 28-year-old soprano had already won our hearts.
Sunday's event was one of a series designed to provided greater access to opera and song and broaden the Madison Opera's three-show season. Those who turned out for Cabell's art song recital can congratulate themselves for the wisdom of attending so personal a performance by opera's next great star on the eve of her career.
Cabell focused almost solely on an art song repertoire, noting the difficulty of such performances during a later audience talkback session. Unlike an opera, art songs require mastery of many different styles, composers and even languages. Ably assisted by the Lyric Opera's Elizabeth Buccheri on piano, Cabell covered 24 numbers in five languages, conquering them all with her magnificent tone and control.
The singer opened with the sprightly "Canciones Clasicas Espanolas," five popular songs by Fernando Obradors. The numbers allowed Cabell to warm the audience with lively Spanish rhythms, while demonstrating a variety of vocal techniques that would serve her well throughout the afternoon.
Cabell followed with Samuel Barber's "Knoxville, Summer of 1915," an operatic representation of writer James Agee's memoirs of his youth in the Tennessee town. The number's inherent nature required a much different rendering from Cabell, who later said she'd like to record the work for Decca, a label that has lately put her under contract. The touching presentation brought tears to at least one audience member's eyes, something he shared during the talkback session.
The "Zigeunermelodien" or "Gypsy Melodies" of Antonin Dvorak, seven numbers that drew on the composer's Eastern European roots, followed a brief intermission. "Cinq Melodies Populaires Grecques" by Maurice Ravel followed that, and it was here that Cabell rose to some of her finest moments, particularly during the elegantly rendered "Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques."
Five numbers from the great American songbook, including "Summertime" and "Someone to Watch Over Me," both by Gershwin, closed the formal performance.
Then came a magnificent encore performance of the "O mio babbino caro" aria from "Gianni Schicchi."
Her performance of Puccini's work, like the rest of the afternoon, was sublime.
January 23, 2006

Michael Muckian The Capital Times

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Christmas Concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Last Saturday, we heard a soprano voice on the cusp of greatness. Nicole Cabell, 28, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2005, joined [Raymond] Leppard in one of his most interesting programs, mixing periods and styles, yet tying them together with a neat Christmas bow.

Cabell was introduced during the Messiah excerpts. Possessing a full-bodied, well-projecting operatic soprano voice, this native Californian never crosses that boundary into the wobbly opulence so common among lesser singers. Her breath and vibrato control during the recitatives were astonishing enough — and she is young enough — that she seems destined to become one of our future international divas (hopefully without developing the “prima donna” complex shown by some). She’s already within a hair’s breadth (or a diva’s breath) of being there.

Leppard offered his arrangement of a sequence of six traditional carols he calls Past Three O’Clock, for voice and orchestra. Some of these are interconnected with chimes, coupling Christmas color with Cabell’s superlative voice... The concert had to be encored with the universally loved “Sheep May Safely Graze” from Bach’s Cantata #208. And a Karen Moratz-Robin Peller flute duo provided luscious playing to complement Cabell’s luscious singing.

Tom Aldridge