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