Opera Rara: Donizetti Belisario

29 Oct Opera Rara: Donizetti Belisario

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

“Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury lit a bigger fire as Antonina, his poisonous wife, though El-Khoury’s skill in tapering dynamics and placing her heart in the audience’s palms made the character much more than the standard harpy.”
-Geoff Brown, London Times

“Joyce El-Khoury broadened the heart-on-sleeve histrionics with her sinuous, intelligent portrayal of Antonina, whose false accusation (via a forged letter) against her husband sets the plot in motion. El-Khoury sang wonderfully, producing a penetrating pianissimo of exceptional tonal solidity and dealing with all the bel canto gymnastics with effortless technical security. Her sexy and imperious presence cast a long, interesting shadow over the whole evening, and she was electrifying in her confession of perjury that closes the opera.”
-Peter Reed, ClassicalSource.com

“No such warming in for the evening’s Antonina, Belisario’s wife here played by the outstanding [Canadian] soprano Joyce El-Khoury (recently she has sung Frasquita Carmen at the Met and Violetta with WNO). She is of striking looks and an equally stunning voice of seemingly endless dynamic range. No problems of the orchestra swamping this character. More than this, she carried the ongoing story grippingly (including a great, grief-laden cry of “Immenso”).”
Seen and Heard International

“The engine of all the drama is Belisario’s wife Antonina, sung by Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury. The part is important, but not exceptionally long. But Donizetti has written a strong role, Antonina is more like a vengeful Lady Macbeth than to Lucia and Donizetti’s vocal writing brings the role closer to Verdi’s early killer soprano roles of Abigaille and Odabella. El-Khoury has a fascinating, smokily dark edge to her soprano voice, which made her ideal for this role. She brought glamour and the right touch of poison to Antonina, with a wonderful line in dramatic vengeance.”
-Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

“…for me, Joyce El-Khoury was the star of the evening. Not only is the vocal range of the role enormous, she exercised complete control over the coloratura and the dynamics; at times the pianissimo top notes were spine-tingling. Antonina is an equally tragic and evil character, and showcased El-Khoury’s acting skills.”
-Emily Owen, One Stop Arts

“In order to sing bel canto successfully, there must be a sensitive feel for the way the text and music work together, a precision in executing both, and full, vivacious life running through every note. It’s not something that can be taught or faked and thus is often missing from modern bel canto performances, even those produced at institutions of the highest caliber. El-Khoury, however, manages to bring all this and more to the stage: she is not only stunningly beautiful and thus has a profound presence on-stage, but communicates with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of artistic gravitas. Her phrasing, dynamics, and pure grain of voice coupled with a seemingly innate feel for the text made for an outstanding interpretation of the role that will not be soon forgotten.”
MusicalCriticism.com

 

“Joyce El-Khoury was the star of the evening. Not only is the vocal range of the role enormous, she exercised complete control over the coloratura and the dynamics; at times the pianissimo top notes were spine-tingling. Antonina is an equally tragic and evil character, and showcased El-Khoury’s acting skills. Her voice soared easily over the full orchestral sound, which occasionally overpowered the other characters.”
BachTrack.com

“Joyce El Khoury…brought fluent coloratura and viperish intensity to the insidious music for Belisario’s vengeful wife.”Telegraph

“the undoubted “find” of the evening…was Joyce El-Khoury (Antonina) whose plangent tone and uninhibited production and delivery belied great resources of refinement. Her final scene took her softly into the stratosphere where she sat, vocally speaking, with affecting restraint. And then came that conclusive top C. Wow.”Edward Seckerson

“…in Nicola Alaimo’s Belisario and Joyce El-Khoury’s Antonina we got an ideal pairing, his resonant Sicilian baritone wonderfully complemented by the silky perfection of her sound, and by the Callas-like way she shaped her lines – I long to see and hear her perform again.”The Independent