After her successful run as Madama Butterfly, Joyce returns to Opéra de Montréal for La Reine-Garçon. After the
Lebanese-Canadian Joyce El‑Khoury was an incandescent Elisabetta, an introverted role that requires total immersion in the character to be effective. The role of Elisabetta can be overshadowed if the soprano doesn’t have the necessary charisma, and there are very few sopranos that can convey the complexity of the character. This is a French Princess, initially engaged and attracted to the young Crown Prince Carlos, who ends up marrying his father Philip II. In the original five‑act version, we witness the courtship of Carlos and Elisabetta, as well as her acquiescence to marry his father to ensure a peace treaty between France and Spain. Elisabetta is no plebeian; she is a woman of rank compelled to master her feelings no matter how burdensome. This patrician character can often make Elisabetta seem cold. El‑Khoury manages to espouse this noble demeanor while maintaining her humanity–no mean feat. Though a lyric soprano, El‑Khoury has ample vocal means and abundant musicianship to excel in this lirico spinto role. The Act II aria, “Non pianger, mia compagna” was effective, and her phrasing superlative. Her final act aria, “Tu che le vanità,” was the vocal highpoint of the evening.
This November, Joyce makes her role debut as Elisabetta di Valois in Don Carlo. Giuseppe Verdi's score,
Finally, the choice of the interpreter of the title role is a great honor for Lebanon: Joyce El-Khoury, a Lebanese-Canadian soprano who plays this role for the first time. This outstanding artist has just triumphed in Carmen at the Oper im Steinbruch Festival in Austria in July and August, and in May in Montreal in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Norma's role is one of the most demanding in the repertoire. The legendary German singer Lili Lehmann (1848-1929) said: "It is easier for me to sing the three Brünnhilde (Ring of the Niebelungen, Wagner) than to sing Norma. This role requires a soprano able to master the colorature of the open air Casta diva in the first act and, also, to communicate the pathos of the second act. Joyce El-Khoury not only mastered the enormous vocal demands of the role, but also managed to express the range of emotions of the heroine: maternal love in "sleepono entrambi...i miei figli" which precedes the duo of the second act "Mira, o Norma" with Adalgisa, the rage of a jealous lover, and also, friendship in this same duo. Then, in his duet with Pollione, the lover's anger rejected: "in mia man, alfin tu sei" and a noble soul in their final duo "moraiamo insieme".
This demanding role requires a soprano with a firm coloratura and the dramatic intensity capable of expressing emotions ranging from tenderness, friendship, maternal love, jealousy, rage, self‑pity to despair. Lebanese-Canadian Joyce El‑Khoury, whose first Norma this is, triumphed on all fronts. The range of this lyric soprano is impressive. She had no difficulty with the coloratura of the Act I 'Casta Diva'
Joyce El-Khoury is an impressive Norma. In the famous 'Casta Diva' aria she shows the great qualities of her voice, an exemplary pianissimo, a beautiful tone with a dramatic core and cleanly executed ornamentation. Joyce El-Khoury delivers a fabulous role debut...she was quite rightly cheered the loudest.
Liszt’s unfinished one-act opera “Sardanapalo” is set to have its Hungarian premiere on Oct. 22, 2023. The performance