Lawrence Zazzo - American Countertenor
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Press, Media and Reviews about American Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo
 

Recital at Oper Frankfurt 28 February 2017

..In beiden Teilen zeigte er eine große Bühnenpräsenz, eine große Bandbreite an musikalischen Ausdrucksvermögen
von zarten bis hin zu plakativ, ja fast schon grellen expressiven Tönen. Dabei wirkte er stets sehr entspannt, so als
würde er vor seinen besten Freunden singen und das Leben feiern. Auch hatte er keine Probleme damit, sich selbst
auf die Schippe zu nehmen. Es war ein facettenreicher Abend, den man gerne in Erinnerung behält...


...In both parts he showed a great stage presence, a wide range of musical expressiveness from delicate to striking,
even almost glaring expressive tones. He always seemed relaxed, as if he were singing before his best friends and
celebrating life. He also had no problems to take the Mickey out of himself. It was a multi-faceted evening, which one
likes to remember...

Kulturfreak

...Zumal Zazzo ... nicht nur ein exquisiter Vokalist ist, der mühelos die höchsten Höhen erklimmt, ohne die Erdung zu verlieren.
Vielmehr verkörpert er die Figuren, von denen er singt, voll und ganz. Mit subtiler Gestik und Mimik, ja mit der
kleinsten Umfärbung der Vokale erzeugt Zazzo einen Ausdruck im Gesang, der unter Countertenören seinesgleichen
sucht...


...Especially Zazzo is not only an exquisite vocalist who can effortlessly climb the highest heights without losing grounding.
Rather, he embodies the characters from which he sings, entirely. With subtle gestures and mimicry, even with the smallest
colouring of the vowels, Zazzo produces an expression in singing, which is unrivalled among countertenors...

Frankfurter Neue Presse

 

"Xerxes" at Oper Frankfurt Januar 2017




... Fast noch bewegender der Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo als Arsamene, agil, doch stets expressiv, in den Momenten tiefer Verzweiflung fast somnambul versunken -  und fähig, seiner Stimme vielfältige Nuancen abzugewinnen...
Frankfurter Allgemeine

... "Ich werde sie verlieren - ich werde sie bekommen". Zwischen diesen emotionalen Polen bewegt sich Xerxes Bruder Arsamene, dem Lawrence Zazzo seinen kernigen Countertenor leiht, der noch in höchster Höhe über variable Registerfarben verfügt...
Offenbach-Post

​... Der Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, ausgestattet mit der größten Barock-Erfahrung in diesem Ensemble, zeigte seine Stärken in den organischen Verzierungen, da hatte er einfach die Kernkompetenz.​..

​Frankfurter Rundschau

Lawrence Zazzo, Gaëlle Arquez oben. Copyright Barbara Aumüller Oper Frankfurt

 




Luise Alder, Lawrence Zazzo u. Elisabeth Sutphen.
Copyright Barbara Aumüller Oper Frankfurt


... Lawrence Zazzo (Arsamene), ein glühend agierender Countertenor mit schönem dunklem Fundament...
Stuttgarter Zeitung​

...Lawrence Zazzo, den die reziproke Liebe mit Romilda
​ ​verbindet, ist auch ein starkes Kaliber, was sich bei ihm in großen Teilen auf seinen lieblich
süßen, edlen Countertenor zurückführen läßt ​...
Der-neue-Merker

​...Lawrence Zazzo mit kraftvollem, selbstbewußtem Countertenor...
Frankfurter Neue Presse


Intervier Radio hr2 kultur, 10 January 2017

Trailer "Xerxes" Oper Frankfurt


Veremonda, L'amazzone di Aragona, Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele 2016


Szene mit Netta Or (Sechste von links) in der Titelrolle und Lawrence Zazzo als Delio (Fünfter von li.). (Foto: SWR/Martina Pipprich)

... So wendig, wie die Rolle es ihm diktiert, gibt sich Lawrence Zazzo als Delio auch stimmlich…

… Lawrence Zazzo's vocal tone matches the versatility dictated by Delio's role...

Opernnetz 1 May 2016

… Bei "Veremonda" wird die Situation dadurch kompliziert, dass beide starken Frauen den gleichen Mann lieben,den christlichen Feldherrn Delio. Dessen Rolle wird zur mit Abstand interessantesten, sie schillert zwischen Vaterlandsverrat, überbordender Erotik und großer List und Tücke. Ein Fest für einen Charakterdarsteller wie den Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, der auch stimmlich den überzeugendsten Auftritt hinlegte. Nicht alle Sänger konnten bei dem Niveau mithalten…

…In "Veremonda" the situation is complicated by the fact that both the strong women love the same man, the Christian general Delio. Delio becomes by far the most interesting character, scintillating between treachery, exuberant eroticism and deceit. A feast for a character actor like Lawrence Zazzo, who also gave the most convincing vocal performance. Some of the other artists could not keep up with this standard...

SWR Kulturthema 30 April 2016

… Lawrence Zazzo gibt den Womanizer Delio und erweist sich in dieser Rolle als verführerisch windiger Vorstadt-Stenz, was seine himmlisch der Welt enthobene Counterstimme noch unterstreicht…

... Lawrence Zazzo is the womanizer Delio and turns into a seductive, shady suburban ladies' man which is underscored by his otherworldly counter tenor's voice...

Süddeutsche Zeitung 2 May 2016

… Mit geschmeidig-souveränem Counter gestaltete Lawrence Zazzo den Delio…

... Lawrence Zazzo executed Delio with a supple and confident counter...

Darmstädter Echo 2 May 2016

… Lawrence Zazzo macht mit seinem vollen, enorm tragfähigen Altus Delio zu einer vielschichtigen Persönlichkeit...

... Lawrence Zazzo with his full, enormously resonant altus makes Delio into a multi-faceted personality...

Badische Zeitung 4 May 2016

… Zum Motor der Handlung wird der attraktive, allseits begehrte Feldherr des Königs Delio, der mit beiden Königinnen sein Spiel treibt und gleichzeitig seinen Job zu machen und eine alte Rache-Rechnung zu begleichen versucht. Dabei spielt er mit dem Feuer. Weil Alfonsos Vater Delios Mutter vergewaltigt haben soll, versucht er nun seinerseits, die Königin Veremonda zu vergewaltigen. Es gehört zu den eher fantastischen Wendungen dieses Librettos, dass die Bedrängte sich da mit geheuchelter Liebe herauswindet. Anderseits bringt das doppelte Spiel, das sie und Delio treiben, eine Prise tv-serienreife Spannung in den Abend.

Für eine barocke Opernfigur wie Delio ist das ziemlich vielschichtig. Um dem stimmlich und darstellerisch mit Verve standzuhalten, ist der amerikanische Counterstar Lawrence Zazzo genau der Richtige…

The driving force of the plot is the attractive, universally desired general Delio, who has to play his game with both queens, do his job and settle an old score at the same time. This means playing with fire. Because Alfonso's father raped Delio's mother, he in turn tries to rape Queen Veremonda. It is one of the more fantastical turns of this libretto that she manages to wriggle out of that situation by feigned affection. On the other hand, the double cross that she and Delio play provides the evening with a pinch of suspense worthy of a TV series.

This is rather complex for a character in a baroque oper. The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo exactly fits Delio's bill both in his vocal and acting performance. 

NMZ online 5 May 2016

Partenope tour around Europe

"...Lawrence Zazzo was astounding: He excelled in the laments (essential in the largely plaintive role of Arsace), but could also be found astonishingly alive in the recitatives (the only one who really enjoyed this part of his role), and wetting his shirt in the dreaded "Furibondo spira il vento." Formidable because it borders on parody and portrays a character in a crisis of hysteria who does not seem responsible for its leaps in tessitura, Zazzo delivered the aria with power and impressive aplomb. He clearly surpassed his own recorded version, and delivered the most convincing account we've heard of this famous aria."

"...Lawrence Zazzo fut époustouflant : on le savait excellent dans la lamentation (l’essentiel du rôle geignard d’Arsace), mais on le découvre aussi étonnamment vivant dans les récitatifs (le seul à jouer vraiment cette carte), et mouillant sa chemise dans le redoutable « Furibondo spira il vento ». Redoutable car il est éminemment parodique et dépeint un personnage en pleine crise d’hystérie qui ne semble pas responsable de ses écarts de tessiture, que Zazzo rend avec une puissance et un aplomb impressionnants. Il y a ce soir clairement surpassé son témoignage au disque et livré la version la plus convaincante que nous ayons entendue de cet air célèbre."

http://www.forumopera.com/partenope-paris-tce-un-altra-volta-ancor

Forum Opera (Paris concert 13 January 2016)

"Musically, Zazzo's performance also leaves nothing to be desired. His countertenor zoomed cleanly up to outrageous heights and yet remained virile. While he displayed his inner struggles in rather soft controlled tones in the majority of his arias, he completely changed in his great simile aria "Furibondo spira il vento,"  in which he, comparing his situation with that of storm-tormented nature, brought down the house with furious coloratura and fast runs."

„Leistung lässt Zazzo auch musikalisch keine Wünsche offen. Sein Countertenor schraubt sich sauber in exorbitante Höhen empor und bleibt dabei trotzdem viril. Während er in einem Großteil seiner Arien als Zweifler eher mit weich angesetzten Tönen überzeugt, dreht er in seiner großen Gleichnisarie "Furibondo spira il vento", in der er seine Situation mit der von einem Sturm gequälten Natur beschreibt, richtig auf und bringt den Saal mit furiosen Koloraturen und schnellen Läufen zum Toben.“

Online Music Magazine (Essen concert 21 January 2016)

 

“There is no other countertenor that shapes every word, every syllable, to provide direction, constantly varying the expression, using the full panoply of historical vocal resources.  A not very interesting initial aria, "O Eurimene ha l'Idea di Rosmira", comes to new life in his hands as he gives a lesson in baroque rhetoric.  He conquers the impossible coloratura in "Furibondo spira il vento", one of the most complicated of Handel's-and goes straight to the heart in the desolate "Ma quai note di mesti lamenti" and a painful and tender "Ch'io parta? Si crudele" of intense beauty, leaving us with honey on the lips”

No existe otro contratenor que moldee cada palabra, cada sílaba, para proporcionarle sentido, variando constantemente la expresión, haciendo uso de toda la panoplia de recursos canoros históricos. Desde su inicial O Eurimene ha l’idea di Rosmira –un aria no especialmente interesante que, en sus manos, cobra nueva vida– da una verdadera lección de retórica barroca. Domina la imposible coloratura de Furibondo spira il vento, una de las más complicadas del sajón y llega directo al corazón en la desolada Ma quai note di mesti lamenti y en la dolorosa y tierna al tiempo Ch’io parta? Sì, crudele, de intensa belleza, que nos dejó con la miel en los labios”

El arte de la fuga (Madrid concert 23 January 2016)

 

una expresividad estupenda
a “stupefying expressivity"
operaworld.es (Madrid concert 23 January 2016)

 

A Royal Trio has been selected as Gramophone’s Editors Choice for November:

“Zazzo’s limpid delicacy, and control of nuance within a long-spun line, is as impressive as his bravura exuberance...A nature theatre animal, Zazzo ‘lives’ each phrase, always alive to the sound and meaning of the words...Zazzo and the players—not least the fabulous horns—have all the boldness and virtuoso panache one could wish for in the extrovert arias, culminating in a show-stopping ‘Vivi tiranno’.” Richard Wigmore, Gramophone, November 2014

“the exuberant Vivi, tiranno rounds things off in style,
with Zazzo in glorious voice throughout” Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian

“genius” The Whole Note, November 2014

Read Lawrence’s interview about A Royal Trio with Presto Classical HERE

Lawrence’s recent world premiere of Rolf Riehm’s Sirenen at Oper Frankfurt

"Eine Glanzleistung von Lawrence Zazzo, der stimmlich zwischen den Extremen pendelt, mal als höhenvirtuoser Countertenor exzelliert, mal mit Baritontimbre verblüfft."

"A brilliant performance from Lawrence Zazzo , stunningly traversing the extremes of his voice from high-virtuoso countertenor to baritone."
 Frankfurter Allgemeine , September 2014

 

In a piano recital of the Sacred and Profane at the Wigmore Hall, June 2014

“A voice with extraordinary versatility, Zazzo's commitment and charismatic vocal presence draw the listener back in to confront and experience the songs anew” Guardian, June 2014.

As Arsamene in Handel’s Serse, Beaune:

“l'autre contre-ténor de la soirée, le magnifique Lawrence Zazzo, moins virtuose mais d'un lyrisme et d'une émotion qui conviennent au plus introverti
des deux frères.”  Le Figaro, July 2014.

In the title role of Handel’s Amadigi, Haendel-Festspiele Beaune:

“Wem das alles zu ausgeflippt war, der kam beim konzertanten "Amadigi di Gaula" auf seine Kosten, wo der berühmteste unter den zahlreichen vor Ort vertretenen Countern, Lawrence Zazzo, zum hellen Entzücken des Publikums sich allenfalls selbst inszenierte.” Die Welt, June 2014

As Ruggiero in Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso, Frankfurt:

“Lawrence Zazzo überzeugt als Ruggiero mit beweglichem Countertenor und lässt vor allem seine große Arie "Sol da te, mio dolce amore", wenn er zur virtuosen Begleitung der Querflöte seine Gefühle für Alcina besingt, zu einem musikalischen Höhepunkt des Abends werden.” OMM, March 2014

 

As Julius Caesar at English National Opera:

"Lawrence Zazzo is one of those rare countertenor voices capable of vivid colouring and strong projection, and his singing of the title role is positively fruity in its richness." The Telegraph, October 2012

"Lawrence Zazzo's outstandingly imperious title-hero is the best sung and acted countertenor performance of the part (Giulio Cesare) I've encountered." Gramophone, December 2012

"Keegan-Dolan’s approach allows the singers to concentrate on delivering those fiendish arias. In particular the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo hurls out the title role with terrific swagger." The Times, October 2012

 

As Farnace in Mitridate at the Bavarian State Opera:

“brillante” Frankfurter Allgemeine

mit Sexappeal und ironischer Brechung, einen der weltbesten Conter-Stimmen, mit der er den Farnace einprägsam zeichnete” Kulturvollzug

Vor allem Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo vergisst gern alle gute Vokalerziehung und lässt sämtliche Sicherungen Farnaces durchbrennen: Natürlich könnte auch Zazzo ebenmäßiger singen.” Münchner Merkur

“Vater und Sohn, Barry Banks und der Counter Lawrence Zazzo, unerschrockene Bühnentiere.
Stimmlich allesamt in etwa so, wie man sich eine Aufnahme des Stücks wünschte. Dazu eine
fabelhafte Spiellust.” Sueddeutsche Zietung

Video Clip

 

In the title role of Gluck’s Orfeo at the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto:

Lawrence Zazzo was a magnificent Orfeo. On stage for the whole 80 minutes without an interval, he combined beauty of tone with a searing intensity and unbearable pathos.” Opera magazine, August 2011

“exquisitely sung by counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo, in a riveting performance” Toronto Sun

“This is why we go to music theatre; this is why it exists...It's almost a one-man show, and countertenor Lawrence Zazzo made the hero's journey to the underworld feel like a real-time adventure in the psychology of desperate measures. Orfeo's most famous aria, delivered after he loses Euridice a second time, is often criticized for being too light and pretty for the situation, but for once it felt mysteriously deep, as if beyond mere sorrow - an impression prepared by all that came before, and by Zazzo's shapely, intelligent singing.” Globe and Mail

“nothing short of sensational vocally and dramatically” Toronto Star

“Particularly impressive was the magnificent performance of American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, who was on stage virtually the whole 80 minutes with no intermission. His Orfeo was a tour-de-force, combining beauty of tone with a searing intensity that left one breathless.” La scena musicale

“Most contraltos I’ve heard could eat the average countertenor as appetizer only. This is not the case for Lawrence Zazzo, who is Orpheus indeed. What is so appealing about Zazzo’s Orpheo is the combination of the devoted, unwavering love, tessitura and texture the role calls for, mixed with Zazzo’s overall manliness. He has created the strong-but-sensitive guy, filled with beautiful songs, willing to do the dirty work or die trying. That’s hot.” The Epoch Times


 

 

ARTICLES

-- Interview about A Royal Trio with Presto Classical, October 2014

-- Interview: Lawrence Zazzo on a new Radamisto at ENO
MusicalCriticism.com

-- “The Great Zazzini” Redactie de l’Opera, August 2014 (Dutch) (PDF)


REVIEWS

"If Andreas Scholl is the Rolls-Royce of countertenors, then Zazzo is the Maserati. Not that he races through everything he sings — though he can certainly accelerate when given the chance, and do some fancy turns. But he’s an open-top virtuoso of a singer with, as we used to say, a tiger in his tank. Match him with some of the earliest opera written by the teenage Mozart and you’re witnessing two miracles in one." (The Times, September 2011)

"Lawrence Zazzo's Ottone, sung with beguiling tonal beauty, was a joy throughout." (Beaune Festival International D'Opera Baroque/Agrippina - Opera Magazine, November 2012)

-“Maybe the best countertenor now on the stage” René Jacobs, interview in Gramophone, May 2003

-"the evening only really comes into its own when counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo's exquisitely sung shepherd Endimione and Monica Bacelli's elegant and irresistibly funny Diana begin their tortuously protracted foreplay. Zazzo's seductive aria atop Mount Lycaeus...is the evening's musical highlight" Independent, September 2008.

-"Un César hors normes, un timbre aux reflets dorés, souple et intense" Le Soir, January 2008.

-"Amare la sua voce è facile, ammirarla per la bellezza del timbro assolutamente malioso non basta" L'opera, April 2008.

-“Lawrence Zazzo sings the Refugee[in Glyndebourne’s Flight]…with amazing technique: this is a ballsy, direct voice that brings strange emotions to his yearning music” The Times of London, August 2005.

-“The semi-popular notion of countertenors is that they are somewhat floaty and thin-toned, more curious than vocally substantial. Zazzo put the lie to that conception in about three seconds. There was nothing reticent about how he projected sound throughout the sanctuary, nothing vague about the precision of his attacks and intonation, his exceptional dynamic control or the detail of his colouratura…All told, this was a performance to hold up, lusciously.” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 2006.

-“Lawrence Zazzo’s Ottone[in Poppea] was that rare thing, a free, easy, open, silky counter-tenor with a truly beautiful sound and a nicely understated performance as the moral centre of this equivocal piece.” The Times of London, Oct 2004.

-“Sur lui, René Jacobs est intarissable:<<Sur scéne, il est le meilleur du monde dans ce répertoire.>>” Le Figaroscope, Oct 2004

-“Zazzo[‘s] bright, eloquent, virile and properly operatic counter-tenor now seems set to eclipse the rest of his generation” The Independent of London

-“Lawrence Zazzo... shows himself a countertenor of gorgeous tone, superb control throughout the range, excellent musicianship and handsome bearing” New York Times

-“the American counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo sang Arsamene[in Serse] with panache, nobility, and terrific power” The Times of London, Dec 2004

-“A la fin du second acte, la beauté du timbre, l’articulation idéale, le raffinement du contre-ténor Lawrence Zazzo, touchent au coeur” La Liberation

-“...There is already a touch of James Bowman’s beguiling artistry in Zazzo’s rich but never forced delivery...and signs of a keen dramatic sense in his interpretation...” The Independent of London

-“...a pure and matchlessly well-modulated voice” Svenska Dagbladet

-“the wonderful countertenor, Lawrence Zazzo...is spellbinding in the final song” New York Times

-“le contre-ténor Lawence Zazzo témoigne d’un bouleversant lyrisme” Le Figaro

-"questo magnifico cantante sa bene come far risultare sorprendentemente naturale e facile un'emissione sempre omogenea e dense di ombreggiature ambrate di colore bellisiimo. Il controllo del fiato é perfetto.." Alessandro Mormile, L'opera, December 2010.

To order a copy of Alessandro Mormile's impressively-researched new survey of countertenors, CONTROTENORI, La rinascita dei "nuovi angeli", click here: http://www.zecchini.com/collane_2.php?id=363

Critical acclaim for Lawrence's recent performances of
Radamisto
at the English National Opera

"Lawrence Zazzo sings the title role with such beauty, all the while acting like an Oscar winner, that he deserves to be known as the king of countertenors." Financial Times

"Best of all was the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in the title role, which must originally have been written with a castrato in mind. In Handel's day, the castrati were the true stars of the opera – a stardom for which I suppose they considered their sacrifice worthwhile – but hearing the surgically unmodified Zazzo reaching the same notes in a powerful, clear and totally natural-sounding high voice is surely just as gripping as anything the 18th century could offer." Express

"But the star "international" turns come from Lawrence Zazzo (Radamisto) and Christine Rice (Xenobia), dramatically and musically a really telling alliance of male and female altos. Rice's luscious aria with aching oboe obbligato "When will cruel fortune free my heart" was a highlight as were Zazzo's great laments. "Soul and Shadow" was soulful and searching, his opulent and beautiful countertenor at the service of heartfelt musicality. Very special." The Independent