Patricia Racette Storms through Shostakovich's "Lady"
I knew I'd not be able to attend, but wondered why I hadn't heard much on U.S. soil of Patricia Racette's turn as Katerina in Stalin's favorite opera (joking!) Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk." All that changed with a simple google search and reviews and photographs were turning up everywhere calling her performance - and the production, overall, a triumph for English National Opera.
Not all of the reviews were raves - but most were - and there were tons . . . the production (and Ms. Racette) garnering the kind of excitement for an operatic event we all too rarely see or hear of here in the States.
"Patricia Racette charts Katerina’s transformation from bored, resentful chattel to emancipated woman with steely control, and unswerving musical authority;"
Andrew Clements - The Guardian
"...Patricia Racette looked remarkably close to Leskov’s original description of his girl from Kursk, small, dark-eyed and with “a high white forehead, and black, almost blue-black hair”. Her performance tended to be understated, and may not match everyone’s idea of Katerina. . . . yet Racette’s voice and presence grew as the horrors of the plot unfolded"
Fiona Maddox - The Guardian
Patricia Racette’s Katerina holds a glittering concentrate of fury in her dark eyes and her finely tempered voice. a central performance of immaculate control and engagement."
Anna Piccard "The Spectator"
"Patricia Racette, singing with sometimes raw intensity, played this repressed Katerina with impressive authority, her very stillness a window on the emotions locked within."
Richard Fairman - The Financial Times
"Patricia Racette makes us believe in her utterly as she veers between the desperation of being downtrodden in a loveless marriage to the triumph of controlling her own destiny back to the twin despairs of imprisonment and sexual betrayal, making Katerina’s extreme actions seem inevitable to us in the audience."
David Karlin - Bachtrack
"American soprano Patricia Racette ... brings authority and intensity to the title role . . . Thanks to Wigglesworth’s empowered conducting, a superb performance from ENO’s orchestra, and Racette’s consistent strength, the opera hits hard."
George Hall - The Stage
"Patricia Racette smoulders as Katerina, and John Daszak brings a fine heroic tenor to the repulsive lover Sergei . . . Mark Wigglesworth . . . brings a detailed and illuminating reading to the score. Not to be missed."
Clare Colvin - Express
"Heady stuff with great musical punch, led by Patricia Racette’s sympathetic and attractively strong Katerina, and the powerfully hedonistic Sergei of John Daszak. Her restrained movements at the start become more fluid and dramatic as she emerges from her cocoon, and his swagger and natural stage presence personify an opportunist who can’t resist her."
Mark Ronand - Theatre Review