“But she puts her pagan scheming aside long enough to caress the central love scene with her seamless, high-gloss mezzo-soprano. Spectacle drops away, and the stage is cleared of extras, dancers, priests, and guards, leaving just a tenor and a mezzo who, for reasons unknown, feel that neither can live without the other. And for those ten minutes of vocal beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
She directed phrases full of blazing sound and temperament at the tormented Samson. She brought elegant and pining emotion to Dalila’s great aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix
Garanca—with Alagna—provided one of the most bewitching quarter-hours I’ve experienced in an opera house in a long while. Exploiting Sir Mark Elder’s exceptionally spacious tempi, she transformed the hackneyed “Mon coeur” imbuing its long phrases with incomparably and intoxicating longing.
Elīna Garanča is one of the most sought-after singers on Earth; among mezzo-sopranos she has few peers, vocally, musically, or dramatically.
Not yet forty and now in the second decade of her career, the Latvian mezzo has established herself as one of the most gratifying performers on the opera stage today, leaving an indelible stamp on characters ranging from Carmen and Charlotte to Sesto in Clemenza, bel canto heroines such as Angelina, Rosina and Giovanna Seymour to Strauss’s Octavian. Garanča’s talents would make her a star in any century, yet her voice and movie-star good looks seem tailor-made for our Live in HD era. But perhaps the mezzo’s greatest strength is her ability to render a cantabile line of such overwhelming beauty as to make time stop.… Elīna Garanča has already secured her place in opera history, and she may just be getting started.
Ms. Garanca’s singing from her first phrases defined what is meant by “Met quality,” abundant, sumptuous tone and generous phrasing. This is an artist we need to hear in the great roles of her Fach: Donizetti’s Favorite, for instance, or Eboli in Verdi’s Don Carlos.
“Garanča easily projects virility and positions the notes, whatever their register, like a darts player hitting the bull’s-eye.”
“If [others were] just a hair’s breadth away from perfection, Elīna Garanča hit the mark dead on target.”
“[Garanča] sings with rich sound, an unerring feel for the nuance and subtext of a phrase, and alluring sensuality. The clarity in her singing makes this Carmen seem intelligent and wily.”
“Elīna Garanča’s voice is one-in-a-million, allying grace and power to a commanding authority.”