The first of two important role debuts for Irina Lungu this year at the Opernhaus Zürich was a much acclaimed Imogene in Bellini’s Il pirata. Read here below what the press said about the performances:
Imogene is this opera’s prima donna. Last night, with Irina Lungu a singer graced the stage who in the last few years has been celebrated at the most important opera houses worldwide (especially after her role debut as Traviata under Lorin Maazel at La Scala, a role in which she has since triumphed from Moscow to Venice, Berlin, Vienna State Opera and Madrid). Last year she also sang the title role in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in Zurich. At Covent Garden she was Musetta,
in Paris Gilda and in Verona Micaëla, Donna Anna, Juliette and Anna Bolena. Ms. Lungu impressed with her huge penetrating voice, and always found wonderfully delicate pianos and finely spun lyricisms in the cavatinas. She captivated the audience with stupendous runs, agile fioritura, long legato lines and effective top notes. Unforgettable was her painful cry “figlio mio” and her passionate singing in the ensemble and finale I. Her subtle embellishments in the confrontation with her husband Ernesto and in the trio with husband and lover (Gualtiero) in the second act sounded supreme and wonderful. And then of course there was the final scene, which all bel canto aficionados are eagerly awaiting (and they were not disappointed yesterday): In the “madness aria” Irina Lungu testifies to her outstanding singing technique and her dosed, voluminous vocal acrobatics, from her moving pianos in the Cavatina “Col sorriso d’innocenza” to the explosive, fulminant outbursts of the final Cabaletta.
For this concert performance as Imogene, Ms. Lungu wore three perfectly tailored evening gowns in gold, black and blush pink. Very beautiful!”
Kaspar Sannemann, Oper Aktuell
“Imogene was interpreted by Irina Lungu, an internationally celebrated bel canto (but not only) soprano, who, albeit at her role debut, did not waste any time in making us understand the reason for such a reputation: in addition to prodigiously secure high notes, luminous and always on target, and precise, clean coloratura in perfect Bellini style, she surprised us (even more so considering it was a concert performance) with her phrasing and the depth with which she chiseled the role, as if it had been in her repertoire for a long time. Excellent were the duets and the final mad scene, greeted with long and very warm applause by the Swiss audience”
Stefano Gazzera, Ieri oggi domani, opera
“In appearance, Irina Lungu as Imogene was slightly reminiscent of Maria Callas. With her darkly timbered, vibrato-rich soprano, she was convincing in this difficult role, especially in the heartfelt ensemble scenes. … Lungu succeeded in delivering a superb and shattering finale with the famous final cabaletta “Oh Sole ti vela”.
Marco Aranowicz and Olivier Keegel, Opera Gazet
[Photo: Tim Weiler / O-PR Communications]