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Reviews from U.S. debut tour – winter 2006
and fall 2006 U.S. tour and the winter 2007 tour

“The Bulgarian opera company Teatro Lirico d'Europa made its annual return to the Garde Arts Center Thursday night to stage Donizetti's vocal showpiece “Lucia di Lammermoor” with a cast well worth showing off.

The heart of the opera — the tale of poor Lucia, forced into marriage and forced to abandon her true love, Edgardo — is the third act mad scene, one of the touchstones of the operatic repertoire and perhaps the greatest coloratura showpiece in the repertoire. And in the mad scene, Yudina was superb. In the mad scene, Lucia appears in her bloodstained nightgown before the guests who have attended her forced marriage, having used a few dagger thrusts in the wedding chamber to lose both her new husband and her marbles. In a long spellbinding sequence, Yudina traversed the spectrum of bel canto technique, from pinpoint staccato coloratura to long, liquid lines in her gorgeous mid-voice. At her most dramatic, gasping “il fantasma” again and again in horror, she was riveting, and at her most winsome, recapping the tenderness of the earlier love duet “Ah! Verranno a te sull'amore,” she brought the emotional cycle full circle. In every featured moment, the attractive soprano never once cut corners, never cheating the audience out of a thrilling finish. Yudina pushed to the top of her range in the finale to every aria, duet and set piece and was as solid at the top as she was flexible in her mid-range. The other key principals were nearly as fine as Yudina. American baritone Theodore Lambrinos was vocally winning and Ukrainian tenor Igor Borko was strong and effortless as Edgardo. Russian basso Mikhail Kolelishvili dominated the stage and rattled the foundations as Raimondo.”    THE DAY – Milton Moore – Oct. 2006

Gifted Russian Singers lift Teatro's LUCIA
"There were two gifted singers from the Kirov Opera as the star-crossed lovers, soprano Larissa Yudina and tenor Evgeni Akimov. Yudina's voice boasts an unusual coloration, ample and accurate flexibility, a neat trill, and flaming top notes. In the Mad Scene she was both spectacular and touching. Akimov is a real find, the best. He's got a strong, attractive lyric voice and sings and acts with persuasive passion. Bass, Viacheslav Pochapsky made a sonorous and sympathetic priest. As the villain Enrico, American baritone James Bobick strode with malevolent swagger and sang forcefully. The cheering audience was clearly happy."     BOSTON GLOBE - Richard Dyer – Feb. 2006

VOICES TRIUMPH! LUCIA sends opera lovers to Scotland, 1835
 "Teatro Lirico D'Europa delivered handsomely last night where it really counts; in the voice department. They sure did sing. The lovely, supple voice of Soprano Larissa Yudina suited the role so well delivering Lucia's pearl-like notes with confidence ease, beauty and real style. Tenor Evgeny Akimov as her true love, sang handsomely and with a forceful passion. Baritone James Bobick, as Lucia's greedy brother Enrico, made a strong, positive impression, and Viacheslav Pochapsky filled the role of Raimondo vividly with his black-as night bass. Conductor Topolov led the music with real spirit and a strong understanding of the singers needs."  BOSTON HERALD - T. J. Medrek – Feb. 2006

"Singing the role of Lucia was Larissa Yudina, a lovely coloratura soprano with a set of pipes and manner of punctuated delivery that was perfection in every way. Her Lucia displayed, both vocally and through her gestures, an emotional attachment to the role that, when joined with the manner of her fluid, flawless delivery, cast a spell over the audience that remained unbroken to the very end. Cast in the lead of her lover, Edgardo, was Russian tenor, Evgeni Akimov. This grand singer; this grand voice is what going to opera is all about. When he sings the walls shake and the ceiling lifts, and the audience is simply swept away in the power and grandeur of perfect tone and technique that is virtuosic in its sheer luminescence. I saw this fine singer perform in Teatro's earlier production of "La Boheme" and noted that his performance went "thermonuclear". Nothing has changed. Akimov acts. He moves. He gestures. He emotes feeling. He is the character - and that is what cements a performance and elevates a production, particularly when it is shared by every other performer on stage. Also, doing a superb job last night was Russian basso Viacheslav Pochapsky. Mr. Popchapsky has a solid stage presence and last night delivered a powerful vocal performance with a deep, resonant and remarkably melodic bass that was nothing short of commanding. Cast in the role of Lucia's scheming brother, Enrico, was baritone James Bobick, who displayed fine singing form and a strong, solid voice. The score was rendered well and the orchestra performed just fine under the apt direction of Krassimir Topolov. This production was marked by fine sets and even, moody lighting that played off the backgrounds nicely and gave this production warmth. This is a production worth seeing because of the remarkable singing and a score that is, at times, hypnotic. Towering performances elevate this "Lucia," scoring another big success for Teatro Lirico D'Europa!”            OPERAONLINE.US - Paul Walkowski – Feb. 2006

"After the Boston Lyric Opera's arty production of Donizetti's French revision of his most famous opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, it was refreshing to have the familiar Italian version back. With a strong cast, Lucia is as foolproof as La Boheme. Young coloratura Larissa Yudina has an extremely pretty, expressive voice that rises into the stratosphere, with real trills. Her "Mad Scene," was a vocal and dramatic triumph. Tenor Evgenyi Akimov's voice combines power and color with good dramatic instincts. Baritone Vladimir Samsonov, hilarious as Rossini's barber last season, was equally effective as a snarling villain. Bolshoi bass Viacheslav Pochopsky, Teatro Lirico's unforgettable Boris Godunov, sang magnificently as Lucia's confessor. And Bulgarian mezzo, Viara Zhelezova, so winning as Rossini's Rosina, made something real and touching of the tiny role of Lucia's maid. They all sang their hearts out. What fun!"
                         BOSTON PHOENIX - Lloyd Schwartz – Feb. 2006

“As the tormented Lucia, Larissa Yudina handled the famous coloratura runs during the wedding reception scene when Lucia, bloodstained and totally bonkers, matches notes with a nightingale in a deluded wedding song. It’s an aria so difficult some productions whack it if they can’t find a soprano up to its rigors. Teatro Lirico created its best touring stage yet for the production and put the strongest principals they have in it. Evgeni Akimov is foremost among them as the lovesick Edgardo with a strong dramatic presence to match a powerful, fluid tenor voice. As Lucia’s shameless brother Enrico, Vladimir Samsonov’s strong baritone is a good fit for this role. So is Viacheslav Pochapsky’s Raimondo. Lucia has all eyes however, for her thrilling solos.”   
                 NAPLES DAILY NEWS – Harriet Howard Heithaus – Mar. 2006

Lucia di Lammermoor-Teatro Lirico D'Europa at The Touhill Center
“First produced in Naples in 1835, Lucia di Lammermoor is one of Donizetti's most famous and tragic operas. Based on Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor, the opera takes place in Scotland during the late 17th century. Lucia and Edgardo, the opera's two young lovers, come from families in the midst of a bitter feud. After promising herself to Edgardo, Lucia finds herself forced to marry another, Arturo, chosen by her brother Enrico. By forging a letter from Edgardo to Lucia, Enrico convinces Lucia to marry Arturo. Just as the two are married and the wedding papers are signed, Edgardo arrives to witness the signing. Edgardo curses Lucia and staggers away emotionally, with Lucia overcome by sadness. The wedding celebration comes to a sudden halt when it is learned that Lucia, in a fit of rage and grief, has killed her husband. She enters the stage in her blood soaked gown, muttering incomprehensively and madly. She ultimately falls to her death from madness. Edgardo, upon learning of Lucia's death, determines that his only relief to be to join Lucia in heaven, and plunges a knife into his chest. Much of the success of a production of Lucia di Lammermoor is dependent upon the climactic Act 3, in which Lucia breaks down completely into madness. Soprano Larissa Yudina's doomed heroine was tragic and chilling. Yudina's Lucia staggered across the stage in agony after killing her husband, portraying the young woman's madness with passion and honesty. Yudina did an excellent job of portraying Lucia's full range of emotions, from love-struck to furious to coming completely undone. Yudina truly stole Saturday's show. Tenor Igor Borko's Edgardo is strong and competent; his vocal range was impressive and his tone melodic and clear. Baritone James Bobick easily dominated his scenes as Enrico, providing a rich and robust voice to the character. Lucia di Lammermoor's set design is simplistic but serves the tragic production well. The lighting design was excellent, and the costumes beautiful.”
                THE CURRENT – St. Louis - Kelly Levins-Moore – Jan. 2007



Pucinni's TURANDOT
Puccini's LA BOHEME
Puccini's Madama BUTTERFLY
Puccini's TOSCA
Bizet's CARMEN

G. Verdi's AIDA
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