The troupe has some standouts, beginning with Naomi Louisa O’Connell as Lilli/Kate. She has a supple, bright voice and star quality, but perhaps more important, for this piece, she has comic chops, that extra something that makes you pay attention when she comes on stage.
“O’Connell, a mezzo-soprano, was superb in her role and performed Fauré’s Chanson with alluring beauty.”
“Naomi O’Connell followed her febrile Cherubino with a gently determined Serafin (aptly he is later revealed to be Cherubino’s son by the Countess) and, together with Rhian Lois’ adorable Angelika, make an attractive pair of young lovers.”
“Again Naomi O’Connell totally captivates with her zest and eventual joy.”
“Most interestingly, the Mozart Cherubino (Naomi O’Connell) and Barbarina (Rhian Lois) are reincarnated as their illegitimate children, with a pretty love duet, beautifully sung…”
“Naomi O’Connell is a full toned and hilariously gawky Cherubino, perfectly capturing the youth not yet fully in control of his body or libido.”
“As Cherubino, O’Connell, too, gives a brilliant performance – cheekily bouncing off the other characters and playing the page as minstrel, soldier and lady with light-hearted wit and charm.”
“Naomi O’Connell (Cherubino) sang earnestly, with admirable expressive depth.”
“Naomi O’Connell brings a superb characterization to the role. Her subtle comedy is a joy to watch and her ‘radiant mezzo-soprano’ a joy to hear.”
“Naomi O’Connell was marvellous in the trouser role of Cherubino, sparkling with her glorious arias…”
…with mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell in the trouser role of the amorous youth Cherubino as an early standout. She’s a delight, a fine singer as well as an impressively alert and supple comedienne. She turns the largo passages of “Non so più” into a dreamy show-stopper, and her “Voi che sapete” had real longing and depth.
In the pants role of Cherubino, we got Naomi O’Connell, whose dark-hued mezzo voice had just the right youthful quality… Her energetic portrayal mixed comedy with sympathy and conveyed the innate awkwardness of adolescence.
..Naomi O’Connell’s Poppea is lascivious, who in all nuances of disguise and disclosure unerringly applies the weapons of a woman… – (Translated from the German)
…Naomi O’Connell’s laszive, in allen Nuancen der Ver- und Enthüllung zielgenau die Waffen einer Frau einsetzende Poppea…
The Irish mezzo soprano Naomi O’Connell as Poppea joins Oper Frankfurt for the first time in a role debut. She is a terrific partner of Nerone, sometimes chillingly calculating, sometimes melting away in passion. – (Translated from the German)
Zum ersten Mal ist die irische Mezzosopranistin Naomi O’Connell als Poppea dabei. Für sie ist es ein Rollendebüt. Sie ist eine grandiose Partnerin Nerones, mal eiskalt-berechnend, mal zerschmelzend im Liebesrausch.
Naomi O’Connell as Poppea gives a remarkable debut… To ensnare Nerone is Naomi O’Connell’s Poppea, also vocally the command, worth a sin anytime… – (Translated from the German.)
Als Poppea gibt die Irin Naomi O’Connell ein beachtenswertes Debüt… Nerone zu umgarnen, ist der Poppea von Naomi O’Connell auch stimmlich das Gebot, allemal eine Sünde wert.
Naomi O’Connell with an effortless, appealing voice is a Poppea cunningly groomed as an object of male and narcissistic desire. – (Translated from the German)
Naomi O’Connell mit leicht ansprechender Stimme eine raffiniert zum Objekt männlicher wie narzisstischer Begierde präparierte Poppea.
Die Künste der Verführung zeigt Naomi O’Connell, zunächst in scharf schwarzer und bauchfreier Teufelchen-Montur, höchst liebreizend. Die stimmstarke irische Mezzosopranistin macht es mit Gesten, wie aus Film- und Fernsehen geläufig sind.
Naomi O’Connell, dressed at first in a black midriff-exposed devil’s outfit, is extremely enchanting in showing the art of seduction. The strong-voiced Irish mezzo soprano uses expressions and gestures familiar to film and TV. – (Translated from the German)
Murray’s proxy-parrot Vert-Vert apart, there is a palpable star of this show. Irish soprano Naomi O’Connell – now hugely in demand in America – is the feisty popular singer La Corilla, whose coloratura tours-de-force at the Lion d’Or – the grenadiers’ tankard-clinking taven – simply blew the lid off this performance.
Naomi O’Connell’s turn as the man-eating La Corilla had everyone eating out of her hand.
…When Irish mezzo Naomi O’Connell opens her mouth as the popular chanteuse La Corilla, the whole musical experience zooms onto a whole new level. Coloratura to the gills, O’Connell is, inescapably, the big hit of this production.
Naomi O’Connell radiates seductive glamour as a diva of the music halls.
Naomi O’Connell as the singer La Corilla takes the stage by storm with a beautifully rich yet silvery voice.
My two favorite performances of the evening were delivered by Naomi O’Connell as the charming Rosine whose nicely delineated moments of happiness, despair, and confusion were delightful to watch and Derek Smith’s Bartolo.
Naomi O’Connell develops compelling[ly] from the first play as her feisty, resourceful Rosine becomes the elegant, subdued, self-doubting Countess — and eventually rediscovers her youthful spirit.
Naomi O’Connell gorgeously sings the only song which is employed in this Seville.
Ms. O’Connell, who recently finished graduate studies at Juilliard, proved a natural in the recital format, winning over the audience with her rich, silvery voice and charming stage presence.
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Ms. O’Connell offered a compelling rendition of Poulenc’s “Dame de Monte Carlo,” her impassioned delivery of the final line embodying the bitterness of the faded female gambler. Her control, shadings and elegant vibrato rendered Arthur Honegger’s “Trois Chansons de la Petite Sirène” a delight.
With raw power and focus, O’Connell made the twisted Lady Macbeth loom large in the intimate setting of the concert hall.
Bass-baritone Evan Hughes and mezzo Naomi O’Connell could easily take their Alfonso and Despina straight to the stage of the “big house” a block downtown.
Naomi O’Connell, a rich mezzo-soprano and a student at Juilliard, makes a sassy Despina, the maid to the sisters. This is a Despina who reads newspapers, knows how the real world works and thinks her bosses a little ridiculous.
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Soprano Naomi O’Connell is a comic dynamo as Despina.
Naomi O’Connell was the outstanding mezzo-soprano, her voice cool, precisely controlled, and perfect for this music.
Naomi O’Connell and Robert Murray are unbeatable in the principal roles of La Périchole and Piquillo. Their sometimes tempestuous relationship is beautifully observed, and their singing is a joy to listen to. This is O’Connell’s UK operatic debut, and she’s very definitely a name to watch.
In the title role and looking delectable, Naomi O’Connell’s creamy tone and elegant phrasing ravished the ear.
Making her U.K. opera debut as La Périchole was the Irish, Juilliard-trained mezzo Naomi O’Connell, her streetwise manner and gift for vivid dialogue enhancing a performance that was notable for warmth, clarity and cleanness. Tenor Robert Murray matched her in vocal style and grace [and] both seized their vocal and dramatic opportunities fully throughout.
It’s hard to imagine how Geoffrey Dolton’s Viceroy, Naomi O’Connell’s Périchole and Robert Murray’s Piquillo could be bettered in these parts…this production is O’Connell’s UK operatic debut, and she is a star in the making. Hardly surprising, given that she’s a postgraduate of the Juilliard who will make her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013.
Naomi O’Connell does a spectacular Lady Macbeth, hurling it virtually through gritted teeth as Callas torments her.
There is one electrifying sequence where the diva’s taunts goad a young soprano into a thrilling retaliatory rendering of an aria [from] Verdi’s Macbeth…
The three cousins who run that tavern (Lauren Worsham, Naomi O’Connell and Carin Gilfry, all delightful) are sassy yet bored, dressed in short-shorts with aprons as they grill hot dogs for their liquor-swilling patrons.
Mezzo Naomi O’Connell made a standout debut as one of the three supporting ladies.
Brian Zeger, The Juilliard School
November 13, 2012
Song recitals need a strong injection of the authenticity and originality that Naomi O’Connell and Brent Funderburk bring to their performances. Their strong collaboration reaches audiences with a directness that is rare in the concert hall. I’m always eager to see their programs: fresh and rich with feeling.
Ottavia, the abandoned empress (Naomi O’Connell, a radiant mezzo-soprano) comes across as a regal and attractive woman, too trusting to see her rapacious husband’s betrayal coming.
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Mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell’s rich voice beautifully conveyed the sensuality and passion of these wonderful Ravel songs.