Norma was Maria Callas’ favorite showcase for her legendary voice. Renata Scotto once called the role of Norma “the Everest of opera.” Well, Soprano Christine Lyons climbs that peak with banners flying. She’s a true virtuosa, dazzling us with her mastery of all those Bel Canto coloratura fireworks- all the runs, trills and staccato apreggios and cadenzas that decorate the long, free-ranging melody lines.
In the lead role soprano, Christine Lyons delivered as Alaide…a sturdy performance full of great intensity. She possesses a very full sound with a fast vibrato that moves well from top to bottom with great agility in the coloratura scattered around the piece. She also often utilized a glorious portamento to connect higher note with those residing in lower registers. In some of her finest moments, her vocal qualities bore a striking similarity to that of Sondra Radvanovsky in not only its colors but the phrasing of the portamenti. She also has a strong lower range… Lyons was at her best during the closing arias, “Ah! Lo ravviso!” and “Or sei pago,” of Acts one and two, with both scenes allowing her to dig into the desperation and passion of Alaide as she loses both men in her life. Both passages require the soprano to sing over a massive chorus, something that she is also asked to do at several other intervals. This made the opera’s final moments, with its devilish vocal ascensions to a high D flat the most impressive moment of her vocal output. Here she let her voice soar to its maximum potential, expressing the fury and madness that Alaide feels in this moment. Where many sopranos simply wait for the few notes before the ascension to the high D flat, Lyons sang every single one… to end the opera with a spectacular wave of sound that capped a splendid evening for her.
Christine Lyons is a celebrated soprano rapidly making a name for herself in opera houses across the globe. Critics have described her as a “true virtuosa” and a “revelation.” Last Friday night, she made her debut as a performer with the Baltimore Concert Opera as Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly,” and what a debut it was. She was as lovely as she was talented, and that is saying a lot. A truly gifted vocalist, Ms. Lyons is well on her way to the exalted status of Diva in the opera world if she continues on the path she’s on. Her Cio-Cio San displayed an impressive range of emotions, all of them personified by her soaring soprano.
One warmed to Christine Lyons’s potent soprano in the course of her dramatically charged portrayal of Alaide; Lyons excelled in her blistering final cabaletta in which she, like a Donizetti heroine headed for the block, curses fate and welcomes death.
The soprano Christine Lyons, as Alaide, the melancholy stranger of the title of Bellini’s opera, dealt capably with the bursts of fury that end each act, her voice blossoming down into its depths.
Christine Lyons was a magnificent Alaide, her warm, creamy soprano at its very best when challenged by Bellini’s seemingly endless melodies. Intense and soulful, this was a tragic “Straniera” from the start, her final aria “Sono all’ara” crowning a performance of real stature.
Cast standouts included soprano Christine Lyons, whose rich, ample voice sailed through the demanding title role with power and poise.
A superior performance by soprano Christine Lyons dominates Winter Opera Saint Louis’ strong rendition of Vincenzo Bellini’s bel canto opera, Norma. Lyons, in her Winter Opera debut, shows considerable power in her lush, lingering soprano, which elevates the production considerably. Lyons’ acting is polished as well, making Norma a compelling and tragic figure, a formidable force to be reckoned with by Pollione, Oroveso and Adalgisa at different times in the two-act, three-hour presentation.
For its first “Norma,” Winter Opera St. Louis focused on the singing, assembling a fine cast. It was led by soprano Christine Lyons, who looked and sounded exquisite in the title role. She has the presence and dramatic conviction for the priestess, and excellent technique; she held the audience’s attention and sympathy.
The Amenaide was Christine Lyons, displaying a generously scaled lyric soprano, her rapid vibrato adding lushness to the tone.
The mysterious Alaide was soprano Christine Lyons, with strength and a fearless attack at both ends of her voice…her final scene created an uproar.
[Lyons] is a natural communicator with an individual soprano sound — a lush timbre overlaid with shimmering silvery overtones. A fast but even vibrato runs through her voice like a current of electricity.
In the starring role we had a Teatro Nuovo regular—soprano Christine Lyons whose passion brought Alaide to life. Her innate musicality brought out the beauty of Bellini’s vocal lines in the lyrical passages. The vocal range called for was quite wide but Ms. Lyons was undaunted. There was the requisite brilliance in the upper register and substantial power at the bottom.
Soprano Christine Lyons is singing the role at Winter Opera this weekend,...she turns in a mesmerizing performance. [Norma’s] wide emotional and musical range requires a daunting combination of vocal flexibility, physical stamina, solid acting ability and a dynamic stage presence. Ms. Lyons certainly has that presence, and her emotional commitment to the role makes her performance compelling. Her voice has the range and flexibility that the part demands as well... her Norma is theatrically on point.
Christine Lyons (Alaide) had good control and flexibility
Christine Lyons’ Norma encompassed the role in its entirety.
A nuanced and richly textured performance, Christine Lyons as Giulietta was spellbinding, highlighting her range and interpretation, singing the aria with rosy, agile coloratura. In short, Lyons is exquisite.
The Rifatto alternate Amenaide, newcomer Christine Lyons, was a revelation…. Lyons’ quick vibrato and complex timbre brought greater emotional immediacy to Amenaide’s conflict between duty and desire…. [she] handled the florid passages with musicianship and flair.
A pleasure to hear... made a persuasive case for [her] music.
Christine Lyons, the evening’s Alaide, has a striking chesty soprano with an attractive smoky quality
[Lyons] produced many fine passages, with a good feel for dynamics and for the text... Ms. Lyons offered expressive singing, with an appealing sense of the character’s vulnerability.
Christine Lyons was appropriately regal as Alaide, the mysterious stranger, who is actually a queen in hiding.
Christine Lyons used her captivating soprano and sang this familiar song “Ständchen” by Franz Schubert with freshness, sentiment and a sprinkling of vocal stardust…. Ms. Lyons has a rare power of expression plus a lustrous soprano that should carry her far.
Standouts among the soloists include Christine Lyons, who possesses a plush lyric voice.
We have been waiting patiently for someone to get us to appreciate Carlyle Floyd’s Susanna and Ms. Lyons crisp English diction and psychological insight helped us to turn the corner. In “Ain’t it a Pretty Night”, she expressed all the longing and excitement of leaving home, and all the nostalgia for what might be left behind. We wondered if Ms. Lyons had experienced those feelings when she left Atlanta because her performance oozed conviction.To truly appreciate Ms. Lyons’ gifts, one needs to hear her Italian. We well remember her performance as Adina.... But last night we heard an enhancement of vibrato in her glorious performance of “Io son l’umile ancella” from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. The Italianate vowels and phrasing were perfect.
This was one of the most emotionally moving concerts I’ve ever attended.... Christine Lyons added a sparkling soprano to Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ and sang a beautifully ornamented ‘Last Rose of Summer.’
As Adina.... her lustrous soprano won us over from the start.
Lyons doesn’t have to be asked twice to make like opera’s greatest temptress
The three Nymphs, Jeni Houser, soprano, as Najade, Rebecca Ringle, mezzo, as Dryade and Christine Lyons, soprano, as Echo were superb individually and magnificent as a trio.
Naiade (Jeni Houser), Echo (Christine Lyons) and Dryade (Rebecca Ringle)... express empathy and harmonize and counterpoint and lushly enhance the dramatic elements of the show.”Each is lovely: lyric soprano, dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano; each becomes ubiquitous, another instrument in the ensemble, but able to voice thought rather than just express it with tone. In fact, the vocalizing in this production is truly extraordinary with every word sung clear as a bell.
...the nymph trio of soprano Jeni Houser (playing Naiad), mezzo Rebecca Ringle (Dryade), and soprano Christine Lyons (Echo) provides what amounts to sonic nectar as their voices merge in sympathy with the long-suffering Ariadne.
There is exquisite ensemble singing for the three nymphs who attend Ariadne. Jeni Houser/Najade, Rebecca Ringle/Dryade and Christine Lyons/Echo were gorgeous in movement, raiment, gesture and song.....”If you don’t go and see these three ladies exalt... more fool you.
Three attending Nymphs (Jeni Houser, Rebecca Ringle and Christine Lyons) lament her fate, voices... blending together with the beauty of their ethereal essence.
Fox 2 9AM Morning Show Previews Bellini’s NORMA
Christine Lyons, Will Crutchfield and Jakob Lehmann discuss Bellini's LA STRANIERA
When you throw in the fact that Christine Lyons is taking on the title role, that excitement increases considerably. The soprano, who recently starred in Teatro Nuovo’s mesmerizing “La Straniera,” will likely get a chance to truly showcase her operatic power in one of the repertory’s most challenging roles.