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.
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.
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’ Norma encompassed the role in its entirety.
The Amenaide was Christine Lyons, displaying a generously scaled lyric soprano, her rapid vibrato adding lushness to the tone.
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.
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.
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.’
Lyons doesn’t have to be asked twice to make like opera’s greatest temptress
Soprano Christine Lyons exuded such a radiant presence.
As Adina.... her lustrous soprano won us over from the start.
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.