Norah Amsellem

soprano

Reviews

OPERA PERFORMANCES


La Traviata (Violetta)

I Puritani (Elvira)

Manon (Manon)

Rigoletto (Gilda)

La Boheme (Mimi)

Turandot (Liu)

Les contes d’Hoffmann (Olympia,Giulietta,Antonia,Stella)

Romeo and Juliette (Juliette)

Les Pecheurs de Perles (Leila)


RECORDINGS


DVD Traviata

CD La Boheme

CD Verdi Songs

CD French Melodie



LA TRAVIATA


Covent Garden


The Times, February 2005:


“Amsellem has the more frail physique and a deeper understanding of the role-some heart stopping soft singing and the most upsetting death scene of any Violetta I have seen in this production.”


Financial Times, February 2005, Andrew Clarke:


“It was fascinating to come across Norah Amsellem. She has period looks, a pretty smile, a malleable physiognomy. She knows how to adapt her whole demeanor to Violetta’s changing situation so that the figure we behold on stage is not an opera singer but a human being with the power to disarm us emotionally. That may be a gift of acting, but it also reflects Amsellem’s complete identification with the music. She had us spellbound…stretching the tempo to its very limit in ‘Ditte alla giovine’ and ‘Addio, del passato’ sung in beautifully controlled half voice”


The Sunday Telegraph, February 2005, Peter Reed :


“Norah Amsellem, the new Violetta, is quite a find. The period suits her looks well and vocally she is very impressive: pin-point coloratura, lovely light runs and a rock solid pianissimo that she can float right to the back of the house-“dite alla giovine” was just one such example of heightened expression that held everyone spellbound.”


The mail on sunday, february 6 2005, Daviv Mellor:


“ Norah Amsellem is a genuine singing actress in a way Gheorgiu will never be, and responds exeptionally well to this taxing role’s many challenges, from being the toast of Paris in act one to a pathetic, TB-ridden waif in Act three. She richly deserved the standing ovation many of the audience gave her at the end.”


What’s on, 2 February 2005, Christopher Bemand:


“Norah Amsellem setteled down to deliver a sensual and passionate  performance. She has a superb voice, showing immence control over the pianissimo passages and wonderful flair when requiring a bigger voice. She fully absorbs the character of the heroine, starting out as a vapid party animal but ending as the ideal 19th century girl, strong and honest in character but tragically weakened by ill health. She is entirely believable.”


Operajaponica.org, Ruth Elleson, February 2005:


“Also at the Royal Opera House, a notable company debut was made by the French soprano Norah Amsellem in La traviata. Sopranos who can carry off the whole role of Violetta with equal style and musicality are rare indeed, and I realised very early in my opera-going history that faced with a choice, I would rather have a fine lyric-voiced singing actress who can excel in the middle and last acts than an Act One canary. Amsellem fell firmly into my preferred category. But she gained dramatic conviction in Act 2, and finished up with one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen of the last act; with her voice reduced to a thread but supported by wonderful breath control, the musical performance alone became heartbreaking. It helps of course that her looks - beautiful, elegant, fragile and definitely Gallic - are undeniably perfect for this role.”


Musicomh.com, Dominic McHugh:


“Soprano Norah Amsellem possessed the coloratura necessary for the cabaletta at the end of the first act, was gut-wrenching in the second act encounter with Alfredo's father, and was especially excellent in the final act, when she held the audience in the palm of her hand with some beautiful high pianissimo and general legato singing in the aria, Addio del passato.”


Opera actual, March 2005, E.B :


“La soprano Norah Amsellem conquisto a la sala replete con un canto honesto, dignidad y entraga total al personaje. El nerviosismo del comienzo le dio aun mas energia y credibilidad ; su histeria en el segundo acto con Germont parecio tan real que conmovio al mas duro. Su vos es fluida y libre en todo el registro Llegando hasta al Mi bemol con gran facilidad sin perdida de cuerpo. El publico no se canso de ovacionarla. »


Anaclase.com, 26 mars 2005, Michel Slama :

« La santé vocale de la soprano est proprement insolente et elle n'a aucun problème à assumer les trois tessitures différentes du rôle : soprano colorature au premier acte, lyrique au second et lirico spinto au dernier. Evidemment, sa grande voix puissante s'accommode très bien des difficultés du premier acte. Elle nous gratifie même de l'air complet E strano avec la re-prise A me fanciulla, et du mi bémol final, tant attendu par le public (même s'il n'est pas de la main de Verdi) qu'elle assure avec une vaillance toute pavarottienne, à la différence de ses collègues qui péniblement s'arrêtent au si bémol… Comment ne pas penser un instant à la plus grande Traviata du siècle précédent, Maria Callas, pour retrouver cette émotion poignante qui rarement avait autant touché ce public madrilène ? Enfin, une vraie Violetta humaine, belle et crédible qui chante aussi bien qu'elle vit son personnage»


Vienna Staatsoper:


Opernwelt.de, Ekkehard Pluta:


„Die Rollendebütantin Norah Amsellem ist schon jetzt zu den außergewöhnlichen Interpretinnen der Kameliendame zu zählen. Im Andantino der Arie («Ah fors’è lui») nimmt sie die Stimme so weit zurück, dass ein innerer Monolog entsteht, auch bei «Dite alla giovine» erreicht sie höchste Spannung aus der Verhaltenheit.“


Austria AP, George Jahn:



Amsellem earns high marks for her acting qualities. "Addio del passato" was a good example, coming across poignant, instead of kitschy.”


Teatro Real, Madrid:


El Pais, Marzo 2005, Luis Sunen :


« Si encontes Norah Amsellem nos parecio una estupenda cantante, hoy se puede decir che su Violetta es ya una de las mejores de los ultimos tiempos. Pero, ademas, es licito pensar que su inteligencia va a llevarle todovia mas alla en la caracterizacion de un personaje al que presenta una voz mui bella, controlada con muy tecnica, sobre todo en medias voces y en el pianos. Anadase a ello una figura mas que creible y el resultado no puede ser sino el que es : sensacional. »


El Cultural, Gonzalo Alonso:


« Norah Amsellem resultó una revelación, una Violetta absolutamente convincente »


Teatro Communale di Bologna:


La Gazzeta del  Mezzogiorno, 22 Novembre 2005, Michele Bollettieri :


« Norah Amsellem plasma una Violetta gigantesca capace di passare, grazie ad una voce addestrata al vocalizzo ed all’agilita, dai folleggianti gorgheggi del primo atto conclusi tra l’entusiasmo del pubblico, a situazioni successivamente segnate dall’amore e dal sacrificio che richiedono. Da vero animale da palcoscenoco, la Amsellem, dotata di mezzi vocali che consentono di padroneggiare anche le parti piu impervie della tessitura, si cala conimpressionante naturalezza e forza espressiva nel difficile personaggio che appare segnato da una sorte crudele piu che dal peccato ; la sua transfigurazione fiscia, la mobilita del suo volto, i gesti, gli accenti, ogni sillaba esprimono adeguatamente l’evolversi del racconto dall’iniziale stato di leggerezza e superfisialita con cui la giovane consumai suoi giorni a quelli successivi di un’anima scaraventata nel piu impazzito dei tumulti fino al momento dalla morte che avviene in una cornice di grande pathos. »


Il Tempo, 20 Novembre 2005, Enrico Cavallotti :


« Il tortello e riuscito perche, a nostro umile parere, a dar voce e corpo all’eroina del sesso, c’era una donna e sropeno super : la signora Norah Amsellem. Sinuosa e leopardesca, rembrandtiana nella dovizia dei tratti collinari ed armoniosa nel rapporto fra le parti a costruire un’unita memoranda : dalla fluente chioma bruna alle perlaccee caviglie di sottilita ottocentesca. Non da meno e stata la sua voce calda ed agile : ricca d’allusioni

gravi fitte negli accidenti tragici, ma altresa atta a svolazzar puttanellescamente fra i siderei ghirigori del virtuosismo nei momenti dei dissoluti festini parigini. Violetta dismagata e moderna, senza cascami ottocenteschi, senza senapi callasiane e senza mortadellerie tebaldesche. Occhei per noi che s’ama concretezza d’atti e schietti flussi musicali, oggi che si va al sodo e non c’e tempo per ornanismi lirici e rimpianti di cio che fu che in realta mai fu. »


Das Opernglas, January 2006, W.Kutzchbach :


„Norah Amsellem hat als Violetta betrachtliche Anlaufschwierigkeiten and fand erst im dritten Akt mit einer intensiven Sterneszene und wahrhaft sterbenskrankenkem Gesichtsausdruck zur Rolle. Bis dahin hatte sie Muhe, auf Linie zu singen, und mehrmals geriet ein Forte-Ausbruch rum unarticulierten Schrei, was auch ein sauberes hohes ES als Schlusston im Finale des ersten Aktes nicht vergessen lieB. Die besten Momente stellen sich in den lyrischen passagen ein, wo sie mit zart gehauchtem Piano auch gegenuber manch renommierterer Kollegin bestehen konnte: im „dite alla giovine“ fand sie zu beruhrendem Ausdruck and auch im „Addio del passato“ konnte sie ihrer Stimme die entsprechende melancholische Farbgebung verleihen.“




I PURITANI


Seattle Opera, May 2008.


Seattle Weekly, Gavin Borchert:


“The high-wire act of Elvira’s two mad scenes is the main justification for reviving the work, and Amsellem more than made it all worth the effort. She floats some very pretty high notes and also sounds secure singing them full out. She acts the holly hell out of the part, she really seems to be on some other mental plane, in an edge-dancing, risk-taking performance of 200% commitment.”


The Seattle Times, Melinda Bargreen:


“Amsellem found her way forward, mustering a lovely voice of considerable agility with a lot of security and accuracy above the staff. She’s an effective actress to. The mad scene would tax any soprano, but Amsellem dealt well with both the vocal and dramatic challenges.”


Seattle Post Intelligencer. R.M.Campbell:


“Norah Amsellem’s Elvira was absorbing dramatically, especially her second act mad scene. She had all the high notes.”


The Gathering Note, Philippa Kiraly:


“Amsellem as Elvira has the hardest role to act. In the mad scene, the way she held and moved her head and body to herald her descent into hallucination, it was masterly. Combined with her splendid sung arias, she held riveted attention for what is a very long scene.”


Musicweb-international.com, Bernard Jacobson:


“Alike when she was being sane and when she was being deranged, French soprano Norah Amsellem sang with awe-inspiring virtuosity and touching truth of emotion. Her voice is as lovely as her looks, and she acts well too.”


Resmusica.com, Jean-Christophe Le Toquin:


“Amsellem est Elvira. La soprano française, pour laquelle ces Puritains sont sa prise de rôle, est magnifique, de par son chant et son jeu scénique. Allant crescendo dans l’expression au cours du premier acte, l’aigu sait se faire tendu, déchirant quand Elvira réalise qu’elle est abandonnée par Arturo. Son grand air de la folie de l’Acte II, un sommet bellinien et du belcanto en général, est appréhendé avec une douceur poignante, toute d’intériorité, et une gestuelle qui évoque l’égarement de manière théâtralement juste. Avec Lawrence Brownlee elle forme alors un couple profondément séduisant, vocalement brillants, souples, avec une énergie scénique inextinguible. Leur performance est couronnée par une chaleureuse standing ovation.”


Opera Actual, Ramon Jacques:


“En esta ocasión, se encontraron dos cantantes principales de sobresaliente desempeño vocal, como la soprano francesa Norah Amsellem que brindó una delicada y desenvuelta Elvira que con su voz comunicó sentimientos, a la vez que puso de manifiesto la facilidad para emitir agudos y el manejo pirotécnico de la coloratura.”



Queen Anne and Magnolia News, Maggie Larrick:


“Amsellem was appealingly believable Elvira and displayed an assured agility as she tackled the high notes written for the demanding role”


Concertonet.com, Angela Allen:


“Soprano Norah Amsellem’s performance, especially in her mad scene allows the French singer to show off her hauntingly flexible voice and vivid acting.
Amsellem is a gifted interpreter of Italian operas. She offers rigorous, mellifluous singing that stands up to Brownlee’s tenor.”



MANON


Viena Staatsoper, 2008:


Der Standard - Petra Haiderer



“The French soprano (Norah Amsellem) gives many faces to the title character. The calculating side - born out of inner emptiness - is moving to the core and causes sympathy for her reprehensible behaviour. The intimate moments were magic and sincere.”

Kultur

“Norah Amsellem is the sympathetic Manon, with a bright, exultant voice, full of warmth and beautiful high notes.”

Kurier  Judith Schmitzberger:

“On his (Villazon's) side Norah Amsellem sang the title role of the French drama for the first time in Vienna. The great love and tragedy in Manon come very naturally for Amsellem in her singing and acting.”

Critica International - Gerhard Ottinger:


“Things worked very well thanks to Norah Amsellem, a credible and vocally solid Manon, with a sense of style and easy acuteness.”




Teatro San Carlo, Napoli:


L’Opera, Sandro Campagnone:


“…la sua tecnica ineccepibile, oltre a inanellare mezzivoci e filati da brivido, le consente con facilita impressionante di accedere alle zone piu impervie della tessitura, senza mai dare l’impressione che, nel bel mezzo dello slancio lirico, debba cambiare Marcia per arrivare all’accuto.

Il suo fraseggio ha un legato istintivo, che da un senso alle frasi musicali e alle parole di immediate pertinenza narrativa.”


Il Mattino, Stefano Valanzuolo:


“Norah Amsellem, premiata da un’ovazione a se nel generale e festoso concenso finale. Technica inappuntabile e molto espressiva, il soprano dona al ruolo del titolo una freschezza coinvolgente, corroborata da virtuosismi da applauso.”


L’Opera, Enrico Tellini:


“It (Manon) became the hit of the season. Norah Amsellem had all the qualities of a perfect Manon: refined singing, plenty of voice, clear enunciation and a warm presence-enough, indeed to compete with memories of Sills and Pilou”


L’Opera, Aprile 2004, Andrea Merli :


“Norah Amsellem ha affrontato il temibile ruolo con una deliziosa interpretazione di “je suis encore toute etourdie”, che quello piu spericolato e virtuosistico di “je marche sur tout les chemins”, sciorinando re e mi bemolle, per giunta tenuti con spavalda amministrazione dei fiati, culminando con una irresistibile scena della seduzione a Saint Sulpice.”



Opera international, Philippe Thanhy:


“Norah Amsellem imposes herself immediately with a warm tone and a voice using a solid technique, which allows her to execute incredible demi-teintes (half-tones).  The opening aria of the heroine “je suis encore toute etourdie” was of a rare beauty, and the diction remarcably clear.”


La Republica, Sandro Compagnone:


“Il soprano, Norah Amsellem e il tenore Marcelo Alvarez sono entrato nei cuori del publico napoletano. In loro, all’ardore della gioventu si unisce un canto da brividi: Dolcissimo e technicamente inappuntabile quello della Amsellem.”



Las Palmas:


La Provincia, Marzo 2004, Leopoldo Rojas-O’Donnell:


« Amsellem resulta convicente en todos los registros que ofrece la variada partitura escrita para su personaje : desde la intensa melanconia de « Adieu notre petite table » a la sensual seduccion de la escena de la Iglesia, o la frivola y hedonista gavotte, en la que lucio una coloratura impecable y firmeza en el sobreagudo, todo fue modelo de buen hacer en lo vocal y ne lo escinico. »


Opera, 19 Marzo 2004, M.R Sanchez M :


« La soprano Norah Amsellem cautivo tanto por su aportacion vocal como por el trabajo psicologico del personaje. Manon cambia, es un personaje poliedrico, y asi fue su interpretacion, pasando de la tierna nina a la amiciosa mujer. En el aspecto musical, la facilidad y limpieza de emision, la homogeneidad de registros, la seguridad en el aguto, todo, absolutamente todo es digno de elogio, pero siempre dentro una naturalidad exquisita. »




RIGOLETTO


Seattle Opera


Seattle post-intelligencer, R.M.Campbell:


“Amsellem is the picture perfect Gilda, possessing a smooth, elegant soprano of uncommon beauty and reach, both natural and fresh.”


Seattle Times, Melinda Bargreen:


“Norah Amsellem negotiated the coloratura passages of Caro Nome with compelling ease, later making the music underscore both fragility and her bravery. She’s a convincing actress, and looked terrific in the 1930’s costumes.”


SGN, Brian Bailey:


“The real hit of this production is unquestionably Norah Amsellem’s arresting Gilda. She has a ritchly expressive midrange with real weight and body so important for the punch needed in the “Si, vendetta” and in much of the last act. You could hear a pin drop during her “Caro nome” aria.”


Queen Anne News, Maggie Larrick:


“Amsellem’s stellar performance brought the audience to its feet roaring in an ardent standing ovation. Her Clarion-clear voice exhibiting none of the strain or sharpness typical of many sopranos, floated effortlessly, even on awe inspiring sustained high notes.”



The Herald, Mike Murray:


“French Soprano Norah Amsellem was a remarkable Gilda, portraying both her gritty strength and her fragility. Verdi wrote a lot of High notes for this part, an Amsellem negotiated them all with ease, her singing agile and secure.”


The Oregonian, James McQuillen:


“Norah Amsellem’s Gilda was simultaneously ravishing and vulnerable; her coloratura was wrenchingly lovely and her stratospheric high notes spot-on.”


European Weekly, Peter H. Jacoby:


“Norah Amsellem showed her warm, strong, lyrical soprano in every moment on stage. In duets or quartets Ms Amsellem leads, as well as integrates, her voice in a manner that very few artists could emulate.”



Les Choregies d’Orange:


Opéra international, 25 juillet 2001, P.A :


« On est pas près d’oublier la Gilda touchée par la grâce de Norah Amsellem. La jeune soprano francaise qui s’est déjà signalée, ces dernières années, par quelques Micaela mémorables, semble avoir franchi ici une étape importante : Un timbre très pur, une conduite irréprochable de la ligne de chant, une élégance rare dans la vocalise, lui ont valu un triomphe a la fin de son « Caro nome . »


Diapason, octobre 2001, sylvain For :


« Le  Caro nome de Norah Amsellem, murmure dans un silence, restera dans les mémoires. »


Le Figaro, 28/29 juillet 2001, Jacques Doucelin :


« La distribution est dominée par la présence de la jeune Norah Amsellem, Gilda non seulement superbe scéniquement, mais a la voix homogène, agile et bien colorée. Elle l’emporte à l’applaudimètre. »


The Metropolitan Opera


The New York Times, Vivien Schweitzer:


“The soprano Norah Amsellem was a lovely, convincing Gilda, in a slinky gold dress that made a lively splash amid the black-and-white outfits of the orchestra members and male singers. Her phrasing was expressive.”




TURANDOT


San Francisco


San Francisco Examiner, 30 November 1998:


“In her debut Sunday, Norah Amsellem delivered the most alluring Liu this house has probably heard in decades. A former Merola Program participant, the French born soprano is simply an exquisite artist, a sympathetic actor and a singer who believes in taking chances and emerging triumphant. Amsellem’s serenely spun high note, tapering into infinity, and the end of ‘Signore, ascolta” yielded a kind of golden age pleasure.”


Maggio Fiorentino, Florence


L’Unita, 16 settembre 1999, Elisabetta Torselli:


« Alla fine e stato il trionfo per Liu, Norah Amsellem, che benche sconosciuta a Firenze ci ha conquistato tutti fin dalla prima battuta con il fascino di una materia vocale sontuosa e soave. »


La Nazione, 16 settembre 1999, Leonardo Pinzauti :


« Nella bella compania di canto proposta da questa edizione un’autentica rivelazione e stata la Liu di Norah Amsellem, che ha una bella voca e sa modularla con delicata sensibilita espressiva. »


Opera International, Janvier 2004, Guido Tartoni :


« S’y distingue la soprano Norah Amsellem en Liu. Au-dela des qualites du timbre et de la technique, elle se revele particulierement habile dans les aigus et l’extreme aigu, ou elle produit des sons legers, etheres. »


La Nazione, 22 Gennaio 2006, Giuseppe Rossi :


« Norah Amsellem ripeta la sua Liu fragile e trepidante facendo apprezzare sopratutto la tenere delicatezza delle mezze voci. »


L’Unita, 22 Gennaio 2006, Elisabetta Torselli :


« Mentre e stata la Liu di Norah Amsellem a conquistare tutti, fin dall’etero, sommesso ma intensissimo volo verso l’acuto del mi hai sorriso quasi all’inizio del opera. »



LA BOHEME


Teatro communale, Florence


Opera International, September 2003:


“Norah Amsellem’s debut in the role of Mimi had the effect of a bomb.  The voice reveals a rare amplitidute and flows with ease in all situations, the musical conception of the protagonist is explored in infinite detail and the personage is radiant right from the moment she appears on stage.”


Teatro Real, Madrid


La Razon, 18 marzo 2006, Alvaro Guibert :


« Norah Amsellem, a quien al publico de Madrid ha visto ya morir convicentemente en « La Traviata », aporta al papel una fuerza dramatica que esta ligada tanto a la riqueza de su color vocal como a su sentido di frase. »


Opera actual, Marzo 2006, Inigo Pirfano :


“ EL papel di Mimi fu abordado soprano Norah Amsellem con indudable domino tecnico. Tiene una hermosa voz grande, con armonicos y una estupenda facilidad para el registro agudo. »


The Epoch Times, December 2008, by Eman Isadiar:


STUNNING PERFORMANCES: Norah Amsellem appeared as the flirtatious Musetta in Puccini's ‘La Bohème.’ (Terrence McCarthy)


Norah Amsellem: A Name to Remember

The scene at Café Momus is largely dominated by the playful Musetta, portrayed brilliantly here by French soprano Norah Amsellem. While the masses may have come to hear their beloved Gheorghiu, many also fell under the spell of a striking and talented Amsellem as she sang Musetta’s famous waltz, “Quando me n’vo” (When I Walk Along). This aria is arguably the best known in the whole of soprano repertoire. Amsellem’s note-perfect performance was both flirtatious and humorous in just the right proportions and at just the right moments.



LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN


Seattle Times


“Amsellem, attired in spectacular gowns (by Marie-Therese Cramer), had some of Saturday evening’s biggest challenges: three very different roles, from the mechanical robot Olympia to the fatally ill young singer Antonia and the amoral, worldly Giulietta. Amsellem has appeared several times in Seattle, but this is her most impressive work: highflying coloratura agility in the first role, warmth and fragility of tone in the second, an edgier and more blasé quality in the third. It was a fine trio of performances.”


The Sun Break:


The formidable Norah Amsellem completes what can only be called a vocal marathon not for the faint of heart, playing four characters and mastering the fiendishly difficult “Doll Aria.”


Bainbridgereview


Norah Amsellem brings her riveting and dynamic presence to the stage in the roles of Hoffmann’s four beloveds.




ROMEO ET JULIETTE


“Norah Amsellem incarnates a radiant Juliette, aware of the fears which are hers, but accepting them in the name of that total and immediate love which she pledges to her Romero.  The voice, which possess a rare ease and quite insolently healthy, plays with the dangers of the role, both in the lighter parts and those more dramatically intense, with perfect control in the art of the nuances and a real mastery of line.”


Le Monde, 7 April, 2000, Renaud Machart:


“The young French soprano Norah Amsellem is an incredible musician, capable of breathtaking pianissimos, easy high notes.  She is gifted with good diction and her Juliette is very committed dramatically.”




LES PECHEURS DE PERLES


Washington Opera:


The Washington Times, T.L Ponick, September 2008:


“As Leila, soprano Norah Amsellem unveiled a marvelously supple instrument, effortlessly transiting from her mezzo notes to lovely, effortless trills and ornamentation in the hight range.”


Concertonet.com, Micaele Sparacino, September 2008:


“As Leila, soprano Norah Amsellem was sheer perfection. Vocally and stylistically she was ideal in this role. Her singing of the famous aria “Comme autrefois” was one of the enchanting highlights of the evening. Beautifully staged and lit, she made an unforgettable impression in this scene. When she joined tenor Castronovo in the exquisite duet “Leila, Leila..” perfume filled the stage. I found these moments absolutely beguiling.”



San Francisco Opera



Talkinbroadway.com, Richard Connema, june 24 2005:


”Norah Amsellem as the virginal priestess has a euphoric coloratura voice that delivers sweet sounds from her vocal cords. Her trills are excellent and she looks good as a sexy priestess”


San Francisco Classical Voice, James Keolker:


“Soprano Norah Amsellem, singing the much-sought-after priestess, Leïla. French-born Amsellem also knows the subtlety of her language, using it effectively to float Bizet's more airy traceries. She was effective with her beautifully elongated trills and suspended diminuendos, and her langorous, “Comme autrefois, dans la nuit sombre” (He watches over me in the dark night) was movingly delivered”


San Francisco Chronicle, Steven Winn:


“Amsellem offers a formidable technique to meet the musical demands of Lei¨la. Her trills are tight, she floats her high notes weightlessly and her pianissimos are a minor marvel. As a bonus, in her midriff-baring costume, she sports a jewel in her navel.”


Seen and heard, Harvey Steiman:


“Norah Amsellem floated some lovely sounds as Léïla, the virgin priest at the apex of the opera's love triangle, and looked rather fetching in her two-piece magenta.



DVD TRAVIATA


Gramaphone:


“I wouldn’t quite paint this as a David-and-Goliath tale, but just as everyone was eagerly awaiting the new Villazon/Netrebko TRAVIATA DVD, along comes this less starry Madrid version to knock it out of the running. A brilliant production from the Teatro Real. Selected as both the Editor’s choice and DVD of the month”


L’Opera:


“A triumphant success. Norah Amsellem is an absolutely exceptional Violetta, a complete and fascinating artists”


Le Monde de la Musique:


ìNorah Amsellem’s Violetta flourishes - vocally and dramatically, nothing is a challenge to herÖ Thanks to Pizzi’s intelligence, every detail in the action works in this production. This production is only waiting for a DVD to make history.î


Classics Today:


“Amsellem is a fine singer and actress. Her voice is a full lyric with a superb top and comfort with coloratura, and she has enough power for the climactic “Amami Alfredo”. She moves with great naturalness and her large features are very expressive; indeed she looks more catastrophically ill in the last act than anyone since Teresa Stratas (in the Zeffirelli movie) who looks dead from the beginning. She has gorgeous pianissimos that she uses to great effect. She is a great Violetta “


Music Webb International, Robert J. Farr:


“Amsellem gives a highly successful sung and acted interpretation. Her voice is a strong, flexible soprano with a touch of metal. Amsellem lucidly conveys the agony of Violetta’s emotions and her generosity of character. But it is not only her singing that makes this last act so poignant and harrowing. Her portrayal of Violetta’s death-dealing consumption is not conveyed by her facial pallor alone. Her body language and movement is of somebody with one and a half feet in the grave and who wholly recognizes that reality. It is as good an acted and sung portrayal of this heart rending finale as I heard and seen in a long time.”

Music Pointers, Peter Graham Woolf:

“Slender and beautiful, Amsellem encompasses for home viewers all the moods to be conveyed in one of the most demanding of all operas, and she is disturbingly haggard in the poignant death scene; no prettification of terminal illness here! For those of us who find a good DVD well able to challenge iconic performances on CD, this TRAVIATA will retain a prominent place on our shelves, and I look forward to watching it through again. Strongly Recommended.” (Music Pointers/Peter Graham Woolf)

MusicOMH.com, Dominic McHugh:

“Norah Amsellem is scarcely less impressive in the new Madrid DVD. She gives an even more multi-faceted and detailed interpretation of the role than Gheorghiu; the nobility of the character is conveyed with more heartbreak, but her total absorption into the character is unrivalled. The death scene is quite simply the most affecting I have seen, even more powerful than when she appeared at short notice in the Royal Opera's revival last year.”



Opous Haute Definition, Yannick Rolandeau (Opushd.free.fr):


“The only interesting point of this DVD is the incredible interpretation of Norah Amsellem in the role of Violetta.  This sensual woman is able to move us and as well as that has a very beautiful voice.  At each instance, she seems to sing with all her being.  A DVD full of contrasts but which merits attention thanks to Norah Amsellem.”



Classics today, Christophe Huss, classicstodayfrance.com:


“Norah Amsellem undertook the role (Traviata) for the first shows and following that for the recording of the DVD. She is a superb incarnation of Violetta.”


CD LA BOHEME


Opera News, Ira Siff:


“Soprano Norah Amsellem, and artist of great musical sensitivity, is a natural Mimi. She phases artfully but not artificially and has an organic feel for portamento. Her “Mi chiamano Mimi” is nicely measured, with the crucial “Ma quando vien lo sgelo” section expansive and touching...Amsellem offers some plush tones and uses her beautiful floated piano to great advantage. In “Donde lieta usci” the soprano plays the emotional “Cuffietta rosa” card to perfection, making it clear the lovers will not part, and she employs an appropriately pallid tonal color for the death scene. This is intelligent, well executed work.”



CD VERDI SONGS


Opera International, Pierre Cadars:


“Released after a first recital of French melodies in which Thierry Guyenne had highlighted "the vocal opulence and the dramatic commitment of this French soprano", this program dedicated entirely to Verdi represents an even riskier strategy for Norah Amsellem. A confirmed talent is indeed necessary to navigate with ease in a repertoire which is close to opera but is only ostensibly easy and alluring, hiding in fact a good deal of difficulties. For each of these pages composed over the years, sometimes responding to a commission, often under the guise of a circumstantial homage, it is necessary to find the most appropriate tone: not excessively dramatizing what should be a mere suggestion; coloring with subtlety what risks to become monotonous in the course of an hour or more. This is a difficult art, even more difficult than playing the standards with the support of an orchestra. Let it be recognized that Norah Amsellem gets through these obstacles pretty well, bringing to these melodies her already rich experience. One notices this in particular in the works that have a particular picturesque quality, where the tone is the most straightforward. Stornello, Lo spazzacamino or the Brindisi are interpreted vivaciously, with the necessary panache and gusto. The soprano, who is accompanied with great care and accuracy by Lydia Jardon, knows how to alternate emotion with lustre and short flights of lyricism with atmospheric evocations. In a melody such as Perduta ho la pace she displays a whole array of nuances, conserving the elegance that tempers this well-mannered passion. A beautiful work on the whole, this well-composed recital, which also has a very balanced technical approach, suffices in itself to justify Norah Amsellem’s ambitions.”


Classics Today, Jacques Bonnaure:


“Norah Amsellem sings the two collections from 1838 and 1845, plus six separate songs. This young singer has already accomplished a fairly distinguished career as a lyrical soprano (Gilda, Micaëla, Liu, Violetta, the Contessa from the Nozze…). Her main asset is a quite beautiful tone which in certain sections possesses a color akin to Montserrat Caballé’s. The low register is well grounded and the voice powerful enough to render dramatic effects. Moreover, the breathing is perfect, as is the coloring which allows to diversify the musical effects and to give life to the phrases.”


CD FRENCH MELODIES


Anaclase.com, Bertrand Bolognesi :


«Voici un récital de la soprano Norah Amsellem dont on peut de plus en plus entendre la voix sur les plateaux d'opéras, et qui - ce disque nous invite à le croire - devrait occuper la scène plus régulièrement encore dans les années à venir. Car en effet, c'est bien d'une personnalité de théâtre qu'il s'agit là ! Et c'est sur cette qualité que l'artiste puise copieusement pour interpréter les mélodies de Debussy qui ouvrent son disque. Mandoline est une réussite absolue.

En revanche, le choix de chanter Duparc est nettement plus judicieux, et la réalisation s'avère concluante. L'invitation au voyage bénéficie de nuances subtiles et d'une interprétation sensible. On admirera les phrases ascendantes s'ornant d'un pianissimo progressif d'une grande pureté, respectant en tout point non seulement ce qui est écrit sur la partition mais aussi ce que cette notation suggère. L'alternance de mélodies nimbées de poésie lyrique (La vie antérieure) et d'autres au ton d'éloquence plus populaire
(Au pays où se fait la guerre) est une excellente idée, propre à utiliser avantageusement ces qualités même de la voix qui gênaient Debussy.
On rencontrera le sommet de l'enregistrement avec Extase, d'une grande tendresse.

Enfin, un tiers du disque est consacré à trois cycles rares de Francis Poulenc. Et c'est dans cette musique où la poésie se teinte de théâtre en prenant des tours ironiques, goguenards, ou mélodramatiques, faussement simples comme Bonjour, parfois ombrés d'un surréalisme détendu, que Norah Amsellem nous offre le meilleur d'elle-même. Que d'esprit dans Mon cadavre est doux comme un gant des Fiançailles pour rire, par exemple ! Dalton Badwin s'affirme, si besoin était, fin mélodiste, offrant
un tapis de couleurs finement mêlées où la voix vint asseoir ses parfums. »