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  Sopranos: Orla Boylan - Reviews

Aida‚ Irish National Opera (November 2018)

'The spotlight is on the love triangle between Aida‚ Radamès and Amneris. Soprano Orla Boylan was well chosen for the title role. She played convincingly the enslaved princess secretly in love with Radamès; but what really impressed was the sheer power of her voice‚ always distinctly heard across the orchestra and the full chorus. '

Aida‚ Irish National Opera
Irish Times (November 2018)

'Soprano Orla Boylan takes quiet vocal command of the notoriously demanding title role‚ for example expressing with subtle‚ compelling poignancy Aida’s inner conflict when her father…'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera (March 2018)

'Orla Boylan’s heartfelt Vissi d’Arte is all the more dramatically effective for its sense of time-standing-still‚ and its chilling ending as Tosca sinks to the ground in the giant shadow of Scarpia as the light of the setting sun floods through the window.

?Boylan’s characterful singing is lyrical or dramatic as required throughout her performance and all three protagonists project full-bodied tone with ease.'

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
Opera Magazine (September 2017)

'Copley’s Lady Billows‚Oral Boylan‚ was a rural English dragon‚ quite unlike any other I have seen. Hunched and needing the support of a walking stick‚ she reminded me of a malign version of Sylvia Sims as the Queen Mother in the Helen Mirren biopic‚ The Queen‚ and she unleashed her recently-found Turandot voice to chilling effect. '

Turandot‚ Opera North
Opera Magazine (July 2017)

'Orla Boylan was a majestic ice-maiden in the title role‚ making an affecting narrative of ’In questa reggia’ and hurling out defiance later. Her soprano has matured nicely over the years.'

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
Classical Source (June 2017)

'In search of a new and unblemished May Queen the local committee in the not-so-imaginary Loxford is headed by the imperishable Lady Billows who suffers from chronic morality. Portraying this pillar of society an imposing Orla Boylan combines Brünnhilde with Hyacinth Bucket‚ fearlessly dismissing the local girls as “trollops” and the local militia as “bumpkins”. She is not just a force to be reckoned with‚ for in the lament for Albert (an inspired passage in Act Two) warmer tones suggest a more motherly persona.'

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
Financial Times (June 2017)

'...Orla Boylan makes a distinctive Lady Billows‚ second cousin to television’s relentless social climber Hyacinth Bucket...'

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
MusichOMH (June 2017)

'The cast was a true ensemble one‚ without a weak link in its golden chain. It was led by Orla Boylan’s hilarious portrayal of Lady Billows as the epitome of a certain kind of woman‚ perhaps best summed up as a fusion of Hyacinth Bucket‚ Lady Bracknell and the Chairperson who fixes you with a basilisk stare when you timidly ask if a teeny change might be made to the committee’s rules...Boylan’s ferocious‚ yet lovable creation never descends into mere caricature‚ despite what must be temptations to do so (“M’husband shot the brute in ’86!”) and her singing is glorious‚ whether trumpeting outrage or quietly accepting joyful outcomes.

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
The Arts Desk (June 2017)

'Around him the standard-bearers of provincial propriety lurk vulture-like‚ but even though they’re types‚ we’ve all met them - even Orla Boylan’s incredible transformation from a candid Tatyana and Sieglinde of yore into dragon dowager splendidly observed in the askance disapproval with which she views all and sundry and the constant distracted fiddling at the fete: part Dame Edna‚ part Geraldine James’s Lady Maud in Blott on the Landscape‚ but never overplaying it and unleashing all her dramatic-soprano power when she needs it. '

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
The Guardian (June 2017)

'...although their combined thunder is stolen by Orla Boylan’s utterly terrifying Lady Billows – the local bigwig whose Wagnerian tones and gimlet gaze quell all opposition. '

Albert Herring‚ The Grange Festival
The Stage (June 2017)

'In the final scene his rebellious goosing of the imperious Lady Billows – Orla Boylan‚ vocally imposing and spot-on in her lurching body language – is a joy.'

Turandot‚ Opera North
The Spectator (May 2017)

'In fact‚ if you wanted a purely musical case for opera in concert‚ you’d struggle to find a stronger one. Armstrong combined surging momentum with long-breathed phrases‚ over which Orla Boylan’s Turandot and Rafael Rojas’s Calaf soared with fiery intensity. '

Turandot‚ Opera North
The Times (May 2017)

'In the latter department‚ Boylan’s turbo-charged Turandot and Rafael Rojas’s full-blooded Calaf duelled thrillingly for the shake-the-chandeliers prize...'

Turandot‚ Opera North
What’s On Stage (May 2017)

'Orla Boylan‚ who’s in equally fine voice and sings a searing "Mai nessun m’avra" with Rojas‚ contrives in her thoughtful interpretation to give Turandot a hinterland and to draw sympathy for her character. '

Turandot‚ Opera North
York Press (May 2017)

'Orla Boylan was a majestic ice-maiden in the title role‚ making an affecting narrative of In questa reggia and hurling out defiance later. Her soprano has matured nicely over the years.'

Turandot‚ Opera North (April 2017)

'His riddle scene with Orla Boylan as the Princess was particularly gripping. When she explained that she was doing all this to avenge the rape and murder of a predecessor in the distant past in “In questa reggia” (In this palace)‚ she became a powerful‚ almost Wagnerian presence‚ living the part convincingly‚ and her shocked surprise when he came up with the correct answers was well registered...'

Turandot‚ Opera North
Seen and Heard International (April 2017)

'One risk of any operatic concert staging is for singers to be overwhelmed by the orchestra and chorus behind them. This was never a problem for the fearless Boylan in the title role‚ whose experience in Wagner and Strauss reveal the astonishing vocal power she wields. This meant she was audible even in the final duet with its thundering conclusion...'

Turandot‚ Opera North
The Guardian (April 2017)

'But this is a more even contest‚ in which Orla Boylan’s imperiously sung Turandot is less a cold-blooded harpie than a woman who seems genuinely disoriented by the speed at which she finds herself thawing out. '

Turandot‚ Opera North
The Telegraph (April 2017)

'And what a first-rate cast Opera North has curated. Orla Boylan is a soprano whose promise hasn’t been fulfilled in recent years‚ but here as the ice princess she is operating at full throttle‚ sailing above the stave and glorying in her power through “In questa reggia” before love casts its spell.'

Albert Herring‚ Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (June 2016)

'Elegante oltre ogni misura la Lady Billows di Orla Boylan...///Elegant beyond measure the Lady Billows Orla Boylan...'

Albert Herring‚ Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Opera Click (June 2016)

'Orla Boylan è irresistibile nei panni della dispotica Lady Billows‚ di cui possiede il necessario carisma‚ reso anche da uno strumento importante e sonoro... ///Orla Boylan is irresistible in the role of Lady Billows despotic‚ which has the necessary charisma‚ made even by an important and sound instrument...'

Turandot‚ Northern Ireland Opera
Opera Journal (November 2015)

'Orla Boylan was a formidable Princess Turandot‚ her mastery of the role impressive...'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera
Seen & Heard International (October 2015)

'Such scenarios deserved stellar performances from the singers and players‚ and certainly got them – of course‚ pride of place in Tosca must inevitably go to the diva who plays the diva. This was Orla Boylan‚ the Irish soprano last seen on a New Zealand operatic stage two years ago‚ as Senta‚ in a curiously pop-art production of The Flying Dutchman. Here‚ her considerable talents were put towards portraying perhaps the ultimate verismo opera heroine‚ Floria Tosca. She was certainly a commanding presence on the stage from her first entrance‚ impressing with her performer’s poise and elegance but giving sufficient notice of her affection for her lover‚ the painter Cavaradossi‚ who teased her playfully regarding her jealous impulses relating to the “mystery woman” whose face the artist had reproduced in his painting...
Thus galvanized‚ Boylan’s singing and acting together with Simon O’Neill during the final Act seemed to me by comparison so very alive and tremulous‚ each heartwarmingly responsive to the other‚ she touchingly assuming some “control” over the business of the supposedly “fake” execution ordered by Scarpia‚ and then grief-stricken at the realization that she has been betrayed‚ and Cavaradossi truly killed. What’s more‚ one had to hand it to her in spadefuls for dispensing with any “double” or “effigy” and herself making the final spectacular “leap” from the parapets to her enacted death‚ all in the best verismo tradition!'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera (October 2015)

'As Tosca‚ a role where all performances continue to be measured up to Maria Callas’ much vaunted portrayal‚ Orla Boyla‚ in magnificent voice‚ gave a superbly dramatic performance‚ very much at home in this demanding role.'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera (September 2015)

'Orla Boylan brought a strong‚ vibrant voice and intensity to the title role‚ Tosca’s frequent sudden ascents into the high register powerful and on-pitch (her first act "E l’Attavanti!" is still echoing in my head)...It is clear‚ though‚ that she revels in the theatrical situations offered by this role – her cries of “Muori!” almost animal in their furious passion followed by her sober forgiveness of Scarpia a few bars later. The musical interactions between her and Phillip Rhodes’ Scarpia were consistently involving‚ a lot of intensity being created by voice alone even as the characters remained physically still and self-possessed. In “Vissi d’arte”‚ one truly believed in Tosca’s plight‚ so poignant was the expression. This was staged effectively‚ with Scarpia basically frozen static‚ allowing Borlan to create an internalised moment rather than making the aria seem like a breaking of tension in the otherwise dramatic musical sequence.'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera (September 2015)

'Orla Boylan will be familiar to New Zealand audiences having played Senta in the 2013 NBR New Zealand Opera production of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. She has a wonderful and full voice of much beauty‚ with an exquisite technical control.'

Tosca‚ New Zealand Opera
The Opera Critic (September 2015)

'Of the three principals‚ Orla Boylan’s Tosca was the most rounded both vocally and dramatically. Her bright‚ gleaming tone added the required intensity and passion to her secure vocal performance‚ and astute acting skills made her Tosca coquettish‚ vulnerable and strong-willed as required.'

Owen Wingrave‚ L’Opéra de Lorraine
ResMusica (October 2014)

'Orla Boylan est une parfaite Miss Wingrave‚ rigide‚ intolérante et vociférante.../// Orla Boylan is a perfect Miss Wingrave‚ rigid‚ intolerant and vociferous...'

Götterdämmerung‚ Opera North (June 2014)

'Irish soprano Orla Boylan was a convincingly emotional Gutrune.'

Götterdämmerung‚ Opera North
Birmingham Post (June 2014)

'Orla Boylan a Gutrune much more three-dimensional than this normally wan cipher...'

Götterdämmerung‚ Opera North
Seen & Heard International (June 2014)

' As his sister‚ Orla Boylan’s Gutrune was commanding and vocally secure.'

Götterdämmerung‚ Opera North
The Guardian (June 2014)

'Alwyn Mellor’s Brunnhilde was a little squally at first‚ but settled to deliver the production’s most plushly impressive vocal display. Orla Boylan’s mesmerising Gutrune was not far behind'

Götterdämmerung‚ Opera North
What’ (June 2014)

'Susan Bickley and Orla Boylan were outstanding as Waltraute and Gutrune respectively...'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera
New Zealand Herald (October 2013)

'Orla Boylan’s Senta does not strive for sweet innocence; her conception of the role‚ full-voiced and forthright‚ adds urgency as well as the human touch.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera (October 2013)

'Orla Boylan’s experienced Senta was tonally warm and feminine'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera
Scoop (October 2013)

'The opera and score is one of Richard Wagner’s masterpieces powerfully performed by Auckland Philharmonia and conducted by Wyn Davies. And‚ New Zealand Opera’s director Matthew Lutton draws a stand-out performance from Boylan‚ Howard and his ghostly sailor cast. And throughout this opera their sheer presence weaves an unearthly backstory to The Dutchman’s plight.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera (October 2013)

'Irish soprano Orla Boylan is a highly experienced Senta and conveys the naivete of her character and her obsession of the Dutchman with the eyes as well as with her voice. Boylan is certainly the strongest of the cast vocally‚ and with clever directing‚ is a magnet for the female chorus as they taunt and tease her about her dreaminess.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera (October 2013)

'The love trio stood apart in the intensity of their roles. Peter Auty as Erik gave a matchless vocal performance‚ his tenor even and dynamic. Orla Boylan as Senta dominated with an edgy ferocity. In her famous aria‚ the woman’s chorus rose to her intensity.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera
Theatre Scenes (October 2013)

'Overall I particularly enjoyed Boylan’s singing which was powerful‚ rich and emotive‚ holding her own singing over the full Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra which was in perfect pitch as always.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ New Zealand Opera (October 2013)

'Senta is played flawlessly by Irish born soprano Orla Boylan‚ who communicates her uncontrollable fascination with the Dutchman exquisitely‚ not only when in full and fluid vocal flight but also in soft‚ reflective moments.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ English National Opera
The Guardian (May 2012)

'Meanwhile the silent child has abandoned her pyjamas and grown up into Orla Boylan‚ who sings with a passion so fearless that the occasional raw notes only add to the hysteria of the drama.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ English National Opera
The Telegraph (May 2012)

'Orla Boylan’s shiningly secure Senta is more of an outsider than usual‚ mocked by her peers and further humiliated by her father’s crew‚ and there is no final redemption for her when she commits suicide. '

The Flying Dutchman‚ English National Opera
Opera Critic (April 2012)

'Senta is heroically sung and acted by Orla Boylan; her top notes were fearless‚ her acting deeply involved with Senta’s troubles‚ not least with her taunting fellow-workers in a factory producing a conveyer-belt’s worth of ships-in-a-bottle; one of many nice touches in Jonathan Kent’s production‚ well designed‚ costumed and atmospherically lit.'

The Flying Dutchman‚ English National Opera
The Independent (April 2012)

'But Orla Boylan’s Senta did more than convincingly suggest the plain girl dreamer socially stifled by a selfish and overly protective father‚ Darland (the excellent Clive Bayley). Boylan was not in the least intimidated by the cruelly wide compass of her Ballad and her big emotive notes grew more intense and exciting as the evening hurtled towards its fateful conclusion. '

Ariadne auf Naxos‚ Welsh National Opera
Seen & Heard International (October 2010)

'Orla Boylan’s Ariadne was also impressive in vocal terms as well as in her character’s attempts to maintain her dignity and misery while all around her cheerfulness was trying to break through.'

Ariadne auf Naxos‚ Welsh National Opera
The Guardian (October 2010)

'Orla Boylan luxuriates in the role of Ariadne‚ making the most of the gorgeous final duet. '

Ariadne auf Naxos‚ Welsh National Opera
The Telegraph (October 2010)

'...Boylan sang with solid lustre and strength as the abandoned Ariadne.'

Ariadne auf Naxos‚ Welsh National Opera
Wales Online (October 2010)

'Orla Boylan skilfully combines flair as a comedienne with the intensity for Ariadne’s lament...'