Deborah Humble – reviews

REVIEWS FOR WAGNER

DAS RHEINGOLD

“Deborah Humble’s Erda is classy throughout the entire range.” (Das Rheingold, Hong Kong, The Straits Times, January 2015)

“Humble presented an Erda that was motherly and gracious, yet assured. Unlike the rest of the cast, Humble appeared on cue in the balcony behind the orchestra, dressed in a stunning velvet green gown. The colour of her gown, which matched the concert hall’s green velvet upholstery, as well as her understated entrance on cue, said more about Erda the character than many productions today with luxurious sets ever could.” (Das Rheingold, Hong Kong, January 2015)

“Erda’s Warnung was potently delivered by Deborah Humble.” (Das Rheingold, Hong Kong, Vincent Lau, Opera, May 2015)

“Deborah Humble has long been an experienced Erda and sings the role with resonant pathos and a bright mezzo soprano – pure tonal pleasure on every single note! She also sang a flawless Waltraute.” (Melbourne, Klaus Billand, Der Neue Merker, February 2014)

“Deborah Humble gives us a memorable Erda and Waltraute…” (Melbourne, Harriet Cunningham, The Opera Critic, January 2014)

“…Deborah Humble who scored as Erda and Waltraute with a subtly balanced mezzo-soprano.” (Melbourne, Stephan Moesch, Opern Welt, Germany, January 2014)

“Deborah Humble was a noble Erda…and she also excelled as the Walkuere and Goetterdaemmerung Waltrautes.” (Melbourne, Michael Shmith, Opera Magazine, United Kingdom, January 2014)

“…Erda’s song of warning to Wotan, here thrillingly rendered by Deborah Humble.” (Melbourne, WH Chong, Daily Review, November 2013)

“I will not quickly forget Deborah Humble’s deeply affecting Erda…” (Melbourne, Simon Plant, Herald Sun, November 2013)

“Wotan…is magnetic on stage. So too is his nemesis, Deborah Humble as Erda the earth goddess in her one brief yet unforgettable scene of warning (or is it threat?). Hers is a magnificent wine dark mezzo that can effortlessly hold its own with huge orchestral forces even in its lowest register.” (Melbourne, Alan John, Limelight Magazine, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble’s Erda reveals with pathos the prophetic voice of feminine, power-renouncing reason that resonates throughout the cycle.” (Das Rheingold, Melbourne, Eamon Kelly, The Australian, November 2013)

“There were formidable performances too…Deborah Humble as an affecting Erda…” (Melbourne, Simon Plant, Herald Sun, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble’s entry as Erda…singing with dark warmth…” (Melbourne, Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble’s blind Erda made me look forward to hearing her in Siegfried…” (Melbourne, Michael Shmith, The Age, November 2013)

“…Deborah Humble’s commanding appearance as Erda, the deus ex machina…with sheer vocal authority silences even the gods .” (Brisbane, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicholas Routely, Australian Stage, August 2012)

“Australian Deborah Humble as Erda was superb.” (Brisbane, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Gillian Wills, Arts Hub, August 2012)

“Australian Deborah Humble gives a fantastic cameo as the earth goddess Erda.” (Brisbane, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Martin Buzacott, The Australian, August 2012)

“The natural vocal authority of Deborah Humble makes for a sensational Erda.” (Hamburg, Eric Pousaz, Opera, Paris 2008)

“A lustrous young Erda..” (Hamburg, Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, London 2008)

“Deborah Humble turned in a confident performance and continues in a long line of Hamburg singers making their way up to the international scene” (Erda, Das Rheingold, Hamburg, Janet Choi, Opera News, October 2008)

“…before all, the dark, warm mezzo voice of Deborah Humble was outstanding.” (Hamburg, Szene Hamburg, May 2008)

“The Erda of Deborah Humble …unbelievably fine, gives her short entrance a perfect characterisation.” (Hamburg, Der Spiegel, March 2008)

“The young Deborah Humble dazzles in her short entrance as Erda with a well-focused mezzo.” (Hamburg, Das Neue Merker, March 2008)

DIE WALKUERE

“The excitement of the arrival of the Valkyries on vertigionous lowering swings was heralded by their famous war cry. Deborah Humble’s Waltraute was a standout…” (Melbourne, Heather Leviston, Sounds Like Sydney, November 2013)

SIEGFRIED

“Deborah Humble, unusually svelte as earth goddess Erda, sang with great refinement and tone that managed to be intelligent, gorgeous and powerful – all at the same time. We were very sorry that Wagner required her to take leave of us so early.” (Boston, Lee Eiseman, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, April 2015)

“Deborah Humble was a capable Erda, the earth goddess…” (Boston, Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, April 2015)

“Erda is fragile, in a wheelchair, Deborah Humble her ‘black shadow’ voice, as her carer. The gorgeous grandeur of Humble’s voice is such a poignant reminder of what this now frail Earth Mother once was and a devastating reminder of what we will all become.” (Melbourne, Wagner Quarterly, Katie French, December 2013)

“Deborah Humble produced a very rich sound for Erda, powerful and expressive. She continued an effective vocal characterisation in Siegfried, notwithstanding the impediment of the eccentric staging.” (Melbourne, Wagner Quarterly, Richard Mason, December 2013)

“…the Earth mother Erda, again beautifully delineated by Deborah Humble, points towards the final resolution.” (Melbourne, Anthony Clarke, Daily review, November 2013)

“…Humble stood behind the wheelchair…her response to Wotan’s summons was intense and darkly weighted as she referred him to their daughter Brunnhilde for advice.” (Melbourne, Heather Leviston, Sounds Like Sydney, November 2013)

“A moving scene with the now almost decrepit Erda (the wonderful Deborah Humble singing behind a wheelchair bound actor and mime)…” (Melbourne, Alan John, Limelight Magazine, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble as Erda displays a warm lower register and a most dramatic upper register.” (Halle, Tom Karl Soller, Der Neue Merker, May 2012)

“Deborah Humble is a dream Erda. More convincing singing is hard to imagine.” (Hamburg, Peter Bilsing, Der Neue Merker, October 2009)

“Deborah Humble sings with a beautiful mezzo sound and portrays an ever more unsure Erda. A fabulous role debut.” (Hamburg, Klaus Billand, Der Neue Merker, November 2009)

“The magnificent Deborah Humble singing Erda for the first time used her fine mezzo to show that she (Erda) felt increasingly out of her depth.” (Hamburg, Opera Magazine, February 2009)

DIE GOETTERDAEMMERUNG

“…her Waltraute was the high vocal point of the cycle, dark, dramatic, doom-laden and mesmerising.” (Melbourne, Wagner Quarterly, Richard Mason, December 2013)

“…an intense, fulminating Deborah Humble as Erda and Waltraute.” (Opera Now, UK, Ashutosh Khandekar, January 2014)

“Deborah Humble as Erda and Waltraute was magnificent, bringing sibyllic gravitas to the former and a barely contained despairing fury to the latter with a gloriously rich voice.” (Melbourne, Talk Classical, November 2013)

“In fact there are scenes in all three acts when the drama exerts a grip it rarely has earlier in the cycle…Brunnhilde’s confrontation with Deborah Humble’s insistent, impassioned Waltraute…” (Melbourne, Andrew Clements, The Guardian, November 2013)

“There were special moments along this final journey, not least the appearance of Deborah Humble in particularly luscious voice as Brunnhilde’s sister Waltraute.” (Melbourne, Anthony Clarke, Daily Review, November 2013)

“Waltruate was thrillingly sung by Deborah Humble. Her scene with Brunnhilde was one of the highlights of the performance.” (Melbourne, Michael Magnusson, ArtsHub, November 2013)

“…Deborah Humble was reflective and strong in Waltraute’s pivotal narration.” (Die Goetterdaemmerung, Melbourne, Michael Shmith, The Age, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble provided another excellent note of gravitas as a decidedly earnest Waltraute.” (Melbourne, Eamon Kelly, The Australian, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble sang Waltraute, the spirited Valkyrie who plays hooky to tell Brunnhilde how bad things are at home, with dramatic, coloured vividness.” (Melbourne, Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, November 2013)

“Deborah Humble was all urgent Valkyrie, her dramatic dark tones painting a vivid picture of Wotan’s dejection.” (Melbourne, Heather Leviston, Sounds Like Sydney, November 2013)

DER FLIEGENDER HOLLAENDER

“Deborah Humble hits the spot with a gorgeously weighty Mary (The Flying Dutchman, Edinburgh Festival, The Classical Review, Susan Nickalls, September 2009)

PARSIFAL

“…the solo Flowermaidens floated with individual delicacy through Klingsor’s magic garden of suspended animation.” (Parsifal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Peter Quantrall, The Arts Desk, May 2015)

“…ravishing Flowermaidens intertwined their lines beautifully.” (Parsifal, CBSO, Alexander Campbell, Classical Source, May 2015)

“…a beautifully supple sextet of Flowermaidens.” (Parsifal, CBSO, David Karlon, Bachtrack, May 2015)

“…a sensuous clutch of Flowermaidens set the seal on this outstanding performance.” (Parsifal, CBSO, Keith Mc Donnell, Music OMH, May 2015)

SEATTLE WAGNER COMPETITION

“Ms Humble has a bell-like voice, good diction and a breath-takingly effective interpretation…” (Karina Weishaar, Prost Amerika, Seattle Wagner Competition, August 2008)

“…memorable, utterly distinctive…Deborah Humble displays warmth and intelligence in both ‘Waltraute’s Narrative’ and Erda’s ‘Weiche Wotan, weiche.’” (Thomas May, Opera Now, Seattle Wagner Competition, December 2008)

OTHER REVIEWS

“Deborah Humble, in her appearance as Sonyetka, shows off a rich contralto range and a knowing stage presence which suggests she is a singer to watch out for in the future.” (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Sydney,Harriet Cunningham, Classical Music, June 2002)

“…but the pick of the soloists for projection, lucid interpretation and elegance of phrasing was contralto Deborah Humble, at her most impressive for a piercingly effective ‘He was Despised’ “(The Messiah, Melbourne, Clive O’Connell, The Age, 2003)

“It has a dazzling centrepiece in Deborah Humble’s performance as the doomed Dido. She performs the role beautifully.” (Dido and Aeneas, Sydney, Diana Simmonds, The Sunday Telegraph, July 2004)

“Deborah Humble as the Queen of Carthage maintained the majesty of her character…her opening ‘Peace and I are Strangers Known’ was heartrending, establishing the pure and regal qualities of her singing.” (Dido and Aeneas, Sydney, Opera, 2004)

“Vocal strength is apparent throughout with the powerful singing of Deborah Humble as the blind fortune teller Ulrica.” (A Masked Ball, Adelaide, Irwin Shaw, The Advertiser, August 2007)

“Adelaide-raised Deborah Humble, a mezzo of rare power and charm, left a forceful memory of her short appearance way beyond it’s allotted span.” (Ulrica, State Opera of South Australia, Elizabeth Silsbury, December 2007)

“Deborah Humble shines as Zenobia (Radamisto, Hamburg, Alexandra Hauer, Operapoint, October 2008)

“Deborah Humble makes the most of Suzuki; she lends her very pleasant mezzo to the role and with masterly acting steals the show (Madame Butterfly, Hamburg, Mittelloge.de, May 2008)

“Deborah Humble as Antonia’s Mother is luxury house casting (The Tales of Hoffmann, Hamburg, Mittellog.de, April 2008)

“Deborah Humble (Brigitte) proved a most sympathetic housekeeper, her warm, rich mezzo a standout (Die Tote Stadt, Sydney, Limelight Magazine, July 2012)

“Deborah Humble earned praise for her role as Brigitte with her warm alto and engagingly sympathetic manner (Die Tote Stadt, Sydney, Tom Pillans, Arts and Entertainment, July 2012)

“Particularly beautiful were the duets between Deborah Humble (Pauline) and Dina Kuznetsova (Lisa). Their duet at the beginning of the second scene of Act 1 was exceptional (The Queen of Spades, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Oliver Brett, Bachtrack, December 2012)

“….Deborah Humble evoking Elkins and Elms. She brought burnished tone and memorable phrasing to her aria and salon duet with Kuznetsova. These two musical gems gleamed (Pauline, The Queen of Spades, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Megaphoneoz, December 2012)

“Mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble created a wonderfully rich, clearly edged tone as Lisa’s friend Pauline (The Queen of Spades, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Peter Mc Callum, The Age, December 2012)

“German-based Australian mezzo Deborah Humble acted the part of the vengeful and besotted princess most believably…a confident and strong performer.” (Amneris, Aida. Opera Australia, Melbourne, ConcertoNet.com, April, 2013)

“Deborah Humble, as Amneris, acquits herself with success. Humble shines in the judgement scene, when Amneris regrets the deadly impulse of her jealousy.” (Aida, Opera Australia, Simon Parris, Opera Review, April, 2013)

“The best of the principals is Deborah Humble. She looks very princess-like and sings accurately throughout. Her rage at the end of the powerful scene when she vituperates Radame’s accusers, injects much needed emotion.” (Aida,Viva Verdi!)

“Deborah Humble’s torturous lamenting near the end of the opera is a highlight.” (Amneris, Aida, Opera Australia, Joel Carnegie, Herald Sun, April, 2013)

Deborah Humble was a fierce and effective Amneris.” )Aida, Opera Australia, Stage Whispers, April, 2013)

“The Amneris of Deborah Humble…dramatically vigorous.” (Aida, Opera Australia, Michael Shmith, The Age, April, 2013)

“Deborah Humble’s Amneris…her voice was only enhanced by her acting and her performance was greatly appreciated by the audience.” (Aida, Opera Australia, Peter Kemp, April, 2013)

“Deborah Humble was well equipped for the wicked Jezebel, spitting fire at the prophet, yet warmly sympathetic in the balmy ‘O Rest in the Lord.’ Her full bodied tone was used with great sensitivity.” (Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine, May 2014)

“…Deborah Humble’s darker hued colours created warmly affectionate solos.” (Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Murray Black, The Australian, May 2014)

“Deborah Humble, after representing a frightening Jezebel, assumed serene smoothness in ‘O Rest in The Lord.’” (Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, May 2014)

“Of the four soloists, my vote went to Deborah Humble, whose voice reminded me so much of Janet Baker.” (Elijah, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Fraser Beath McEwing, J-Wire, May 2014)

“Wagner’s lovely Wesendonck Lieder were arrestingly sung by Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble, with the bottom realms well managed and the orchestra completely in sympathy.” (Orchestra Wellington, Dominion Post, May 2014)

“Australian Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble has made a reputation as a Wagner singer and it was no wonder that these songs fit her beautifully. Her voice filled out the songs and produced beautiful tones…simply glorious sounds.”(Wesendonck Lieder, Orchestra Wellington, Peter Mechan, Radio New Zealand, May 2104)

“…it was obvious at once that Deborah’s Wagner credentials were for real: a fine Wagner voice, large enough to cope with the orchestra surrounding her and the acoustic (of St Paul’s Cathedral)…beautiful and fully expressive of the sense of the words…these were the characteristics of Humble’s performance; beautifully phrased, warm and rounded in the lower register, lustrous and spiritual as her lines went high into the soprano range. She invested the songs with a dramatic quality that could be heard as the product of a totally theatrical performer.” (Wesendonck Lieder, Orchestra Wellington, Lindis Taylor, Classical Music Review, May 2014)

“From the opening of the recital Humble immediately established herself as a most accomplished exponent of Lieder. Her rich, full tone is evenly produced throughout the range and her warm vocal production is achieved without intrusive vibrato. At the height of emotionally charged phrases her voice filled the hall effortlessly. She quickly established a close rapport with her audience and seemed to draw her listeners into the emotional world of whatever song she was currently singing. Like all accomplished Lieder singers Humble pays close attention to the text and clearly communicates its changing moods to the audience. In Wagner’s ‘Wesendonck Lieder’ Humble excelled with her effortlessly full tone and her long, soaring sostenuto phrases. Her close communication with the audience created an intensely poignant atmosphere, particularly in the last song ‘Traume.’ In general, Humble’s infectious personality completely won over the audience with her engagingly seductive performance.” (Solo Recital, Great Australian Wagnerians in Concert, Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney, Larry Turner, Sounds Like Sydney, June 2014)

“Apart from possessing a beautiful voice, with riveting dark hued notes and an absolutely secure technique throughout her impressive vocal range, Humble’s gifts as a storyteller are remarkable. This could perhaps be attributed to her extensive experience on the operatic stage, but seems rather to stem from an innate ability to inhabit the spirit of a song and bring its characters and characteristics into sharp focus…there is a genuine warmth and sweetness that charmed the audience into entering the microcosms of Brahm’s and Wagner’s creations.’Immer Leise wird mein Schlummer’ was a study in the power of word painting and the soft, gentle singing of ‘Wie Melodien sieht es mir’ was simply ravishing. In the ‘Wesendonck Lieder’ Humble displayed rhythmic elasticity, dramatic urgency, colour, line and top notes that bloomed effortlessly, resulting in a very special musical experience. Going by the enthusiastic reception that greeted her alluring performance, it would be fair to say that every member of the audience was thoroughly seduced.” (Solo Recital, Melbourne, Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne, June 2014 )

“Deborah Humble (Alisa), with a first-class voice for its beauty of timbre and volume, deserves special mention. On this occasion we benefited from the treat to hear in the comprimario role the Australian mezzo-soprano, who frequents a repertoire of far more onerous roles in other venues.” (Lucia di Lamermoor, Teatro Comunale Mario del Monaco, Treviso, L’ape Musicale, Giovanni Andrea Sechi, September 2014)

“A happy surprise was the talented Deborah Humble as Alisa who performed her part extremely well indeed.” (Lucia di Lamermoor, Teatro Comunale Mario del Monaco, Treviso, MTG Lirica, Maria Teresa Giovagnoli, September 2014)

“Deborah Humble as Catherine displayed deep and sonorous tones.” (Honneger’s Jean d’Arc au Bucher, Laeizhalle, Hamburg, Das Opernglas, November 2014)

“A marvellous performance, so beautifully penetrating and radiant in tone.” (Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Performing Arts Centre, Martin Buzacott, The Australian, November 2014)

“Humble was outstanding. Her strong operatic sensibility informed the entire performance…” (Messiah, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, Suzanne Yanko, Classic Melbourne, December 2014)

“It might have been enough to hear Humble’s magnificent voice, but there was something irreplaceable about being able to see the words embodied in her anguished poise, and to join the audience’s sharp intake of breath as she sang of the smiters, of shame and spitting. Humble possesses the skill, unornamented flair and vocal presence to simply stand and deliver. Her singing makes you forget where you are.” (Messiah, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, Morag Fraser, Australian Book Review, December 2014)

“Elegant in a black, sleeveless gown, Humble edged Bluebeard’s fourth wife Judith with strident complexity and magnetic gesticulation. Exhibiting luscious, cavernous dark tones and lucent, gleaming highs, she slithered across the vocals with both dramatic and lyric force, culminating in a piercingly ecstatic display of strength and exuberance as Bluebeard’s vast kingdom is revealed behind the fifth door in a staging highlight. Humble’s manipulative and momentary manic portrayal of Judith’s obsession to learn the truth made a convincing picture of a woman on a mission to redeem the malevolent Bluebeard.” (Bluebeard’s Castle, Monash Academy Orchestra, Paul Selar, aussietheatre, August 2015)

“The part of Judith calls for a mezzo-soprano with power throughout a wide range and Humble has just that. She is also blessed with an expressive, steady voice of unfailing beauty. Her vocal and physical allure made her an exemplary Judith.” (Bluebeard’s Castle, Monash Academy Orchestra, Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne, August 2015)

“…magnificent singing of the highest order.” (Bluebeard’s Castle, Monash Academy Orchestra, Graham Ford, Stage Whispers, September 2015)

“The altos had more individualistic roles and were suitably different in vocal timbre – Humble richly nuanced and beauteous.” (Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Orchestra of the Music Makers, Singapore, Robert Markow, Der Neue Merker, July 2015)

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