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Profile reviews (2)

15 January 2022www.opera-online.comZenaida des AubrisLove conquers blindness in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta in Berlin
The knight Vaudemont, whose love leads her to this transformation, was embodied by Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan with timbre languishing splendidly even in the highest heights, exuding emotional emphasis, and unabashedly making use of what is called "tenor sobs".
02 February 2022www.opera-online.comOpera OnlineYoung Armenian Tenor Liparit Avetisyan in talk after his role debut as Vaudemont in Iolanta, Berlin.
A theatre is like a temple for me, a sacred place where I can touch and get closer to the greatness, as we the artists, every evening after another life lived on stage, leave a piece of our soul there... Therefore, of course, historical scenes always carry some other energy for me. And thank God, there are a lot of them around the world, so there are also a lot of favorite theatres.

Production reviews (19)

27 Oct 2021 - 18 Apr 2022
La traviata, Verdi,  
Royal Opera House26 Performances
29 October 2021playstosee.comRivka JacobsonLa Traviata
Apart from Oropesa’s Violetta, the superb tenor Liparit Avetisyan gives a convincing performance as the passionate Alfredo, a role that is rarely achieved in operatic productions. The German baritone Christian Gerhaher in the role of Giorgio Germont, the man responsible for the break-up, also offers an impressive performance. The entire leading cast as well as the rest of the cast secured the narrative’s realism that is so brilliantly embedded in its musical fabric, which translates on stage in a manner that even those not musically trained, gain a satisfying musical and dramatic experience. The stamp of the director of this revival, Pedro Ruibeiro, is much in evidence. The dramatic performance, highlighting the conflict between father-son, the shift in Germont’s attitude towards Violetta, the ‘saintly courtesan’, is made clear in their first encounter in Act II. His hard tone and demeanour towards this fallen reveal early signs of softening and gestures of respect. The social norms layered with hypocrisy are superbly probed musically and dramatically in that first encounter between the two. The dramatic tension is given momentary relief by the colourful and beautifully performed gypsy’s singing dancing and the matadors. They lighten up the atmosphere before the mood darkens.The evening, in its entirety, can be summed up as memorable
13 Sep 2021 - 12 Mar 2022
Rigoletto, Verdi,  
Royal Opera House13 Performances
15 September HARTSTONReview: Rigoletto opens Royal Opera House in glorious style
The occasion demanded something special and this new production of Rigoletto delivered the goods perfectly. Oliver Mears, the new overall Director of Opera at the ROH, delivered a confident and highly effective display of what a good director ought to bring to a classic such as this. All too often, even at the ROH, we have seen directors trying too hard to bring something different to an opera, rather spoiling the original intentions of the composer and librettist by imposing too much of their viewpoint into it. Mears gave us plenty to look at and think about, but the effect was to emphasize and enhance the original rather than distract from it. The plot of this opera is violent and tragic. Great staging, including a terrific storm scene where flashes of lightning seem to come from all parts of the auditorium, and Verdi's magnificent music, superbly played by the ROH Orchestra conducted superbly by Antonio Pappano, we are treated to some stunningly good singing.Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan brings a gorgeously mellow tenor voice to the role of the dastardly Duke, while Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez is equally impressive as Rigoletto. The real star of the evening, however, was Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa whose show-stopping solo arias were stunningly good and her duets with the Duke and Rigoletto were almost equally impressive.With the highly respected British bass Brindley Sherratt in splendidly sinister form as Sparafucile, American baritone Eric Greene making an excellent Royal Opera debut as Monterone, and Romanian mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia giving a striking performance as Sparafucile's slutty sister, this was a cast of outstanding talent and no weaknesses.The applause from the audience at the end was as thunderous as the storm of the final act, and it was not just in appreciation of the fact that the ROH was at last playing to a full house. This was a terrific performance of a fine production of a great opera. Welcome back, Royal Opera.
18 September MELLORVerdi’s jester used to be so much zestier - the Royal Opera's new production of Rigoletto ultimately promises more than it delivers
The star of the evening was Antonio Pappano, whose account of the opening bars of the Prelude had the brooding intensity and foreboding of a master conductor. Astonishing, then, that a piece he so obviously loves hasn’t featured on his agenda in almost 30 years.Oliver Mears, in his first production since becoming director of opera, begins magically during the Prelude, with the cast in costume standing stock-still in a Caravaggio-esque tableau.Act Three is much enhanced by some splendid singing from Brindley Sherratt as Sparafucile – perhaps the best of the night. Good to see a Brit getting a look-in now and again at Covent Garden. A promising debut, too, from Ramona Zaharia as a sleazy and sexy Maddalena.There was a time when Covent Garden’s Rigoletto principals were at, or near, best in class. No longer. Carlos Alvarez has the biggest reputation, but his Rigoletto sounds a bit worn these days after more than two decades on the road.Liparit Avetisyan has a pleasing lyric tenor voice as the Duke of Mantua but is almost entirely devoid of charisma and star quality. At the great moment in Act Three when Rigoletto discovers his daughter dead in a bag, and offstage the Duke sings a reprise of La donna è mobile, Avetisyan brings no magic whatsoever to bear. Just another of the second-rank tenors the Royal Opera rather specialises in these days. The Gilda of Lisette Oropesa has all the notes but is still, at best, a work in progress. She has little of the assurance and presence of Covent Garden’s great Gildas of the past. Her grotty little charity-shop dress does her few favours. Not her fault, of course, but I can’t imagine Joan Sutherland in that. As for the American Eric Greene’s Monterone, he’s a good singer but miscast. The casting director could have found half a dozen better Brits on the Northern Line but, as so often, didn’t trouble to look.
14 September ChurchRigoletto, Royal Opera House, London, review: A wickedly effective new production
The visual world in which the drama takes place is bare save for a few giant prompts, the first of which is a pile of frozen figures suggesting a pastiche of Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa, which unfreezes into an orgy where sex is hinted at but misogyny is writ large. Presided over by the Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan’s sweetly-sung Duke, and with Carlos Alvarez’s embittered Rigoletto setting the tone, the first act’s events unfold with cruel deliberation. The climax comes with an awe-inspiring cameo performance by Eric Greene, as Monterone’s eyes are gouged out (another Lear reference) after he’s pronounced his curse on the Duke and his jester. The next scene springs the tragedy and permits some glorious duets, of which Mears’ singers take full advantage.The duet in which the father tenderly withholds the family history from his daughter occasions a lovely balance between care-worn age and youthful ardour.Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa’s Gilda has a fullness of tone which simply grows in beauty as she duets with the Duke, then launches into her ecstatic reverie, ‘Caro nome’.Aided by Simon Lima Holdsworth’s restrained designs, the staging is skilful. I’ve never seen the blindfolding and abduction so deftly done, nor the movement-direction of the male chorus so wickedly effective.And the dramatically tricky denouement is brilliantly negotiated, with the irony of the parallel duets – father-daughter, and seducer-conquest – dissolving into a bare landscape which the protagonists fill with their tears. A great evening, rapturously received.
14 September MillingtonRigoletto at the Royal Opera House review - worth the 30 year wait
The scenes involving the lecherous courtiers are often the most imaginatively done. The conspirators’ account of their abduction of Gilda to the Duke is accompanied by an amusing mime, but generally the locker-room mentality is ridiculed. Parallels with King Lear, with which subject Verdi was toying at the time, are heightened by the gouging out of Monterone’s eyes. Carlos Alvarez’s well-sung Rigoletto is suitably anguished, even if he doesn’t quite wring the withers on discovering his daughter’s murder. As often happens, the show is stolen by his daughter. Frequent reference is made to Gilda’s virginal purity. In her celebrated aria Caro nome, Lisette Oropesa succeeds in showing us both the virtuous flower and, with a flash of bare legs and an innocent roll on her bed, the sensual attraction she feels for the duplicitous duke. The extravagant ornamentation of the aria is delivered superbly, complete with real trill, yet with delicacy and subtlety. Brindley Sherratt is an aptly flinty Sparafucile, with Ramona Zaharia alluring as his sister, Maddalena.Liparit Avetisyan is a stylish, full-throated Duke and it’s in no way to his discredit that Pappano’s accompaniment of his famous aria La donna è mobile, with its animated woodwind flecks and swagger, elicits equal admiration. Indeed, Pappano brings his signature command of textural detail and rhythmic propulsion to the whole score. It was worth the thirty-year wait.
18 September 2021www.theguardian.comStephen PritchardRigoletto; London Symphony Orchestra/Rattle – review
This is director of opera Oliver Mears’s debut production for the Royal Opera, and, surprisingly, it’s the first time that the company’s music director, Antonio Pappano, has conducted Rigoletto in his two decades at Covent Garden. They make a solid partnership, producing a performance that serves the music admirably and rarely gets in the way of Verdi’s sweepingly dramatic score. Barring one act of gratuitous, singular cruelty, lifted from King Lear and introduced to underline Mears’s concept that the Duke is a dangerous psychopath, this is a remarkably straight production and obviously built to last, replacing David McVicar’s licentious staging, first seen in 2001. The subdued reds and golds of Simon Lima Holdsworth’s set, which glow so atmospherically under Fabiana Piccioli’s lighting, suggest Renaissance Italy, but we could be anywhere, in any age. Into Mantua’s pitiless court comes the jester Rigoletto, who spits insults at any of the Duke’s detractors yet secretly loathes his job and his boss. Carlos Álvarez totally inhabits the role, his battered baritone as expressive as his wonderfully mobile, characterful face. He captures perfectly the mixture of anguish and tenderness that Verdi illustrates so vividly in his duets with his precious Gilda, the daughter he keeps hidden in suffocating solitude, an obsession that will have tragic consequences.The Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa, as Gilda, is the star of the evening, silvery-voiced and apparently fragile, and yet steely in her delusion that the satanic Duke really loves her. She sings Caro nome with an innocence that turns to knowingness, adopting the same posture as the Venus of Urbino as she lies on her bed – a pose neatly picked up later by the wanton Maddalena (an underpowered Ramona Zaharia) as she and Sparafucile (Brindley Sherratt, in tremendous form) plot murder.The Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan, as the Duke, dispatches La donna è mobile with crisp efficiency. Elsewhere, however, he has a habit of pulling the tempo around, notably in his love duet with Gilda, but the ever-vigilant Pappano never lets him slide off the rails. Fine playing in the pit, particularly at the opening of Act 3, is complemented by incisive singing from the muscular all-male chorus. Grand opera is back with a bangThere were occasional problems with pitch and balance when the chorus represented the exiled Israelites in Anderson’s setting of Psalm 137, “By the rivers of Babylon”. His lithe but restless music requires a precision that was sometimes lost by placing the chorus so far away, but this was still a fine world premiere, a tempting taster to the complete work. Crowe impressed again in Natural History, Judith Weir’s evocative settings of Taoist poetry, and in the final movement of Vaughan Williams’s elegiac Pastoral symphony, her plangent soprano floating across a landscape so cogently contoured by Rattle
14 September 2021www.theguardian.comTim AshleyRigoletto review – Oropesa is a matchless Gilda in powerful new take on Verdi’s tragedy
This is a society tacitly united by misogyny and violence, towards which Carlos Álvarez’s Rigoletto is at once dangerously complicit and supremely mistrustful. Women are literally lined up for the Duke’s pleasure at his party, while the men at his court form a male-bonded unit, moving in aggressive, stylised unison. Ramona Zaharia’s Maddalena, treated abusively by Brindley Sherratt’s Sparafucile, can only face a client when drunk. Occasionally, Mears misjudges the tone. In a gesture towards Shakespeare’s blinding of Gloucester, the Duke exultantly gouges out the eyes of Eric Greene’s Monterone, which is totally at odds with the score. And the simulated sex between the Duke and Maddalena distracts us from the more important scene between Rigoletto and Sparafucile going on below. It all sounds terrific, though. Álvarez’s voice may have lost some of its lustre of late, but his interpretation, by turns tender, obsessive and strikingly bitter, is utterly compelling. Oropesa makes a matchless Gilda, singing with an extraordinary beauty of tone and understated depth of feeling: this really is one of the truly great performances. Though occasionally ill at ease with Mears’s view of the Duke as sadist rather than immoralist, Avetisyan brings real seductive poetry to his music in ways that are beguiling. Pappano, meanwhile, lets the score unfold with measured intensity and sensual, yet baleful, beauty.
26 Sep - 11 Oct 2019
La traviata, Verdi,  
Opernhaus Zürich4 Performances
02 October 2019seenandheard-international.comCasey CreelRedeemed by love and still in ruins: Zurich revives Hermann’s smart La traviata with excellent singing
Kristina Mkhitaryan, appearing in Zurich for the first time, is an exquisite Violetta. She turned Hermann’s portrayal into her own; she was desperate to host a party in Act I without cracking up, she was taken aback by Liparit Avetisyan’s Alfredo as he offered unwelcome and genuine love, and she was launched into brief and nescient bliss in Act II in her untenable household. Be it said that Mkhitaryan’s topmost coloratura flirted with harshness on this evening, and that her ‘Sempre libera’ high E flat was ever so briefly pinged before she eagerly descended back to safety. Yet even would-be blemishes served her portrayal – more vocal confidence would have undercut her Violetta’s uncertain rage and tantrums. (This Violetta hits on waiters at her banquet when confronted with her implicit demise.) Mkhitaryan is otherwise sumptuous: lithe Italian, mature control of dynamics, and a way of inhabiting each line and phrase, giving it all real meaning. She managed to deliver three distinct stages of life over three acts by means of subtle stylistic variation. Do I have to mention how hard that is?
27 May - 22 Jun 2017
L'elisir d'amore, Donizetti,  
Royal Opera House9 Performances
30 May ChurchL’elisir d’amore, Royal Opera House, London, review: It remains a winning formula
Laurent Pelly’s glorious take on Donizetti’s masterpiece is now back in its fourth revival, and it remains a winning formula, with Pelly’s transposition of the plot – an ingenious send-up of the love-potion idea in Tristan and Iseult – to the Fifties Italy of Fellini’s Amarcord. The joy is in the detail, with the chorus turned into a believably real community, and little dashes of colour – for example, a real dog suddenly belting across the stage – to enliven the rustic charm of the village perspective. There are moments when the revival direction gets a shade clunky, but the differing levels of the giant haystack dominating the set are still very cleverly exploited, and the Dad’s Army duo taking the place of Belcore’s usual platoon remain a sight gag one doesn’t tire of.This time we have new principals, and if Paolo Bordogna fails to find the appropriate swagger for Belcore, Alex Esposito’s Dulcamara is hugely commanding. And in Armenian Liparit Avetisyan and South African Pretty Yende we get a pair of lovers whose rocky path to felicity is portrayed with wonderful freshness. Yende’s singing has a silvery brightness and purity, while Avetisyan’s sweet bel canto remains flawless no matter how much he hurls his india-rubber limbs about: I’ve never seen a funnier Nemorino.Later in the run Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak – also married in real life – will take over these roles. That should be a knockout too.
28 May 2017bachtrack.comMark PullingerGiant haystacks: Pelly's sunny L'elisir d'amore romps back to Covent Garden
This was meant to be Pretty Yende's night. The South African soprano, praised for her bel canto feats at houses like The Met and Paris, was making her much-anticipated Royal Opera debut as Adina, the beautiful landowner playing hard-to-get in Donizetti's joyous comedy, L'elisir d'amore. In the end, it was the Armenian tenor singing country bumpkin Nemorino who stole hearts. Liparit Avetisyan wasn't quite making his Royal Opera debut, having performed in a single La traviata earlier this season. His appearance here saw Avetisyan replace the originally scheduled Rolando Villazón. Avetisyan could well have studied Villazón's Nemorino, one of his better roles, right down to his expressive eyebrows. He played the lovesick puppy to perfection, doting hopelessly around Adina, clambering the giant haystacks of Laurent Pelly's production with the eagerness of a mountain goat. His sense of bravado, inspired by Dulcamara's “love potion”, was very funny and his little jump when Adina finally admits she loves him was completely endearing. Avetisyan's tenor is a good fit for the role – large enough for bel canto and with a sweet, easy top which made “Una furtiva lagrima” the highlight of the show that it deserves to be.Pelly's at his best in comedy, even if he refers to the Ministry of Silly Walks too often. Revived by Daniel Dooner, this infectious show bursts with sunshine, reflected in the pit, where Bertrand de Billy conducts with a sense of beaming joy. Just the thing to raise the spirits.