Victoria Livengood | Opera's Dixie Diva
Victoria Livengood | Opera's Dixie Diva
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A Rose By Any Other Name ...
At the Met with Placado Domingo

"On October 25, Victoria Livengood sang her first Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera. Hers was quite simply the best Carmen I've ever experienced in the theater. This was an earthy, fiery, passionate Carmen, beautifully and powerfully sung. Livengood commanded the stage from her first entrance, with striking good looks, sexy body language and a good variety of facial expressions. She also effectively embodied Carmen's independence and grit. The vocal characterization matched the visual. Such a variety of vocal color, so smooth a voice throughout the range, such power and also excellent piano singing. Livengood compares very favorably with Borodina, our last Carmen at the Met. I do not remember anyone approaching Livengood's acting and vocalism." Opera List Online

"Friday, October 25 was the role debut at The Met of VICTORIA LIVENGOOD as Carmen and what a treat it was. The Zeffirelli production looks pretty good. Ms. Livengood's entrance brought huge applause and she went on to offer a tall, sleek, sexy Carmen in a deep lush dark mezzo to match. Again, for the second night in a row there was major electricity between the leads. Ms. Livengood took her ring off and spit it at Don Jose as he holds a knife to her. She then walked away and laughed as Don Jose turned and stabbed her. These were great dramatic touches that I have not seen before; it really worked! The whole night really was a great debut.” Opera List Online

"The most fun came with the sizable chunk of Bizet’s Carmen, in which mezzo Victoria Livengood seized one’s attention and maintained it with such smart, sensuous, luscious-toned vocalism that you wondered where Victoria Livengood has been keeping herself."
The Boston Globe

"In the title role on Sunday was the formidable Victoria Livengood, who has made a specialty of Carmen, having performed it over 200 times. Her take on Bizet's cigarette girl was sultry, earthy, defiant, aggressive and entertaining. Vocally, Livengood's presence was just as large, with a mezzo-soprano of Wagnerian heft, a solid top, and husky lower range."
The Boston Globe

"Mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood has sung Carmen more than 200 times, and that includes performances at the Met. She has a voice of extraordinary power, beauty, and range. She was in character from the moment she entered to the moment she left the stage. After 200 Carmens, she indeed knows what works." The Boston Phoenix

"When I reviewed Victoria Livengood's Met Carmen from 2002, I said that it was the best sung and acted Carmen I had ever heard or seen. Victoria equaled or surpassed that Met performance with the Chorus Pro Musica Boston concert CARMEN in Jordan Hall this past Sunday. Artistic Director and conductor Jeffrey Rink assembled a strong cast with an excellent Boston orchestra, but this was Livengood's CARMEN. Not only did she sing the role masterfully from beginning to end, she also staged the opera better than any concert performance of any opera that I've seen. Victoria holds our attention whenever she's on stage. Even when she's not singing, she has a riveting presence. On Sunday she modulated her big voice--which also grabs our attention--to the dimensions of Jordan Hall, and she sang the dynamic gamut from p to f, with varied vocal color. Her seduction of Don José in the first act was sexy, and her song and dance at Lillas Pastia's was gypsy-like, complete with well-clicked castanets and a tambourine. Her dark-toned card scene showed her as truly menaced. Livengood had different, attractive costumes for each act--long skirts and appropriate jackets adorning her unfailingly authentic embodiment of the title role. A truly memorable CARMEN."
Opera List Online

Carmen at The Met

"With all the turbulence and business on the stage, a Carmen stands or falls with the casting of the title role. Victoria Livengood brings everything that is needed with her. She is young, beautiful, sexy and can play an animal just as convincingly as a wounded soul. She possesses in every register a mezzo-soprano of seductive timbre." Kölnische Rundschau, Germany

"Victoria Livengood, in voice, acting and appearance, approaches the ideal Carmen." Kölner Stadt Anzeiger, Germany

"Victoria Livengood is a powerful Carmen. From her strong ruby-red voice, to her hip-swinging, Livengood plays and sings Carmen as a woman for whom death is the only end for a woman who has spent her life in love." The Edmonton Journal, Canada

"The star was clearly Victoria Livengood, a feisty wildcat of a Carmen who sang magnificently throughout. Livengood has a beautiful, big mezzo voice, and every aria was delivered with understanding and feeling." The Edmonton Journal, Canada

"Her expressions sizzled and when she (sang) in a throaty, seductive mezzo-soprano, she evoked images of Seville that seemed as tangible as the cellos in the front row. It wasn’t only her singing, however, that kept the audience’s eyes on her. Her body movements... were compelling, and her frequent laugh was pleasingly devilish." The San Diego Tribune

Carmen

"it was the operatic ‘Habanera’ from Carmen that brought down the house of 2,665, and singled out Ms. Livengood. Performing her signature role in a glamorous red gown, she positively sizzled in her debut here, with a wonderfully seductive voice."
The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Victoria Livengood stresses the active in actress. She swings, dances and plays the tambourine and castanets, and all the time, she sings with a large, equally mobile voice, her low notes as full-bodied as the high are ringing." The Palm Beach Post

"Victoria Livengood in the title role, brought down the house with her absolutely wanton portrayal of the saucy gypsy seductress. Livengood has performed the role some 100 times, has it down pat. More than that, she brings a strong dose of pure animal magnetism to the role. The first act was fine until she appeared, and then you realized that it lacked the spark of electricity that her mere presence commands." The Knoxville News-Sentinel

"Victoria Livengood brings a formidable mezzo-soprano, dominating stage presence, variety and nuance to the title role. Her voice is strong throughout its range and especially sumptuous at the lower end. She is a riveting actress who has forged her own, distinctive Carmen."
The Portland Oregonian

"Victoria Livengood fully inhabits this role. She is a quintessential Carmen... vivacious, full-blooded with implicit strength. Her voice is vibrant and seductive and one feels honored to witness her creation." Willamette Weekly, Portland

"Victoria Livengood was undeniably the star who put this "Carmen" production over the top. The mezzo has turned this demanding role into her own and you know you are hearing a heartbreakingly rich voice that will stay around for years to come. She lights up the stage with eyes that glitter and burn with as much energy as her voice and she can give all the big emotions we wait for in opera...comedy, bodice-ripping passion, sultry seduction, determination and anger." The Columbian, Portland

Carmen at the Met ... with a knife

"Renowned worldwide for her Carmen portrayals, mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood offered an athletic, no-holds-barred performance. Picture a kickboxing Scarlett O’Hara unencumbered by good breeding, and you can begin to imagine Livengood’s layering of vivacious opportunism, sensuous vitality and pitiable comeuppance. Her vocal depth and emotional presence made Carmen larger than life but believable; her death in the opera’s final moments was a completely human one."
The Times Union, Jacksonville, FL

"Livengood’s sultry yet subtle performance electrifies the production...there is a power and focus to her voice...she is one of the more convincing actresses that the company has placed before us in many seasons."
The Hartford Courant

"Victoria Livengood was all that the role calls for, being at once vocally superior, dramatically powerful and credible enough to bring the vixens Spaniard to her explosive fate...Livengood not only plays the part, but she literally is Carmen: calculating, contemptuous, courageous and complex." Farmington Valley Herald, CT

Carmen at the Met

"Opera is about singing. And Livengood can sing. From her entrance as the cigarette girl in the ‘Habanera’ (which received an ovation) to the death-predicting gypsy in the ‘Card Song’, Livengood’s sonorous dark voice rolled over the audience." Union-News, CT

"Victoria Livengood offers a multidimensional lead role. Livengood brings abundant stage presence and a complex edge to her character; her Carmen hardly is a simple-minded ‘femme fatale’. Her singing of the famous ‘Habanera’ and ‘Seguidilla’ is lusty and burnished." The Tampa Tribune

"Victoria Livengood’s Carmen is fiery, sexy and provocative, and her rich mezzo-soprano has the right color for the role of Merimee’s indomitable gypsy." Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Perhaps they were taking lessons from this production’s Carmen, Victoria Livengood. In some promotional literature, it was said that she has been described as “the ideal Carmen.” When I read that, I wondered what on earth that could mean or could this have been just plain old publicity hype? After seeing Livengood’s performance, I agree that she makes a superb Carmen."
West Side Leader, Ohio

"Principal characters were especially impressive. Mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood is a veteran in the title role, and she gave it an earthy, swaggering performance. Her voice is strong, clear and accurate. She has the charisma to dominate the stage, which Carmen must do.” The Morning Journal, Ohio

Taking a bow at The Met

"Victoria Livengood, Cleveland Opera’s Carmen, has the vocal depth and theatrical know-how to bring the woman to blazing life. Her mezzo is focused and full of throbbing vitality, and she wraps her voice around phrases with insinuating intelligence. Livengood’s Carmen is sexually addicted and manipulative, but also aware of the fate that will befall her."
The Plain Dealer, Ohio

"Livengood fits all the requirements of the famous gypsy role: a rich, supple and wide-ranging mezzo-soprano voice; a dynamic stage personality that brings the necessary fire and flavor to the role; and the ability to act with both her voice and body."
Erie Daily Times, PA

"Victoria Livengood’s sizzling portrayal of Carmen was the chief and sufficient reason for going to this production. Here was a voice with mezzo weight but without the undue darkness that often comes with it, a sound both substantial and agile. Carmen is an acting role as well as a singing one, and here again Livengood was first-rate. Her Carmen was a carefree spirit, bold and impetuous and unapologetic, comfortable with seduction and with frequent flashes of shapely legs." Kansas City Times

The end of Carmen

"Victoria Livengood is a Carmen of which to dream. When she wants, her melodious ‘brown-sugar-and-spice’ mezzo ringingly fills every corner of the auditorium. But, and this is true of few Carmens, she can scale it down, while still being easily heard, to a cozy, sexy whisper. Her ‘Habanera’, one of the many highlights of her performance, was sung and acted with earthy passion." Port Charlotte Sun Herald

"Ms. Livengood stressed the raw, uninhibited, parted legs sensuality of the heroine that especially permeates the first two acts. And she fortunately has the voice, looks and stage presence to carry it off." Jewish Weekly News

"The near-capacity opening night crowd of 2,100 heard a traditional Carmen in which the leading lady, mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood, stole the show. We are talking about powerful vocal drama from an especially feisty Carmen, who can sing and act." The Commercial Appeal, Memphis

"Victoria Livengood, as Carmen, threw herself into her confrontations with an abandon that made it look as though Carmen’s yelps of pain could have been real. Livengood’s Carmen was a vocal fireball – with Livengood’s dark, weighty sounds filling her fortune-telling aria with gloom." The Charlotte Observer, NC

"Victoria Livengood, on a stage bereft of elaborate sets or florid costuming, brought a contemporary flare to a beloved classic and is continually bringing new facets to her signature role. Livengood’s Carmen was deceptively playful, with the charm of a cabaret performer, even teasing the conductor and the audience along with her admirers among the low-ranking guards around the factory. But when subjected to Don Jose’s jealous rages, her true powers emerged, with the shattering courage and dignity of a Shakespearean queen."
Gatehouse News, Boston

“Mezzo soprano Victoria Livengood lead a sterling cast of soloists for Opera Grand Rapids performance of Carmen and lived up to reputation in this role. Voluptuous in voice and stature, she filled the stage as the free-spirited gypsy, Carmen. Livengood played the coquette as well as the hellcat, singing a mischievous Habanera, stealing drinks as well as hearts. Yet in the final scene, she gave a chilling performance, spurning Don Jose and declaring her love for Escamillo even in the face of her death.” Grand Rapids Press, Michigan

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