Critiques

Critiques d’Album


Album Confidences – ATMA Classique – 2018

FRENCH-CANADIAN MEZZO-SOPRANO Caroline Gélinas is a rising star in Canadian opera venues. Here, on her debut recital CD, she is showcased in a variety of challenging and stylistically varied song repertory—and she’s definitely up to the challenge. Gélinas has a beautiful lyric mezzo voice, most attractive in the middle and lower registers. She pours forth liquid tone, sensual and ravishing, especially in quieter moments. Also impressive is her command of French, German and English—her superb phrasing in all three languages and her excellent diction. This is a skilled singer and interpreter who seems mature beyond her years. Her only vocal weakness is a tendency to force the volume at moments of high emotion.

The album begins with Ravel’s familiar song cycle Shéhérazade, sung with a sensuous, dreamlike quality. All the striking images of Persia, India and China in the Asian fantasy “Asie” are here vividly brought to life by Gélinas and her splendid pianist, Olivier Godin, with many vocal colors throughout the song in the dark key of E-flat minor. Gélinas infuses the repeated phrase “Je voudrais voir” (I want to see…) with a palpable longing for adventure and excitement. The subsequent two Ravel songs, “La Flute enchantée” and “L’indifferent,” are sung with playful charm and a sense of mystery.

The mystery and sensuality in the voice persists in Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Bilitis, all three songs brimming with sexual frisson. Gélinas changes to German for Robert Schumann’s rarely heard late cycle Gedichte der Konigin Maria Stuart, taking the listener with Mary Stuart from her exile from her beloved France and imprisonment in Elizabethan England to her final acceptance of her fate and faith. These songs, written during Schumann’s final decline in health, are deeply felt explorations of sadness and devotion. Gélinas gives the cycle a real sense of Mary’s character and her journey from innocence to understanding. She changes her tonal quality from the sensuality of the previous cycles to an innocence and directness as the young Mary is swept up in circumstances beyond her control.

The final seven songs are in English—Robert James Berkeley Fleming’s The Confession Stone, set to poems by Owen Dobson’s Beyond the Blues: New Poems by American Negroes. Commissioned for Maureen Forrester, these biblical songs are sung from the points of view of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene and others. While I don’t find the vocal writing of this cycle particularly distinguished, Gélinas displays admirable dramatic and emotional commitments to the pieces. Again, her soft singing is gorgeous and moving.

Opera News – January 2019

Quebecois mezzo-soprano Caroline Gelinas is impressive in this imaginative recital. […]this is intimate and absorbing. […] These instrumental effects are delicately articulated here by pianist Olivier Godin. (Ravel’s initial version was quickly followed by a fully orchestrated arrangement.) The first song in the set, ‘Asia’, is a tour de force, lasting nearly ten minutes. Gelinas demonstrates remarkable evenness of tone in its continuously shifting registers, and she is captured with remarkable clarity by sound engineer Dominic Beaudoin and producer Guylaine Picard. Indeed, one of the chief delights of this album is the crystalline production, which gives Gelinas an immediacy of presence and infuses Godin’s instrument with luminous warmth.

[…] The name Robert James Berkeley Fleming will be unfamiliar to most of us, but Gelinas and Godin make a spirited case for the Canadian composer here. […] Their simplicity makes them an effective conclusion to an ambitious and fascinating recital program.

Krishan Oberoi – American Record Guide – Septembre 2018

« Premier Triomphe d’une nouvelle diseuse et mélodiste, la Québécoise Caroline Gélinas ».

» […] La diseuse, suave, distanciée mais pas artificielle, et d’une grâce infinie, exprime le désir frustré, et la caresse blessante de ce dernier poème au charme sublime.

D’une subtilité caressante, évocatrice et jamais trop manifeste, Caroline Gélinas enchante encore chez Debussy dont nous distinguons surtout le premier tableau des Chansons de Bilitis d’après Pierre Louÿs. D’une lascivité tissée dans une torpeur infinie, la Flûte de Pan saisit par la justesse de l’articulation à la fois naturelle et éngimatique. Là encore c’est la perfection du français chanté, déclamé qui convainc tout à fait. […] Le velours attentif, la mesure intériorisée de la chanteuse savent exprimer l’intense douleur qui vibre sous chaque ligne de ce cycle de 5 lieder.

Plus ronde, plus langoureuse encore, la langue chantante que déploient les 8 songs en anglais (The Songs of Mary) de Robert Fleming intensifie les vertiges émotionnels de la Mère dont le fils unique fut sacrifié : versatile, fluide, étonnament changeante, la voix cisèle chaque séquence d’autant que, comme depuis le début de ce récital très abouti, le piano d’Olivier Godin, familier des nuances chambristes et lui aussi orfèvre en éclats mordorés, fait étinceler son clavier en vrai poète de l’indiciblement expressif. Duo admirable. «

Alban Deags, Classique news – Juin 2018

« La diction de la mezzo est impeccable et son timbre chaleureux se déploie avec largesse dans les montées expressives. […] Les confidences douces-amères de cette jeune artiste en plein essor sont délicieuses à entendre. Une mezzo à suivre assidûment. »

Françoise Henri, L’Opéra – Revue Québécoise d’art lyrique – No.16 Été 2018

« Having chosen to sing the roles of strong women acting ingeniously in difficult situations and tragic circumstances, Gélinas demonstrates an enormous dramatic range whilst maintaining exquisite vocal tone. »

Diane Wells, The Whole note – Mai 2018

» […] We discover a singer whose tone is velvety and languid, perfect for interpreting this exotic cycle by a French composer. Her diction is clear and there is real determination to tell a story. The pianist’s subtle efforts carry us with a certain nonchalance into this universe. Debussy’s Trois chansons de Bilitis come next. The listener finds here much sensuality, particularly in “La Chevelure.” Godin’s subtle and refined playing marvellously sustains a text that evokes mythical creatures. […] In Schumann’s Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart (Poems by Queen Mary Stuart) the mezzo-soprano shows us the vulnerability and sensibility of the fallen queen. […]Gélinas’ and Godin’s interpretations are very tender and lead us to discover the full scale of the young mezzo-soprano’s voice. «

Marie-Claire Fafard Blais – La Scena musicale- Juin 2018


Critiques de spectacles


Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy) – Festival Classica – 2018

« Caroline Gélinas incarne une Geneviève de charme qui choisit à bon escient de ne pas grossir ni assombrir sa voix et se refuse ainsi à de possibles effets histrioniques, contribuant à la bonne tenue musicale. »

Maurice Salles, Forum Opera – Juin 2018

« Aux côtés des Français, deux solides jeunes chanteuses québécoises relèvent les défis du français de Debussy (aucune surprise à cela puisque les chanteurs québécois sont parmi les meilleurs chanteurs diseurs actuels: excellente Geneviève de Caroline Gélinas, […] »

Philippe Alexandre Pham, Classique news – Juin 2018

« Caroline Gélinas, qui jouait Geneviève, a fait entendre un magnifique timbre calme et contenu dans la deuxième scène du premier acte, lors de la lecture de la lettre. »

Samuel Croteau, Ludwig van Montréal – Juillet 2018


Svadba (Sokolovic) – Opera de Montréal – 2018

« The five supporting women—sopranos Suzanne Rigden and Chelsea Rus, and mezzos Rose Naggar-Tremblay, Caroline Gélinas, and Rachèle Tremblay—all deserve huge props for their excellent work in bringing Sokolovic’s difficult, unusual score to life. They achieved beautiful, clean-edged blend, while each bringing a distinct vocal flavour and personality to the fore when required. They are all natural, charming actors as well—there wasn’t one weak link in the group. »

Natasha Gauthier, Opera Canada – Mars 2018