Nicole Heaston gives Alcina vocal honor as vamp with offensive eroticism, because she is ruler of the heart. She's a brilliant singer, powerful with secure coloratura. And the great aria in the second act, Ah mio cor, she does not sing as desperate in anticipation in relentless decline. The more they escape and the more it drives out her claws. This Alcina, who tames men, may itself be a beast.
Special credit must be given to Nicole Heaston in the role of Alcina, who stepped in for absence due to sickness. Heaston delivered an incredible performance. She was the only performer to really delve into the depths of her character’s and the opera’s psychological complexities.
Alcina rightly emerges as the focal point around which the action turns. She is splendidly portrayed by the American soprano Nicole Heaston, whose versatility is underscored by fine singing in Alcina’s wide ranging, musically superb arias. Ms. Heaston’s radiant voice is handsomely resonant, with a slight but attractive shimmer. She brings brilliance to Alcina’s showpiece arias but is especially moving in Alcina’s devastating final aria, sung when her magical powers have failed her.
Nicole Heaston who sings the title role, excels in the role of Alcina. Her voice is beautiful and she has a fabulous singing technique. Alcina is vocally a role of great challenges that require physical strength and endurance. She mastered it and gives us an experience of a exhaustible profit!
Copland's wonderfully evocative distillations of poetic mood and atmosphere drew an altogether superb performance from singer Nicole Heaston, with (Michael) Brown again working wonders at the keyboard. The dozen songs are not easy to sustain as a musico-poetic unity, but the Chicago-born soprano did so beautifully and insightfully: singer and song became one.
Aaron Copeland’s cycle Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson is a long, demanding sing, but Nicole Heaston rose to the occasion splendidly. The soprano graced “Heart, we will forget him” with a wealth of dynamics, and the sheer amplitude of her voice was all the more impressive given the delicately floated conclusion to “The chariot”.
Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson is rarely heard due to its length and challenges. Thursday’s remarkable performance by Nicole Heaston proved the highlight of the evening with the Chicago-born soprano delivering a genuine tour de force. Why have we not heard this wonderful artist in her hometown before? Poised and communicative, Heaston sang with a luminous, flexible tone and crystal-clear enunciation. She seemed to embody the essence of each setting in her expressive face and physical presence. Heaston put across the drama of “There came a wind like a bugle” and “Sleep is supposed to be” as surely as the skittery humor of “Going to Heaven!” She was sassy in “Why do they shut me out of Heaven?” and coyly charming in “Dear March, come in!” Most strikingly, Heaston conveyed the sense of longing and sadness, as with “Heart, we will forget him” and the end-of life rumination of “The chariot.” We need to hear Nicole Heaston back in Chicago soon.
In three selections from Copland’s Old American Songs, native Chicagoan Nicole Heaston was, in a word, stunning. The familiar “Simple Gifts” was a revelation delivered with her shimmering voice. The spinning lines of “Zion’s Walls” seemed endless on her limpid soprano, and the central rendition of “At the River” reduced a fair complement of the audience in tears. Heaston followed her Copland performance with John Harbison’s Miribai Songs. What was most striking about Heaston’s performance was the outsized personality she conveyed in Harbison’s songs. She showed coy defiance in the rolling “It’s true I went to the market,” and cultivated a deviously maniacal air in “All I was doing was breathing.” “Why Mira can’t go back to her old house” was fittingly licentious, and the soprano provided a brooding interpretation of “The clouds.” Heaston’s singing was technically immaculate throughout.
"The brief respite between the summer and fall music seasons was once again filled in wonderful style by the Collaborative Works Festival. American song was this year’s theme, and the terrific program at the Poetry Foundation—concentrating on composers influenced by the Transcendentalist movement—was highlighted by the sensitive and illuminating performances of Nicholas Phan and Nicole Heaston."
Nicole Heaston as Countess Almaviva is convincing as a neglected wife, trying to maintain dignity but regain her husband’s affection. Heaston’s third act “Dove sono” succinctly expressed the Countess’ serene decency with beautifully controlled legato and tenderness, especially through breathtaking pianissimo passages.
The vocal highlight of the evening, however, was the Countess of Nicole Heaston, her honeyed soprano taking on a silvery hue in her high register. Opening with a beautifully sung “Porgi, amor”, she appeared an effortless tragedienne, yet soon after, especially in her scenes with Susanna and Cherubino, she opened up to reveal a most human character. Heaston’s “Dove sono” was heartbreakingly sung, and it was wonderful to finally hear it sung by a soprano with a good trill!
It's tempting to hang credit for it on two hooks : ... a superb Nicole Heaston as the Countess and Rinaldo Alessandrini's musical leadership. Nicole Heaston, who also incapable of stopping the action is open to the great emotional depth in cavatina "Porgi Amor", the aria "Dove sono , in biei momenti" and in the final scene "Perdono ".
As Gabriel and Eva, soprano Nicole Heaston delivered a tone that felt like the very beam of heaven. Bright and colorful, her voice ushers listeners into the music like a gracious host. While she made it look easy, the trills and ornamental flourishes that Heaston tossed off betrayed deft attention to technique and detail.
Adina, sung by the exemplary HGO studio alumna and soprano Nicole Heaston. On stage, she radiates even before she opens her mouth—no wonder everyone falls in love with her. The plot may be light, but Donizetti’s bel canto arias are technically no joke. Heaston made every arpeggio, range leap and coloratura flourish sound effortless. Intonation: perfect. Bel canto style: quintessential. Her voice is mint.
Look no further than to Houston Grand Opera and its somewhat sparkling production of Gaetano Donizetti's beguiling comedy The Elixir of Love to witness Battle's avatar, Nicole Heaston, fortunately sans diva antics. An HGO Studio alumna, Heaston is the sure thing, a complete artist. We have watched her grow through leading roles since 1998 at HGO: Susanna inMarriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gilda in Rigoletto, Pamina in Magic Flute. But now is her time in the sun. She has transformed into an artist of rare beauty. (HGO had better be proud of her!) She conquers the stage as Adina....what a performer, and what a singer. She sails through the difficult coloratura, most of it in the second act, with complete control and always with clarity of diction, a pulsing rich timbre, and surety of character.
Heaston sang with a command and poignancy that nearly turned Adina, rather than Nemorino, into the opera’s emotional center. Rather than the light-voiced soubrette that companies often cast in the role, Heaston was a lyric soprano able to treat Donizetti’s music to fullness and warmth. As Adina entered, musing on Tristan and Isolde, Heaston’s vibrant singing gave a glimpse of the legendary lovers’ passion. But when Donizetti’s playfulness took over, Heaston’s sparkle and deftness exuded Adina’s wiliness. And in the heartfelt aria at the opera’s turning point, Heaston combined tenderness and fervor, serving notice that a comedy can have depth.
The true stars of the evening were two women making their first appearances on the BLO stage...Soprano Nicole Heaston was a radiant Countess, her warm voice carrying hints of wisdom, mischief, and sorrow. She slowly pulled back the volume of her voice at the climax of her tenderly devastating “Dove sono i bei momenti,” but lost not an ounce of poignancy or power. Her onstage chemistry with Birsan as Susanna was the production’s most exciting, and the way their voices melded and played off each other was stunning.
BLO’s production was certainly cast with aplomb. The ladies, headlined by the formidable duo of Emily Birsan’s Susanna and Nicole Heaston’s Countess, shined. Both characters run the show...Heaston was spellbinding. Here’s a singer who commands the stage, not just with her voice but simply by setting foot on it: when she’s there, it’s hard to take your eyes off of her. And my how she can sing. Heaston delivered both of the Countess’s arias gorgeously, “Dove sono” particularly so: in it, holding the audience in the acoustically-challenged hall in rapt attention for its duration.
Heaston’s arias were showstoppers in their emotional quality and vocal gold. A particularly sublime moment was the return to the A section in “Dove sono,” the Countess’s aria reminiscing about the beautiful moments from her past when the Count still loved her fervently. In this, Heaston’s intense pianissimo singing contrasted beautifully her opening of the aria.
Nicole Heaston anchored the production as a model Countess: regal and world-weary. Her “Porgi, amor” was staged by-the-book as a lonely bedroom confessional, while her third-act aria unfolded in an ornate, baroquely painted armchair—a beautiful touch by set designer John Conklin. It was an effective progression for the Countess, literally sitting up and growing a backbone to face her philandering husband. At the end of the aria, Heaston basked in applause without breaking character, staring out at the house with defiant eyes, amplifying the Countess’s dignity and newfound resolve.
Nicole Heaston, five days before the premiere jumped in, shows not only in Alcina's desperation aria Ah Mio Cor, how expressive, nuanced and colorful is her soprano: she has also instinctively internalized the idea of the director, a woman who knows what she does but not what she really wants.
First, a cancellation was to cope with shortly before the premiere, just in the title role. After the announcement of the theater, Kate Royal had to resign as Alcina "for personal reasons from the production". Instead, Nicole Heaston was in the title role to see, to hear - and to admire. Heaston had mastered the Alcina at other stages with flying colors. In Basel, too, she brought out the full splendor of her strong soprano and lusciousness of her body. She blew up all shackles. In her aria "Si, son quella, non plù bella" she discovers that she loves - and the audience discovers an A-class soprano. Heaston holds the high level to the very end, especially in her despairing aria when she sees Alcina lose her power and see her empire destroyed ("Mi Restano le lagrime"). There were repeated applause games.
When Alcina sings her moving lament "Ah! mio cor" in the second act, and the stage prospect of an eighteenth-century South Sea island backdrop goes down, it's moving symbolism. Incidentally, Nicole Heaston does that with a gorgeous affect. The American soprano, who took over the role shortly before the premiere of Kate Royal, also proves great mastery in baroque melismatics. Nicole Heaston's strength is the baroque lament
The emotional highlight of the evening is Alcina's aria "Ah, mio cor!", Which shows the sorceress in the conflict between revenge thirst and love readiness. The American soprano Nicole Heaston, who had to step in for a short-term cast change in the title role, here developed effortless vocal radiance and fullness and stands the demanding game of Alcina on the whole brilliant.