MADELEINE IN THE PRESS

RECENT NEWS AND REVIEWS

MACBETH

"<Lady Macbeth> is sung with notable distinction by Madeleine Pierard, a soprano who may not meet Verdi’s stipulation of a “rough, hollow, stifled" voice, but certainly attacks the part with glowing tone and stylistic panache."
(Macbeth
 - English Touring Opera/Gerry Cornelius/James Dacre)
Rupert Christiansen for The Telegraph, 10 March 2019

"Pierard, her tone a mixture of silk and metal, is electrifying throughout."
(Macbeth
 - English Touring Opera/Gerry Cornelius/James Dacre)
Tim Ashley for The Guardian, 10 March 2019


"Pierard was not fazed by the formidable demands Verdi places on the singer, dispatching “Si colmi il calice” with sultry flair. Pierard’s registers are well-integrated, as solid at the top as in the bottom, and she also seemed to capture that little bit of aridness that Verdi wrote into the role, a harshness that betrays Lady Macbeth’s ruthless ambition – a fine bit of vocal acting."
(Macbeth - English Touring Opera/Gerry Cornelius/James Dacre)

Dominic Lowe for Bachtrack, 11 March 2019

"Madeleine Pierard handles this killer role – especially the coloratura – with strength, assurance and style, but her distinctive, close-grained voice draws the listener in rather than leaping across the space. Tall and glamorous, she dominates the ambiguous, even detached relationship with <Macbeth>."

(Macbeth - English Touring Opera/Gerry Cornelius/James Dacre)

Yehuda Shapiro for The Stage,  12 March 2019

"In Madeleine Pierard, the production has a Lady Mac who towers over her husband, both dramatically and physically. <There> is beauty, grace and just a hint of madness in her performance. As Verdi intended, she makes her character the pivot on which the opera balances, albeit precariously."

(Macbeth - English Touring Opera/Gerry Cornelius/James Dacre)
Nick Kimberley for Evening Standard, 11 March 2019

IDOMENEO

"Dressed in shocking pink, Madeleine Pierard sang a terrific, spitfire Elettra, a fearless performance as the spurned love interest. With a warm vibrato, she produced a bitter chocolate darkness to her lower register – the darkest of the female voices on display this afternoon – allied to convincing acting."
(Idomeneo - Buxton Festival/Nicholas Kok/Stephen Medcalf)
Mark Pullinger for Bachtrack, 08 July 2018

 

"Madeleine Pierard is magnificently cast as Elettra. Her tone opens out to flashlight brilliance at the top of her register, while she sculpts phrases with such elegance that you really do get that sense of a personality about to crack. Pacing majestically about the stage in her magenta ballgown (costumes – vaguely 1920s, vaguely middle eastern banana republic – were by Bywaters too) she created some of the evening’s most haunting visual images, culminating in a final, troubling, disappearance from the stage as the chorus celebrated the statutory edifying ending."

(Idomeneo - Buxton Festival/Nicholas Kok/Stephen Medcalf)

The Arts Desk, 09 July 2018

"Madeleine Pierard made a powerful Elettra, and thankfully she got all three of her arias. Pierard gave a performance of rare intensity and depth which lit up the stage, whether Elettra was joyful or furious, and showed what was lacking some other areas of the production. Pierard's Elettra was not simply a classic dramatic soprano performance, her middle aria was finely fluid and flexible, but in both the outer arias she brought real fire and steel to the voice, whilst nailing the coloratura. There was vivid drama too, not just in the terrific final accompanied recitative, but in the second Act where Pierard was delightful joyful about her love of Idamante."

(Idomeneo - Buxton Festival/Nicholas Kok/Stephen Medcalf)

Planet Hugill, 09 July 2018

"Madeleine Pierard’s sassy, charismatic Elettra, a Greek princess who wants Idamante for herself, is a show-stopping sensation, bristling with passion and bitterness. "

(Idomeneo - Buxton Festival/Nicholas Kok/Stephen Medcalf)
Theatre Cat, 09 July 2018

LUCIO SILLA

"Giunia's betrothed, Cecilio was sung with consistent style and a nice sense of surly rebellion and unpredictability by Madeleine Pierard. The plot requires Cecilio to hesitate a lot, to be impulsive and then to draw back (a typical opera seria device) and Pierard really managed to invest this with our sympathy."
(Lucio Silla - Buxton Festival/Laurence Cummings)
Planet Hugill, 10 July 2017


"The four leading sopranos had the best of the evening, with fabulous projection and tone across the board. The two trouser roles (Madeleine Pierard as Cecilio and Karolina Plicková as Cinna) were exceptionally well portrayed, with brilliantly observed male body language. Pierard’s lyrical soprano was beautifully expressive as exiled husband Cecilio"

(Lucio Silla - Buxton Festival/Laurence Cummings)

Bachtrack, 10 July 2017

"For this Buxton Festival/The English Concert co-production, conducted by Laurence Cummings, the singers were well chosen and delivered excellent results – in one case, outstandingly so. Soprano Madeleine Pierard, in the hero’s role of Cecilio (two of the four men in this story sing with high voices, so they’re women in ‘trouser’) was a knock-out in her delivery of arias such as Il tenero momento and in the trio Quell' orgoglioso sdegno."

(Lucio Silla - Buxton Festival/Laurence Cummings)

Manchester Theatre Awards, 15 July 2017

"Soprano Madeleine Pierard as Cecilio stood out and compelled the attention"

(Lucio Silla - Buxton Festival/Laurence Cummings)
BSECS 'Critick', 4 August 2017

ERWARTUNG

"Pierard’s performance was mesmerising: on top of Schoenberg’s fiendish vocal challenges, and with every facial and body movement signalling a different micro-facet of inner turmoil."
(Erwartung - Shadwell Opera)
The Times UK, 7 November 2016

"Madeleine Pierard, a regular at Covent Garden since her stint on thge Jette Parker between 2010-12, threw herself into the role of The Woman, with a big passionate voice and plenty of borderline hysteria in Jack Furness's small-scale staging, which echoed the piece's expressionism with a wordless actor, dark lights and a stylised prison."
(Erwartung - Shadwell Opera)
Opera Now Magazine, January 2017

LA TRAVIATA

"As the Violetta, the New Zealand soprano Madeleine Pierard gave a superb performance. In Act One, as a successful worldly courtesan, her rich voice and powerful stage presence added realism to the role of an expensive heartbreaker, as she glided through Traviata's familiar but testing solo arias with polished panache. But Pierard's extraordinary skill and sensitivity in the role was such that in the final act, she physically became a heartbreakingly frail woman, wandering through the wreckage of her life to confront death with a mixture of terror, courage and resignation."
(La Traviata - New Zealand Opera)
The Press (NZ), 15 July 2016

"Violetta herself is wonderfully cast and superbly executed.  Madeleine Pierard brings not only coloratura but dramatic soprano skills, running, lighting and shading with ease, adding an earthy, chocolatey texture which perfectly embodies the grit and determination of Violetta, and the actual person in Verdi’s life upon whom her character is based. Pierard glides effortlessly through the notes, displaying spectacular breath control.  Her sure grasp and ductile steel thread perfectly suit the character, yet when called upon to fade physically in act three she convincingly and astutely pales and shrinks, spinning her voice around the thread of a note while navigating the waves of energy and depletion on which Violetta is tossed as her life ends.  Bravo."
(La Traviata - New Zealand Opera)
The Opera Critic Reviews, 14 July 2016 

"But the night rightly belongs to Madeleine Pierard. Her honest portrayal of the richly nuanced character of Violetta oozes charm and easy sensuality from her first entry. Her portrayal makes it immediately understandable that Violetta would have been a great success as a courtesan; the audience falls in love with her at once. Pierard owns the first act as a woman totally in charge, and it's not just her exquisite red dress that keep all eyes on Violetta as the opening act party progresses, it's her confidence and self-assurance as a woman that are captivating: Violetta is a boss.

This magnetism engages the audience completely and so we care deeply as we see her sacrifice her love for Alfredo to ensure the happiness of his family, and we rejoice in her brief moments of happiness before her inevitable demise in Act III.

But let's not forget Pierard's vocal performance. Violetta is a demanding role, showcasing all of the beautiful vocal colours she has to offer. Her musicality, crystalline high notes, impressive dynamic range, and her flexibility and command over the coloratura passages are outstanding. The spoken word sections are equally impressive, richly and convincingly expressed. To single out one aria would not do her justice; her whole performance is completely controlled, yet at the same time impassioned and ardent."
(La Traviata - New Zealand Opera)
Theatreview, 15 July 2016

MESSIAH

"Madeleine Pierard is no stranger to recent Messiahs, but this was surely her finest singing yet."

(Handel's Messiah - NZSO, NZ)
The Dominion Post, 15 December 2016


“Soprano Madeleine Pierard commanded the highest admiration from her first recitatives, with her unfailingly incisive phrasing and steadfast intonation. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion dispensed joy at a clip that would have had Handel's toes tapping, with some daring decorations. Later, the singer soared effortlessly to a top B flat while embellishing He shall feed His flock.”

(Handel’s Messiah – Auckland Choral Society, NZ)

The New Zealand Herald, 17 December 2014


“I’ve already waxed lyrical about Madeleine Pierard’s singing in general terms – suffice to say that I have never been more convinced of the efficacy of belief in salvation than when listening to her ineffably moving ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’. Without cheapening the effect of the music in any way she choreographed her words and associated feelings by the use of her whole body, turning this way and that so as to include almost everybody present within the sweep of her gaze, but doing so in a way that seemed to grow entirely from the music and the belief that it was expressing. Elsewhere, her coloratura singing galvanized our responses to the music in a different, more spectacularly brilliant way, but always placed entirely at the composer’s service – ‘Rejoice greatly’ swept us along amidst an irresistible tide of joyous expectation, with virtuosity of an astonishing order. One can easily imagine people saying, in years to come, “Ah, but you should have been there when Madeleine Pierard……” 

(Handel’s Messiah – NZSO) Peter Mechen,
Seen and Heard International, 13 December 2014


“Pierard’s incisive technique made mincemeat of numbers like ‘Rejoice greatly’, where she was in full coloratura flight that was frankly riveting”

(Handel’s Messiah – NZSO)

Frances Robinson, Middle C, 13 December 2014

LOUISE

"In the title role Madeleine Pierard sang with a lovely sheen and brought allure to the one showpiece aria, 'Depuis le jour'"

(Louise, Buxton Festival/Stephen Barlow, July 2015)
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph 17 July 2015

"In the title role, Madeleine Pierard was wonderful. A rich, warm, secure voice with a tone as golden as her evening dress, she sang with an attention to words and mood that was exemplary. In concert performances there’s nothing to help you – no sets, no costumes, no props – just a nice frock and your voice, and Pierard gave Louise’s demanding, occasionally petulant nature a terrific interpretation."

(Louise, Buxton Festival/Stephen Barlow, July 2015)

Andrew King, Bachtrack, 17 July 2015

"Madeleine Pierard delivered beautifully, bringing a lyrical intensity to the role and a real sense of Louise's interior life. Depuis le jour was poised, her duet with Adrian Dwyer's Julien rapturous, and she rounded on Michael Druiett's father with real viciousness."

(Louise, Buxton Festival/Stephen Barlow, July 2015)

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 22 July 2015


"Madeleine Pierard in the eponymous role of his lover who strains away from the dominance of her parents towards Paris and the Bohemian life was a veritable tour de force in respect of vocal variety, dramatic nuance and good diction."

(Louise, Buxton Festival/Stephen Barlow, July 2015)

Robert Farr, Seen and Heard International, 19 July 2015


"The Northern Chamber Orchestra responded with both ardour and delicacy, only very occasionally – in the throes of passion – overwhelming the voices on stage. Not that there was any risk of that with Madeleine Pierard. Her voice, in common with that of Adrian Dwyer as her bohemian lover Julien, has a youthful freshness that’s perfect for this role, but it can also open out, on the heights, into a great glowing arc of sound."

(Louise, Buxton Festival/Stephen Barlow, July 2015)

Richard Bratby, The Arts Desk, 27 July 2015

CREATION

"Madeleine Pierard was totally assured in her demanding arias, smiling appropriately as she sang "The marv'llous work behold amaz'd" and beaming up to an unflurried top C.  Doves cooed with florid sweetness when she ornamented her "On Mighty Pens" and Haydn's "soft enchanting lays" were all the more so, with the mezzo burnish of her voice.”

(Haydn’s Creation – NZSO under Nicholas McGegan)

The New Zealand Herald, 1 September 2014

“Madeleine Pierard was consistently radiant in the dual roles of Gabriel and Eve, somehow making the cruel coloratura of many of her numbers sound joyous; the tricky ascent to the high C in her opening number was marvellous. She introduced much tasteful decoration in the repeats with the melismas on ‘cooing’ in “On mighty pens” so ravishing time seemed to stand still. One could sense a careful contrast between the two roles; dignified radiance for Gabriel and a more charming sweetness for Eve.”

(Haydn’s Creation – NZSO under Nicholas McGegan)

Bachtrack, 1 September 2014

“Then came the first entry of soprano Madeleine Pierard with Gabriel’s spectacular celebratory aria, supported by the massed angelic chorus. Her clarity of notes and diction at speed, and beautifully shaped phrases, were quite breath-taking and set a technical and musical standard that she maintained unwaveringly for the rest of the performance.”

(Haydn’s Creation – NZSO under Nicholas McGegan)

Frances Robinson, Middle C, 29 August 2014

LA BOHEME

“Madeleine Pierard all but steals the show as bob-cut beauty Musetta, tottering around in sky-high heels.”
(La Boheme – NZ Opera under Francesco Pasqualetti) Cityscape Christchurch, 16 July 2014

IL VIAGGIO A REIMS

"Madeleine Pierard, soprano from New Zealand and a current Young Artist, was fabulous as the fashion-victim monster, the Contessa de Folleville, blessed with a voice of glittering, secure virtuosity and volume as well as an imposing, not to say intimidating presence."  

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera)

The Classical Source, 21 July 2012

"The other seriously impressive contribution came from Madeleine Pierard: whether singing or not, she communicated temperament, style and personality, and her ample, flexible soprano has a spark." 

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera) 

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 22 July 2012


"Pierard conveyed the Countess of Folleville's fashion fixation with a nice line in irony and strong technical address" 

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera)

George Hall, The Guardian UK, 22 July 2012

"Somewhat more consistent was New Zealand soprano Madeleine Pierard, who just keeps on gaining confidence and technical prowess. Tonight she showed this in her role as La Contessa di Folleville... It wasn’t just her diva-ish red dress and diamante necklace which dazzled, but also convincing acting and the ability to make fiendish passages seem unlaboured"  

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera) 

Katy Austin, Bachtrack, 21 July 2012

"Pierard sang the Contessa di Folleville, a fashion-crazy French aristocrat whose reaction to her wardrobe disaster – her luggage is destroyed on its journey to the inn – immediately elicits laughter from the audience....Pierard’s Contessa di Folleville was also gutsy. ‘Partir, oh ciel! desio’ had plenty of fioritura on display.. it rightly drew warm applause."

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera) 

Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, 21 July 2012

"Madeleine Pierard dominated the first half as the slinky, fashion-obsessed ninny (the sort the Revolution was supposed to have put paid to), La Contessa di Folleville, who could faint at the mere mention of wardrobe malfunction and suffers a good deal more over the loss of her luggage. While some artists were more score-bound, Pierard’s was a fully-formed and riveting performance." 

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera)

Simon Thomas – What's On Stage, 21 July 2012

"Madeleine Pierard, as La Contessa di Folleville, got one of the work’s best known numbers, the countess’s large scale tragic aria bewailing the loss of her hats. Pierard did Rossini the compliment of taking the piece entirely seriously, which made it all the more hilarious as Pierard’s stylish roulades cascaded out. Rossini used his grand tragic manner in this aria. Pierard has a big dramatic voice and used it brilliantly...she brought style and vibrancy to the piece."   

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera) 

Robert Hugill – Opera Today, 21 July 2012


"With eighteen solo parts this is quite something to put on, but when Madeleine Pierard came on as the French Countess, concerned about the apparent absence of her fine clothes, the performance moved superbly into high gear. She was wonderfully expressive, her coloratura excellent and her voice effortlessly changing amplitude." 

(Il Viaggio a Reims - The Royal Opera)

Mark Ronan, Theatre Reviews, 21 July 2012

JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTIST SHOWCASE

"After wonderfully imperious vignettes as Fiordiligi and Donna Anna, New Zealand soprano, Madeleine Pierard was more restrained as Musetta but my focus still remained on her when she was on stage. I couldn’t understand why this was until I realised who she reminded me so strongly of physically and vocally … Angela Gheorghiu!" 

(JPYA Summer Showcase, The Royal Opera House) Seen and Heard International, 30 June 2012

"If this had been a knockout competition rather than a showcase, Miss Pierard would have won the round. Both the preceding recitativo and ‘Per pietà’ itself offered her ample scope to show off both her vocal dexterity and the way she uses her broad palette of tone colours to convey emotion. This soprano is clearly a rising international star with huge potential. The voice is almost too big for Mozart, but Miss Pierard is so versatile that she modulates and controls her manifest ability to project over a Strauss orchestra in accordance with the stylistic demands of each role. Her Fiordiligi, Donna Anna and Musetta were three very different people, each convincing in their way. It was however her rendition of ‘Per pietà’ which made me wish I hadn’t missed her as Lisa in La sonnambula. How nice to hear a bel canto singer who produces a beautiful sound even when standing on her head at the top of a helter-skelter.” 

(JPYA Summer Showcase, The Royal Opera House) Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia, 7 July 2012

HARRIS SYMPHONY NO. 2

“Combined with Harris' powerful music, and when sung with the power and intensity that Madeleine Pierard displayed – never did the full orchestra get close to overwhelming her – this becomes a searing, unforgettable document in music." 
(Ross Harris Symphony No. 2 with the NZSO)
The Dominion Post, 22 April 2016

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