Alex Penda as Elettra in Idomeneo

Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart

intense soprano Alex Penda as the vengeful Elettra.The New York Times, August 19, 2016

Alex Penda fumed tastefully as bad Elettra.Financial Times. August 21, 2016

… the explosive mezzo Alex Penda was ideal as Elettra. Following the overture, Ilia opens the opera with a long recitative and the aria “Padre, Germani, addio!”, and Karthäuser projected an ingénue with gravity.

Electra is superficially simpler, but all of Mozart’s characters, especially the women, are a mix of competing and contradictory thoughts and feelings. With Penda, all those feelings were delivered with power and musical substance, and her range went from the fury of “Tutte nel cor vi sento” to the sweetness of “Idol mio.” –  New York Classical Review, August 19, 2016

The Idomeneo litmus test is towards the end when the character Elettra goes mad amid romantic rejection. If the scene feels properly unhinged, it’s usually in a musical blur of operatic posturing that’s played mostly for effect. Here, with soprano Alex Penda (previously known as Alexandrina Pendatchanska), the scene was a clear, step-by-step descent into insane rage. — WQXR c/o New York Public Radio, August 19, 2016

The intense soprano Alex Penda sang the hysterical leaps and furious rage with abandon as the spurned Greek princess Elettra. She displayed riveting coloratura in the first act’s “Tutte nel cor vi sento furie del cupo averno” (I can feel you all in my heart, furies of the dark hell) and in her final descent into madness.bachtrack.com. August 21, 2016

Alex Penda in a memorable debut as Margherita in Boito’s Mefistofele — Pfingstfestspiele Festspielhaus Baden-Baden

She is a total singing-actress who combines voice and physicality in the most remarkable way.  Her big set piece ‘l’altra notte in fondo al mare’ exemplified this approach. Sung in a voice that seemed almost suffocated she explored the lines lyrically yet opened up the tone where it was needed.  This description sounds clinical but it was anything but. Her singing was so honest and brought her character so completely to life and she found incredible reserves of power towards the end of her scene, the voice ringing out through the theatre.  This was without doubt the work of a master singing-actor.OPERATRAVELLER, 18 May 2016

Trimph for Alex Penda as Salome in Santa Fe

Alex Penda hits home vocally and dramatically in Santa Fe’s Salome

she is an actor, and a singer who seemed to bloom into the darkness of the role the further into things she got. Standing in her slip and restating her demand for murder, again and again, her singing was as powerful as her dance, which was more trancelike than seductive. In the middle of it, a younger Salome is revealed witnessing the murder of her father at the same desk where Jochanaan sits now, lost in religious fervor. Penda successfully sings on a character journey from the bored, spoiled Princess into a full-fledged monster having a blow-out end to her own life. Throughout, her presence – vocally and dramatically – hits home.Michael Wade Simpson,  bachtrack.com, 10 August 2015

Continue reading “Trimph for Alex Penda as Salome in Santa Fe”

Beyond Bel Canto

Early in her career, Alex Penda gained notices for her fearless portrayals of bel canto heroines. In recent seasons, her dramatic approach has instigated forays into weightier Germanic repertoire. This summer, she takes on the title role in a new production of Salome at Santa Fe Opera. MARIA MAZZARO speaks with the Bulgarian soprano about learning to love Strauss.OPERA NEWS, August 2015

First Wagner role for Alex Penda — Parsifal (Kundry) — Tokyo Symphony Orchestra

Ms. Penda could teach a lesson in breath control to many Wagnerian singers. She takes legato very seriously and would not adopt the usual pause between verb and object to gain an extra breath. For instance, phrases like “wann dann ihr Arm dich wütend umschlang” or “So war es mein Kuss, der welt-hellsichtig dich machte?” were sung in a single breath without any hint of constriction or strain by the end of them. Also, some of her most exciting high notes were sang without forcing or pushing, but span freely and roundly.ihearvoices.wordpress.com, 14.03.2015

Alex Penda triumphs in Santa Fe Opera as Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio

Vocally, Ms. Penda excelled, taking, in our opinion, a somewhat masculine approach to her diction and delivery, appropriate for a woman in male disguise who’s trying to be convincing as she infiltrates the prison’s security. She also dealt forthrightly with Beethoven’s strenuous, heroic arias and their lengthy phrasing, apparently without fatiguing despite her character’s substantial amount of time on stage…
Rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News, 14 August 2014

Continue reading “Alex Penda triumphs in Santa Fe Opera as Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio”