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A “heroic” and “ringing” Bacchus in ‘Ariadne’ at Palm Beach Opera

March 19, 2016

Brian Jagde made an impressive debut as Bacchus, physically portraying both the preening tenor and the heroic god. He met the musical challenges without appearing to tire. The climactic duet with Ariadne was a fulfillment rather than another series of challenges: a fitting culmination to a brilliant love letter to music and theater.”
Karl W. Hesser – Opera News

Ariadne’s deliverer, bright-voiced, handsome tenor Brian Jagde, comes through with ringing sound and endurance as Bacchus – a treacherous role that has been the downfall of many highly established heldentenors.”
Robert Croan – Palm Beach Daily News

The roles of Ariadne and the god Bacchus (who transforms the grieving heroine through love) challenge the singers with music of almost Wagnerian dimensions and difficulty. Both Wendy Bryn Harmer and Brian Jagde scored triumphs, meeting the vocal demands head on and turning the roles’ mythical stereotypes into real characters with deep emotions.

The role of Bacchus is notoriously high and more than one seasoned tenor has come to grief attempting it. Arriving in a ship of gold, Jagde’s refulgent, heroic sound swept all before him. His voice conveyed beauty and ardor as well as sheer strength and volume. In the concluding duet, a final burst of Straussian lyricism, Harmer and Jagde’s voices were thrilling.”
Lawrence Budmen – South Florida Classical Review

“This opening night featured an exceptionally strong cast that sang and acted brilliantly . . . Heldentenor Brian Jagde was thrilling in this devilishly difficult role and in the love duet.”
David M. Rice – Classical Source

“. . . best-of-the-season picks by Palm Beach Daily News critics . . . The show requires singers of the highest caliber, an orchestra of 37 soloist-level players and a stage director who can put it together with imagination and wit . . . Add to this the heroic vocalism of Brian Jagde as the tenor from Hades – except that here, he was a liberating Greek god.”
Palm Beach Daily News

“. . . this Ariadne was a musically stellar way to end the season . . . the troupe deserved all the warm approbation left over for showing once again the depth of its vocal casting . . . the cast from lead on down to comprimario was seriously impressive . . .

Every bit her [Harmer’s] equal was her Bacchus, Brian Jagde, a stentorian-voiced tenor who had the extra Helden-heft to give this music the radiance it needs. He sang this difficult part — which is not so much unremittingly high as it is demanding from the standpoint of a continual 20-minute series of big gestures — with apparent ease, and his voice blended beautifully with Harmer’s . . .  the company deserves credit for mounting it and casting it with enough first-class voices to give a fine account of the work.”
Greg Stepanich – Palm Beach Arts Paper

Photo: Palm Beach Opera