Press

Brian Jagde is “impressive” and “ardent” in role debut as Radamès in new ‘Aida’ at San Francisco Opera

November 7, 2016

” In his first Radamès, tenor Brian Jagde had an impressive night, singing with firm, ringing tone in “Celeste Aida” and projecting a sense of vigor and vitality throughout the opera.”

Georgia Rowe – Opera News

“… the delicately spun lyricism of tenor Brian Jagde as Radames — his “Celeste Aida” aria had the necessary heft …”

Richard Bammer – The Reporter

“Tenor Brian Jagde (in his role debut, as is Crocetto), was fine as the military hero who saves Egypt but unwittingly betrays his country when he reveals military secrets to his beloved Aida. His clear, supple voice made was favorable from the get-go with the Act 1 signature aria “Celeste Aida.”

James Ambroff-Tahan – San Francisco Examiner

“Jagde fulfilled the role’s dual demand for both lyrical and heroic voices, showing promise for a future heldentenor career.”

Janos Gereben – Classical Voice North America

“Brian Jagde, also making an impressive role debut, was her Radames. The tenor sounded firm and muscular in the Act I aria, “Celeste Aida,” and his performance grew increasingly ardent and expressive as the evening progressed.”

Georgia Rowe – The Mercury News

” … the singing, and the emotion conveyed by the principals, is splendid. The real excitement in this production comes from the performances of tenor Brian Jagde as Radames … Jagde, in his own strong role debut as Radames …

And the decision to focus on the complex emotions of the three individuals at the heart of this opera is the right one. In the final scene, Radames and his Aida are walled up in a tomb under the temple, there to die together. The walls are completely bare. The singing and emotion are gripping. Afterward, I turned to my friend and said, “That’s why we come to the opera.”

Pamela Feinsilber – Huffington Post

“Jagde as Radames provided all of the tension between youthful love-drunkness and an insatiable drive for glory that define his role. His brassy and rich delivery matched perfectly with Verdi’s brass-heavy martial orchestration, frequently giving his tone a sense of simply materializing out of the orchestral ether. He was also convincing as an actor, with his awkward acceptance of Amneris’ hand during the full-ensemble triumphal scene particularly well done.”

John Masko – Parterre

“And what voices we have in this “Aida.” American Soprano Leah Crocetto (Aida) has matured from promising Adler Fellow in 2009 to full fledged diva in 2016. As Radames, Brian Jagde, also American, also a former Adler Fellow, is her perfect match. One of the highlights of this production is the convincing rapport between these two stars whose personal chemistry is as beautifully blended as their voices.”

Charles Kruger – TheatreStorm

“As Radames, Brian Jagde’s resonant tones well illustrate his competing roles as valiant warrior and vulnerable lover.”

Alice Cheng – Theatrius

“Tenor Brian Jagde became the first artist to create the role of Radames in a new San Francisco Opera production in 35 years. (For both Jagde and his 1981 predecessor, Luciano Pavarotti, it was a role debut.)

Jagde was a formidable Radames, convincingly performing the challenging aria Celeste Aida. He proved that he has the requisite vocal power for Radames’ succession of big scenes – his investiture as commander of the Egyptian military, the triumphal scene, his entrapment by Amonasro and Aida in an act of treason, and his acquiescence to the sentence of death by Ramfis’ priests.

In Zambello’s staging, Jagde’s Radames has a credibility and humanity that can be missing from some directors’ stagings of the opera. He is a conflicted character who has sworn loyalty to a system that he has begun to doubt as a result of his romantic attachment to Aida, whose homeland is an enemy country.”

William Burnett – Opera Warhorses

“The men … gave magnificent, fully committed performances. Making his role debut as Radames, Brian Jagde offered a splendid vocal and layered dramatic portrait of the conflicted military hero.”

My Cultural Landscape

“I was looking forward to hearing tenor Brian Jagde, also making his role debut as her lover Radames … he essayed his characterization with power to spare. He also added personality, and under the circumstances, deserves special honors.”

Philip Campbell – Bay Area Reporter

“It was gratifying to hear former Adlers Leah Crocetto and Brian Jagde in the two lead roles of Aida and Radames, they’ve come so far in the last few years and watching them develop over time has been great … Jagde sounded strong throughout. The duet at the end, with the two of them sitting in front of a grey yet iridescent wall was the high point of the evening, both singers sounding beautifully sweet.”

Opera Tattler

“As the Egyptian warrior Radames, Brian Jagde shone most brightly in scenes of dramatic confrontation, where the full heft of his robust tenor could be heard to best advantage …”

Joshua Kosman – San Francisco Chronicle

“Jagde’s voice settled into a firm sound with powerful top notes. His honest acting, particularly his tenderness in the final tomb scene, broke my heart.”

Ilana Walder-Biesanz – Bachtrack

“Aida’s lover Radames was SFO protégé Brian Jagde. Once we arrived at the entombment of Aida and Radames Mr. Jagde’s knife-edged voice softened and we heard … a voice of a sweetness and warmth that matched that of Mlle. Crocetto’s Aida. Conductor Nicola Luisotti carefully sculpted this protracted scene into one of profound operatic intimacy. It was memorable.”

Michael Milenski – Opera Today