A “magnificent” and “passionate” ‘Tosca’ at San Francisco Opera

it’s hard to deny that the headliner and crowd favorite was Brian Jagde... it’s a voice that, while sleek, fills the house most gratifyingly.

Greg Freed,

Brian Jagde returned to the role of Cavaradossi this fall (last seen at San Francisco Opera in 2012) to spectacular reviews:

“The San Francisco Opera is batting a thousand where young singers are concerned this season . . . it’s hard to deny that the headliner and crowd favorite was Brian Jagde, an American lirico-spinto who can’t be more than thirty-two and who’s still singing a fair amount in smaller houses (who will soon be unable to get their mitts on him soon, by the look of things.) Jagde is a handsome guy and has an unfussy, comfortable stage comportment. More to the point, he’s vocally in the clover as Cavaradossi.

“Recondita armonia” strikes me as a particular kind of gift to tenors—it sits high, but it’s short, and someone else is muttering along while you build up to the B-flat, and the melody lets you make a money note of the G if you’re not feeling it quite that early in the evening. Jagde made the most of it. Much as I’ve enjoyed hearing veterans belt the thing over the years, it was refreshing to the point of mild disorientation to hear such a tight and youthful sound lavished on it . . . it’s a voice that, while sleek, fills the house most gratifyingly. He could not have more effectively signed up a fan base had he opted for “You’re Gonna Love Me” as a suitcase aria, and the rest of the evening made good on early promise.”
Greg Freed –

“A great match for the celebrated soprano is tenor Brian Jagde as Mario Cavaradossi, with his remarkably good looks, commanding stage presence, dramatic talent, and the most amazing voice – so powerful and effortless – it gives a listener a special kind of satisfaction when one knows that nothing could go wrong, and the enjoyment will sustain to the very last note, and beyond!”
Emma Krasov – Art and Entertain Me

“The real star—do not miss him—is tenor Brian Jagde. He is magnificent.”
Kevin Sessums –

“Her hot-blooded lover Cavaradossi, a partisan for the short-lived Napoleonic Roman Republic, was sung by the handsome young American tenor Brian Jagde. He sang his two big arias, Act I’s “Recondita armonia” and Act III’s “E lucevan le stelle” – one of the most beautiful arias in the tenor repertory – with sweet lyricism.”
David Bonetti – Berkshire Fine Arts

“Matching her note for note is the handsome tenor Brian Jagde, a Merola alumnus and former Adler Fellow who strikes some sparks with his lady love, both vocally and dramatically. He is the painter and revolutionary Mario Cavaradossi and she a famous singer, with the temperament to go with it: jealous, melodramatic and passionate.”
Suzanne Weiss – CultureVulture

“Jagde (who has appeared with the San Francisco Opera every season since his company debut in 2009) continues to impress as an impassioned romantic lead with a solid, healthy voice who consistently delivers the goods.”
My Cultural Landscape

“Brian Jagde, her Cavaradossi, crooned all of his three big arias with a warm, well-placed tenor.”
David Littlejohn – The Wall Street Journal

“. . . the strikingly handsome and firm-voiced tenor Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi . . . Jagde was a more animated romantic lead, especially in his first act back-and-forth with the lively Sacristan (a fine Dale Travis) and the desperate prison escapee Angelotti (Scott Conner).”
Steven Winn – San Francisco Classical Voice

“Jagde was at his finest in the role’s two big arias, rising to well-judged climaxes in Act 1’s “Recondita armonia” and bringing potency and grace to “E lucevan le stelle” at the beginning of Act 3.”
Joshua Kosman – SFGate

“As Cavaradossi, Jagde . . . sang big, excelled in duets with Haroutounian, suffered well during the Act 2 torture scene and hit the ball out of the park with his exclamation “Vittoria!,” an exposed and repeated high note known to challenge (and be the glory) of many a tenor. Jagde’s Act 3 “E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars were shining”) also was impressive.”
Janos Gereben –

“Brian Jagde, who introduced his Cavaradossi here in 2012, returned in good form, imparting warmth and ardor to the arias “Recondita armonia” and “E lucevan le stelle.”. . . Jagde is a charismatic presence . . .”
Georgia Rowe – Opera News

“. . . solid performances of Mark Delavan as Baron Scarpia and Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi, made this one of the great “Toscas” in an opera house with a special reverence for Puccini’s work.”
Opera Warhorses

“Cavaradossi suits Brian Jagde, and his gleaming voice was a good match for Haroutounian.”
The Opera Tattler

“In his aria, “Recondita armonia,” beautifully sung here by Brian Jagde, Cavaradossi marvels over the way two beautiful women – the blond, blue-eyed woman he saw praying and his own beloved, dark-haired and dark-eyed Tosca – have miraculously combined in his painted Magdalen.”
James Roy MacBean – Berkeley Daily Planet

“Jagde and Haroutounian did much to endow these rather cardboard figures with a modicum of human substance. Both of them accomplished this through an almost consistently sold vocal command, drawing in the attention of the audience in spite of their insignificance through Scarpia’s manipulations.”
Stephen Smoliar –

“. . . I enjoyed his easy and floating way of singing a line, effusing his role with sincerity, smarts and humor, and bringing alive this gentleman artist in the first scene. Bit by bit, he expanded on this opening gambit, growing cocky, rebellious, ardent: His Act 3 “E lucevan le stelle,” recalling the beginnings of Cavaradossi’s love affair with Tosca, combined great tenderness and biting intensity. Jagde sang his heart out.”
Richard Sheinin – San Jose Mercury News

“Lianna Haroutounian and Brian Jagde set the tone as the lovers, the passionate diva Floria Tosca and the flamboyant artist and revolutionary sympathizer Mario Cavaradossi. Both are superb actors, who relate beautifully to one another always in close connection, even when singing out towards the audience. Their performance of the magnificent duet, “Amaro sol per te” is about as good as Puccini gets, and that’s mighty good.”
Charles Kruger – TheatreStorm

“Young American tenor Brian Jagde was the Cavaradossi. This former Adler Fellow has at last shown that he is ready for the War Memorial and other important stages, that he a finished artist . . . Here with Maestro Riccardo Frizza in the pit he was given the musical space to sing, and that he did beautifully.”
Michael Milenski – Opera Today

“An Adler fellow with the SF Opera, he had floored us in one of our first encounters with him in Puccini, that seems to be his territory. He’s still growing into the role, finding more confidence and more heft in his voice. And the familiarity of the cast with the staging ensured that all flowed smoothly, with none of the slight hesitations you may encounter on opening night.”
Cedric –

“Brian Jagde is making quite a name for himself as a Puccini tenor . . . His singing still remains bold, and his duets with Haroutounian are absolutely thrilling . . . the audience responded with cheers.”
Philip Campbell – The Bay Area Reporter

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