SALOME

Florida Grand Opera

"Pennsylvania soprano Kirsten Chambers is tall, svelte, and drop-dead movie star gorgeous. More to the point, she has training as a dancer, extraordinary musicianship and a voluminous penetrating voice that can ride the mammoth orchestral sound and sound as fresh at the end as in her first lines. 

It’s no surprise that she was hired as a cover (understudy) for Isolde at the Met in 2016, as well as for Salome. And when the scheduled singer became ill, Chambers made her unexpected debut on less than a half-day’s notice. Salome is a killer role, but this splendid artist was vocally and physically fearless. She dominated the proceedings, and performed the dance with agility and allure – along with the now-obligatory flash of full frontal at the end.

In her central confrontation with the tangibly imposing, sonically stentorian Jokanaan of Mark Delavan, Chambers was up close and personal, hardly wincing at the prophet’s vicious rejections. Her voice rang out in the upper range, projected reasonably well in the middle, then took on an appropriately sinister timbre in the very low excursions that pepper her maniacal final scene solo with the severed head. In Salome’s final excruciatingly high vocal line, a point where many singers weaken and rush through, this imperturbable soprano looked straight at the conductor as together they drew out the top notes with seemingly endless stamina and exultation."

- Robert Croan, Palm Beach Arts Paper

"From her first entrance Chambers proved a Salome to be reckoned with. She brought movie-star glamour and a sense of cunning to the princess’s every move. Chambers is a terrific singing actress, and even when she stood perfectly still on stage, she commanded attention. She was lively and vivacious at her first entrance. This Salome was downright flirtatious toward Jochanaan when he emerged from the cistern and seemed bewildered by his rejection and denouncement, reaching out to him as he returned to his prison. She became a tigress as she intoned the phrase “Give me the head of Jochanaan” to Herod with ever more rage. 

Chambers’ vocal range easily encompassed the role’s demands, and her bright sound carried easily over Strauss’s orchestra at full force with high notes that ring like steel.  She reveled in the long phrases, bringing finely varied dynamics and vocal coloring to her exchanges with Herod. Chambers made the psychodrama of the final scene compelling as Salome embraces the severed head of the prophet in this solo tour de force."

- Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review