Kelly Griffin’s Leah transformed Beethoven’s Leonore into a fanciful power-to-the-people wonder woman.
...Leonore as Leah, portrayed by the fierce and wonderful Kelly Griffin. Leah is trying to work within the system to free her husband, but the underfunded and overstretched public defenders’ office deems the case a loser. In a dream, she becomes Lee, a prison guard intent on rescuing Stan. Griffin soared through ‘Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?’, displaying with her fine soprano Lee’s steely determination to free Stan.
Soprano Kelly Griffin, is a major presence and voice as Leah/Lee...
In the central role, Kelly Griffin gave a highly expressive performance that won a warm audience response...in several soft, long-sustained phrases that made evident her strengths as a musician—as did her highly accurate sounding of some tricky intervals...The role’s requirements suggested the more sophisticated among “American verismo” works of Jack Beeson and Carlisle Floyd, and Griffin’s committed execution of it evoked musical theater-ready “legit” sopranos of a previous generation, such as Brenda Lewis and Eileen Schauler...the Woman’s one real solo aria envisioning and addressing her not-to-be future child, which projected a genuine operatic ethos that Griffin delivered strongly.
Kelly Griffin brought a range of emotional color and a soprano of strength and polish to Leah. She also managed the neat dramatic trick of hiding her fear from the other characters, while letting the audience into every thought.
Kelly Griffin, was an imposingly passionate Leah carrying off “Abscheulicher!” with authority.
Soprano Kelly Griffin made an incisive Leah, powerful yet warm...
Kelly Griffin jerked tears and kicked butt as Leah (Leonore)...
Possessed of a mezzo’s velvety sheen, soprano Kelly Griffin, as Amelia, has power...
Kelly Griffin, has sung Lady Macbeth…. She has a warm, powerful, clearly Verdian sound with a beautiful mid-range...She was in full, gratifying, command by the time “Vergine degl’angeli” rolled around, with great, serene pear-shaped phrases. (A Leonora di Vargas is also an Aida, and she sings that role too.)
The crowning jewel of any performance of Forza is Leonora, the opera’s star-crossed heroine, sung here by soprano Kelly Griffin. Ms. Griffin had the right amount of steel and flint in her voice to strike sparks with Mr. Brooks and cut through the large swirling ensemble in the inn scene. She summoned tones of warm religious passion in “Madre pietosa vergine”, the triple-length scena, aria and grand religious finale that is the fulcrum of the entire work. Offstage for all of Act III, Ms. Griffin returned in fine voice for the Act IV aria “Pace, pace mio Dio”, the opera’s searing spiritual climax.
Kelly Griffin, the dramatic soprano who sang Leonora was possibly one of Daniel Cardona’s “discoveries” about 3 years ago when she bowled us over with....(you guessed it, didn’t you?)...”Pace, pace mio Dio”. We heard her sing it again a few months ago; she has grown into the entire role and performed it with passion and intensity, well served by her generous instrument, which has an agreeable vibrato.
Griffin possesses a thick creamy voice that easily projected over any orchestra. She also has a rich middle voice…there were moments of pathos in her singing particularly the second aria “Madre, pietosa vergine”. Griffin repeated the words “Pieta” with emphatic grief. The aria built in momentum with her sound’s growing volume ratcheting up the intensity. It was the highlight of her evening.
Another challenge in producing the work is casting Lady Macbeth, a ferociously demanding part extending from fierce declamation to the most delicate pianissimo singing. Kelly Griffin sailed through the treacherous role with a lean, cool soprano encompassing both pingy high notes and gutsy plunges into chest register. She commanded the stage with icy presence, betraying the character’s doubts with no more than a glance. Even in the sleepwalking scene, she maintained a dignified, almost formal bearing echoed by her graceful bel canto vocalism.
Soprano Kelly Griffin has a substantial instrument as well, singing “Pace, pace mio Dio!” from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino with deep involvement, building to a powerful anguished climax. In “Ritorna vincitor!” from Verdi’s Aida, she created a most believable character, tortured by ambivalence.
One need look no further than Kelly Griffin's portrayal of Electra from Mozart’s Idomeneo . . . Griffin embodied her role, with a fierceness matched by a rounded tone and superb coordination with the orchestra.
Soprano Kelly Griffin floated over the orchestra, phrasing expressively. The orchestra and chorus built up to the passion of which the poem sings, which was released in sensitive, softer singing.
Five musical numbers from “Die Fledermaus”, Strauss, closed the first part of the program. Among these we must highlight the participation of Kelly Griffin, who holds a powerful voice . . . Griffin returned to the scene with a beautiful ballad in her beautiful voice - the only sung in German that afternoon, the entire program was sung in Spanish - from The Chocolate Soldier by Oscar Straus.
Kelly Griffin also gave a very accomplished “Quando m’en vo”. . . a fantastic “La bohème” quartet by Aladren / Antunez and Martinez / Griffin closed the first part of the evening.