In the Press



Ingrid Gerk - Online Merker

René Pape is known worldwide as a highly sought-after and esteemed opera singer with the voluminous bass instrument, with which he sings the great operatic roles of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Giuseppe Verdi, and others ... but he is a more versatile Artist, who occasionally very convincingly sings songs from musicals, etc., and - as one could only once again convince him of his latest song evening at the Semperoper - it was his third at this point - is an ideal song-singer and interpreter. Despite great operatic roles, his voice sounds unused, he has preserved his smooth, "velvety" sound with all its facets and subtleties in this genre."

Charles Arden - Olyrix

"Henri the Fowler is portrayed by René Pape (who will soon sing the performances at Bastille where he will also perform Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute ...). With his voice and his stage presence assured and ample, he incarnates the King with such naturalness that he does not need to act it. There lies the secret of a successful interpretation: a live character does not need to be forced. The naturalness of the portrayal actually supports that of a voice that unfolds freely. Hands at his back, he walks with nobility before his office and leans on the map of his empire, radiating a song shimmering like his amulets of gold. Sound with each iteration, he surpasses the fortissimos of the brass and seems even carried by the powerful orchestral tutti."

{Henri l'oiseleur est incarné par René Pape (qui enchaînera bientôt les représentations à Bastille où il interprétera également Sarastro dans La Flûte enchantée de Mozart ...). De sa voix et de sa présence scénique assurées et amples, il incarne le Roi avec tant de naturel qu’il n’a pas besoin de le jouer. Là repose le secret d’une interprétation réussie : un personnage vécu n’a pas besoin d’être forcé. Le naturel de l’incarnation soutient de fait celui d’une voix qui se déploie librement. Mains dans le dos, il chemine avec noblesse devant son auguste bureau et s'appuie sur la carte de son empire, rayonnant d’un chant miroitant comme ses épaulettes d'or. Sonore à chaque intervention, il surpasse les fortissimos des cuivres et semble même porté par les puissants tutti orchestraux.}

Jim Pritchard - Seen and Heard International

"... it was clear we were all in the presence of a great artist ... Pape and Radicke saved the best till last and excelled in Mussorgsky’s Pesni i pljaski smerti (Songs and Dances of Death). Yes, death once again! ... ‘Kolïbelnaya’ (Lullaby) was energetic and deceptively soothing despite its subject matter of Death coming for a young child. In ‘Serenada’ the serenade is that of Death singing at the window of a young girl who is asleep and Pape’s characterisation was hauntingly redolent of her impending fate. The next was a folk dance, ‘Trepak’ and he snarled malevolently as Death enshrouds a weary, old peasant in a blanket of snow ... Pape brought out all the horrors of Mussorgsky’s scene painting by communicating everything simply through just voice and phrasing … and not forgetting his consummate artistry ..."

Tim Ashley - The Guardian

" ... the concert proved a vindication of artistry over circumstance, and the best of it was truly magnificent ...

Quilter’s sad, sweet ironies were scrupulously judged. Mussorgsky’s unremitting meditation on mortality, meanwhile, was simply outstanding, its seductive morbidity and nihilistic violence all the more chilling for being delivered with such beauty of tone and formidable authority."

Pedro González Mira - ForumClásico

"Fortunately, the Argentine director worked on this occasion for his staged production with a team of singers that brushes with perfection. All are very good ... but the absolute ten of the group is taken by René Pape (Gurnemanz) in true state of grace."

{Afortunadamente, el director argentino contó esta vez para su versión musical con un equipo de cantantes que roza la perfección. Todos están muy bien ... pero el diez absoluto del grupo se lo lleva un René Pape (Gurnemanz) en verdadero estado de gracia.}

Tim Pfaff - The Bay Area Reporter

"If you've seen a great Parsifal this lifetime, Rene Pape was probably the Gurnemanz, and if he's ever given a slack performance, I haven't heard about it. Still, the sharp, multifaceted character Tcherniakov draws out of him makes his earlier portrayals look like sketches for this canvas in Rembrandt oils. There's singing that will bowl you over. Pape's expressive range is complete, his timing incisive and alarmingly immediate. Tcherniakov cleverly turns the first act's long Grail narrative into a slide show Gurnemaz conducts, complete with pointer, but an idea that could have gone terribly wrong is saved by using historical depictions of the Grail legend and early Parsifal productions, Pape a holy Scheherazade talking-story."

John Rhodes - Seen and Heard International

"René Pape as King Philip is now a stalwart in this role and his grand aria ‘Ella giammai m’amo’ was impeccably delivered ..."

F. Paul Driscoll - Opera News

"The Met cast every character in the opera from strength, with only René Pape's magisterial Marke a known commodity in New York. Pape, whose melancholy dignity and sumptuously textured bass stole the show at the premiere of the met's last new 'Tristan,' in 1999, affirmed his kingly stature and musical acuity under Rattle's baton."

David Patrick Stearns - The Philadelphia Inquirer

"When King Marke is betrayed, Rene Pape makes his long, sorrowful monologue one of the opera's centerpieces. Only three or four singers in the world can credibly handle these roles, so this cast is unquestionably the best one could hope for."

David Shengold - GCNews

“Don Carlo” on June 21 also enjoyed international-level casting ... The unhappy regal pair took the highest honors ... René Pape’s bass showed considerable velvet sheen and elegant dynamic play; purely as singing and star presence, he impressed.

Heidi Waleson - Wall Street Journal

"Verdi’s “Don Carlo,” in a serviceable production directed by Emilio Sagi and designed by Zack Brown, was all about the cast. The standout was René Pape’s riveting King Philip II, the embodiment of power until he crumbled in his late-night reflection that his wife doesn’t love him."

Renate Stendhal - Huffington Post

"Of course a mature singer like Rene Pape has a majestic grip on his role, no matter what, and his monologue of a sleepless night, pondering his loveless marriage and the limits of his power, brought the house down."

Stephen Smoliar -

"Equally compelling was Pape’s ability to contrast Philip’s autocratic authority in the first two acts of the opera with his solitary confrontation with the consequences of his actions in the fourth act."

James Ambroff-Tahan - San Francisco Examiner

"The great bass René Pape was a regally stirring Philip, showing poise ruling almighty Spain, but also fretting over his marriage to Elizabeth, knowing full well that her heart belongs to his son. Pape’s stentorian voice resonated throughout, especially in the Act 4 aria “Ella giammai m’amo,” in which he is as much a man with feelings as Europe’s most powerful monarch."

Georgia Rowe - The Mercury News

"The cast's other powerhouse was René Pape as Philip. Singing with dark, magisterial tone, the German bass made the king a commanding, intriguingly complex character . . ."

SFGate - Joshua Kosman

"Yet perhaps the afternoon’s most commanding contribution came from bass René Pape as King Philip II, Carlo’s father and rival in both love and war. With his gleaming, polished sound and impeccably focused phrasing, Pape created a character at once formidable and sympathetic; his long Act 4 soliloquy, accompanied by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra’s great principal cellist David Kadarauch, was a virtuoso display of fierce pathos."

The Opera Tattler

"René Pape is completely believable as King Philip II, his rich tones sounded mature . . ."

Carlos Maria Solare - Opera Magazine

". . . Pape's authoritative Gurnemanz . . ."

Jonathan Sutherland - Bachtrack

"With a truly imposing stage presence, René Pape as Filippo II gave the best performance of the evening. Despite many seasons singing in the huge expanse of the Met, the voice has retained its power and lustre . . . The impassioned sustained top E natural on “amor” in “Ella giammai m’amò” was superb and his phrasing and diction exemplary throughout."

Keith McDonnell - musicOMH

"Luminous playing which verged on the sublime in the last act and a virtually unchanged cast from last year combined to give as uplifting an account of this opera as you’re likely to encounter today. If anything Rene Pape was a more mellifluous Gurnemanz . . ."

Francisco Quirce - Opera World

"René Pape sings with the entirety of his soul. His debut in this role was more than convincing. It is amazing, his voice and gestures as Mephistopheles will certainly be a performance to remember. His voice is beautiful, large, even if the range is truly low, and crosses the fine line between evil, deceit and undoubtedly the voluptuousness of what Boito wanted for his character."

(René Papé actúa con el alma. En su debut de este papel resultó más que convincente. Es sorprendente cómo asume con su voz y su gestualidad un Mefistófeles que sin duda quedará para el recuerdo. Su voz es bella, grande, aún si verdadera definición de bajo, y su línea de canto navega entre la maldad, el engaño y la voluptuosidad de lo que Boito quiso para su personaje, sin lugar a dudas.)

Sonia Hossein-Pour - Forum Opéra

"René Pape as Hermann . . . superb singing, both dark and sparkling, which is always deeply rooted in the earth."

{René Pape, en Hermann . . . son chant superbe, à la fois sombre et étincelant, est toujours comme profondément enraciné dans la terre.}

José M. Irurzun - Beckmesser

"The other luxury casting was once again the presence of René Pape as the character of Philip II. For me, he is one of the best interpreters of the role in years - if not the best of them all . . . he remains a very good Philip II, both dramatically and vocally."

{El otro lujo de la representación era la presencia una vez más de René Pape en el personaje de Felipe II. Sigue siendo para mí uno de los mejores intérpretes del personaje desde hace años – si es que no es el mejor de todos ellos . . . En cualquier caso, sigue siendo un Felipe II muy bueno, tanto escénica como vocalmente.}
['Don Carlo' - Bayerische Staatsoper]

Jeffrey A. Leipsic - Opera News

René Pape sang a heartbreakingly splendid King Marke . . .
['Tristan und Isolde' - Bayerische Staatsoper]

Dr. Michael Bordt -

René Pape sang with a deep bass and to wonderfully effortless heights as King Marke . . .
['Tristan und Isolde' - Bayerische Staatsoper]


"René Pape's vocal beauty was also a thing of wonder."

Zachary Woolfe - The New York Times

"Is there a singer on the Metropolitan Opera’s roster more deserving of a solo recital on its stage than René Pape, who received that honor on Sunday afternoon? After nearly 20 years and 200 performances with the company, this German bass’s steady, wine-dark voice and suave presence have become indispensable . . . Mr. Pape is elegantly restrained, a natural storyteller who draws you in slowly and carefully, yet confidently, rarely grabbing you by the lapels but effective, nevertheless, at making you listen . . . His final encore, “If Ever I Would Leave You,” from Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot,” summed up the recital: calm, burnished, decorous, gorgeous."

Heidi Waleson - Wall Street Journal

"Those who wanted more of Mr. Pape (and who wouldn't?) got plenty at his solo recital at the Met on Sunday afternoon. His voice, luxuriant and complex as molten dark chocolate, effortlessly filled the house in a serious program in four languages: a Beethoven group (German), Dvorák's somber "Biblical Songs" (Czech) and Roger Quilter's first three Shakespeare songs (Op. 6) (English). Best of all was how completely he took on the role of the protagonist in Mussorgsky's four "Songs and Dances of Death" (in Russian): Death came as a lullaby, a seducer, a mocking sadist, and finally the triumphant, nihilist god of war. After this chilling and ferocious performance, Mr. Pape lightened the mood with a pair of quick encores by Strauss and Schumann and then, if just to prove that basses can be lovers, "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot." Camillo Radicke was his deft, sensitive pianist."

Eric C. Simpson - New York Classical Review

"“One of the most powerful voices on the operatic stage . . . he showed that even without the dramatic trappings of the theater, he is a formidable artistic force . . . Pape was an image of composure, making no superfluous motions, and communicating everything with his voice and phrasing alone.”

David Salazar - Latin Post

“Pape is a regal artist . . . Beethoven's "Six Songs after Poetry by Gellert, Op. 48" are filled with praises and pleas to God. Pape's singing throughout was contained, firm and measured . . . The third piece of the set "Vom Tode (On Death)" was arguably one of the defining moments of the recital. Pape's voice hushed throughout and filled with mystery, only rising to a fearful forte on the phrase "Und was ist's, das ich vielleicht?"

Nothing matched the dramatic power of the Mussorsky. The opening Lullaby was haunting in its execution. There was a shortness and expressive trepidation throughout the phrasing of the piece, making this a rather foreboding lullaby . . . It was a triumphant night for this terrific pair of artists. As with other such recitals, Pape continued to make an argument for more of these performances at the Met in coming seasons. And by more, it doesn't mean just one but multiple throughout the year.”

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