Recital / Metropolitan Opera

“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.”

– Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review

“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.”

– David Salazar, Latin Post

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."

– Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal