Ray Chenez


"Ray Chenez's countertenor is bold and assertive, but also warm-toned and luxurious. He has a naturally electric presence, and his diction is precise no matter how high he sings." - Opera News



As Sifare, countertenor Ray Chenez attacked his challenging part with muscular energy. His steely sound never faltered as he tossed off terrifying quantities of coloratura. His second- and third-act arias, which featured bizarre, frilly ornaments repeated ad nauseum, followed by spectacular coloratura finishes, were particular triumphs.
— Ilana Walder-Biesanz, Bachtrack
Wenn dann so junge Sänger wie der obendrein auch noch ganz kurzfristig eingesprungene US-Amerikaner Ray Chenez in der Rolle von dessen Sohn Sifare ins Rennen gehen, das nötigt schon Respekt ab. Chenez in der Farinelli-Partie mit einer jugendlichen Frische, deutlich erkennbarem Potential und ohne Konditionsgrenzen. Die beiden Bravourarien und dann vor allem die wunderbar verschlungenen Duette mit seiner angebeteten Semandra.
— Joachim Lange, Neue Musikzeitung
Il faudra aussi renoncer à se laisser décoiffer par un organe surpuissant pour apprécier l’aplomb de Ray Chenez, la fraîcheur, la flexibilité et l’endurance de l’instrument (étourdissant « Cessa Roma superba e altera »), du reste bien projeté, et la présence, l’irrésistible ardeur de l’acteur. Il faut du cran mais aussi de la lucidité, sinon de la sagesse pour affronter pareil emploi sans fléchir ni forcer ses moyens pour épater la galerie.
— Bernard Schreuders, Forum Opera
Ray Chenez stattet Mitridates Sohn Sifare mit sauberen Höhen und virilem Klang aus. Mit großer Bravour meistert er die zahlreichen Verzierungen in seinen beiden großen Arien im zweiten Akt, wenn er sich von Semandra verraten glaubt, und im dritten Akt, wenn er erneut in den Kampf gegen die Römer zieht.
— Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin
Ray Chenez’s countertenor is bold and assertive, but also warm-toned and luxurious. He has a naturally electric presence, and his diction is precise no matter how high he sings.
— Brian Kellow, Opera News
She was well matched by Settecento newcomer, Ray Chenez, making a memorable debut as Olinto, seething and sniping his way through the opera. As tightly coiled as a spring, Chenez whipped out an unceasing cascade of rounded high notes through clenched jaw and with balled fists. His first aria “Di quell’ingiusto sdegno” showed off a crafted and elegant countertenor, with a clarity that makes it an engaging instrument.
— Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack
Ray Chenez rechtfertigt als Achille im Gegenzug seine Liebe und entgegnet dem leicht spöttischen Ulisse, dass er dem Ruf der Kriegsfanfaren schon im entscheidenden Moment wieder entschlossen folgen werde. Chenez überzeugt mit sauberen Höhen und flexiblen Läufen und legt die Arie auch darstellerisch recht selbstbewusst an.”

”Als weiterer musikalischer Höhepunkt kann Achilles große Arie am Ende des zweiten Aktes betrachtet werden, wenn er mit aller Macht verhindern will, dass seine geliebte Ifigenia geopfert wird. Mutig trotzt Chenez hier den Göttern mit klar fokussierten Koloraturen und zahlreichen Registerwechseln.”
— Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin
Ray Chenez sang the role of Athamas with elegant phrasing.
— Kevin Hanrahan , Opera News
Nous avions déjà repéré le mezzo clair et joliment fruité de Ray Chenez la saison dernière dans le Catone in Utica de Vinci, toutefois, s’il portait déjà bien le travesti, rien ne laissait présager un tel don pour la métamorphose : sosie de la Queen Mum (Nourrice) puis ado rebelle, nombril à l’air (Amour), sa double composition est tout simplement renversante.”

”We have already seen the bright and wonderfully fruitful mezzo Ray Chenez last season in Vinci’s Catone in Utica, however, having played a travesty very well, it was no indication of such a gift he has for metamorphosis: Doubling as the Queen Mother (Nutice) then a rebellious teenager, bare-midriff (Amore) his double nature is quite simply stunning.
— Bernard Schreuders, Forum Opera
On hésite à compter le contre-ténor Ray Chenez parmi les travestis ridicules tant le personnage, bien en voix, de la Nourrice se révèle touchant ; il confère d’ailleurs ensuite la même fraîcheur à l’Amour.”

”We hesitate to count the countertenor Ray Chenez among the ridiculous transvestites - both the character, well in voice, Nutrice proves touching; it confers, moreover, the same freshness to Amore.
— Gérard Condé, L'Avant-Scène Opéra
Nourrice et Amour d’une androgynie troublante autant à l’œil qu’à l’oreille, Ray Chenez fait sensation.”

”Ray Chenez, an intriguing androgyny to both eye and ear, makes a sensation, as both Nutrice and Amore.
— Gilles Charlassier, ConcertoNet
Ray Chenez incarne un Amore absolument divin.”

”Ray Chenez embodies an absolutely divine Amore.
— Elodie Martinez, Toute la Culture
Radianta voce de pură soprană dramatică a lui Ray Chenez”

”Radiant pure dramatic soprano voice of Ray Chenez
— Cătălin Sava, Adevărul
Ray Chenez for me was one of the night’s two revelations...his execution of every line of recitative was perfect, full of drama and emotion and his arias, particularly the later ones, were really exciting to hear. This is a young man with what amounts to a dramatic soprano voice which oozes potential.
— Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia
A sostituire l’infortunato Valer Sabadus un esordiente Ray Chenez nella parte di Marzia dalla solida scuola americana; stupisce per il volume assai considerevole e per il coinvolgimento attoriale.”

”To replace the sick Valer Sabadus was the newcomer Ray Chenez in the role of Marzia, from the solid American school; he amazed us with his considerable volume and the involvement in his acting.
— Marita Bevilacqua Bonetto, La Sala del Cembalo
Chenez is fantastic. He is marvelous vocally, hitting all the high notes with ease, and bringing a wistfulness to his hormonal arias. He seems like a born comedian. Even with that high voice, he is a masculine presence, and in the last act – the smoldering garden scene – he even became a bit predatory. I never picked up that vibe from any woman singing the part, however gifted an actress she was.
— Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News
Countertenor Ray Chenez sang the Sorceress with commanding vigor
— Fred Cohn, Opera News
Countertenor Ray Chenez had an excellent connection to text, superb vocal control and spotless diction in the Refugee’s aria from Jonathan Dove’s Flight
— Brian Kellow, Opera News
In a touch of luxury casting, countertenor Ray Chenez sang radiantly.
— Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times
The page Cherubino — a trouser role for a mezzo-soprano — is played by a man, countertenor Ray Chenez. This decision pays off handsomely because Chenez easily passes for a teenager. Performed by a man, everything about Cherubino registers more effectively; his cross-dressing is funnier, for instance, and he can really kiss Barbarina without making the audience squirm. (He can take off his shirt, too. When was the last time you saw a mezzo do that?) What Chenez does in a mezzo’s register is technically amazing and often affecting, and his Cherubino is at once hilarious and sympathetic (Thursday’s audience plainly adored him).
— Kevin Bazzana, Times Colonist (Victoria, Canada)
The opera’s casting was pitch perfect for Ray Chenez’s Cherubino, whose stunning countertenor and lanky gesticulations easily passed for the lusty teenager he’s written as. Typically a role for a mezzo-soprano in drag, the choice to cast a man as Cherubino in this production played brilliantly into some of the best physical humour of the piece.
— Melanie Tromp Hoover, CVV Magazine
Countertenor Ray Chenez captured the audience’s heart.
— Monica Prendergast, CBC Radio
In unusual but superbly successful casting, Cherubino, the love-lost page-boy, is sung by a male counter-tenor, not a female contralto. Every inch the hormone-infested youth, Ray Chenez sings with passion, as well as vocal agility.
— Elizabeth Patterson, Review Vancouver
Countertenor Ray Chenez won his prize for “Refugee’s aria” from J. Dove’s Flight, an opera with which we are unfamiliar. Notably, his English was comprehensible, something we never take for granted.
— Voce di meche, New York
Ray Chenez was the soloist, and his countertenor was more full-bodied than the boy alto for whom the part was written.
— John Fleming, Tampa Bay Times
Ray Chenez sang with bell-like clarity.
— Steve Hicken, Tallahassee Democrat

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© Julien Benhamou