"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
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.
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.
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.”As Achille, Ray Chenez justifies his love and counters the slightly mocking Ulisse that he would answer the call of war fanfare at the crucial moment. Chenez is convincing with clean high notes and flexible runs, and sets the aria theatrically quite confidently.”A further musical highlight is Achilles great aria at the end of the second act, when he wants to prevent with all his might that his beloved Ifigenia will be sacrificed. Chenez Boldly defies the gods with clearly focused coloratura and numerous changes of register.
Ray Chenez sang the role of Athamas with elegant phrasing.
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.
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.
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.
Ray Chenez incarne un Amore absolument divin.””Ray Chenez embodies an absolutely divine Amore.
Radianta voce de pură soprană dramatică a lui Ray Chenez””Radiant pure dramatic soprano voice of Ray Chenez
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.
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.
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.
Countertenor Ray Chenez sang the Sorceress with commanding vigor
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
In a touch of luxury casting, countertenor Ray Chenez sang radiantly.
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).
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.
Countertenor Ray Chenez captured the audience’s heart.
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.
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.
Ray Chenez was the soloist, and his countertenor was more full-bodied than the boy alto for whom the part was written.
Ray Chenez sang with bell-like clarity.
© Julien Benhamou
© Marielle Solan