Lea-ann Dunbar was an exceptional Thaïs, her acting making the transition from narcissistic courtesan to chaste nun most believable. Her singing also rose to the occasion on opening night: the timbre of her strong, creamy upper register is somewhat reminiscent of Renée Fleming’s sound. Her voice easily carried over all the tutti, but she also gave her role well supported pianissimos again and again, and even had powerful reserves for the exhausting final duet with Athanaël.
The singer of the title role, Lea-ann Dunbar, was awaited with great expectations after her fantastic Violetta in Lübeck. The intensity of her acting made the transition from whore to saint believable. The high tessitura of the role was perfect for her voice and the extreme high notes sounded effortless. The audience presented her with ovations for an exhilarating performance!
Lea-ann Dunbar formed Thaïs’s character and made clear the development from the frivolous courtesan to the doubting and despairing woman who continued on to devoutness … Her acting was excellent and her singing was outstanding. Throughout the opera she reached all the top notes and her precisely controlled voice always sounded relaxed and clear.
The star of the evening was Lea-ann Dunbar, who filled the title role with wonderfully lyric phrases and whose voice cut through even the thickest orchestration without problem.
Don Giovanni/Theater Pforzheim
The three women deserve special praise: Lea-ann Dunbar (Donna Anna) dominated with her beautiful spinto soprano voice and played her part with expressive power and great stage presence.
Britten War Requiem/Lübeck Marienkirche
The American soprano Lea-ann Dunbar also emphasized the music’s international language and message of peace. Her male colleagues were very good; she, however, was outstanding. Her voice was creamy and warm all the way to high C, and it filled the enormous church with an immense radiance and musical depth to the farthest corners.
La TraviatA/Theater Lübeck
Lea-ann Dunbar as Violetty Valery … Her powerful voice mastered the difficulties of this role seemingly without effort. Her expressive acting affects the emotions most deeply.
Lea-ann Dunbar has all the necessary vocal qualities at her disposal for the role of Violetta: a strong upper register, secure coloratura, and a delicate piano.
… the singing personnel is simply to die for … But no one touched the soul like Lea-ann Dunbar whose bell-like voice developed the greatest strength in Violetta’s most difficult moments.
Lucia di Lammermoor/Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach
Opening night would have been “perfectly normal” had it not been for Lea-ann Dunbar in the title role. Her performance left one absolutely speechless, fascinating with her delicate fragility and inspiring with her vocal virtuosity. The young American used the artificialness of the role “Lucia”….as a natural means of expressing emotion. Instead of just presenting a well-rounded, flexible vocal technique, she explored love and insanity, sorrow and despair with a wide range of colors in her well-focused, warm soprano voice. She did this so perfectly that the audience rightly lay at her feet.
The star of the evening was Lea-ann Dunbar as Lucia. The dramatic potential this graceful singer showed, both vocally as well as in her acting, was astonishing and touched the heart … Her singing truly came from the soul and her voice carried effortlessly to the back row.
Dunbar can claim a voice her own that is sparkling and sturdy up through dizzying heights, a voice completely dependable through to the end of the opera despite the almost unreasonable demands of the murderous role. Her two famous arias … were the highlights of the evening. Furthermore, she created a figure that was believable in her passionate love for Edgardo as well as in her madness to which she was driven by her brother Enrico.
La Bohème/Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach
Lea-ann Dunbar was a beguilingly evocative Mimi…She not only filled the shell of the ailing figure with tenderness and warmth, but also showed the extreme fragility of this sick woman. Her interpretation of “Mi chiamano Mimi … ”, soaring from fragile to heroic, was brilliant and deeply moving. The critic was not the only one with tears in his eyes.
I Masnadieri/Theater Hildesheim
Listening to Lea-ann Dunbar’s bubbling coloratura and brilliant high notes, one can’t help but think of the “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind, for whom Verdi wrote the role of Amalia.