“The soprano’s sound was rounded and lustrous all afternoon, the sheer loveliness emphasized by the feeling that she was extending sustained notes just a little longer so the ear could linger, before her vibrato kicked in.
There was no strain to her high notes. Rather, there was a certain display of muscularity that elicited the intuitive excitement of being in the presence of pure power. And that was secondary to her long phrases, full of small inflections that showed character and mood, from the confident flirtations of “Qui te fiat si sévère” to the sublime focus and gentleness of her last lines in “C’est Toi, Mon Père.”
“Dis-moi que je suis belle,” the Act II “Mirror” aria, was marvelous. When Thaîs sings to the crowd (onstage and in the audience), she needs to invigorate and dazzle. In this scene, which opens the act, she becomes a three-dimensional character. Pérez seemed to hold time in her hand, the measures going past but the expression concentrated on unveiling the layers of her personality.
George Grella, The New York Classical Review, 13 November 2017
“Pérez’s interpretation of the heroine emphasized her alluring and seductive qualities, her voice vibrant with a relaxed and confident quality. Her initial vocal lines were deliciously sung, the legato elegant…
As Thaïs grew into her new role, her voice regained in strength, the sound fuller than at any point in the entire opera; this came to its apex in the final duet where the soprano effortlessly built to cathartic high Ds… For a role debut, it was a rather insightful and mature performance through and through.”
David Salazar, Operawire, 13 Novemeber 2017
“Ailyn Pérez did exactly what she should do: walked on stage and took over. From her first breath, the voice caressed, seduced – but, most importantly, demanded attention. I’m not sure that Pérez was actually several decibels louder than everyone else, but she might as well have been: you couldn’t stop concentrating fully on her whenever she sang, and were rewarded by the most luscious of timbre, utter security in the high notes and full commitment to the role.”
David Karlin, Bachtrack, 16 November 2017
” Pérez looked gorgeous in her Christian Lacroix costumes, vivaciously rendering words and music reflecting a hedonistic lifestyle as Thaïs seeks assurance from her bedroom mirror, and from Venus, that she is – and always will be – beautiful. However, once she decides to follow the conflicted monk Athanaël she dons plain and dark garments, and the vocal line darkens as well, but in the final scene, as Thaïs dressed in white dies, Pérez’s voice soared elegantly.
Pérez’s vocal brilliance and dynamic presence fully justifies returning Thaïs to the Met stage…”
David M. Rice, Classical Source, 15 November 2017
” Soprano Ailyn Pérez flaunts a creamily voluptuous voice (and, as the saying goes, a bod for sin) as the titular courtesan, and Gerald Finley’s flinty baritone makes something disturbingly real of the ascetic monk Athanaël.”
James Jorden, New York Observer, 14 November 2017
“They chose to play actual people rather than caricatures, a decision that made the charged interactions this agonized man and this misunderstood woman feel surprisingly — and, in today’s world, uncomfortably — real.”
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, 17 November 2017