Biller is a "knockout" as the Countess in Opera Theatre of St. Louis "Le nozze di Figaro"

05.28.2019

 

"All of that is the world we see. But we really came to hear. And the voices in this stellar cast do not disappoint. Most remarkable, I think, is soprano Susannah Biller as the Countess. Hers is a flexible talent: on this stage she has sung for us the lovely Adina in Elixir of Love, the royal fiancée in Richard the Lionheart, and the hunch-backed nymphomaniac maid Leni in Kafka's The Trial. In Figaro, she returns to nobility (which is her natural element). Her voice, throughout its range, shows a silvery-smooth beauty and such easy, effortless power! At the opening of Act 2-alone in her bedroom, surrounded by all that soft, rosy Fragonarderie-her aria pleading with the gods of love to return the Count's affections to her is stunningly lovely.” By Steve Callahan 

 

-Broadway World

 

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“Star on the rise, Susannah Biller, who announced her arrival in 2014’s OTSL production of Elixir of Love, is excellent as the fierce Rosina.” - Rob Levy

-ReviewSTL.com

 

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“The cast.....were well-chosen, particularly the women. The cast’s diction was almost uniformly excellent. Susannah Biller was a knockout as the Countess, providing an exemplar of Mozartean vocalism and bringing out every facet of this complex character. (And not every soprano could get away with that costume.)”
- St Louis Post Dispatch

 

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“Dewey is more a best friend than maid to soprano Susannah Biller’s Countess Rosina, and the two are a delightful vocal match. Though the women are of different classes, they treat each other as equals and the scene where the Countess dictates a letter to Susanna is a wonderfully controlled musical treat. Biller also has a show-stopping aria as she sings, longingly, for her husband to once again find his love for her. Though you don’t realize it in the moment, Biller’s effortless rendition lovingly establishes her ability to forgive her husband’s philandering.”
-KDHX.org

 

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“Several outstanding voices are in evidence in the performance, which also features accomplished acting by the stars. Susannah Biller puts her excellent soprano to good use as Countess Almaviva.”

-Ladue News

 

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“But it’s soprano Susannah Biller, who plays Almaviva’s wife, Rosina, who steals the show. When she first appears on stage the frantic action comes to a screeching halt, so languorous is her aria, so devastating her affect. You stop laughing and instead hold your breath. She is the tragedy in the middle of the comedy, the reminder that the foibles of men like her husband have a very real cost. 

Even with Biller’s powerhouse performance, you don’t linger on the tragedy. How could you? Everyone is around you is laughing out loud. (It’s remarkable how well the humor holds up 233 years later; perhaps we haven’t come such a long way, baby.) But as she sings, so beautiful and so desperately sad, you can’t help but be riveted. 

It’s Rosina, along with Figaro’s beloved Susanna (Monica Dewey), who sings “Canzonetta sull’aria” in the third act, and you might be familiar with this piece, too. In The Shawshank Redemption, it is this duet that Andy plays over the loud speakers, an act of defiance that brings the prisoners to a standstill and causes Red to remark, “I have no idea what those two Italian ladies were singing about. …. I like to think they were singing about something [so] beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream.” -Riverfront Times

 

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