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Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Australia

First appearance, 2000


Buoyant and yielding in the musical interpretation flowing from Jane Glover's elegant baton, The Marriage of Figaro - sung in English and more enjoyable as a result for a theatre full of people in summery mood - also has the distinction of having one of the most congenial performers of the central role of Susanna to appear in this much-revived staging.

Natalie Christie is a young Melburnian, back from study in Europe, who has every attribute needed to make a success of this part. Her height and build, physical resourcefulness and air of pert insouciance amount to ideal specifications for the dramatic qualities of a soubrette; and she matches - no, surpasses - this with a clear-toned, accurately aimed soprano voice of comfortable range and size.


Although the part of Susanna, written by Mozart for the much-admired, London-born Nancy Storace, is founded within the soubrette tradition, it goes far beyond this in theatrical and musical terms. In the vocal hierarchy of the opera's ensembles, her soprano ranks above that of the Countess and often takes the higher vocal line.


Christie, on the evidence of this exceptionally talented performance, would be a natural choice for this part whenever Opera Australia chooses to stage it... It's hard to imagine a better fit between a singer and an outstanding and immortal stage identity."

~

Roger Covell - The Sydney Morning Herald


I often have people whinging to me that the singing at Opera Australia just isn't exciting enough and that is often the case.

No complaints with Natalie Christie, though, a sparkling young Australian soprano making her company debut as Susanna. If you could get a ticket to one of the two final performances to hear her, I would urge you to do so, but if Monday's overflowing house is any guide, a John Howard apology to our Aboriginal brethren would be more readily available.

Christie is irresistibly funny, a tiny little dynamo effortlessly organising all about her. Where many of our young singers seem to rely on their physical performance to give a clue to how their vocal one should be unfolding, Christie offers a seamless marriage of the two. Yes, of course that's the way it should be, but...

With Christie's bright and beautifully placed voice at the centre of things, the rest falls into place satisfyingly.

~

Deborah Jones - The Australian


"... at the 2000 premiere was the Susanna of Natalie Christie, exploding with the sort of delicious joie de vivre which we all experience, however fleetingly, at some points in our lives - as when on the brink of marriage.

She can scamper about with incredible energy, almost as if she's an incipient Cherubino; just as importantly, however, she's capable of reining in her performance in a millisecond when the scenario requires restraint and seriousness."

~

David Gyger - Opera Opera




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