19 Jan 2018
Benjamin Bernheim sings a solo recital at the Opéra National de Bordeaux with pianist Florence Boissolle. This important debut for the young tenor is broadcast live online by Medici TV, and is available after the recital on replay here.
Mr. Bernheim sang an all French program, including both mélodies and arias. He opened with a “L’invitation au voyage” by Duparc, and continued with a selection of Fauré and Gounod mélodies to round out the first half. For the second portion, Mr. Bernheim sang the most celebrated tenor arias in the French repertoire, including “Je suis seul…Ah fuyez, douce image!” from Massenet’s Manon, “Toute mon âme est là ! Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps” from Massenet’s Werther, and “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” from Bizet’s Carmen. Mezzo-soprano Aude Extrémo joined Mr. Bernheim to sing the final scene from Carmen as an encore, following a standing ovation from the Bordeaux audience. Mr. Bernheim then performed “Va pour Kleinzach!” from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann as his second encore.
When the recital concluded, both press and social media alike lauded his performance. French opera blog Forum Opéra commented:
“Yes, certainly, Benjamin Bernheim has something to contribute to the French repertoire, as he once said to Christophe Rizoud (Benjamin Bernheim: “I have something to contribute to the French repertoire”). It will clearly be fascinating to follow at a distance the singer’s recital appearances, a discipline that can only refine his musicality and reinforce his talent as a singer and performer.”
And Sud Ouest published a glowing review, writing:
“These exceptional vocal skills are clearly perfect for the most famous French operatic arias. Without artifice, with a firm stance, he easily embodied the torments of the Chevalier des Grieux entering the orders, the despair of Werther, the youthful ardor of Romeo or the forced humor of ‘Hoffmann …. recall that Jonas Kaufmann did not do better twenty years ago… after the same ovation, let’s wish him the same career!”
During and after the recital, those watching both in the opera house and online took to Twitter to share their reactions:
Mr. Bernheim travels to Vienna next, where he makes his role debut as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in February. This also marks his house debut at the Wiener Staatsoper.