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Opera News reviews "Child Alice"

This maximalist alternative to minimalist repetition allows for continuous reinvention, and conductor Rose ensures that each iteration feels like a fresh departure over the long orchestral movements that bridge soprano Courtenay Budd’s solo passages. Her vocal line is unforgiving—Del Tredici places the two themes in an uncomfortably high tessitura but also demands an enormous range. (At one point, the soprano climbs two and a half octaves from the low G beneath the staff to a high B above.) Budd, amplified over the BMOP’s blaring orchestral forces, manages to execute these Wagnerian extremes with remarkable lightness and sparkling vibrato.

Gramaphone UK loves "Child Alice"

"With the Boston Modern Orchestra Project on top form and soprano Courtenay Budd epitomising radiance and agility, Gil Rose conducts a performance of arresting character, finesse and instrumental prowess."

Zoë Madonna’s picks for 2017’s best classical albums

Boston Globe

In March 2016, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and superhero soprano Courtenay Budd plunged down the rabbit hole into David del Tredici’s monumental two-hour fantasia “Child Alice,” presenting a one-night-only performance at Jordan Hall. The technical twists and excruciating demands of the work may preclude frequent live performances, but this recording on in-house label BMOP/sound is a masterpiece in its own right. The bubbling frenzy and acute desperation of the live performance telegraph exquisitely. Next stop, Wonderland.

Child Alice is an important addition to the recorded catalogue of major American symphonic music

Jonathan Blumhofer, Artsfuse

One of the reasons Child Alice has remained obscure owes to its vocal demands. It’s a piece that requires a soprano of Wagnerian stamina (she sings for about an hour-and-a-half) as well as voice that can navigate the stratospheric acrobatics of bel canto. In Courtenay Budd, BMOP and Del Tredici have an ideal soloist, one whose singing evinces purity and innocence but also strength of character and a certain mischievousness that suits this music well. Her diction is largely excellent, even in the highest-tessitura passages, and, expressively, she brings a winning understanding to Del Tredici’s treacherous vocal writing."

Boston visit includes performances of major work by influential American and a stirring evening with symphony

Joseph Dalton, Albany Times-Union

Soprano Courtenay Budd showed protean strength and endurance, but also plenty of appealing style.

Listening to Alice's Thoughts

Allan Kozinn, The Wall Street Journal

...Gil Rose demonstrated on Friday evening at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, when he led the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the soprano Courtenay Budd in a stunning performance of “Child Alice,” the most ambitious work in the series. ..“Child Alice” runs about 21/4 hours plus intermission and requires a huge orchestra. It has a central, rather gymnastic soprano line, which Ms. Budd rendered with alluring subtlety at times and ecstatic energy elsewhere.

Rose, BMOP wax ecstatic in glorious, unsettling ‘Alice’

Steve Smith, The Boston Globe

Neither the instrumentalists nor Courtenay Budd, an estimable soprano well versed in Del Tredici’s idiom, seemed overly taxed by evening’s end, when a thinned but still-substantial audience awarded a hearty ovation to them and to Del Tredici, who looked visibly moved.

Stellar Vocalism Propels Symphony Of The Americas' Opera To Broadway Program

Lawrence Budman, Fort Lauderdale Connex

Soprano Courtenay Budd was an utter delight, her coloratura glittering in the tricky roulades of Qui la voce - viendiletto from Bellini's I Puritani. She sang Johann Strauss' Voices of Spring with the idiomatic fluency of a born operetta performer. Her trills were pinpoint perfect, the style appropriately dipped in Viennese schmaltz. ...Budd was a wonderfully lyrical Mimi, her voice soaring...

Symphony of the Americas opens matinee series with Operatic Songfest:

Lawrence Budman, Fort Lauderdale Connex

Soprano Courtenay Budd's flawless coloratura is always a pleasure to hear. Her light, agile Caro Nome from Verdi's Rigoletto was replete with bel canto gleam. In the Adina-Nemorino duet from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Budd's delightful interplay with tenor Eduardo Aladren registered comedic lightness, the singing exquisite. Love Comes Where You Find It from the 1940's Frank Sinatra- Kathryn Grayson film The Kissing Bandit has long been a coloratura showpiece and Budd unleashed the glittering fireworks and fizz, the song and performance an utter delight."

No Longer Lonely, A Birthday Boy Plays at His Party:

Anthony Tommasini, the New York Times

The program, in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia, presented the bright-voiced coloratura soprano Courtenay Budd, a champion of Mr. Del Tredici’s work, in two of his iconoclastic, unabashedly Neo-Romantic and very demanding song cycles ("Miz Inez Sez" and "Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter"), with the composer at the piano. ...Ms. Budd brought gleaming sound, complete involvement and impressive stamina to both cycles, which she sang from memory. The audience, though not large, gave a standing ovation to Ms. Budd and Mr. Del Tredici, still following his bliss."

Artists Series of Sarasota Recital (2011):

Gayle Williams, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

a musical poetry reading, a luxuriant bath in vocal beauty, a thrill ride...bright, lively and engaging in her performance, she was anything but boring...real talent for storytelling which delighted us repeatedly throughout the evening...glorious upper range... considerable emotional range....Honestly, I fell in love during her set of French songs. This was where I felt her voice was most lovely and Budd struck the musical balance of beauty, poetry and story. Each song was a masterful choice of music and delivery...There was an attractive sizzle to this entertaining woman, so committed to sharing what she loved about the music of contemporary American composers..." (See below for the full review).

BargeMusic (2010):

Leonard Lehrman, New Music Connoisseur,

"On Saturday, May 29, 2010, we heard soprano Courtenay Budd, accompanied by composer David Del Tredici in two of his masterful song cycles, and his lovely "Acrostic Song" as encore, at BargeMusic. He was obviously inspired, by the poetry of Joshua Beckman in the 1998 "Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter," and in the 1996 "Miss Inez Sez" by that of Colette Inez, who was present for the performance. The audience was given the full texts to follow, but Budd, who performed everything from memory, was not only beautifully expressive but impeccable in her delivery of every word and note. Especially memorable were the musical treatments of phrases like "hoarse voices," "jabbering flowers," and "The room spins...bouncing up and down" - particularly appropriate for the Barge.

Jeff Johnson, Charleston Post and Courier

The evening at the Sottile was a personal triumph for Spoleto favorite Courtenay Budd as Laurie, one of those small-town girls common in this sort of bucolic pastoral, who longs to escape the country to New York or Moscow or somewhere over the rainbow. From Laurie's first aria, filled with emotion, and powerfully sung with perfect diction and tonal purity, Budd embodied this little rustic from head to barefoot.

William Furtwangler, Charleston Post and Courier

...a hauntingly beautiful song, "The Maiden and the Nightingale." Soprano Courtenay Budd with Wadsworth, on piano, presented it. Budd was in exquisitely radiant form and Wadsworth was impeccable.

Tim Page, Charleston Post and Courier

I stayed long enough to hear soprano Courtenay Budd sing one of Bach's early cantatas, "Mein Herz Schwimmt in Blut" (BWV 199) with an abbreviated version of the Spoleto Festival USA orchestra under the direction of Andrew Megill.\n\n Budd sang with a welcome mixture of tonal purity, musical intelligence and emotional intensity, a lovely artist.

Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper

Next up was \italicsDer Hirt auf dem Felsen/italics (The Shepherd on the Rock) by Franz Schubert: the final complete work he left us before his outrageously early death at age 31. It's written for solo soprano and piano, with clarinet obbligato. Wonder-soprano Courtenay Budd did the vocal honors, enhanced by Jose Franch-Ballester's dulcet clarinet; Wadsworth presided at the Steinway.\n\n I've already blogged here about the goosebumps that Budd often gives me - well how about a total, shiver-me-timbers body rush? That's exactly what one of her ecstatic high notes gave me this time. And with Jose's lustrous clarinet tones echoing her vocal lines, plus Charles' gentle and loving piano support, the music took me straight back to the place of my musical birth (I was blessed to grow up in Vienna, Schubert's hometown).

Howard Kissel, The Cultural Tourist, New York Daily News

The first Bach cantata, \italicsMein Herz Schwimmt in Blut/italics (My Heart Swims in Blood) was entirely unfamiliar. But its beauties were projected ardently by the tiny orchestra and the angelic soprano voice of Courtenay Budd.

From Spoleto USA (2009):

Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper

...we heard a winning threesome of vocal pieces, courtesy of cherished returning soprano Courtenay Budd... Ms. Budd offers the highest "goosebump" index of just about any soprano I've ever heard: I've been a rabid fan of hers for years. She packs her pure, silvery tone with almost too much emotion to bear. After she finished, I realized there were tears in my eyes - and that's hardly the first time she's done that to me.

Charleston Symphony: Aaron Copland - \italicsThe Tender Land/italics:

Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper

Star laurels must go instead to soprano Courtenay Budd, whom I've been joyfully listening to (and reviewing) for some time now - mostly in Spoleto's fabled chamber music series (Charles Wadsworth sure knows how to pick 'em). I've also plugged her ravishing CD of lullabies in last year's festival blog - read my review (and others) right \link\hypertextHERE/hypertext. She was an ideal Laurie: the restless adolescent heroine. This lovable young lady - as usual - sang straight from the heart, and her soaring high notes were enough to melt the frostiest soul. To boot, her diction was superb: she was the only singer whose every word I could understand. Her singing has a conversational quality to it... in places, I almost forgot it was opera I was hearing.

William Furtwangler, Charleston Post and Courier

"Soprano Courtenay Budd took center stage, with cellist Andres Diaz and Wadsworth at the piano, for Amy Beach's \italicsChanson d'amour/italics. It radiated the sensual romanticism of Chausson, Faure, and Duparc. Budd, who has been away from the series for several years, made an impressive return. With effortlessly floating high notes and a shining a powerful voice, Budd expressed the touching emotion and inward sentiment of Beach's short work."