Soprano Giselle Allen begins Season 2018-19 returning to Opera North in the title role Tosca. The artist also appears at Royal Festival Hall with The Bach Choir in a remembrance concert including Elgar’s The Spirit of England. She returns to Welsh National Opera in the role of Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul.
Last season saw the artist in performances at Nevill Holt Opera as Tosca, reviving a previous season’s success in Northern Ireland Opera’s production directed by Oliver Mears and conducted by Nicholas Chalmers. At Opera North she sang Mila Osud and Santuzza Cavalleria Rusticana as part of their autumn season ‘The Little Greats’, a series of six short operas presented on tour in the UK. In concert at the Sage, Gateshead, Giselle appeared in the title role Salome garnering the admiration of colleagues and audience alike.
Recent career highlights include Ellen Orford Peter Grimes at Bergen International Festival under the baton of Ed Gardner, a role she previously sang at Opera North, at Berlin’s Komische Oper and in the renowned 2013 Snape Maltings production on the beach at Aldeburgh (broadcast on BBC4 and released on DVD); and several roles in Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Gutrune, Gerhilde and Freia in the celebrated Opera North production of 2016, which toured the UK and was broadcast live on BBC4.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Giselle Allen has appeared in many productions with Northern Ireland Opera, including Mimi La Boheme and Salome, a portrayal that won her exceptional reviews. She added Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw to her list of NI Opera roles (a role she also sang at Glyndebourne Festival), and appeared there as Senta Der Fliegende Höllander and in the title role of Rusalka.
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The Consul, Welsh National Opera
Soprano Giselle Allen, in the role of Magda, gave a vocally powerful and moving performance, here and throughout.
Wales Arts Review, Cath Barton, 18 June 2019
Giselle Allen’s Magda deepened greatly in emotional depth and intensity during the course of the performance. She was at her most powerful in her extended Act III solo beginning ‘Papers! Papers! Papers!’ which built to a terrifyingly intense frenzy in the midst of which there was a clarity of insight that made her an eloquent spokesman for all (in whatever time, whatever country) going through a similar experience.
Seen and Heard International, Glyn Pursglove, 14 June 2019
Giselle Allen is Magda, a griping portrayal of a woman on the edge, who loses her baby, her mother-in-law and potentially her husband. The role truly comes into its own during ‘To this we’ve come’, a furious aria, here made exemplary by Allen….The only applause during the opera was for this aria, proving just how vital it is to the piece.
The Sprout, Weeping Tudor, 14 June 2019
Giselle Allen excels as Magda, making the most of the opera’s main set-piece aria, for which she received rapturous applause...
Buzz Mag, Sam Pryce, 13 June 2019
Magda Sorel is played by Giselle Allen who delivered a strong, emotive and beautiful vocal performance throughout all scenes and was amazing to watch.
Cardiff Times, 13 June 2019
...but it was Giselle Allen as Sorel's wife Magda who carried the show. Allen inhabited the character, the desperate inevitability of her suicide becoming gradually more implicit - an absolute tour de force.
Opera Magazine, Rian Evans, August 2019
Tosca, Opera North
Allen wonderfully captures the vulnerability that lurks beneath Tosca’s self-dramatising temperament
The Guardian, Tim Ashley, 17 September 2018
…Scarpia receives his intended rape-victim Tosca – here the superb Giselle Allen – not in his office, but lounging complacently on a day-bed…Allen’s "Vissi d’arte" is a moving retrospective evocation of a life lived in the service of art.
The Independent, Michael Church, 17 September, 2018
Giselle Allen displayed considerable acting skills as Tosca... Her fiery, slinky Tosca, sometimes on the edge of hysteria, is truly memorable. “Vissi d’arte” was sung very much from the heart, beginning when she was horizontal in Scarpia’s den of a bedroom. When Scarpia forces her to watch her lover being tortured on the screen of his laptop, she was convincingly horrified and alarmed.
Bachtrack, Richard Wilcocks, 17 September, 2018
Initially haughty and stand-offish, she’s a winning stage presence, the occasional edge to her voice making her Tosca all the more human. Importantly, she can sing beautifully at high volume.
The Arts Desk, Graham Rickson, 17 September 2018
Allen's ever-jealous Tosca revealed the insecurities beneath her diva sheen, which made for a much more convincing relationship with Cavaradossi. But there was no insecurity in her soprano, which was lively above the stave while also heartfelt in 'Vissi d'arte', begun from a prone position.
Opera Magazine, Martin Dreyer, November 2018
In the title role, Giselle Allen was both touching and convincing: her ‘Vissi d’arte’ was not a standalone aria performance, but felt more a natural expression of her character – and was the more moving for being so.'
Opera Now, Anthony Arblaster, November 2018
Giselle Allen's Reviews
Giselle Allen's Opera Repertoire
PETER GRIMES Ellen Orford
THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN Fox
CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA Santuzza
DON GIOVANNI Donna Elvira
SOROCHINSKY FAIR Parassia
LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN Giulietta
SUOR ANGELICA Suor Angelica
THE BARTERED BRIDE Marenka
EUGENE ONEGIN Tatyana
A MIDSUMMER MARRIAGE Jennifer
OTELLO Desdemona (excerpts)
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Cressida
DAS RHEINGOLD Freia/Wellgunde
RISE & FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY Jenny
THE PASSENGER Martha
Giselle Allen's Concert Repertoire
OUR HUNTING FATHERS
CHILD OF OUR TIME