Julia Sporsén has made a very special double debut: singing for the first time the role of Kumudha in John Adams’s A Flowering Tree in her house debut at Gothenburg Opera. But it is not just for these reasons that this was such a special occasion for Julia. A native of Gothenburg, she started out working as an usher at the house where both her parents were solo singers in the ensemble. This was a very personal and sentimental return to the company and one which was welcomed with glowing reviews.
Singing alongside Rayfield Allied’s Omar Ebrahim’s Narrator, Julia’s portrayal of the lead female role has been described as one of “sonorous power and intensity” (Peter Bohlin, Dansportalen), her “soaring lyrical soprano” (Niklas Smith, seenandheard-international.com) bringing the music a “fascinating sense of stillness” (Magnus Haglund, GP). In his review for Dansportalen, Bohlin also talks about the “phenomenal strength” of Julia’s voice, noting how it made the second half “particularly poignant”.
Julia’s current engagement with Gothenburg Opera follows what was a hugely popular run of Christmas concerts with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in December last year, performances which resulted in an immediate re-invitation to perform with the orchestra this June. Later this year Julia will sing Violetta in La Traviata in Mellika Melouani Melani’s new production for the Folkoperan in Stockholm (more information here).
Omar Ebrahim received equally favourable reviews for his role as The Narrator, with Niklas Smith describing how he is “a figure of great dignity who gives us a lyrical baritone and clear enunciation of the text.” Smith went on to recount how Omar’s singing is “particularly gripping as his voice echoes with the horror of Kumudha’s mutilation.” Magnus Haglund noted how the baritone’s ability to “soar and float on the longer melodic phrases creates a real sense of beauty as both music and time appear to stand still.”
Click here to see an extended trailer for the production, including extracts from the performance.
Gothenburg Opera’s production of A Flowering Tree runs until 28th March 2015. To find out more about the production and to book tickets click here.