James Oxley “extraordinary” and Benjamin Bevan “remarkable” in Dijon’s Curlew River

04 May 2016

Benjamin Bevan and James Oxley have received five-star reviews for their performances in Opéra de Dijon’s recent new production of Britten’s Curlew River.  Both artists were making their role debuts as the Ferryman and Madwoman respectively in a production which has been hailed as a triumph.

Commenting on Benjamin, the critics have called him “remarkable” (musicologie.org) and “a magnificent baritone…with a natural authority and an imposing figure…a singer with a resonant voice, well-balanced and with a permanent intelligibility” (Forum Opera).  They also remarked that he “convincingly expressed the gruff kindness that characterizes the Ferryman” (bachtrack.com) and that he “interpreted his role with a martial tone” (Olyrix). 

James Oxley - who sang the central role of the Madwoman - has received equally high praise, with one critic writing “James Oxley excels.  Graced with a clear and flexible upper register, his voice allows him to play fully on the gender ambiguity.  The dialogue between the Madwoman and the flute – with whom he is doubled – provides a high level of intensity and emotion.  Moreover, James Oxley’s diction is excellent making the text perfectly intelligible” (bachtrack.com).  Elsewhere, he has been lauded for his “staggering expressiveness” (Olyrix), “strength and smoothness” (Forum Opera), “beautiful performance” (Res Opera) and for his “amazing vividness” (musicologie.com).

You can read the full reviews by following the links to each artists’ profile on our website.  You can also watch a short video by Opéra de Dijon in which James Oxley talks about the work (in French) and where you can also hear him sing an excerpt from the opera.

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