Pepe Becker - soprano and composer - reviews press clippings

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Pepe Becker: reviews

Comments from critics / reviewers on Pepe's performances as a soloist include:

"...quite breathtaking... exquisite..."
"...singing of pure magic..."
- The Dominion

"...a clarity and purity of sound seldom heard from sopranos..."
- Nelson Evening Mail

"...stunning solo singing, sensitively pitched into the expansive acoustic of the cathedral, seemed to take us back a few centuries..."
"...a radiant performance that built to a beautiful satisfaction..."
"...rapturous virtuosity..."
"...marvellous phrasing..."
"There is no empty display in Pepe Ward-Smythe's singing, just intelligence, taste and great skill."
- The Evening Post

"Becker is well-known as an early music specialist. While this recording exemplifies her unique approach as a soprano who sings with extreme clarity and pureness of tone, the repertoire is mostly 20th-century with folk influences... celebrating themes of romantic and spiritual love, heavily accented by metaphors evoking images of nature. The effect is a release that plays directly to Becker's strength as an artist, without limiting her to any one period - indeed, the music feels timeless rather than ancient... Webby and Becker bring an atypical kind of intensity to the music, passionate yet unexaggerated, and possibly closer to the original ideal of Schumann interpretation than today's accepted standard. A well-proportioned collection of beautifully performed music."
- Thomas Goss, on Radio NZ Concert, reviewing the CD "Love's Nature" (Pepe with Helen Webby, harp), March 2011

"Pepe Becker's soprano was as pure an instrument as I've ever heard it to be, whether in duet with the cornetto, or creating whole realms of beauty out of a single line. Where she really showed her solo mettle was in the Barbara Strozzi setting I'Eraclito Amoroso... a vocal line that soars, weeps, fumes, melts and charms, the whole drawing the listener into the gamut of emotion wrought by a text describing the despair of love's betrayal. Then... Monteverdi's Ohimè, dov' è il mio ben featured Pepe Becker and Peter Reid in perfect accord, relishing the music's mellifluous harmonisings and beguiling dovetailings of lines."
- Middle C, Peter Mechen, April 2010

"The excellent choice of soloists included soprano Pepe Becker whose I Know That My Redeemer Liveth, for example, was sung with an extraordinarily beautiful, pure tone..."
- The Manawatu Standard, 8 December 2009

"...Pepe Becker's soaring and fluid soprano line was an absolute delight."
- The Guardian, 10 December 2009

"Pepe Becker is a soprano with Early Music allegiances so, not surprisingly, she allowed herself the occasional ornamentation here and there, her voice rising clear and true above the orchestra in arias like With verdure clad."
- William Dart (re: performance of Haydn's "Creation" with Auckland Choral), NZ Herald, 31 March 2009

"Pepe Becker...shone in this work, especially when she was accompanied by more intimate instrumental groupings. Her duetting with flautist Sally Tibbles was intensely moving, and her ability to make Handelian flourishes seem as natural as folk-song was astounding; her ability to draw the purest, bell-like note seemingly out of the stratosphere was breathtaking."
- William Dart, NZ Herald, 18 November 2008

"...the sheer beauty and agility of her voice...She's always the rock on which any ensemble can support itself."
- Peter Mechen, on RNZ Concert's Upbeat!, 26 November 2007

"...the vividness and agility of Pepe Becker's soprano..."
- The Dominion Post, 14 November 2007

"...a wonderful singer...when she was singing, there was a real feeling of entering into the soul."
- Wayne Waxman, on RNZ Concert's 'Upbeat!', 24 October 2007

"...a wonderful, silvery voice...ethereal, though she's an angel from heaven...not really of this world..."
- Peter Mechen, on RNZ Concert's 'Upbeat!', 11 October 2007

"Some thrilling singing, particularly in the Monteverdi setting to which high sopranos Pepe Becker and Nicola Edgecombe gave stunning colouring, echoing each other from opposite ends of the church."
- The Dominion Post, 1 Sept 2006

"...the famous Laudate Dominum [Mozart], to which Becker and the choir [Cantoris] brought a calm spirituality."
- The Dominion Post, 8 August 2006

"...Pepe Becker brought authority to her aria..."
"...Pepe Becker and Lisette Wesseling were remarkably affecting in their short duet."
- New Zealand Herald, 28 August 2006

"...a clarity and purity of sound seldom heard from sopranos..." "...impressed with her vocal control and sense of style..." "...her presentation... was a tour de force..."
- Nelson Evening Mail

"...bright and impeccable singing... revealed in her arch and twinkling performance... a dramatic talent all too rare..."
- The NZ Listener

"...the highlight of the concert... particularly relaxed in the demanding passagework..."
- Music in New Zealand

"Its striking opening notes were flung into the basilica by soprano soloist Pepe Becker with a power and accuracy that cast a gleam over the whole performance."
-The Dominion Post

"...gorgeous ringing crystalline beauty of soloist soprano Pepe Becker..."
"...sung with crytalline beauty and musical clarity by soprano Pepe Becker..."

"The performance was excellent and powerfully affecting." (with harpist Helen Webby)
"...a sensuous element well captured by the performers." (with harpist Helen Webby)

"...with the light and airy nature of French song nicely caught by Becker..."
"Becker's performance was stunning."
- Capital Times

"...Becker's silver tone with economical vibrato was a joy to the ear."
- The Nelson Mail

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last updated: 21 March, 2011