BRONWEN FORBAY

South-African-American Soprano

REVIEWS

L'ELISIR D'AMORE, NEW PRODUCTION, Gauteng Opera
Role - Adina

Mandela Theater, (Former Johannesburg Civic Theater)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Christopher Ballantine, OPERA
December 2016

The revelation here was Bronwen Forbay as Adina. Though regularly seen and always admired in local productions, Forbay is now in possession of a voice in full bloom. At once powerful, radiant, timbrally beautiful, and balanced throughout the range, her soprano is that of a singer at the top of her game; she has never sounded better or been so eminently watchable. She seems to me entirely ready to break into the front rank of sopranos internationally; extraordinarily though, she remains South Africa’s best-kept-operatic secret.

WADING HOME, WORLD PREMIER
Role - Velmyra

Dallas City Performance Hall, Dallas, TX
Scott Cantrell, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
September 16, 2015

Bronwen Forbay, a drama-queen Velmyra, had a soprano that bloomed and blazed thrillingly on high”.

LA TRAVIATA
Role - Violetta Valery

Gauteng Opera, Johannesburg, South Africa
Paul Boekkooi, NEWS 24, *Translated from Afrikaans Original
June 6, 2015

“Powerful La Traviata a triumph”

“It requires a courageous soprano to portray a completely well-rounded Violetta. The demands made in Act I are totally different from those in Acts II and III. Bronwen Forbay's musical presentation encompassed all these requirements – from high coloratura to heavily dramatic moments.

Her interpretation was magnificent, full of expressive power, with a varied timbre spectrum. Worth more than gold, is a person who can make you believe in the character - even in her extremely elegant collapse and death at the end.  A La Traviata worth following. "

CARMEN
Role - Micaëla

The Playhouse Company (Durban, South Africa) & Cape Town Opera
Christopher Ballantine, OPERA
August 2011

""...the revelation was Bronwen Forbay. In ravishing voice, and showing singing of great subtlety, nuance, and depth, her Micaëla was as troubling as she was adorable".

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Role - Lucia di Lammermoor

Cape Town Opera
Deon Irish, CAPE TIMES  
October 2010

"'Lucia is riveting opera" 

"Opening night saw Bronwen Forbay make her debut, both in Cape Town and in the title role. We have waited long to hear this Durban-born soprano and, given the performance, one wonders why! She is a wholly convincing Lucia, portraying a girlish naivety that becomes increasingly suggestive of a more fundamental mental instability until the celebrated Mad Scene of the final act reveals her as having lost touch with reality. The portrayal was chillingly accurate in its detailing: the angle of the head, the fiddling with the hair, the apparently all-seeing eyes.

Coupled to her fine acting is a triumphant account of a glorious vocal role. She started with a "Regnava nel silenzio" that was precisely controlled, with rock solid intonation and precise delineation of ornamented lines . . . . by the time "Veranno a te sull'aure" came around, her voice had acquired a lovely round warmth and a beguiling sense of colour. She is a fine exponent of "bel canto", with delicious flexibility, a smoothly managed transition through the registers, and a technical armoury that allows her to indulge in the most taxing passage work and the most awkward leaps with quasi instrumental precision. The famous cadenza . . . was greeted with a lengthy ovation."                               

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Role - Lucia

Wayne Muller, DIE BURGER (THE CITIZEN)
October 2010

"Singers Impress in Lucia Production" 

"Blood smeared with a dagger swaying already in hand and madness evident in her, the young soprano Bronwen Forbay (of Durban) enthralled the audience of the ArtsScape opera house on Saturday night.

It was Forbay's interpretation of the familiar mad scene in the third act of Cape Town Opera's production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor that left one overwhelmed. But at the beginning of the opera, her excellent singing was a taste of what was to come. In fact, one was left in great anticipation of what she would do in the mad scene, "Il dolce suono ... Spargi d'amaro pianto".

The role of Lucia in this opera is one of the greats for a coloratura soprano, who sings high notes, fast, light runs, and lyric phrases. Forbay's voice has all these qualities, and especially her high notes are perfectly placed and cured.

Forbay's intonation was pure and the sound is easily produced. Lucia is destined to be one of her signature roles."

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Role - Lucia

Carl Fourie, CAPE ARGUS
October 2010

"The opening night of Cape Town Opera's (CTO) Lucia di Lammermoor was dedicated to the memory of the late Joan Sutherland, who died this week and who made the role of Lucia so much her own.

The South African coloratura soprano, Bronwen Forbay, sang the title role. She was greeted with rapturous applause after the infamous mad scene. The applause was thoroughly deserved: she managed the floral vocal lines with aplomb and fused these beautifully with Lucia's deranged state of mind.The vocal highlights were the sextet and Lucia's final mad arias. The former was a glorious exercise in vocal ensemble as well as careful balance with the orchestra. And Lucia's solo vocal fireworks were exquisitely executed, not just in accuracy, but also with musical sensitivity."

Recital of works by Spohr, Schubert, and Strauss
Bronwen Forbay (Soprano), Christopher Duigan (Piano)

THE MERCURY (South Africa)
September 2009

"Forbay, on top form, offered tantalizing glimpses of rare repertoire that only a truly gifted singer of her sophistication and caliber can deliver with such charm, simplicity and apparent ease. Treated to Strauss singing that was manna from heaven, we can only pray Forbay's current professional local stint is a long one, with many more programmes such as this in the offing."

Die Zauberflöte
Role: Königin Der Nacht        
Wolf Trap Opera Company, Vienna, VA

WASHINGTON POST
August 2007

South African soprano Bronwen Forbay showed what a brilliant Queen of the Night she can be, nailing the nerve-racking aria
"Der H
ölle Rache" with delectable ferocity."

Die Zauberflöte
Role: Königin Der Nacht            
Wolf Trap Opera Company, Vienna, VA

WASHINGTON TIMES
August 2007

"Bronwen Forbay, as the Queen of the Night, was an effective ball
of self-righteous fury, negotiating Mozart's wicked figures with a gossamer, youthful touch. And yes, she did nail the high F's in the Queen's famous Act II aria, "Der Hölle Rache.""

ORPHEUS (Telemann) - American Premier
Role: Orasia, Queen of Thrace

Wolf Trap Opera Company, Vienna VA
WASHINGTON TIMES
June 2006

"South African soprano Bronwen Forbay was a standout in the strenuous role of Orasia. She displayed a firm, amazingly mature grasp of Baroque ornamentation, aided by excellent diction, fine vocal support and an uncanny sense of rhythm. Each year at Wolf Trap, there are one or two young talents that bear watching. Miss Forbay is surely one of them in 2006.

 

CONTACT: bronwenforbay@gmail.com

 

CREDITS

Mike Itashiki, FILMOGRAPHER
Val Adamson Photography
Jeffrey Arnold, Piano
Cape Town Opera
Brenton Greech (La Traviata, Cape Town Opera)
Shawn Northcutt Photography (Porgy and Bess)
Stuart Ralph (Lucia di Lammermoor, Cape Town Opera)
CHRISTINA BENTLY (ORPHEUS, WOLF TRAP OPERA COMPANY)