Kirstin Chávez was a stunning Marquise, poised yet with a hint of vulnerability. Leigh Melrose was her polar opposite, boldly painting his roles with a formidably powerful voice. Both singers took the advantage to showcase the capabilities of their voices: Chávez's plummy lower range was a particular strength.
"Utterly Compelling Performance. . . "
Miss Chávez for this critic gave an utterling compelling performance. Ever word was delivered with clarity, redolent of meaning. She has a rich mezzo with an attractive timbre particularly at the bottom of her tessitura. I can’t imagine for a minute that the playwright intended us to like or sympathise with her character, but somehow Miss Chávez played her monstrous regiment of women (and men) with both sadness and dignity, allowing us to pity her in her destructive spiral.
"A Riveting Carmen. . . "--May 10, 2014
Lynn Green, The Columbus Dispatch
Kirstin Chavez portrayed a riveting Carmen. She could barely refrain from dancing through the first half of the opera, and when she declared, “I will brave fire, steel and heaven alike,” it was believable.
"Vocally, she is marvelous. . . "--March 5, 2014
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJonesReviews
Vocally, she is marvelous and there is a lot of detail in her performance. The final scene, with her on fire in her burning temple, was both horrific and entrancing to watch as her life and her life’s monument were both destroyed in the same conflagration.
"An otherworldly quality to her singing. . ."--February 27, 2014
JAMES D. WATTS Jr., TULSA WORLD
Chavez, who was last seen in “Dead Man Walking,” is equally impressive as Sharon. There is an otherworldly quality to her singing in this piece, a mix of the earthy and the ethereal that immediately places the character as someone not quite suited for the rough-and-tumble world Elmer inhabits.
"Chavez once again impressed. . ."--February 1, 2014
Mike Greenburg, Incident Light
Ms. Chavez, remembered for her Carmen with the now-defunct San Antonio Opera in 2004, one again impressed with a glossy instrument whose horn-like coloration was ideally suited to her role.
Jezibab presented "Devilishly well. . ."
David Hendricks, San Antonio Express News
Rusalka gets her wish from a witch, presented devilishly well by mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez.
Fiery Sensuality---October, 2011
Kyle MacMillan, OPERA NEWS
Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez imbued the title role with a suitably fiery sensuality and a big, flexible voice with an ideally sultry lower register. She has already performed the role with several other companies, and she's sure to be even more in demand.
Lusty Carmen Captivates Central City Opera---July, 2011
Claudia Carbone, Examiner.com
“KIRSTIN CHAVEZ as the lusty Carmen is the best thing about Central City Opera’s production of Georges Bizet’s French opera of the same name playing through August 7 at the opera house in Central City.
Carmen is Chavez’s signature role since her debut as the fiery gypsy with Opera Australia in 2008.
The mezzo-soprano’s rich voice and her athleticism (hopping on and off the pool table and often squatting wide-legged) make this Carmen a likable character, if you like bold and bawdy women. She tells the audience who she is in the famous signature song “Habanera” in the opening act—”Love is a rebellious bird that no one can tame. . .if you don’t love me, I love you, if I love you, watch yourself!” She proves her titillating talents in her memorable sexy seduction of Corporal Don Jose when she sings the “Seguidilla” aria from a chair with her hands tied behind her back, and later when she dances for him in Act II.”
Prime Incarnation of Bizet's Famous Gypsy---June, 2011
Wes Blomster, Daily Camera.com
Chávez takes narcissistic delight in the unashamed exploitation of voice and body that makes her a prime incarnation of Bizet`s famous Gypsy today.
Who has ever seen a Carmen add punch to an aria with an elevated naked foot?
A sex-kitten Carmen?
Forget it! Chávez is a feral beast that tears a path of destruction through the world that she dominates.
Small wonder that Chávez, a youthfully exuberant woman at the outset, has made this her signature role.
Chavez doesn't just play Carmen -- she is Carmen.
Gwenda Nemerofsky, Winnipeg Free Press
And then there was Carmen. From the moment mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez stepped barefoot onto the stage, all eyes were upon her. In L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, she exuded undeniable sensuality (and cleavage). Her voice oozed effortlessly out of her, throaty and exotic.
Moving like a cat languishing in the sun, she oiled her way through throngs of admirers, flashing her white teeth and doing suggestive things with her cigarette.
Chavez doesn't just play Carmen -- she is Carmen. Wrapping her legs around various male cast members, she mesmerized the audience who sat silently still, lest they miss one movement, one note of her sizzling sexuality. Who could resist her tantalizing Habanera?
Her acting and body language was as evocative as her voice, as she sat in "unladylike" positions, laughed coarsely and rolled her eyes at Don José's pleas.
Opera New Jersey: Carmen---February, 2010
Nancy Plum, Town Topics
and athletic singer (with obvious ballet background), Ms. Chávez was
comfortable enough in the role to slink around the soldiers and Don
José in cat-like form. This type of physicality takes supreme
confidence of voice, and Ms. Chávez missed none of the dramatic or
musical nuance of the role.
Opera New Jersey: Carmen---February, 2010
Kirstin Chavez is easily one of the most riveting and significant young artists performing today, with complete ease in the role of Carmen, plus exceptional dancing ability and fine acting. It is perfectly obvious that she is well on her way to becoming one of the most definitive Carmens of all time.
Caramoor: La Forza del Destino --- Summer, 2008
Judith Malafronte, OPERA NEWS
"Kirstin Chávez brought pizzazz, faultless technique and a brilliant, full sound to the role of Preziosilla, and her saucy confidence was just right."
Smoldering eroticism in a role she was born to play, mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez leaves men breathless and women in envy with a Carmen that inflames every pasion. (Click link below to READ ARTICLE)
"American Mezzo Kirstin Chavez is the Carmen of a Lifetime."
Larry L. Lash, OPERA NEWS
OPERNHAUS GRAZ, Kirstin Chavez in the title role of CARMEN:
"American mezzo Kirstin Chavez is the Carmen of a lifetime. With her dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma, Chavez has it all, icluding a superb command of French and a sense of humor. And she can dance, too. ....Furlan's and Chavez's performances went beyond opera, beyond, music, to that rare place where theater and truth meet."
Santa Fe Opera: Barbiere di Siviglia
The Santa Fe New Mexican-Craig Smith-July, 2005
“Albuquerque-born mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez, who stepped in on short notice for an injured Ana Maria Martinez, was a Rosina worthy of devotion, arch but bighearted, lovely and loving and as ready to plot as any conventbred young Spanish lady. Chavez wove her way through Rosina’s music easily, especially Una voce poso fa, and her low voice was a mix of pluminese and bronze. This was not a woman to die for, but happily live for.”
Spring, 2005 Tour: Carmen
“We were told to expect something special from mezzo-soprano KIRSTIN CHAVEZ, and WOW did she deliver! Saucy, sexy, playful, flirtatious, and gifted with a voice that is rich and smooth in tone and range - she is a perfect CARMEN, with long, curly black hair, facial expressions and body movements that spoke to every man in the audience. When she danced and sang with castanets the temperature in the theater went up several degrees. This woman has talent and really manages to get inside her character.”
OPERAONLINE. US - Paul Walkowski - March 2005
" But those of us who were there will doubtless remember the evening for the
thrilling performances of mezzo Kirstin Chavez and ….. Chavez has been attracting more and more notice in the opera world during the past few years and it was easy to see why. She's beautiful, she's a terrific actress and she has a lovely mezzo sound that she produces with ease throughout the range, There's a natural smile in her voice that stood her in good stead. I certainly can't recall seeing a Carmen have such a swell time toying - like a cat with her Don Jose.”
BOSTON HERALD - T. J. Medrek - March 2005
The title role was sung by a rising star in the operatic firmament, Kirstin Chavez. She has sung at the New York City Opera and will make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera next season. A charismatic, green eyed
seductress, this Carmen was as irresistible to the audience as her stage lovers. Her voice was even throughout its registers with luminous high notes and luscious, creamy chocolate low tones. Here the heroine was much more than a mere sex symbol. Beneath the suave veneer was a woman who knew full well that her actions could have fatal consequences.
OPERA JAPONICA - Maria Nockin - March 2005
“Kirstin Chavez, the stunningly beautiful mezzo-soprano, gave us a Carmen as sensual as Marilyn Monroe, as bright as Kathryn Hepburn, and down-to-earth as Sandra Bullock. With her Latina-enhanced heritage (she was born in Albuquerque, N.M.), Chavez held all eyes. She also held all ears. Indeed, Chavez's dramatic range, pitch-perfect intonation, and dramatic ability to make us understand her character's innate sense of joie de vivre and also apprehension, drew us even closer to Merimee's transcendent yet doomed creation. In Carmen's aria, the spirited habanera "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle," she proudly declares her view of love as something to be seized. She also warns flirtatiously, "If I love you, take care!" Defiantly throwing her raven locks at the constraints of Spanish patriarchal society (the opera takes place in and around mid-19th-century Seville), the exotic Chavez teased and taunted with an effect no less devastating than that of Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct." In setting up her character, Chavez leveraged her pin-up girl good looks with a repertoire of come-hither gestures that kept the men in the cast (and audience) spellbound. Whether thrusting her bosom forward, standing haughtily with hands on hips or flashing her million-dollar smile, Chavez held all in rapture.”
Special to The Capital-Journal, March 2005
"A sold out house waited Saturday evening for the opening curtain of Teatro Lirico D'Europa's CARMEN at the Lied Center. The role of CARMEN was sung by Kirstin Chavez. Her silky mezzo soprano was perfect for the role, and she looked the part of the fiery and sensuous gypsy, taking control of the stage in her opening "Habanera" scene as she slithered barefoot across the stage, flirting with one man after another.
JOURNAL WORLD - Dean Bevan - March 2005
Kentucky Opera: Cenerentola
The Courier-journal-Andrew Adler-February, 2005
“Chavez, who sang the title role in “Carmen” here three seasons ago, is a remarkably sympathetic Angelina. She can be as vulnerable, teasing or defiant as any particular moment requires, and sings with a luster that immediately makes you want to hear more. Chavez was the model of an assured, vocally comprehensive Rossini coloratura mezzo.”
Kentucky Opera: Carmen
Andrew Adler, Courier-Journal
"The brief, horrifying entirety of Act 4, during which Kirstin Chávez's Carmen grappled with Michael Hayes' love-crazed José, was among the most extraordinary confrontations seen in any Kentucky Opera production of the last decade. Indeed, their initial romantic collision and Jose's gradual descent into desperate, jealous madness defined why this collaboration is so persuasive."
"Chávez was a soulful tigress. Friday night found her in lustrous voice, just dark enough through her middle register and reaching up to upper mezzo territory with unflagging support. Her Act 1 Habanera took its time to caress and tease every phrase; a bit later on, her seguedille at Lillas Pastias' tavern was the stuff to convince Jose's or any other man to follow her into oblivion."
Opera New Brunswick: Carmen
Colin H. Smith, Times Globe
"...However, as the tempestuous Carmen, Kirstin Chávez was a complete success. Her low notes were pleasantly rich and perfectly audible - her "Habanera: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle", well sung; genuinely erotic, it almost physically teased the soldiers around her.
A gypsy of fierce temper and smoldering eroticism must show lots of exotic allure, Chávez did. She was obviously the star of the evening.
Giving life and credibility to the Spanish gypsy represents a gigantic task. Carmen is not - vocally - the most difficult role to sing, but it requires, probably more than any other operatic role, formidable acting skills to convey the character's fiery yet playful sexuality and determined and defiant fatalism. Where this production succeeded, it was largely due to Chávez carrying her role with such panache.
In her free-flowing "Séguedille: Pres des remparts de Séville", while making herself irresistible to the susceptible Don José, her voice and body language spoke volumes about a flamboyant young gypsy trying to bewitch an indifferent, thus challenging, potential lover with a thinly-veiled promise of sexual gratification."
Opera Omaha: Carmen
Lorraine Boyd, The Daily Record
"Carmen is the most popular opera of all time. It is easy to see why, especially with such a dynamic singer/actress in the lead role. To make this opera a success, Carmen must be a powerful and seductive singer, and an extremely sensual woman who is aware of her power over men and uses it ruthlessly and carelessly. That, Chávez does with aplomb. From beginning to end, you cannot take your eyes off this Mediterranean beauty who beguiles with her voice and her body. She is clearly at ease with her body and voice, everything seeming effortless. This may be the single best performance I've seen in an opera."
New York City Opera: Rigoletto
Martin Bernheimer, Opera Magazine
"..., a compellingly voluptuous Maddalena."
Opera Pacific: Little Women
"Chávez does an almost Herculean job as Jo, successfully taking pains to insure her character does not come across as unsympathetic or shrill. Jo is still likable, if a bit pitiable at times due to her blindly tenacious hold on the present. Her main aria "Perfect As We Are" shows Chávez in excellent form, her soprano voice declamatory yet displaying a lyricism belying Jo's unyielding nature"
Michael Rydzynski, Irvine World News
"Kirstin Chávez sang Jo with confidence and fluency and showed solid acting abilities......."
Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register
"Kirstin Chávez makes Jo a most sympathetic heroine....."
Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times
"Chávez is brilliant vocally and dramatically as the conflicted but determined Jo."
John Farrell, Press-Telegram
New York City Opera: Le Nozze di Figaro
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
"The strongest singers were Amy Burton, who sang her first countess, having sung Susanna at the house in past seasons, and Kirstin Chávez, who was an agile, appealingly dark-toned Cherubino."
San Diego Opera: Therese Raquin
Bill Fark, North Country Times 03/28/03
"Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez (Therese) is a wonderful singing actress, all things to all people."
San Diego Opera: Therese Raquin
Charlene Baldridge, La Jolla Village News 03/26/03
"A real find, Kirstin Chávez, is simply marvelous as Therese. Her high pianissimos, seeming to come from the soul of the singer, make one gasp. Her mid to low range is luscious and she is a most effective and attractive actress."
Florentine Opera Company: Der Rosenkavalier
John Koopman, Opera News, September, 2002
"For her part, Chávez showed a glorious voice, ripe-toned and full, with easy, generous high notes."
Florentine Opera Company: Der Rosenkavalier
Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 27 ,2002
"Vocal splendor, like Richard Strauss' outpouring of sonic beauty, is constant in the Florentine Opera's lavish production of Der Rosenkavalier.
It begins with young mezzo Kirstin Chávez as Octavian. The opera turns on this most daunting and substantial trouser role in all of opera. At the opening on Saturday, Chávez' sound was as rich and lustrous in the third act as it was in the first, after hundreds of bars of projecting over the relentlessly busy Milwaukee Symphony.
Her rich, rounded beauty springs from full breath support and an openness through the throat and upper body. Chávez's easy, gliding quality set Strauss' long lines soaring into Marcus Center Uihlein Hall as if without effort. The dark-eyed Chávez is an appealing person on stage and an eager actress. She was a fearlessly ardent and physical lover with both Elizabeth Hynes' Marshallin and Jane Giering-De Haan's Sophie."