Handel’s Xerxes (Glimmerglass, 2017)

“Xerxes brother, Arsemenes, a rival for Romilda’s affections, competes musically as well. Handel gives some of the finest moments in this mezzo part. Sometimes performed by a countertenor, mezzo Allgera De Vita was happily cast here, creating a greater contrast to Mr. Holiday. Ms. De Vita possesses a remarkably flexible voice with a strength and vibrancy in the middle range that equals the power of a counter tenor, and, as well, flourishes in the extremities of the range Handel demands. She was featured last season in the trouser role of Pippo in Rossini’s La gazza ladra. No better example of Ms. De Vita’s artistry was the lament, “Quella che tutta fѐ (“She in all faithfulness”). Performed quite slowly, this short, hushed da-capo siciliano in F Minor, demonstrated how masterful her understanding of baroque music is. The plangent, plucked theorbo imparted a listless yet disturbing color which was reflected by contrasting vocal timbres during the chromatic harmonic changes. In the return of the “A” section, Ms. De Vita never overdid the ornamentation, and, as a final touch, for “perduto ho il core,” she sang the final notes an octave higher, slyly intimating the loss of his affective gravity. “

Seth Lachterman, Berkshirereview.net, <November 3, 2017>

“I counted four arias only given whole. Those (especially Arsamene’s searchingly performed by the beautiful-voiced, stylistically secure and textually connected Allegra De Vita) had their desired effect.

[Romilda’s] interactions with the superb De Vita….gave the show what point and heart it had.”

David Shengold, Opera, <November, 2017>

“As Arsemenes, the king’s brother and romantic rival, Allegra De Vita offered an impeccable performance.  Her complex mezzo, with its fine-spun vibrato, was lovely in itself, but it also consistently conveyed human utterance: when De Vita sang, you could hear Arsemenes speak.  She was especially adept in her precisely etched trills and ornaments, each conveying expressive intent while giving shape to the musical line as a whole.”

Fred Cohn, Opera News, <October, 2017>

“Arsamenes, a trouser role, was nicely sung by the more seasoned Allegra De Vita, whose fine, expressive mezzo was put to good use either wooing or lamenting – her second act outpouring of grief ‘Quella che tutta fe’, was a highlight.”

Robert Levine, Opera Now, <October, 2017>

“As the two royal brothers whose love feud is at the center of the opera, mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita, as Arsamenes, and countertenor John Holiday, Jr., as Xerxes, were perfection.  The former was every inch the swaggering and fervent young buck.  Rarely does a female performer so completely obliterate any sense of mediating irony in assuming one of these Baroque trouser roles.  De Vita’s physical and psychological authenticity were flawless, and her voice was pure and virile passion, earnestness, and thew.”

Charles Geyer, La Scena Musicale, <Sept. 21, 2017>

“Mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita, who played Arsamenes, possessed a strong voice.  She made the case for mezzo-sopranos to sing Handel’s leading male roles.  Although these parts were originally written for castrati, modern mezzo-sopranos have the vocal power these men were said to possess.”

Por Gregory Moomjy, bachtrack, <Aug. 24, 2017>

“The excitable and exciting Allegra De Vita gave him powerful chase with her fiercely sung Arsamenes.  Ms. De Vita was adept at hurling out vigorous phrases replete with well-modulated coloratura, as well as possessing the skill to gently caress deeply felt legato passages.”

James Sohre, Opera Today, <Aug. 23, 2017>

“Mezzo Allegra De Vita competed handily in the role of Arsamenes, contributing a delicate voice that nevertheless imparted sufficient masculinity to make the brothers’ romantic rivalry somewhat believable. “

Paul du Quenoy, www.newcriterion.com, <Aug. 23, 2017>

“mezzo Allegra  De Vita’s velvety sound brought pathos to Arsamenes (the brother)”

Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal, <Aug. 16, 2017>

“The lovers which Xerxes attempts to break up, Arsamenes and Romilda, were sung here by Allegra De Vita, who has made a strong impression in the last few seasons in the Washington National Opera young artist program, and Emily Pogorelc. De Vita’s warm, attractive mezzo sounded gorgeous in her extended second act lament “Quella Che Tutta Fe.”

Alex Baker, Parterre, <July 24, 2017>

“Mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita continues to be a talent to watch watch as she portrays Emperor Xerxes’ brother Arsamenes, who represents not so much a threat to the throne as competition for Romilda’s hand in marriage, while simultaneously fending off Atalanta’s unwelcome affections.  Ms. De Vita’s warm voice caresses the vocal line whether singing amorously seductive strains or hurling invective in her Act II aria di furia.  Thanks to perfectly designed costumes and wigs, she must be the most convincingly male exponent of this trouser role anywhere.”

Richard Carter, Blasting News, <July 19, 2017>

“Connecticut mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita performed the role of Xerxes’ brother (and rival for the hand of the beautiful Romilda).

De Vita, another veteran of the 2015 Glimmerglass Festival’s Vivaldi opera, displayed admirable technique and a secure appreciation for the baroque style of singing. She proved a convincing Arsamenes, one of Handel’s great “high voice” roles.

De Vita’s has proven the ability to sing not only Handel and Vivaldi but also the classical ornamentation of Rossini’s operas.

Last season, De Vita showed her mastery of yet another challenging classical vocal style, as Pippa in Rossini’s “La Gazza Ladra” [See Review: Gilmore, Angelini, Ngqungwana Take Flight in Rossini’s “Thieving Magpie” – Glimmerglass Festival, August 7, 2016.]

William Burnett, OperaWarhorses.com, <July 18, 2017>

“Holiday is joined by a top-notch cast that includes mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita (also a “Cato” alumna) as Arsamenes, brother of Xerxes and rival for the hand of Romilda.  De Vita asserts Arsamenes’s royal ways with impressive brashness, and a voice that soars in an aria like “Meglio in voi col mio partire.”

B.A. Nilsson, Words and Music, <July 18th, 2017>

“Arsamenes, brother and rival of Xerxes, was sung by guest artist Allegra De Vita, whom we also admired in Cato in Utica.  We still love her rich and even sound and her commitment to her role’s many conflicting emotions. We believed Arsamenes’ love for Romilda, the maiden who attracts these two gents.”

Taminophile, <July 18th, 2017>

“mezzo Allegra De Vita was a dashing presence as Arsamenes.”

Joseph Dalton, Times Union, <July 16, 2017>

“Allegra De Vita in a pants role was splendid.”

Geraldine Freedman, Daily Gazette, <July 16, 2017>