Quite the most riveting of all the principals was Rosalind Plowright's cantankerous Countess, creeping painfully around the stage on ebony sticks of unequal length, banging them imperiously. She was indeed the queen on that final, fateful card.
When she opened up to full throttle, her mezzo was chillingly sepulchral, and with fawning courtiers everywhere except the bedroom there was no doubting who ruled the roost.
OPERA - Martin Dreyer - Oct 2016
There was a hideous romanticism to the encounter of Herman and Rosalind Plowright's black-widow Countess. It was nice to hear the Countess sung rather than croaked or barked as is often the case and Plowright was effortlessly watchable.
Opera Now - Robert Thicknesse - Oct 2016
Rosalind Plowright making a diva turn out of the cameo, but crucial, role of the old Countess with the secret of three cards....Plowright’s tall, spidery Countess, supporting herself on walking sticks of unequal length. She sang the Grétry air in the bedroom scene beautifully and is always an impressive figure on stage.
Sunday Times - Hugh Canning - 7 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright’s compelling, cadaverous Countess
The Times - Neil Fisher - 3 Aug 2016
Star quality comes from Rosalind Plowright, whose Countess still
boasts plenty of voice and a formidable stage presence.
FT - Richard Fairman - 3 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright seems to have found a niche as a character mezzo-soprano: her crippled yet ramrod Countess - spidery and splenetic, the lineaments of her youthful beauty still visible - made a striking impression.
The Telegraph - Rupert Christiansen - 3 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright’s decrepit Countess, surrounded by obsequious religious types, has buried her past and her conscience beneath an assumed veneer of sanctimony.
[Herman's] scene with the Countess is deeply unnerving, as she embraces and paws him, briefly imagining him to be a former lover who has returned.
Plowright, meanwhile, makes a very fine Countess. We sense the woman’s former beauty beneath the effects of time and age, her implacable will and terror of mortality. It’s a compelling performance.
The Guardian - Tim Ashley - 3 Aug 2016
... Rosalind Plowright gets one of those entrances that makes you sit up and take notice. Sporting a giant grey wig, her upper body wraith-like, her lower body wrapped in voluminous black folds, nearly staggering on the thump of uneven walking sticks, her appearance infuses the entire proceedings with the spirit of gothic melodrama which is to follow......
As the Countess, Rosalind Plowright held her own vocally and turned in a bravura acting performance.
Bachtrack - David Karlin - 3 Aug 2016
and Rosalind Plowright’s Countess is an extraordinary creation: moving painfully on her sticks like a praying mantis, she commands events with baleful power.
The Independent - Michael Church - 3 Aug 2016
especially in the second half of the show, whose steadily rising tension is partly the result of director Rodula Gaitanou’s surefooted stagecraft, but owes much, too, to Rosalind Plowright’s commanding assumption of the elderly, cantankerous Countess. Her reappearances from beyond the grave are appropriately scene-stealing.
The Stage - George Hall - 3 Aug 2016
.. but it is Rosalind Plowright’s Duchess, dressed in arachnid black and with a voice to match, whose performance chills the soul.
Evening Standard - Nick Kimberley - 3 Aug 2016
Staggering on two unequal sticks, the monstrous spider-like Countess of Rosalind Plowright gives a devastating impersonation of decrepit old age, her bedtime scene after the masked ball a sorry picture of a person deconstructed, ornament by ornament, until only a skeletal husk remains.
Culture Whisper - Claudia Pritchard - 3 Aug 2016
And then as the Countess there was Rosalind Plowright - a Glyndebourne chorus alum, like so many great English singers, of the "good old days"! She dominated the stage, as one would expect of such a distinguished and experienced artist, and she remains in terrific shape vocally. Good for her and for Holland Park - it makes such a difference.
Blog - Brian Dickie - 11 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright was grand and spectral as the Countess.
The Observer - Fiona Maddocks - 7 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright is simply a class act as the Countess and draws out the contrast between the formidable public figure, who here is constantly surrounded by an entourage of ladies-in-waiting, and the frail old lady who is left alone in her bedroom at night.
OperaOMH - Sam Smith - 7 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright’s marvellously cantankerous Countess was a total triumph. Encased beetle-like in a terrifying black dress she drew from visual sources as varied as Miss Havisham, Sondheim’s Madame Armfeldt and Antony Sher’s bottled-spider Richard III. Her whiplash delivery of the withering put-down contrasted perfectly with the pathos and wistful regret of her Gretry Coeur de Lion air. Indeed, this scene was the highlight of the production.
Opera Britannia UK - Sebastian Petit - 4 Aug 2016
It was, perhaps inevitably, Rosalind Plowright’s Countess who made the strongest dramatic impression. She held the stage just by entering, let alone by painfully, agonisingly, walking across it with her sticks and I could not keep my eyes off her. The insight into her interior life, above all to her past, was moving, evoking an historical canvas far wider than we were explicitly or even implicitly told.
Opera Today - Mark Berry - 5 Aug 2016
Talking of nightmarish things, Rosalind Plowright’s Countess, is a fearsome creature, permanently bent double and supported by two sticks, making her look like some malicious predatory insect. And from the second she entered, she dominated the stage. The eye - and ear - were drawn like a magnet. This Countess, once the “Venus of Moscow,” now seeks to control, her coterie of servants a surely necessary part of her world view. Now a mezzo, Plowright sings with such innate understanding of the role that any gripes about her voice (and there would be few) seem irrelevant. Her phrasing could only be described as potent,
Seen and Heard International - Colin Clarke - 5 Aug 2016
The magnificent Rosalind Plowright plays the countess “the Queen of Spades” and is not only in great voice but on great acting form. Bent over her two sticks, bustled and black bombazined, she resembles a poisonous spider ready to pounce. She steals all her scenes - even when she’s dead.
The Arbuturian - Anna Selby - 4 Aug 2016
Continuing her traversal of mezzo roles, Rosalind Plowright makes of the Countess an intriguing figure all too aware that the indiscretions of her youth have blighted a younger generation.
Classicalsource.com - Richard Whitehouse - 5 Aug 2016
Rosalind Plowright a poised yet fearful and finally horrified Countess.
Theatre Reviews - Mark Ronan - 5 Aug 2016
Stars originates from Rosalind Plowright, whose Countess still boasts lots of voice along with a formidable stage presence.
News Archives USA - 3 Aug 2016
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