SANTA FE OPERA:  DON PASQUALE 2014

 

It must have been a magical night for young singer Shelley Jackson... this second-year apprentice stepped into the role of Norina opening “Don Pasquale” with barely a few days’ notice. Indeed, she exploded into the spotlight of the Santa Fe Opera last Saturday night, bringing a sparkling freshness both vocally and theatrically to a standard role of bel canto opera. Jackson is called upon to act several roles within a role – cynical slob; demure country girl; utter shrew and finally ardent lover. For her stellar performance she was justly showered with applause especially from a coterie of admirers in the gallery. (D.S. Crafts- Albuquerque Journal) 

Both Jackson’s Norina and Nelson’s Malatesta were world-class performances, worthy of any operatic stage... Jackson’s unscheduled debut created a sensation with the Santa Fe Opera audience who applauded her with enthusiasm and gave her (and her colleagues) a heartfelt standing ovation. Even if Jackson sings only this opening night of the production, the impact of her Santa Fe Opera debut on her career is likely to be considerable. (Opera Warhorses)

On opening night, the role of Norina (and therefore also Sofronia) was performed by soprano Shelley Jackson, a second-year apprentice at the company... Jackson rose to the occasion admirably and, especially after intermission, with butterflies banished, one could have imagined her in a “first cast.” Jackson has a relatively large voice for the part, but in the second half, and particularly in the closing numbers, she lightened noticeably to take on a more soubrette vocal character with agility and coloratura sparkle. Even with her earlier “big voice,” she negotiated most of Norina’s roulades with aplomb, rising through purling triplets in well-defined chromatic scales to hit on-target high C’s in her Act 1 duet with Dr. Malatesta, “Vado, corro.” (James M. Keller- Santa Fe New Mexican)

Jackson, a company apprentice, showed agility and coloratura sparkle on opening night. (Pasatiempo- Santa Fe New Mexican)On Tuesday, Norina was beautifully sung by a spirited, big-voiced member of the apprentice program, soprano Shelley Jackson. (Sarah Bryan Miller- St. Louis Post Dispatch)

In a real-life, “All About Eve,” moment, the understudy... stepped in on opening night, as well as the July 9 performance I saw. Shelley Jackson, the understudy, who has had quite a summer, is a second-year apprentice at the opera, a graduate from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and is headed off to the Opernhaus Zürich International Opera Studio after this. She clearly had the support of her three uncles, and projected confidence and ringing high notes. Bravo to the understudy! Bravo Shelley Jackson! May your star shine with brilliance. (Michael Wade Simpson- CultureVulture)

Shelley Jackson who is one of the company’s apprentice singers ended up singing most of the Norinas in the run of Don Pasquale. She has a large and agile lyric soprano that has advanced far beyond the apprentice level. She gave as spirited a performance as Pelly’s manic direction allowed. Another comer. (Neil Kurtzman- Medicine Opera)