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“Diana emerges as the most compelling and radiant character onstage, a vision of hope whose optimism never cloys. That’s due in large part to the bright and superbly evocative music Heggie gives her, with arching melodies that settle into shimmeringly sunny harmonies. […] That glow was also a function of soprano Esther Tonea’s magnificent singing — an ardent, tonally plush performance that took every vocal challenge Heggie handed her and dispatched it easily.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“Soprano Tonea has the most interesting, if baffling, dramatic role in the opera: that of Diana, whose inexplicable love for Fabian takes her to the edge of Wagnerian-like redemption. In addition to dramatic excellence, Tonea impressed with the flexibility and beauty of her singing.”

The music for Tonea’s Diana contains extended passages requiring sustained vocal power. Tonea’s youthful dramatic soprano voice successfully negotiated the role’s high tessitura and has also a lyrical quality well suited the role’s demands.”

OPERA WAR HORSES

CLASSICAL VOICE AMERICA

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If I Were You

MEROLA OPERA PROGRAM | AUGUST/2019

Merola Grand Finale

“From Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the duet ‘Fra gli amplessi’ was an ideal vehicle for the gleaming tones and impeccable dynamic control of soprano Esther Tonea.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“Esther Tonea, who impressed me greatly as Diana in the opening night of Jake Heggie’s If I Were You, once again gave a marvelous rendition of Fiordiligi’s succumbing into Ferrando’s temptation in the duet ‘Fra gli amplessi’.”

PARTERRE

“Soprano Esther Tonea (who was excellent in the summer Merola premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You) dazzled as Fiordiligi from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

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"Tonea’s performance of ‘Exsultate, jubilate’ by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was flawlessly executed."

LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Tonea’s upper range conveys a power that suggests dramatic soprano territory. Her voice impressed as a special instrument.”

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

“The increasingly passionate Diana pours her heart out in a grand act-two aria, yearning for the return of the Fabian she knew, and all but inviting the disastrous end that the devil had warned about. This transformative moment as played by soprano Esther Tonea marks the high point of the opera.”

ARTS SF

Review: S.F. Opera Adlers Make the Best of Things

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"For one listener, the evening’s most glorious moments featured the combination of two female voices. First came soprano Esther Tonea and mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh, joining forces for a luminous account of the duet “Che soave zeffiretto” from Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” For a scene in which one character dictates a letter to another, the use of an iPhone to write and send an email felt like the perfect updating."

On opening night Esther Tonea steadfastly held her own as Diana--a role that simmers and builds like a 21st-century Brunnhilde.

MY CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

“Soprano Esther Tonea stood out as Diana. Her voice has a lovely, pure sound. By Act II she has been through quite a lot, trying to piece together what is going on around her, and her performance is dramatic and powerful.”

THE OPERA TATTLER

“Esther Tonea exhibits exemplary vocal quality. Her upper range brims with urgency and is overpowering.”

FOR ALL EVENTS