Acclaim
A Role to Relish: Jessica Rose Cambio to play Violetta in 'La Traviata'

"The tragic love story of a self-sacrificing courtesan, Verdi’s "La Traviata" is the ultimate in operatic romance — and for its central soprano, a vocal and emotional roller coaster with few peers. "Violetta is one of the greatest characters ever written," says Jessica Rose Cambio, who will sing the lead role with Opera at Florham on Sunday. The opera will be semi-staged with a small orchestra led by conductor Robert W. Butts.

The performance will be Cambio’s second time essaying the challenging but rewarding part, widely regarded as one of the canon’s richest leading ladies. "I think she stands for a lot of women," Cambio says. "Not that a lot of women are courtesans, of course, but her emotions are very real. The only sort of false thing about her is the pretense she puts on in front of her friends that she’s strong."

When the opera begins, Violetta, feeble with tuberculosis but experiencing a spate of better health, attends a raucous party. The guests sing the well-known "Libiamo" drinking song, with Violetta and her suitor Alfredo leading the crowd. "She starts off the opera in this vulnerable place," says Cambio. "She’s finally feeling better and the first thing she does is go to a party in order to feel loved and included. I think also not to be alone."

Alfredo captures her heart, even as she sings her soaring aria, "Sempre libera" ("Always free"), which she begins wounded, believing he has abandoned her, and ends joyously, as he appears. "She lets herself go to be with him," says Cambio. "You know how it is when you fall for someone — whether it’s good for you or not, it’s hard to stay away."

Violetta and Alfredo begin a life together, before his father Germont and then her illness intervene. In one of opera’s most touching final scenes, the lovers are reunited before Violetta’s death, and sing a gently rocking duet.

While extended operatic death scenes can seem unnatural, Cambio finds a link to reality in Violetta’s interspersed periods of weakness and vivacity by comparing them to those that she observed in her late grandmother’s final weeks. "People make fun of operas all the time because the tenor gets stabbed and 30 minutes later he dies, but it makes sense in the libretto and the context," she says.

Violetta is a career high point for many sopranos, and for Cambio to be on her second round at 28 is an impressive accomplishment. The three leads all have impressive credits. Tenor Luigi Boccia, a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, will play Alfredo. Baritone Jonathan Beyer, who has recently been performing with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, will play Germont. Cambio, who is currently attending Mannes College the New School for Music, has distinguished herself with first prizes at the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition and the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, among many other awards. She made her professional debut singing scenes from Puccini’s "La Bohème" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After completing degrees at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Southern California, she went on to AVA — but just for one year, before she won a competition and a contract in Rome. An Italian-American with dual citizenship, Cambio thrived in Italy and studied several roles with the venerable soprano and teacher Renata Scotto. "She’s like an encyclopedia of interpretation," Cambio says. "It was an honor. I hope that I can do her and Giuseppe Verdi some justice."

Ronni Reich, The Star Ledger, Madison, New Jersey
Tenor Marcello Giordani Honored at the Gerda Lissner Holiday Musicale

"Jessica Rose Cambio enchanted us with "Ah, il suo nome... Flammen, perdonami!" from Mascagni's rarity Lodoletta. Ms. Cambio really moved the heart of the listener with her lovely expressive soprano. Her creamy, dreamy portamenti and floating tones were haunting. Lodoletta should be revived just for Ms. Cambio."

Nino Pantano, The Italian Voice, Paterson, New Jersey
Wind Ensemble wins over an intrigued audience

"Another highlight of the evening came before intermission with special guest artist, Jessica Rose Cambio. Cambio is a graduate of RIC, Class of 2004. With a gorgeous soprano sound, she sang a piece entitled "Heart of the Morn" by H. Owen Reed. With her voice carrying over the lush sound of the wind ensemble, the musical selection was highly understood and accepted. Cambio was heard clearly across the auditorium, not one word misunderstood. For a singer to sing over a 50+ piece instrument ensemble, without a microphone, is a talent all to itself. Congratulations, Jessica, on a superb performance."

Arielle Rogers, AnchorWeb.org, Providence, Rhode Island
Pine Mountain Music Festival Spring Newsletter

"Jessica Rose Cambio: The term “resident opera artist” is most appropriate this season, because these singers are not “young artists” but rather emerging professionals in the field of opera. This is especially true of Ms. Cambio, our Violetta. La Traviata is Violetta’s story, start to finish, and one builds a cast around her. Jessica (who recently sang Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Academy of Vocal Arts, with Artistic Director Joshua Major directing) is already blossoming as a singer on the national and international scene. She was a National Semi-Finalist in the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has sung in Italy and St. Petersburg, Russia. She sang a beautiful rendition, with a stunning top voice, easy fioratura, playful manner, and gorgeous musical details, including fantastic pianissimo dynamics and excellent Italian. This is a singer to watch, and we are very lucky she was with us in the U.P. this summer."

Lucy Thrasher, PMMF.org, Houghton, Michigan
Contestants show off their vocal talents at competition as Bass Hall

"The Female Voice Encouragement Award went to soprano Jessica Rose Cambio, the afternoon's first performer, for robust renditions of 'Tu che di gel sei cinta' from Puccini's Turandot and 'Sempre libera' from Verdi's La Traviata."

Chris Shull, Star-Telegram.com, Fort Worth, Texas
La Bohème a Como: largo ai giovani! Sogni in bianco e nero

"Senz'altro brave le ragazze: Jessica Rose Cambio, soprano lirico dalla voce di bella pasta, con peso sufficiente nei centri e nel grave, sicura nell'acuto si è rivelata un'ottima Mimì."

Andrea Merli, L'Opera, n. 242, Italia
Voix humaine e Pagliacci a Cremona

"Nella Boheme (ho ascoltato la prima a Como) si è distinta la Mimì di Jessica Rose Cambio per tecnica solida ed una voce pastosa."

OperaClick, Cremona, Italia
Nella "Bohème" dai toni grigi

"Ottimi la Mimì cui dà voce la Cambio e i "giovani scapestrati". In un palco, tra il pubblico, anche Renata Scotto."

"Fra i due personaggi preferiamo la Cambio che ha un approccio più sicuro, più pieno col suo personaggio fin dall'inizio della sua prova."

Luigi Fertonani, Il giornale di Brescia, Brescia, Italia
La Bohème: buona la prima

"Decisamente buona la prova del giovane soprano Jessica Rose Cambio nel ruolo di Mimì."

E-Cremona Web, Cremona, Italia
Convince sul Lario "La Bohème" ringiovanita

"Tra gli interpreti, giovani cantanti omaggiati dal pubblico con calorosi applausi anche a scena aperta, figurano alcuni vincitori dell’edizione 2009 del concorso As.Li.Co., includendo il soprano Jessica Rose Cambio nel ruolo di Mimì."

Corriere di Como, Como, Italia
Teatro Sociale Bohème 2009

"La realizzazione di questa magìa teatrale ha potuto contare sui partners degnissimi e assai volonterosi della compagnia di canto. Due coppie e due "amici" apprezzabili sia per la parte vocale ma sopratutto per quella scenica. Jessica Rose Cambio è stata una tenera Mimì."

Maria Fonticoli Terraneo, La Provincia di Como, Como, Italia
Grande fervore di vita musicale in Ticino: "La Bohème" a Como

"La soprano Jessica Rose Cambio è stata una fine ed appassionata Mimì."

Carlo Rezzonico, Il Paese, Lugano, Svizzera
Piace la Bohème del Sociale Polemiche e assenze eccellenti

"Mimì Jessica Rose Cambio si è presentata al pubblico con convinzione e un’espressività adatta al ruolo."

La Provincia di Como, Como, Italia
Per Bohème una star in platea

"Il soprano Jessica Rose Cambio ha una voce gradevole e ben educata. Gli applausi del pubblico sono stati rivolti specialmente alla Cambio, ed era presente una grande artista, Renata Scotto."

Il Giornale di Brescia, Brescia, Italia
The Gerda Lissner Foundation Presents a Holiday Musicale

"Soprano Jessica Rose Cambio opened the program with a stirring, poignant, and fresh voiced 'Donde lieta' from Puccini’s La Boheme."

"The heartbreaking melody of Puccini’s 'O Soave Fanciulla' from La Boheme was sung in a pleasing blend by soprano Jessica Rose Cambio and lyric tenor Luigi Boccia."

Nino Pantano, Opera Archives, New York
XIV Concurso Riccardo Zandonai

"Ópera Actual ofreció, por segundo año consecutivo, un premio especial que fue adjudicado a la soprano italoamericana Jessica Rose Cambio, de 25 años. La joven estudió violín en Providence, su ciudad natal, y se apuntó al coro del colegio con el que realizó una gira por Italia con sólo quince años. Fue allí cuando cantó un papel solista y, tras el concierto, un espectador inglés se le acercó y le vaticinó que un día cantaría en La Scala. En ese momento Jessica Rose decidió dirigir sus pasos hacia el canto de forma profesional. Una vez graduada en la Universidad de Los Angeles, siguió estudiando con la prestigiosa soprano de Providence, Maria Spacagna. Ha realizado cursos de perfeccionamiento con Sherrill Milnes y con Renata Scotto (en Nueva York y Roma, entre 2006 y 2008). Jessica Rose fue seleccionada en el Metropolitan para participar en el XLVI Concurso Viñas, siendo además finalista en diversos concursos internacionales de Canadá, Alemania y Estados Unidos. En los próximos tres años estudiará como residente en la Academy of Vocal Arts de Filadelfia."

"Por su parte la revista ÓPERA ACTUAL ofreció, por segundo año consecutivo, un premio especial para una bolsa de estudios. Dicho premio fue adjudicado a la soprano norteamericana Jessica Rose Cambio, de veinticinco años."

Fernando Sans-Rivière, Ópera Actual, España
Renata Scotto y la pasión por el arte

"Alumnos como Jessica Cambio ya están perfectamente preparados para dar el salto a los mejores teatros."

Francisco García-Rosado, Ópera Actual, España
Sanremo, Teatro del Casinò: 12° Festival della Lirica

"La chiusura della sera è stata affidata all'interessante soprano statunitense Jessica Rose Cambio che, con una bella e commovente esecuzione dell'aria di Micaela dal 3° atto della Carmen, ha dimostrato di essere, fra i concorrenti presenti, quella apparentemente più completa e pronta, sia dal punto di vista vocale che da quello interpretativo. A lei ho riservato il mio personale favore nella votazione che il pubblico era chiamato ad esprimere."

Roberto Frassinelli, Citadella.net, Opera Click, Sanremo, Italia
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