March 1, 2012
“A star is born” should be the headline in The WholeNote on the occasion of the announcement of the 2012 JUNO nominees. I speakin particular of one contender for Classical Record of the Year, Vocal and Choral Category, the self-titled Marie-Josée Lord. Alas, it takes a long time to become an overnight success. Lord has been charming Quebec audiences with her magnificent voice since her debut in the fall of 2003. Be it Liu, Mimi, Nedda, Suor Angelica or Carmen—passionate, dispossessed or heartbroken heroines are herroyal domain. But there is also Gershwin’s Bess and Marie-Jeanne of Plamondon’s super-hit Starmania. Each of these roles gets transformed by Lord’s smoky, fascinating voice. Soft and velvety in the lower registers, it has a lovely, robust and crystalline quality in the upper range. To call her “a soprano” is like describing Mozart as “a composer.” Her voice has the power to send shivers down your spine, make you grip the armrest and lean forward in your seat. This artist is all her own, not emulating anybody else’s style, rendering her instantly recognizable and unforgettable. With all this attention on the vocals, one barely notices the competent, if sometimes ham-fisted playing by the Orchestre Métropolitain under Giuseppe Pietraroia.These selections are well known, but you have never heard them sung like this. I have yetto see Lord sing on stage, but if this recording is anything to go by, it will be a memorable occasion.
Robert Tomas - The WholeNote
La Scena Musicale
February 1, 2011
Canadian soprano Marie-Josée Lord’s first solo album is a revelation. In live
performance, Lord had had a tendency to a quick vibrato. This has now been tamed,
as is evident in this album. The marketing choice, to begin with “Summertime” and “Le monde est stone” was an artistic mistake, as the voice lies rather back in Lord’s throat and both arias have a somber feel. It’s in “Signore, ascolta!” that we hear the gleaming shine in Lord’s voice that makes this a credible opera album. Here, Lord succeeds in delivering Liu’s final crescendo. The real gems are the verissimo arias, placed as middle and later tracks. The colour Lord brings to the La Wally aria
harkens back to some of the greats. Although her “La mamma morta” is no Callas, she brings the emotion off with her own style. Her Act I aria from Pagliacci is delivered with conviction and a fine legato, as is “Si, Mi chiamano Mimi” from La bohème. The top performance goes to “Voi lo sapete” from Cavalleria rusticana, which Lord injects with abundant feeling. The Orchestre Metropolitain sounds great, and conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia provides sympathetic support.
Wah Keung Chan - La Scena Musicale
December 26, 2010
I can't find much biographical information on Canadian soprano Marie-Josee Lord, but judging from the passionate thanks she gives to God in the liner notes to this handsome CD, the situation seems to be that she was born poor in Haiti and was adopted as a little girl and taken to Quebec, where she now lives. This fairy-tale background is completed by the portraits of her grown up and beautiful, clad in a stunning blue gown. (The gown is, in a way, her co-star.) Most of this album is the "greatest hits" variety, and I do not think we are yet seeing what will be the full range of Lord's talents. The "Habanera," for instance, sounds a bit cautious. Still she has a way of grabbing your attention. There is a soaring "Summertime," and the bewitching high note at the end of "Signore, Ascolta!" from Puccini's "Turandot." Though technically a soprano, Lord has the richness and depth of a mezzo. The Orchestre Metropolitain, led by Guiseppe Pietrarola, accompany her graciously with a clear, sensual sound. Two of the tracks are instrumentals.
Mary Kunz Goldman - Buffalo News
Le Journal de Montréal
November 20, 2010
Parmi les disques à glisser sous le sapin, celui-ci est essentiel. De la grâce il est question, mais aussi d'une voix sublime, celle de la soprano Marie-Josée Lord qui a illuminé Starmania et de multiples concerts estivaux. Pour cette première, la soprano a choisi des grands airs d'opéra: Air des bijoux (Faust), Habanera (Carmen), Stridonno Lassu (Pagliacci) ainsi que Le monde est stone (Starmania), Summertime/ My Man's Gone Now (Porgy and Bess). Une voix puissante, travaillée, impeccable dans les aigus et qui joue admirablement sur l'effet de tension. Une classe naturelle.
Christophe Rodriguez - Le Journal de Montréal