13 Jun 2024

Fast-rising French soprano Axelle Fanyo has attracted superlative reviews for her debut in Verdi’s challenging title role of Luisa Miller at the Opera d’Avignon:

“Axelle Fanyo, who played the title role for the first time, was able to move the audience by delivering an exceptional vocal performance, expressing with intensity the extreme feelings of her character.” – Ruth Martinez, Libre Théâtre

“She embodied, despite her full-bodied voice, the most fragile, the most human and the most poignant of Luisa Millers. In the last act, she would even make the stones cry, finding phrasing, nuances and half-tones of rare eloquence. Beyond a singer, she is a true artist (and a strong feminine temperament!) who expresses herself, going straight to the heart of her character.” – Emmanuel Andrieu, Classique News

“Her ease is supreme: An infinite breath, an ability to hold high notes strongly, a control of the emission, a captivating legato, pianissimi distilled with elegance… The trills and the turns (of her entrance aria), the vehement accents of the big scene of Act II, everything is there. Not to forget the exemplary character of the vocalizations of “La tomb è un letto sparso di fiori” as the emotion grips us. She reaches the sublime in this last act (“Ah! l’ultima preghiera”), after the touching cabaletta of the father and the daughter. An admirable lesson in singing, particularly in ensembles (her duets like the ultimate trio are accomplished).” – Yvan Beuvard, Forum Opera

“Axelle Fanyo plays a sweet, innocent and fragile heroine. Her entrance aria, perfectly mastered, is cheerful and exciting, with a voice that is always well projected and imbued with delicious youthful enthusiasm. A soprano with agile and airy high notes, the young Frenchwoman captures the essence of the purity and innocence of the role to transmit it to the audience. She also knows how to be much more dramatic, revealing particularly convincing low register and thus adding a moving depth to her interpretation. Without a doubt, there are many among the public who will remember her name!”

“Axelle Fanyo’s voice perfectly delineates the torments of the title role [of Luisa Miller]. She supports well when the voice pushes, without deforming the sound – the true evidence of a lirico spinto. Her power allows her to ride the orchestra in all circumstances and to stand out clearly in emphasizing the specificities of her character within the tutti choral moments. Her timbre is imbued with warmth but can take on rougher facets to reveal Luisa’s flaws as the drama demands.” – Julien Delhom, Olyrix

Opera de Rouen has also recently announced that Fanyo will sing the pivotal role of Madame Lidoine in their new production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites in early 2025.

On Saturday 15 June, at the Auditorium National de Lyon, Fanyo sings the last in a year-long series of recitals with pianist Kunal Lahiry, presented by the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) ‘Rising Stars’ series – a multifaceted programme ranging from Kurt Weill and Schoenberg to Florence Price, and a new commission from composer Sofia Avramidou. Of the duo’s Hamburg performance, Abendblatt wrote:

“A rising young soprano building her first recital at the Elbphilharmonie with rarities of Weill and Schoenberg with some piano music by Ravel and Gershwin, a spiritual and songs by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, and Bolcom, must have either a somewhat unhealthy confidence, or just be pretty awesome. Axelle Fanyo’s performance clearly pointed us towards the last solution. The public was thoroughly seduced by this diversity, and by the strength of conviction with which Fanyo presented herself (…). But especially by her soprano. She has it all (…) Enough volume, spreading out effortlessly, to briefly shake the pages on the stand, and probably even in the furthest row of seats in the small hall. Fine tuning, the perfect sense of atmosphere, the balance between strength and flexibility, (… ) The bets on the big stages where we will see this singer again can be launched right now.”

French soprano Axelle Fanyo “does not only embody a character, she tells us the story. She clearly cultivates the art of communication, which gives her singing another dimension.” (Forum Opera) and is making her mark on both the opera world and in concert halls with her eclectic curiosity and “charismatic, beautiful voice [of] real star quality.” (Renée Fleming) With multiple accolades including the 2021 Nadia and Lili Boulanger Competition grand prize, prestigious Kaleidoscope prize and the Young Artist prize at the International French Song competition, Axelle is without a doubt an artist on the rise.

Deutsche Grammophon invited her to make her first solo recordings (with repertoire including Weill, Ravel and Bolcom) within their Rising Star programme, and she was named as a Rising Star for the 2023/24 season in the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) programme, through which she has given a recital tour across major European venues including Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Barbican, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the Philharmonie de Paris and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

In addition she made her debut as Tosca at the Théâtre Imperial in Compiègne, and sang the role of the Mother in the world premiere of Hèctor Parra’s contemporary opera Justice at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. In concert and recital she sang Berg’s Sieben fruhe lieder, Schoenberg’s lieder op.2 and String Quartet No. 2 (L’Abbaye de Royaumont), and narrates Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, with musicians from the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Samy Rachid. Other recent highlights include her debut at the Philharmonie de Paris singing the title role in Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue with Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The latter then invited her to sing at Davies Symphony Hall the role of Refka in Kaija Saariaho’s opera Adriana Mater with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, staged by Peter Sellars.

For more details, visit Axelle Fanyo’s website.

Photo Credit: Capucine de Chocqueusesm