Leïla, The Pearl Fishers

by Beth Stewart


Santa Fe Opera, 2019


Winters’ flexible soprano combines a dramatic edge and a dusky timbre with long phrasing and secure high notes. Her Act 2 aria (“Comme autrefois”) was mesmerizing, with sustained and beautiful quiet singing at the end. Performed as she languidly brushed her hair, it was also an exercise in sexual expression and self-confidence. Leïla and Zurga’s 12-minute confrontation duet in Act 3 (“Je frémis, je chancelle”) is the core of the opera and it was the evening’s musical and dramatic highlight. In it, Leïla discovers that she can go toe-to-toe with Zurga in intensity and command. The difference in their physical statures — he is burly and she petite — made her achievement all the more impressive.”
Mark Tiarks, Santa Fe New Mexican

Winters was a delightful Leila who had the coloratura ability to navigate Bizet's 1863 score. Her lush but clear tones conveyed a timbre that was an exquisite fit for French opera. Both her Act I prayer to Brahma and her later cavatina, "Comme autrefois dans la nuit,” when she realized her love for Nadir, were fine artistic creations in the tradition of nineteenth century French opera. Although her first costume prevented much movement and her head veil hid her face at times, Winters still created a loving character who held our attention with masterful stage presence and made us appreciate her worth.”
Maria Nockin, Broadway World

It is Leïla – Corinne Winters, of whose fan club I would like to be president… Poised like the cherry on top of the rich sundae of this opera was soprano Winters, the beautiful and pristine Leïla. The 36-year-old star was awfully sensual for a priestess, perfect for her eventual love story with Nadir, and an absolute joy to watch on the stage. Winters clearly adores singing; even in the saddest of pleas for leniency from Zurga, she remains effervescent, flitting around the stage like an iridescent hummingbird. It's impossible to take your eyes off her. "Comme autrefois dans la nuit" left my jaw on the floor and my eternal fandom in Winters' camp.”

Charlotte Jusinski, Santa Fe Reporter

Soprano Corinne Winters was a radiant Leila, her singing secure and bright, carrying easily over the orchestra in all of her biggest moments. Her Act III duet with Anthony Clark Evans’s Zurga, the leader of the fishers who is Nadir’s rival for her love, is one of the high points of the opera and the season. The rising arc of dramatic intensity is perfectly controlled, leading to a shattering climax. Equally memorable was her Act I aria and prayer at the beginning of her vigil.”
Peter Alexander, Sharps & Flatirons