Don Carlos debut at the Metropolitan Opera

Zachary Woolfe

New York Times

Polenzani... rises, stylishly, to fiery intensity — but rather a vocalist of refinement, inwardness and melancholy.

“[…]— long-breathed, patient, light-textured — embodies the vast elegance of French grand opera.

Those qualities are crucial in supporting a triumphant turn in the title role by Matthew Polenzani, singing Carlos for the first time in either language. Polenzani is not the swaggering, trumpeting Franco Corelli-style tenor generally associated with the part — though he rises, stylishly, to fiery intensity — but rather a vocalist of refinement, inwardness and melancholy.”

New York Times

“Polenzani is always superb in Verdi roles, this star tenor managed to combine pure beauty and sweetness with a sense of maturity and even heroism. Polenzani ran a broad expressive gamut, from gentleness to anger, discouragement to mania.”

New York Classical Review

“Tenor Matthew Polenzani sang Carlos with a finely attuned sense of drama and a sweetness unexpected only if you take his plea for “a future full of tenderness” in the first act as a passing fancy. He made a deeply human Carlos out of what could in less skilled hands be merely an anguished archetype. ”

Washington Post

“Polenzani surprised in every way. The tenor who is better known for his lyric roles has been moving into heavier repertoire. While Don Carlos is a middle ground between dramatic and lyric, Polenzani displayed a heroic timbre throughout, especially as he reached numerous high notes in the Act three Heretics scene and his duet with Rodrigue.

Then there was the moment before the “Lacrimosa,” which Polenzani sang with desperation, each time increasing his volume and his movements becoming more unhinged. That climaxed with a ringing high B natural that transitioned into the “Lacrimosa.” This moment in the opera was one of Polenzani’s greatest as he sang with agony, his voice taking on a yearning tone. Another point that stood out was his Act three duet with Eboli, during which he matched Barton’s fervor, creating a sensual moment at first, followed quickly by one of tension, with Polenzani’s voice growing in strength. His duet with Dupuis in Act two was another wonder which started with resignation before evolving into pure heroism as Polenzani’s timbre boomed out with rich power.”


“Matthew Polenzani, a lyric tenor of vast experience and a light touch who has lately been edging into more heavily armored roles like Carlos, shone through a grueling evening with undimmed elegance.”