Les Contes d’Hoffmann / Lyric Opera of Chicago

Andrew Patner

Chicago Sun Times

Wilmette native Matthew Polenzani is singing his first ever Hoffmann, and he has become a splendid purveyor of French style and idiom with technical skills that carry him through major numbers in the three acts, prologue and epilogue.”

“Tackling the daunting role of Hoffmann for the first time anywhere, Matthew Polenzani gives a vocally polished, ardent and stylish performance. The Wilmette-born singer, a star alum of the Ryan center, earned the audience’s acclaim on opening night. Hoffmann is a perfect fit for his voice and artistry at this stage of his international career. One had only to marvel at the stamina, tonal reserves, ease in the upper range and bell-like French vowels he brought to this daunting part.

What’s more, Polenzani cut a handsome figure and made one feel sympathy, even pity, for the hopelessly besotted Hoffmann, whose ability to fall in love with the wrong woman, time after time, strains credulity even by operatic standards.”
— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2011