The Art of Elan
San Diego Museum of Art
"Susan Narucki has only been on faculty at UC San Diego for several years, but in that time she has quickly become a local treasure. She is able to negotiate the trickiest new music lines, without ever letting her diction lapse or her warm, lovely tone disappear. She caught the bewilderment and the ecstasy of Maw's writing in Roman Canticle; although the work is usually performed by a baritone (the poem does suggest a male narrator), her musical and dramatic tone was just right for the necessities of the work."
The Art of Elan
San Diego Museum of Art
"David Bruce's song 2009 song cycle "The North Wind Was a Woman," written for soprano Dawn Upshaw, appropriately dominated the program. This vividly scored, emotionally turbulent 25-minute work reminded me at once of Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer 1915," not because Bruce imitated in any way Barber's harmonic vocabulary, but because this work exuded an equally passionate immediacy and rich instrumentation that dared you to remain outside of its vibrant command. Soprano Susan Narucki interpreted Bruce's five contrasting poems with psychological acumen and authoritative vocal dexterity.
Unlike the Romantic poets of the 19th century, who saw nature as the flattering background of romance, Bruce's poems (two are actually his own) make nature the romantic protagonists. Bruce turned the fourth poem, "The Crescent Moon is a Dangerous Lunatic" (by Alasdair Middleton), into a careening car chase, a pulsating Expressionist rant that proved as ravishingly beautiful as it was violent. And Narucki proved more than equal to its challenge."
Kurtág - Kafka Fragments
Soundings Series, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas TX
"A work this emotionally intense and technically difficult (some passages border on the impossible) demands performers with a supreme technique; soprano Susan Narucki and violinist Violaine Melancon were more than equal to the task. Narucki brought the dramatic range of an opera role, with magnificent variety of tone, as well as the willingness to stretch from a low F to a high C-sharp. Melancon successfully explored the catalog of technical demands and tunings that necessitated, as instructed by the composer, two violins on stage. Together, they produced the unfailingly engaging and continually building effect Kurtag clearly aimed for."
Wayne Lee Gay,
Kurtág's Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova
Royal Festival Hall, London, U.K.
"The performance itself was alive to the music's extremes of ecstasy and despondency: Susan Narucki (who replaced an indisposed Claire Booth at short notice) evincing all of the technical acuity and expressive sensitivity which have made her so doughty an advocate of contemporary vocal repertoire, while the pool of musicians drawn largely from the Philharmonia Orchestra ensured that the 'ensemble of soloists' called for by the composer's often unsparing demands was more than equal to the task. This is not the place to consider the semantic implications of Rimma Dalos's verse or Kurtág's inimitable response to it; better to note that the work's desperate intensity was palpably conveyed in a fine account directed by Baldur Brönnimann."
From the review by Richard Whitehouse, Classicalsource.com
Kurtág - Kafka Fragments
with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaya
Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Kleine Zaal
Narucki gives Kurtág's aphorisms expressive form.
".... The American soprano Susan Narucki, known here for, amongst other things, Louis Andriessen's Writing to Vermeer, was able to give exceptionally sensitive and expressive form to the musical riches ..... the subtle theatrical ensemble with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaya was also splendid - for example the way they challenged each other in the whirlwind movements of 'Die Weissnäherinnen'.
The musical pinnacle was the first fragment 'Zu Spät' from Part IV. Seldom have two people played and sung with such perfect coordination, tenderly and just slightly out of focus, as if they - to use an image from one of the other fragments - were not walking on the ground, but balancing on a thin cord just above it."
The Blue Rider in Performance
Miller Theater, Columbia University
With pianist Sarah Rothenberg, and the Brentano String Quartet.
Louis Andriessen - De Stijl
Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series
"In the middle of “De Stijl” is a short declaimed recitation in English of a letter by a Dutch writer remembering Mondrian on the dance floor. Soprano Susan Narucki, who is on the classic recording of “Materie,” recited the text from memory to the accompaniment of an upright piano - and was riveting."
Los Angeles Times
Read more...The Light That is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives (New World Records)
Susan Narucki, soprano Donald Berman, piano
Editor's Choice - BBC Music Magazine - Highest rating: five stars
"...the disc represents a fertile meeting of minds belonging to two eloquent champions of
20th century American music...So often Ives demands an unselfconscious simplicity not all
singers can muster. Susan Narucki knows how not to over-gild - never rending maudlin the rich
thread of nocturne and remembrance which runs through the artfully-plotted programme. The oppressed fragility of "Like a Sick Eagle" is something special on a very special disc indeed."
BBC Music Magazine
"There's probably no finer introduction to Ives' songs or to his output as a whole."
"The collaboration of the splendid Susan Narucki, a soprano of round and luminous timbre and her conscientious accompanist Donald Berman, shows limitless musicality."
"...the sylph-like sounds of the soprano Susan Narucki, ably accompanied by Donald Berman in “The Light That Is Felt” (New World Records), give a touching equanimity to a group of Charles Ives songs that includes such temperamental opposites as “Songs My Mother Taught Me” and “Like a Sick Eagle."
The New Yorker
"Ne possiamo ascoltare una scelta non cosi minima nella magnifica interpretazione della soprano
Susan Narucki, accompangnata da Donald Berman."
BLOW UP (Italy) Americans in Rome/Songs of Samuel Barber
Susan Narucki, soprano Donald Berman, piano
"The four brief Barber settings receive such sterling advocacy by Susan Narucki and Chris Pedro Trakas that one wishes for more."
Read more...Andrew Imbrie - Roethke Settings
with Christopher Oldfather, piano - Collage New Music
"The melodic writing is tart yet lyrically generous both here and also in his "Roethke Songs," which received an eloquent performance by soprano Susan Narucki and pianist Christopher Oldfather."
"Susan Narucki is a composer's best friend - a new music interpreter of such intelligence, committment and technical prowess that anything she sings takes on a radiant life. No matter what the repertoire, a performance by Narucki is always an important event."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Narucki's singing displays an extraordinary precision - she negotiates the wide leaps and arcane intervals so beloved of contemporary composers without batting an eye, and she gets them right every time. But she combines this with an understated lyricism that lets even the most jagged and forbidding melodic line sound improbably beautiful."
San Francisco Chronicle
Igor Stravinsky, Les Noces Cleveland Orchestra Pierre Boulez, conductor
"Stravinsky's humorous and compassionate take on nuptials abounds in tricky rhythms and surprising colors, which Boulez and company - especially the deeply expressive Narucki - projected as if totally immersed."
Cleveland Plain DealerLouis Andreissen, De Materie
Schoenberg and Asko Ensembles Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor
"She sang the erotically charged 'seventh vision' of this medieval mystic very, very beautifully."
Het Parool, The Hague
"Narucki's velvet soprano caressed the seductively erotic text of the 13th century mystic, Hadewych.... A night for South Bank to remember."
The Independent, LondonJonathan Harvey, Song Offerings
"Sung beautifully and with characteristic dedication by Narucki, who created an extended instant of joy, a marriage of sensuousness and calm"
Paul Griffiths, The New York TimesGyörgy Kurtág, Kafka Fragments
With Daniel Phillips, violin Carnegie Hall
"The musicians...Susan Narucki and Daniel Phillips on the second half - all worked with Mr. Kurtag and experienced his insistence on the expressive force in the tiniest gesture. Here, that experience showed.
Ms. Narucki and Mr. Phillips worked with the same exact command of musical and expresive resources in Mr. Kurtag's longest work so far, "Kafka Fragments," setting aphorisms, images, parables and anecdotes from Kafka's diaries and letters. Each was different - in tone, angle, color - though they all came from the same world of shards.
Standing stock still, but with the waiting intensity of someone in shock, Ms. Narucki did almost everything with her voice alone. Only one fragment did she, most effectively, dramatize, turning on Mr. Phillips to yell, "Ruhelos!" ("No peace!") And then to repeat the word, drained. Here was a whole Beckett play in about thirty seconds.
For examples of Ms. Narucki's range of voice and expression, there were the yelps of "Nichts Dergleichen" ("Never the Same"), terrifying but musical, the pure white tone matching Mr. Phillips' toward the close and right at the end the slithering scuffle in which one heard Kafka's two snakes in the dust. Mr. Phillips with similar ranging virtuosity, was similarly right on target all night."
Paul Griffiths, The New York TimesGyörgy Kurtág, Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova
Columbia Sinfonietta Jeffrey Milarsky conductor
"This searing performance of Kurtág's Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova only reaffirmed that it should be considered one of the masterpieces of the late 1970s, and as tossed off with astonishing ease by the great Susan Narucki, will certainly be cited by many as one of the performances of the year. This is stunning material for the right performer, and Ms. Narucki sang these with the kind accuracy, intensity and confidence as if they had been written for her. This performance might be the most eloquent I've heard to date"
Music Web International David Del Tredici, Syzygy
BBC "Sounding the Century" Series
"The vocal part makes staggering demands. It was written for the astonishing Phylis
Bryn-Julson, but Susan Narucki was more than equal to it."
The Sunday Times, London Claude Vivier, Rèves D'un Marco Polo
The Netherlands Opera
"But one name we will never forget: Susan Narucki, the soprano from America, who gave everyone goosebumps and made us cry with "Lonely Child" a song drawn from the youth of the murdered composer."
Vrij Nederland , Amsterdam
"Among the soloists, hommage must be paid....to the dazzling soprano Susan Narucki..."
Le Figaro, Paris Elliott Carter "A Mirror on Which to Dwell"
"Few singers of any stripe can fuse such fine-tuned attention to verbal nuance with such blooming, unforced, dramatically apt tone. The aching beauty of her traversal of the cycle attained a molten heat in the scorced musico-poetic landscape of 'Insomnia'.
San Francisco ExaminerElliott Carter, Tempo e Tempi
MET Chamber Ensemble, James Levine,
conductor Weill Recital Hall
"The soprano Susan Narucki navigated these straits with an assurance that gave the illusion of ease"
New York Times
"Susan Narucki has had a long association with this complex yet sensuous work, and as she did last year delivered an enchanting interpretation. With guest artist Rolf Schulte on the violin, James Levine led an impassioned performance."
Opera News (January 2009)
"The settings are beautifully crafted, deeply engaging masterpieces. Soprano Susan Narucki, who has recorded these songs, gave a heartfelt performance, sensitively accompanied by Levine and his ensemble of six players."
Opera News (January 2008)Pierre Boulez, Improvisations Sur Mallarme 1, 11
Ensemble Sospeso, Zankel Hall
"Susan Narucki, the soprano, gave supple, evocative readings of the first two Mallarmé Improvisations, two early explorations of vocal angularity and seductively changeable ensemble scoring."
New York TimesEarl Kim, Exercises En Route
Ensemble XTET, Donald Crockett conductor
"There is high drama here which soprano Susan Narucki captured compellingly. The music perfectly captures denial and acceptance, the amused emotional distance and shocking emotional directness that is the contradictory heart of Beckett, and so did the performance by Narucki."
Los Angeles TimesArnold Schoenberg, The Book of the Hanging Gardens
With Boris Berman, pianist Yale School of Music
"Berman had an extraordinary partner in Narucki. She found the perfect center of every pitch in the Schoenberg and produced a dancing rhythmic vitality to support a complex and aching text."
The Hartford Courant
"Narucki, a Grammy-winning singer and champion of new music, was in top form, exhibiting a glorious middle range and deftly portraying a character, who by the end of the song cycle, is hopelessly unhinged."
The Hartford CourantWorks of Gerard Grisey and Claude Vivier
"Grisey's work depends so much on ensemble textures. But it depends, too, on a pure, calm and irrefutable human voice at the center, and this Susan Narucki provided [ in ''Four Songs to Cross the Threshold.'' ], with magical control and refusal to overdramatize. She was excellent earlier -- and again selfless in placing herself within the total sound -- in ''Bouchara'' by Claude Vivier, another composer who spent his last years in quest of death."
Paul Griffiths, New York Times2007 Cabrillo Festival of American Music
Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Marin Alsop conductor
Aaron Jay Kernis: Valentines
"as sung by the extraordinary Susan Narucki with spot-on intonation, superb control, and vocal beauty…the songs resonated on both conscious and subconscious levels".
San Francisco Classical VoiceSebastian Currier: Vocalissimus
Collage New Music Ensemble, Boston
"Reigning new-music diva Susan Narucki has intelligence, wit, presence, drop-dead musicianship, and....a voice you want to hear."
The Boston GlobeMusic of Harrison Birtwistle
Making Music Series - Zankel Hall
"Susan Narucki, one of the most glowing advocates of contemporary music, made [the Birtwistle] sound easy… astonishingly clear and accurate in her intonation… I particularly enjoyed the second poem in the cycle in which Narucki reached a thrilling fortissimo on the final word."
Music Web InternationalMario Davidovsky: Shulamit's Dream
Riverside Symphony, Alice Tully Hall NYC
"The impressive soprano handled the part with technical command and no loss of tonal richness."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York TimesArnold Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
With Gilbert Kalish, pianist and students of the conservatory
"Susan Narucki who took on the Sprechstimme role in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, was dressed merely as a chanteuse- black dress, vast ruffled collar, bright lipstick- and why not? That's what Pierrot was for; and God knows Narucki did it brilliantly.
She crept round the stage, sometimes draping herself over one player's chair or another - as over Jenny Robison's chair for "Der kranke Mond" (The sick Moon) where the flute was her only accompaniment. At other times she knelt in front of the whole ensemble. She hit the precise balance between speech and song and the performance was frighteningly good."
San Francisco Classical VoiceJohn Adams, Nixon in China (excerpts)
Los Angeles Philharmonic, John Adams conductor
"Susan Narucki, a newcomer to the role of Pat, staked out an unchallengable claim"
"Susan Narucki made a bright and sympathetic Pat."
Los Angeles Times