"Magnificent!" That's the word former General Director Richard Gaddes used to describe Deborah Domanski's performance in the role of Zenobia in the Santa Fe Opera's 2008 Season production of Radamisto. D.S. Crafts, reviewer for The Albuquerque Journal wrote, "Deborah Domanski as Radamisto's wife Zenobia exudes sensuality both in voice and stage presence. Her clear, focused and radiant mezzo-soprano illuminates both her enthusiastic acceptance of death "Son contenta di morire" and her tender plea "Quando mai" (When cruel destiny). She and David Daniels are later reunited in a sparkling duet." Prior to her triumph as Zenobia, Deborah sang the role of Signora Guidotti in the Santa Fe Opera pre-season one-hour production of Nino Rota's The Timid Twosome. Other engagements include the role of Lazuli in L'Etoile with Austin Lyric Opera in early 2010, the title role of La Cenerentola with Opera Southwest in October 2009, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with Opera Southwest, the pants role of Jack in the American premier of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers performed with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall - Lincoln Center, Mezzo-Soprano soloist with the Columbia Pro Cantare in Handel's Messiah, and Cherubino in Le Nozze de Figaro with Opera Southwest. Deborah also recently debuted with Opera Hong Kong & The Hong Kong Philharmonic, Utah Symphony and performed benefit recitals for Opera Santa Barbara and Opera Southwest. In April of 2006 Tulsa World Opera Critic James D. Watts proclaimed "Domanski may be the best Cherubino we've seen," after Deborah debuted in Le Nozze de Figaro with the Tulsa Opera. Deborah Domanski brings an extraordinary combination of scintillating musicality and captivating stage-presence to all her roles, including the title role of L'Enfant in L'Enfant et les Sortileges, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Nancy in Albert Herring, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Minerva in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw, Sally Follett in the New York premier of A Death in the Family by William Mayer, and Aphrodite in the world premier of Paris and Oenone by Philip Hagemann. At Pittsburgh Opera, Deborah performed the roles of Nireno in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Flora in La Traviata, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (matinee), Siebel in Faust (matinee), and was responsible for the roles of Rosina, Cesare, and Mercedes. During the 2002-2003 season, Deborah made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Alto Soloist in Mozart's Requiem. Among other solo concert engagements, she has performed with the Laredo Symphony as alto soloist in Beethoven's 9th, the Greenwich Choral Society's performance of Rossini's Petit Messe Solenelle, and with The Juilliard Choral Union in Vivaldi's Gloria in Alice Tully Hall. As a Young Artist in the Juilliard Opera Center she was a participant in the prestigious 2002 Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital in Alice Tully Hall. As the 2002 competition winner at the Music Academy of the West, Miss Domanski became the Marilyn Horne Foundation Awardee and was presented in recital, and on national radio and in World Wide Web broadcast in October 2002. January 2005, Deborah made her Weill Concert Hall debut as part of the Horne Foundation's The Song Continues... recital series at Carnegie Hall. She maintains her passion for the art of song recital and presents concerts and education programs around the world. In 2007, Deborah presented a recital in Delhi, India entitled Shaping the Invisible: Leonardo da Vinci's Principles in Song. After completing two years with the Pittsburgh Opera's Young Artist Program, Deborah spent the summers of 2005 & 2006 with the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, where her responsibilities included performing Mercedes in Carmen and covering Susan Graham in the role of Cecilio in Mozart's Lucio Silla. Deborah Domanski's education includes a Bachelor of Music, Cum Laude, from Chapman University in California, a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School - Juilliard Opera Center. ROBERT TWETEN - PIANIST began his career as a piano soloist after receiving his Associate of Arts Degree from the Victoria Conservatory of Music and winning competitions including the Du Maurier Search for Stars and the Canadian National Piano Competition. A gifted recitalist and conductor, Robert has performed with many great singers including Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Elizabeth Futral, Catherine Malfitano, Samuel Ramey, Gregory Turay, and Suzanne Mentzer in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Toronto's Ford Center, Los Angeles' Disney Hall, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Zurich Opera House, Vienna's Konzerthaus, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Salzburg Festival. Robert serves as assistant conductor for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as head of the music staff at the Santa Fe Opera. Reviews for Deborah Domanski Santa Fe Opera - Zenobia, Radamisto Handel, Faithlessness and Devotion... The lovely mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski (replacing Christine Rice, who withdrew from the production because of illness) sings the courageous Zenobia with luscious sound and lyrical refinement. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, Monday, August 4, 2008. Radamisto, Santa Fe Opera... Zenobia's fidelity to Radamisto has a fiery side, especially when she struggles to rebuff Tiridate, and Deborah Domanski's fine lyric soprano conveys it excitingly. Her silky, bare-midriff costume bespeaks a sexiness that explains her appeal to Tiridate. George Loomis, Financial Times, Wednesday, August 6, 2008. Santa Fe Opera: Radamisto... A late change to the cast, Deborah Domanski as Radamisto's wife Zenobia exudes sensuality both in voice and stage presence. Her clear, focused and radiant mezzo-soprano illuminates both her enthusiastic acceptance of death "Son contenta di morire" and her tender plea "Quando mai" (When cruel destiny). She and David Daniels are later reunited in a sparkling duet. D.S. Crafts, The Albuquerque Journal, Monday, July 21 2008. Radamisto, Santa Fe Opera... Deborah Domanski, who took over the role of Zenobia from Christine Rice, sang with artful coloratura phrasing and looked enchanting in an open midriff costume that few other singers would dare. Maria Nockin, Music & Vision Magazine, Sunday, August 17, 2008 Bizarro Handel plot mended by stylish staging, glorious singing... As well as displaying great abs, Deborah Domanski showed a burnished flexible mezzo as Zenobia, handling the brilliant passages as well as the legato with equal panache." Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review, Saturday, August 09, 2008 Handel's Radamisto at Santa Fe Opera... Mezzo soprano Deborah Domanski, an alluring and wonderfully talented SFO apprentice singer, has been doing the role of Zenobia, Radamisto's wife (replacing mezzo Christine Rice), and she is an amazing creature. Singing in the sweetest of tones and with meticulous style, she simultaneously exemplifies the ideal Oriental maiden with colorful spangles and a bare midriff. David Gregson, Opera West, Monday August 11, 2008 Austin Lyric Opera - Lazuli, L'Etoile Madcap fun and musical charm in Chabrier's "The Star"... Mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski brings a luscious voice, vivacious presence and miraculously flexible body (Gumby has nothing on her) to the pants role of Lazuli. Mike Greenburg, Incident Light, Tuesday, February 2, 2010. Arts Review: The Star (L'Etoile)... Mezzo Deborah Domanski evokes Lazuli's raffishness and boyishness with enthusiasm. Robert Faires, The Austin Chronicle, Thursday, February 4, 2010 Review: Austin Lyric Opera's 'The Star'... Domanski did well in the classic trouser role, all gangly moves capped by a sweet tone. - Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American Statesman, Monday, February 1, 2010. Opera Southwest - Angelina, La Cenerentola High Note for La Cenerentola... Here she gives her most impressive performance to date, bringing a rich texture to the full range that this part demands. She leaps through the vocal hurdles of the final aria Nacqui all'affanno ("I was born to sorrow") with an ease born of the most accomplished technique. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal, Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Opera Southwest - Prince Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus Review: Die Fledermaus... Deborah Domanski, who made such an impression this summer in Santa Fe's Radamisto, appears in the ultimate comic trouser role, the Russian Prince Orlofsky. She/he conveys in gorgeous tones the spirit of the entire operetta in the famous aria Chacun á son gout (Whatever you like), a toast to champagne among the many pleasures of life. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal, Monday, October 06, 2008 Opera Southwest - Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro Review: Opera Southwest... Deborah Domanski as Cherubino, is outstanding in this "trouser role". Playing a teenage boy full of overly-amorous spirit, she captures the character perfectly with a sweet, yet vibrantly captivating soprano. In the confessional Non so piu (I no longer know) she/he tells of exploding adolescent hormones, cast of course in 18th century language. She graces Voi che sapete (You who know what love is) with delightfully surprising ornaments in the repeat. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal, Monday, 15 October 2007 Tulsa Opera - Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro The things we do for love, 'The Marriage of Figaro' sings with comic brilliance... Domanski may be the best Cherubino we've seen. She perfectly captures the spirit of a hormone-crazed young fellow so in love with love he can't do anything right. The dressing-up scene is a hoot as Cherubino plays at being a woman. But Domanski also delivers vocally, with fine performances of "Voi, che sapete" and "Non so piu cosa son." James D. Watts Jr., Tulsa World, Monday April 24, 2006. Ashlawn-Highland Festival - Rosina, The Barber of Seville 'Barber': Shear romance...She [Deborah Domanski] has a beautiful voice that can handle all the ornamentation that Rossini throws her way, plus the no-nonsense, full-throttle, no-holds-barred, magnificent, full out voice that he expects. She is truly a feast for the eyes. Eleanor Tudor, The Daily Progress, Tuesday, July 27, 2004. Pittsburgh Opera Center - Minerva, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria Opera Center delivers superb production of 'Return of Ulysses'... Deborah Domanski was spectacular as Minerva, bounding over the composer's arpeggios to brilliant, open high notes. Steven Singer, Pittsburgh City Paper, Wednesday, May 5, 2004. Pittsburgh Opera Center - Erika, Vanessa (Scenes) Opera Singers provide intriguing mix in 'Sampler'... Mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski sang a flawless rendition of "Must the Winter Come So Soon?" from Barber's Vanessa. Her voice was rich, smooth and balanced, her technique rock-solid and every syllable clearly projected. Eric Haines, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Saturday, January 31, 2004. Music Academy of the West - Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro The Marriage of Figaro, a musical bliss from beginning to end...Mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski sang and acted the boyish role of Cherubino with joyous abandon, perfectly embodying the sexual ambiguities and love's angst of the role. Her singing was unfailingly musical in the two newly-embellished numbers for Cherubino, "Non so piu" and "Voi che sapete." Truman C. Wang, Classical Voice.Org, Sunday Aug 10, 2003. Figaro's wedding...Deborah Domanski fully inhabited the spirit and song of Cherubino, which is saying something. Not only was she convincing as a boy, but utterly believable as the adolescent who has discovered that all women are magic. Her foolishness was character-driven, her comic bits the natural extension of ardent and effervescent youth. We cared about her plight and her happiness. Peter Frisch, Santa Barbara News-Press, Wednesday, August 13, 2003. Juilliard Opera Center - Zerlina, Don Giovanni Deborah Domanski's Zerlina was a total delight, visually & vocally Glenn Lonely, New York Theater Wire, May 10, 2003. Los Angeles Philharmonic - Alto Soloist, Mozart's Requiem Cathedral: 3,000 Attend Philharmonic Concert... Four promising young singers - ...Deborah Domanski - were the vocal soloists. Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times, Monday, September 30, 2002. Music Academy of the West - Nancy, Albert Herring 'Albert Herring' Finds a Youthful Voice...The richest, most promising voices of the cast belong to... Deborah Domanski (Nancy)..., all of whom deliver their words with admirable clarity and sung with ardor. Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times, Monday, August 12, 2002. Santa Barbara, California... Nancy was the lovely mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski, who shone vocally and looked adorable in the part of a village sweetheart. Carl Byron, Opera News, November 2002. Vol. 67, No. 5. Manhattan School of Music - Aphrodite, Paris and Oenone New York...Of special note was Deborah Domanski, a knock-out Aphrodite. Donald Westwood, Opera News, May 1999. Music Review; 2 Operas Have Some Fun... Deborah Domanski (Aphrodite) - sang alluringly as a trio and individually. Allan Kozinn, New York Times, January 13, 1999. ARTICLES The Hindu, India Friday January 19, 2007 She destroys the stereotypes of opera singers... Nandini Nair Read Full Press Piece The Albuquerque Journal Major Solo Role Goes To Opera Apprentice Sunday, July 6, 2008 by Kathaleen Roberts, Journal Santa Fe Original lead in 'Radamisto' withdrew for health reasons Deborah Domanski's dreams came true next to some cantina trash cans in the shadows of the Sangre de Cristos. Last week, Santa Fe Opera conductor Harry Bicket and general director Richard Gaddes chose the 33-yearold Santa Fe resident to ascend to the principal role of Zenobia in Handel's "Radamisto." Domanski will replace Christine Rice, who withdrew because of health issues. The opera opens July 19. Domanski worked as an apprentice during the opera's 2005-06 season. She had been tapped as Rice's "cover" - opera-speak for understudy - but was untried as a major role soloist. She knew something was up when Bicket began marking up his score according to her breaths and musical ornaments during what she assumed was a coaching session. "I thought this was really weird," she said. "It was actually an audition, which was a good thing. If I'd known, I'd have been a nervous wreck." She grew especially suspicious when both Gaddes and Bicket asked her to meet them at the cantina. "They said, 'We've got good news and bad news. The good news is we want you to do the role. The bad news is we want you to do the role.' "I started squealing," Domanski said. "Then I regained my composure and I said, 'Thank you very much.' I called my husband. I called my dad. I called my sister. I called my aunt. I sent out an e-mail." The Cinderella scene was radically different from her first summer at Santa Fe. Overwhelmed by the pressures and brutal hours of mastering five operas, she says she had a breakdown. "My first year was insane," she said. "It was a huge learning experience, and it was also extremely tortuous. I had the one and only nervous breakdown of my entire life." Apprentices attend daily rehearsals that often linger until 1 a.m. or longer. Domanski began her days by warming up her voice at 7 a.m. The season included "Ainadamar," directed by Peter Sellars, renowned for his modern stagings of classical operas. The title means "fountain of tears" in Arabic; the production is a boiling cauldron of emotion and dark passions set during the Spanish revolution. Like any good director, Sellars pushed his singers to fully express the resulting anguish, rage and grief. Domanski finally collapsed. "I literally sat on that curb and couldn't move a muscle," she said. "I looked at my arm, and I literally couldn't move it. I literally cried for the next three hours." She slept for an hour, then returned to perform in "Lucio Silla." "When you're an apprentice here, you're proving yourself every single day," she explained. "You cannot let on weakness. You're hoping to be the next star of the show." Domanski was an easy choice for the rarely performed "Radamisto" because she had been working on the score since last November. "If it was '(The Marriage of ) Figaro,' one could find a million Susannas because it's done all over the world," Bicket said. "Deborah was wonderful to have because she was already studying it. (She has) a strong, beautiful, warm voice, and it's got a lot of color in it. In a big role like this, you need someone with a lot of character to bring these long arias to life." Domanski sings five arias, a duet, a quartet, the final chorus and "about six million recitatives." "These are real Everests of the singing repertoire," Bicket said. "Handel exposes the voice like no one else. There's no cushioning, very often (you're) just alone with a violin. You can fall off a cliff. But she's been wonderful. She's not as experienced as the others, but you wouldn't know it from the way she performs." Domanski is one of 13 former apprentices to land principle roles this year under Gaddes' direction, SFO spokeswoman Cindy Layman said. After her tumultuous apprentice season, Domanski made her debut with the Tulsa Opera as Cherubino in "The Marriage of Figaro," which earned rave reviews. She returned to Santa Fe as Mercedes in last year's "Carmen." Later, she sang with the American Symphony Orchestra at New York's Avery Fisher Hall and in Southwest Opera's production of "Figaro" in Albuquerque. First performed in 1720, "Radamisto" is the story of Zenobia and her husband, Radamisto, heir to the Thracian throne. The Armenian King Tiridate goes to war hoping to possess Zenobia. But she remains faithful to her husband. "She is a very, very strong woman," Domanski said. "She has more fire in her than anybody in the whole opera. She gets captured by the tyrant (king). For the rest of the opera, I'm being seduced by the tyrant king and nearly raped in two different scenes. But she has so much strength and fire in her, she resists." Domanski grew up near San Diego, where she sang in school choruses and choirs. She later studied at both the Manhattan School of Music and at Juliard. She never considered doing anything else. "It's like a snowball," she said. "People ask me how I got into singing opera. I don't know; it just got into me. My voice has a mind of it's own." This time, she envisions no breakdowns. Her voice changed when she turned 30, growing fuller and richer, she said. She's developed a solid technique. "I'm only doing one opera," she said. "When you're an apprentice, you learn five. Just being given an opportunity like this - living up to and exceeding everyone's expectations. I'm getting really great feedback, so that gives you a great amount of confidence." An admitted perfectionist, she mulls over the Italian score during breaks in the cantina, digesting everyone else's parts as well as her own. "There's always something more you can learn from the score," she said. "I'm seeing what my colleagues are singing so I know exactly what they're singing about. "The hard part is being in the right place at the right time," she added. "I've been hoping for this all my life." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Albuquerque Journal grown-up fairy tale Sunday, September 27, 2009 By David Steinberg Cinderella is a classic fairy tale that has crossed cultures. One of the earliest versions supposedly goes back to ancient Greece. Not surprisingly, the subject has been transformed to the opera stage in the form of Gioachino Rossini's popular "La Cenerentola," which premiered in 1817. Opera Southwest will give it three performances at the KiMo Theatre Saturday, Oct. 3, and Oct. 9 and 11. But the Rossini opera is aimed at all ages. It's not a children's opera. "It's the same story, but a little more mature," said David Bartholomew, stage director of the production and artistic director of the company. Except for the title character, whose name is Angelina, the prince, who is Don Ramiro, and the virtuoso singers, the characters in the small cast are comical, Bartholomew said. He thinks of the opera as being closer to a romantic comedy than to a fairy tale. Mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski, who sings the title role, is the reason why Opera Southwest chose to do this opera, Bartholomew said. "(Music director) Tony Barrese and I talked about her doing a 'Cenerentola' for us, with her skills ... primarily vocal skills. It calls for a mezzo-soprano voice with a lot of agility, fast singing and high singing all over the range," the stage director said. "That's Deborah's strong point - having that kind of coloratura voice." Bartholomew said there were other factors in choosing Domanski: She's a New Mexico singer, she's performed in two previous Opera Southwest productions and she had stepped in at the last minute in the role of Zenobia in the 2008 Santa Fe Opera production of "Radamisto." "She had wonderful reviews, and the response to her performance was very good. On the scale that the Santa Fe Opera is, it was quite a coup for a younger singer," he said. Domanski said she's been waiting to sing "La Cenerentola" until her voice has matured to fit the role. "The final aria ("Nacqui all'affanno ... Non piu mesta") is one of the great mezzo-soprano feats that is in all opera, and probably one of the most difficult arias in the mezzo-soprano repertoire," she said in a phone interview from her Santa Fe home. In the aria, Domanski said, her character sings of being "born to woe and weeping. Through some sweet, enchantinglike flash of lightning, my luck has changed." She wants to portray her character not as a person who deserves sympathy, but something different. Dramatically, she said, sympathy goes only so far and then it gets boring. "She's so charming, so cool, so funny, and she has all this fast coloratura," Domanski said. "Someone depressed, downtrodden wouldn't sing anything like that. She's a very loving person. That's why the prince is drawn to her." The opera's subtitle happens to be "Goodness Triumphant." Among the other singers in the production are Andrew Drost as Don Ramiro, Stephen Eisenhard as the stepfather Don Magnifico and Moira Kelley as Clorinda and Andrea Kiesling as Tisbe, the two stepsisters. Bartholomew said the Opera Southwest is re-imagining it's production theatrically and visually by turning the KiMo stage into a Victorian toy theater. An English family parlor entertainment, the toy theater represented a grand theater, he said. "It's a wonderful theatrical, operatic devise that adds another dimension," he said. "It's the perfectly scaled piece for all the forces of Opera Southwest, the principal of which is the intimacy of the KiMo."