Artist in Residence: PRESTEIGNE FESTIVAL 2017
The main work of the previous evening, Judith Weir’s The Consolations of Scholarship (with a text derived from two Chinese Yüan dramas) had provided much more challenging listening. For the remarkably accomplished Berkeley Ensemble and mezzo-soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones it was a tour de force, brilliantly executed by the nine instrumentalists under Vass’s undemonstratively precise direction, and sung/spoken/declaimed (it contains a lot of Sprechstimme) by Afonwy-Jones with remarkable clarity and vocal richness.
David Hart BIRMINGHAM POST August 2017
David Truslove CLASSICAL SOURCE, August 2017
The thread was picked up by Judith Weir’s music drama, The Consolations of Scholarship (1985), written in the style of a Chinese Yuan drama from the 13th and 14th centuries. As a musical idea it comes at you out of left field but it commanded the second half, thanks to the authoritative, gloriously sonorous voice of young mezzo Rebecca Afonwy-Jones and the Berkeley’s responsive ensemble. If anything the instrumental writing is more potent than the vocal line but when Afonwy-Jones was given words to sing rather than speak she sliced laser-like through the scoring, and her voice soared.
Emma Lilley HEREFORD TIMES August 2017
David Kempster [is] solid as Alfio, though for all-round excellence one must turn to Rebecca Afonwy-Jones’s butter-wouldn’t-melt Lola and Anne-Marie Owens’s fraught Mamma Lucia.
George Hall, THE STAGE May 2016
Rebecca Afonwy-Jones dealt with Olga’s tricky tessitura with great assurance and skilfully managed to make dramatic sense of her ballroom conversion to über-coquette.
OPERA MAGAZINE September 2015
Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, who had earlier demonstrated the rich power of her mezzo range on Richard Strauss, was here full of wide-eyed eroticism in these explorations of love as a novelty full of unexpected delights. (Chansons de Bilitis)
THE HERALD May 2011
Marie Claire Breen warmed up into a feisty, flexible-voiced Vixen, matched by mezzo Rebecca Afonwy-Jones as her romantic interest, Fox.
THE GUARDIAN January 2011
Rebecca Afonwy-Jones‘ Carmen was both dark and manipulative, with enough seductive fruitiness in her voice to sustain complete plausibility.
THE SCOTSMAN September 2010
A Carmen must be utterly seductive and all-powerful, and emerging artist Rebecca Afonwy-Jones is certainly up to the task. Eyes flashing and hips swinging, she effortlessly pulls the puppet-strings of all the men on stage. As for what she can do with her voice, let’s say that if she isn’t a big star in the opera firmament soon there should be a steward’s enquiry.
THE SKINNY September 2010
Poised and warm voiced. OPERA NOW
It’s tricky, too, for young students to master an easy stage presence for the opera’s many oldsters, though Rebecca Afonwy-Jones proved outstanding in Russian diction and characterisation as the redoubtable Madame Akhrossimova, at her wits’ end with her would-be-absconding charge Natasha. Here the perfect balance between the two singers showed the communication of Prokofiev’s truthful one-to-ones at its edge-of-seat best.
THE ARTS DESK 2010
My favourite piece of the evening was a delightful miniature for mezzo and harp, aptly entitled Butterflies, with a inventive fluttery melody, that proved instantly captivating. Rebecca Afonwy-Jones displayed lovely clear words and injected a hint of fragility into her voice
Maconchy Festival MUSICAL POINTERS October 2007