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Britten & Finzi Debut CD
ACIS
2016-4: "American tenor Vale Rideout offers gripping performances here of song cycles by two great 20th Century English composers. Britten’s own 1969 recording of his Holy Sonnets of John Donne with Peter Pears is the benchmark against which other readings must be compared. In listening to that again, I found my appreciation renewed for their performance. Not everyone appreciates the reedy nasal quality of Pears’s voice, but their reading is outstanding and certainly definitive.

A few years ago I reviewed a fine release from James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook of these and other Britten songs (J/F 2013). I listened again to that as well. The SACD sound quality is excellent and there is much to like in their performance. His voice is very light and exquisitely lovely when he sings softly, but his vibrato gets increasingly ragged the louder he sings.

Now comes Rideout’s performance, and I find it more powerful than either of the others. His beautifully placed voice has substance and warmth; it is both vigorous and sweet. His approach reminds me a lot of Pears but with- out that timbre that can be wearisome. With absolutely lucid enunciation of words and strong feeling for the texts, his reading grabbed hold of me more than any I’ve heard. His strong attack to begin ‘O My Blacke Soule’ is powerful, especially in contrast to the carefully shaped dynamic variation he gives to its qui- eter lines. His soft singing is exquisite as at the start of ‘O Might Those Sighs and Teares’. The contrasting dynamics in his singing of all these songs brings out their drama magisterially.

Finzi first turned to the poetry of Thomas Hardy with A Young Man’s Exhortation and did so then for about 160 of his songs. Gilchrist recorded this cycle also, again with Tilbrook (J/F 2013). His splendid legato singing, clear diction, and deep feeling for the text are laudable. In 1984 Martyn Hill and Clifford Benson recorded these songs for Hyperion (N/D 2009) with others sung by Stephen Varcoe. Hill has the finest voice of the three. All things considered, Gilchrist and Tilbrook is the one to get if you want just one CD of Finzi songs sung by a tenor, but I would not want to be without Hill’s utterly mellifluous singing.

Nor would I want to be without Rideout’s recording. It’s a fine and discreet reading that captures well the bittersweet tone of these Finzi songs. These are strong and excellent readings of both cycles. Rideout shows virility in the more declamatory Britten songs, and there is a well chosen nostalgic tone in the Finzi songs. A real strength of his singing is a masterly management of dynamic contrasts, though at louder volume he sounds sometimes like he is pushing his voice to its stentorian limits. Harris holds his own against the other accompanists. He handles the driving— indeed battering—accompaniment of ‘Batter My Heart’ admirably and delivers the twin- kling accompaniment deftly in ‘What if This Present’ and ‘At the Round World’s Imagined Corners’.”
                    - R. Moore, American Record Guide

Missa Solemnis
Dallas Choral Festival
2016-1: "Tenor Vale Rideout has a bright Italian sound, combined with enough heldentenor overtones, to match the other three singers.”
                    - Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones

Missa Solemnis
Dallas Choral Festival
2016-1: "Vale Rideout’s tenor aptly balanced lyricism and heft.”
                    - Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News

Die Fledermaus
New Orleans Opera
2015-11: "In his company debut as Alfred, Vale Rideout displayed a bright, clear tenor and was the effective clown that this role so requires."
                    - George Dansker, Opera News

Die Fledermaus
New Orleans Opera
2015-11: "Vale Rideout, as Alfred, Rosalinde’s jilted suitor, is the lone tenor among the leads, making the most of his limited appearances with melodically ringing paeans to his lost love and making himself too comfortably at home with Rosalinde during Eisenstein’s absence."
                    - Dean M. Shapiro, The Advocate

Die Fledermaus
New Orleans Opera
2015-11: "Vale Rideout was a comically over-the-top Alfred, with a pleasingly lyrical tenor."
                    - Theodore P. Mahne, The Times-Picayune

Mendelssohn St. Paul
New York Choral Society
2015-2: "Tenor Vale Rideout, sensitively voiced and well-acted, reincarnates in several roles—acting as Saul’s counterpart in the martyred Stephen, healer Ananias, and companion Titus.”
                    - Emily Snyder, The Jewish Week, NY

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
Rochester Philharmonic
2014-1: "In the final movement, Jan Opalach possessed a resounding baritone voice, and Rideout’s verismo-worthy tone rang exuberantly into the hall. Along with Ringle and soprano Kelley Nassief, they formed a quartet that sparkled with vibrancy."
                    - Daniel J. Kushner, Democrat & Chronicle

La traviata
Eugene Opera
2014-1: "Vale Rideout makes an excellent partner for Ms. Partridge. His voice is mellifluous."
                    - Diana Barth, The Epoch Times

War Requiem (Britten)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington Chorus
2013-11: "An absolutely transcendent moment was the mini-scene created by tenor Vale Rideout and baritone Christopher Burchett immediately following the choral rendering of the ‘Libera Me.’ A moving “song conversation” between the soloists was like listening to two soldiers lament over the perils of war, love and ultimately death. The warmth of Rideout’s tenor in musical dialogue with Burchett’s fervent baritone created a scene that could have paused before the listener as if were on a screen."
                    - Patrick D. McCoy, Washington Life Magazine

War Requiem (Britten)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington Chorus
2013-11: "The standout was the tenor, Vale Rideout, who joined emotional expression with intense singing."
                    - Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Tenor (Britten)
Trinity Church, Britten Festival
2013-09: "In the Serenade the principals were the luminous tenor Vale Rideout and the horn player Danielle Kuhlmann, who played the French horn with a smooth, firm tone. She fearlessly leaned into the natural overtones called for in the part, allowing the raw, uncorrected notes to take shape in ways that were by turns rough and seductive.
The sound of Ms. Kuhlmann’s horn blended beautifully with Mr. Rideout’s voice, which has remarkable purity in the high range and is able to maintain a sleek polish across the dynamic range. With his excellent diction and natural, smooth-flowing delivery light on vibrato, he was an ideal match for Britten."
                    - Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times

Our Town (Rorem)
Central City Opera
2013-09: "Tenor Vale Rideout struck just the right feel as the Stage Manager, who is alternately a narrator, commentator and intercessor in the action.".
                    - Kyle MacMillan, Opera News

The Pearl Fishers (Bizet), Nadir
Hawaii Opera Theater
2012-02: "...tenor Vale Rideout (Nadir) had the tonal brilliance and power to steal the girl and the spotlight. Rideout was especially noteworthy."
                    - Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Elmer Gantry - Recording, (Aldridge) NAXOS, Frank Shallard
Florentine Opera - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
2011-12: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" - becomes about doubt and soul-searching in context. Vale Rideout uses his robust, characterful tenor to make this a passage of compelling complexity for his character, Frank Shallard."
                    - Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News

Rigoletto in concert, The Duke
The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
2011-10: "Rideout was absolutely perfect, exuding all the confidence you’d expect from a shady duke, especially performing “Questa o quella,” and his signature aria “La donna e mobile.”"
                    - Roger LeLievre, annarbor.com

The Inspector (Musto), Tancredi
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
June, 2011: “With his warm tone and smooth technique, Vale Rideout proved to be quite an elegant phrase-spinner as Tancredi; he revealed a knack for comic acting as well.”
                    - Tim Smith, Opera News

The Inspector (Musto), Tancredi
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
April, 2011: “Vale Rideout expended tenorial ardor on his delight at the payoffs he was getting from the mayor.”
                    - Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

The Inspector (Musto), Tancredi
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
April, 2011: “tenor Vale Rideout looks the part of the handsome hero and sings with feeling”
                    - Mike Silverman, The Associated Press

The Rape of Lucretia, Male Chorus
Castleton Opera/Cal Performances
March, 2011: “Tenor Vale Rideout stole the show, perhaps, in a bravura performance as the Male Chorus (the role written for Britten's partner and muse, Peter Pears).”
                    - Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

Carmina Burana - Recording, Tenor Soloist
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Nov. 2010: "The soloists act out their parts splendidly--in the case of Vale Rideout, the tenor in the ultra-high "Roasted Swan" episode, almost too well. He never resorts to falsetto and winds up sounding like he's about to be murdered."
                    - Robert Levine, classicstoday.com

Die Zauberflöte, Tamino
Opera Phoenix
November, 2010: “As Tamino, tenor Vale Rideout sang with a rich sound that soared over the orchestra. He is a good actor, too, and he energized his text with conviction.”
                    - Maria Nockin, Opera Today

Rio de sangre (Davis), Igneo
Florentine Opera
October, 2010: “Vale Rideout’s clear, forthright singing, especially in a ringing “speech” near the end of Act 1, exactly described Igneo, the only honest man in the piece.”
                    - Tom Strini, Third Coast Digest

Rio de sangre (Davis), Igneo
Florentine Opera
October, 2010: “The standouts were Ava Pine and Vale Rideout as Blanca and Igneo, the young lovers; their radiant singing and beguiling characterizations left a deep and lasting impression”
                    - Gregory Berg, Opera News

Giasone, Egeo
Chicago Opera Theater
April, May, 2010: “The quartet of principal lovers was completed by Doronzio's Isifile and Vale Rideout's mellifluous Egeo.”
                    - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News

Elmer Gantry - Recording (Aldridge) NAXOS, Frank Shallard
Florentine Opera - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
August 2011: "Vale Rideout brings warmth to Gantry’s friend Frank, who has one of the work’s most touching arias."
                    - Ronni Reich, New Jersey Star-Ledger

Elmer Gantry (Aldridge), Frank Shallard
Florentine Opera
March, 2010: “Vale Rideout's honeyed tenor limned Frank Shallard's vocal journey gracefully”
                    - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News

Elmer Gantry (Aldridge), Frank Shallard
Florentine Opera
March, 2010: “Tenor Vale Rideout, as Gantry’s pal Frank Shallard, got the best number of the night, and he made it count. Rideout plays a mainstream preacher who is losing faith. His big aria expresses the anguish attached to his doubt. I loved the way Rideout phrased and the way Aldridge composed the piece to make the melody advance as through a maze.”
                    - Tom Strini, ThirdCoast Digest

Don Giovanni, Don Ottavio
Palm Beach Opera
Feb, 2010: “Vale Rideout was a fine Don Ottavio, with a nice, creamy tenor that held up well and was heartfelt where it needed to be, in Dalla sua pace and Il mio tesoro.”
                    - Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Post

The Turn of the Screw, Peter Quint
Boston Lyric Opera
Feb, 2010: “Most notable among the cast were soprano Emily Pulley and tenor Vale Rideout… Rideout in the role of the ghost Peter Quint, was equally mesmerizing. Though somewhat stilted in his acting, he made up for it vocally with a seductiveness that was both eerie and forceful, allowing him to make the most of the mono-dimensional yet disturbingly enticing character.”
                    - Tom Schnauber, Boston Music Intelligencer

The Fall of the House of Usher, Roderick Usher
Nashville Opera
Nov, 2009: “Vale Rideout's lissome tenor limned Roderick's high-lying vocal line very attractively.”
                    - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News

La Traviata, Alfredo
Pacific Opera Victoria
Oct, 2009: “The tenor Vale Rideout's performance as Alfredo grows palpably in strength and nuance, both vocally and dramatically, from act to act.”
                    - Kevin Bazzana, Times Colonist

Lucia di Lammermoor, Edgardo
Central City Opera
Sept, 2009: “Looking the Romantic Byronic loner to perfection, he acted ardently and was highly affecting in the final scene. A sensitive musician, he projected the text with superb clarity.”
                    - David Shengold, Opera News

Lucia di Lammermoor, Edgardo
Central City Opera
July, 2009: “Deserving particular kudos is tenor Vale Rideout, a former Central City apprentice who is back for his third summer with the company as a professional. He is making his debut in the role of Edgardo, Lucia's lover from a rival clan, and he could hardly be better suited to the role. He has the dashing looks and fiery intensity this character demands, as well as the appropriate vocal weight and agility. Expect other companies to be eager to engage Rideout for this part.”
                    - Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post


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