“Soprano Ambur Braid is an impressive Queen of the Night.  She does not sing the Queen’s two principal arias merely as showpieces, as singers so often do, but rather acts while singing so that she brings out the meaning of the words while effortlessly engaging in the score’s vocal gymnastics.
– Christopher Hoile, OPERA NEWS, January 2017
 
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“Die Hölle Rache (sometimes referred to as the Queen of the Night’s mad aria) is arguably the most recognized opera excerpt in the world. It is unlikely that there are many coloraturas in the world at the moment who can give a better performance of this aria than Ambur Braid. Her effortless freedom and suppleness while singing through impossibly high and intricate passages, combined with a campy, sinister interpretation of the role, was glorious.
– Mooney on Theatre?, January 2017
 
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“The same was true for Ambur Braid’s Queen of the Night. Braid seemed cramped and hemmed in by the tiny stage on which she had to sing her first blazing aria in Act 1 – the Queen shouldn’t be confined, she needs to be as large as the night sky. But by Act 2, Braid gave one of the most chilling renditions of Der Hoelle Rache I’ve ever heard, navigating the impossible coloratura lines of the aria pianissimo, rather than double forte, making them doubly malevolent.
– The Globe and  Mail, January 2017
 
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“Back on the COC stage after turning everyone’s head as Dalinda in Ariodante, soprano Ambur Braid is everything you want in a “star-flaming queen”. Her two big arias were sung as close to perfectly as one could hope. Long and lean and beautiful she used every one of her assets while prowling around the stage. She was at the same time equal parts intriguing and intimidating. I could listen to Ambur sing me the phone book, if I’m being completely honest.
– Schmopera?, January 2017
 
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“I have to mention first & foremost a role that’s really like a cameo, namely Ambur Braid as the Queen of the Night. I wasn’t sure if I could mention her misadventure in her first aria, until she admitted it in social media. Instead of a wardrobe malfunction this was outright rebellion, her colossal dress tripping her up. But Braid is such a complete theatre animal that she turned it into business, crawling on her knees at Tamino. I swear nobody in the theatre noticed, although it did seem like an unconventional approach to the aria. In the second aria, she put the damnedest pause at the end, in full partnership with Labadie (his idea or hers?), holding us in that agonized theatrical moment before she ended the aria. It’s such a tiny part, yet she’s the one everyone remembered, including that last dance with Sarastro.
– Leslie Barcza?, Barczablog, January 2017
 
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“Canadian dramatic coloratura Ambur Braid repeated the excellent Queen of the Night she sang in the Ensemble performance in 2011. Hers is a flamboyant, silent-movie style Queen, with all the vocal chops and the hi-camp qualities needed to make the Queen the center of attention. She earned huge ovations from the audience.
– Musical Toronto, January 2017
 
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“Soprano Ambur Braid is a gloriously malevolent Queen of the Night, all evil and darkness flashed with sequins and sparkling coloratura. Der Holle Rache (“The vengeance of hell”), the great, wickedly delicious revenge aria that rises from the opera’s psychic centre, is dispatched with gorgeous savagery, Braid tossing off entire handfuls of high Fs with unflappable self-assurance.
– Opera Going Toronto
 
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“Archibald is supported by exceptionally fine singing from both Canadian soprano Ambur Braid, making her role debut as Dalinda, and Armenian mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan as Polinesso. From the start Braid portrays Dalinda, so infatuated with the unkind Polinesso, as socially awkward and perhaps mentally disturbed. Braid’s soprano has a darker hue than Archibald’s but she is equally at ease in coloratura passagework. One of her finest moments is the aria “Se tanto piace al cor” in which she expresses a battered woman’s hope that Polinesso’s cruelty may eventually lead to tenderness. The other is Dalinda’s great aria of anger and repentance “Neghittosi or voi che fate?” where Braid’s superb vocal control only heightens the aria’s emotions.
– Christopher Hoile, Opera News
 
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“Of particular note were Ambur Braid and Alice Coote, whose voices sailed wilfully through their arias. Coote’s coloratura injected a complex depth to her character that would have broken this opera very quickly in lesser hands.
– Michael Vincent, Toronto Star, October 2016
 
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“Ambur Braid, who steals the show as Dalinda.. it was Braid and not Archibald or Abrahamyan who was the most interesting character onstage, a flawed individual right on the boundary between pathos and humour, many of her lines drawing nervous giggles from the audience.
– Leslie Barcza, Barczablog, October 2016
 
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“Ambur Braid was the Queen of the Night, singing some of the most well-known music in the opera. She made a very strong impression and received a very warm reception to her arias, both of which were sung with brilliant coloratura and a ringing tone.  No one will be disappointed here.”
– Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald, April 17, 2016 – The Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute” at Calgary Opera
 

 

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“Ambur Braid makes an exceptional UK debut bringing the right combination of fear and allure to the Queen of the Night, and achieving a fine balance between clarity and nuance in her sound in ‘Der Hölle Rache’.”

— MusicOMH, February 6, 2016 – Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute” at English National Opera

 

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“As the denizen of darkness, Canadian soprano Ambur Braid was a formidable Queen of the Night, her upper register impressively firm and all notes hit in the merciless ‘Der Hölle Rache’.”
 Opera Britannia, February 6, 2016 – Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute” at English National Opera
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“No praise could be too high for the feisty Three Ladies, the spooky Three Spirits, Allan Clayton’s eloquent Tamino, Lucy Crowe’s sublime Pamina, and Ambur Braid’s brilliantly-conceived Queen of the Night. Mark Wigglesworth conducts with fizzing authority.”

– The Independant, February 6 2016, – Queen of the Night in “The Magic Flute” at English National Opera  

 

 

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“Ambur Braid provided tons of useful background info in her funny introduction to how each of the wives hooked up with Henry (“I nerd out… Bear with me”), but mood changed from comedic to dramatic when she started singing. She voiced each queen with unreserved commitment and compassion—it was probably the emotional peak of the evening. Powerful! Larsen’s excellent cycle found an excellent ambassador.”
“We all knew that Ambur Braid had splendid highs, but what perhaps we don’t get to hear as often is how attractive and meaty her lower register is. The songs showed what a fabulous chiaroscuro voice she is. Somebody cast her in some Verdi, stat.”

– Definitelytheopera.com

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“Is there a smarter singer in this city?  Yes we’ve noticed how attractive she is, how effortless her high coloratura, but let me repeat, I think she’s very intelligent.  For a few minutes she stood before us riffing on the wives of Henry the VIIIth almost like a stand-up comic, giving us the background while enacting a kind of distancing Brecht would have loved.  I couldn’t help thinking –as I watched five distinct impersonations, one per song—that at least one motivating reason was that Braid was seeking a bit of distance for fear of becoming too emotional. Even as it was, I was in tears in several places, overwhelmed by the intensity of these songs and her portrayals.  I wonder if Larsen has ever heard them done this way, so flamboyantly, yet so distinctly?  I would think she’d be blown away, as were we come to think of it.  Almost incidentally, there was a high C-sharp, among singing and characterization in a different style for each wife.”

– Barczablog.com

 

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“Anne Truelove, the only “positive” character of The Rake’s Progress, a woman with true love (even in name) was treated with special care in this production. Helped by the good performance of Canadian Ambur Braid, who managed at the same time to give body and voice to the only truly operatic character from beginning to end, but with a greater complexity than usual and using a more dramatic soprano at times.”

– Público

 

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“We finally meet the show’s leading lady and Ambur Braid is everything you want a Konstanze to be and more. She has beauty and stature and poise, but the best part is that she (and Pynkoski) are constantly willing to mock these traits, having her don spectacles or fall onto the floor in unattractive positions.
She also is the possessor of a sly wit that this master manipulator of a woman needs and an evil twinkle in her eye that tells you, in the great Häagen-Dazs sex shoppe of life, vanilla will never be her favourite flavour.
Oh yes, her voice is also something to write home to mother about, if you wanted mother to know you were seeing a girl so deliciously urbane. As she demonstrated in last season’s The Magic Flute, she can deliver the trifecta of crystalline high notes, blissfully graceful vocal cadenzas and deep emotional intensity that Mozart liked all his leading sopranos to possess.”

– The Toronto Star

 

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“Ambur Braid, a strong-willed Konstanze, sang this famous aria with firm technique and edgy tone. By wearing and removing eyeglasses she added an amusing touch of complexity to her character.”

– The National Post

 

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“Ambur Braid’s Konstanze met the challenges of her role in an unexpected way.  There’s the big aria “Martern aller Arten” for example, where one sometimes sees a singer gamely struggle.  Not only did Braid make it look easy (although  we should also credit conductor David Fallis in the pit for supporting his singers so perfectly that they’re easy to hear), but of course Pynkoski & Zingg make this hysterically funny.  I won’t say how.  Sometimes we’re watching overdone romance, a young woman in tears for her missing BF, sometimes we’re watching her defy her scary captors.  It’s wonderfully funny, owing much to Braid’s comic gift, which we saw amply displayed last year in Die Fledermaus.  Yes Braid can sing, but she’s very smart and never dull.”

– Barczablog.com

 

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“There was, however, a wonderful wake-up call given the production by Ambur Braid as the Queen of the Night. She eschewed the diva-esque posturing that many women adopt for the role and gave us instead a ravishing creature of glacially cold evil, which made the sharply carved icicle notes she dispensed during her signature Act II aria seem all the more appropriate.”

The Toronto Star

 

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“Ambur Braid was our Vitellia, communicating malice with intense acting and a steely, tight vibrato. She cross-pollinated coloratura with verismo in Act 1; Non più di fiori, in Act 2, was nothing less than a mad scene. I must say this raven-haired Canadian does wicked rather well.”

– The National Post

 

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“The stand out has to be Ambur Braid’s Vitellia.  She was so inside the character it was scary.  She sang an extraordinary cadenza in her big first act aria and right at the end she produced a veiled tone that was weird, disturbing and exactly right. She is so “in the moment.”

– Operaramblings.com

 

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“The Vitellia is Ambur Braid – an extraordinarily versatile singer who seems able to turn her voice to anything.  Well who knows?  But the Vitellia displayed vocal beauty and technical assurance in abundance, as well as another fiery theatrical presence.”?

– Brian Dickie

 

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Top Ten Theatre Artists of 2012
“Anyone who thinks opera singers are all voice and no drama hasn’t seen Braid’s work with the Canadian Opera Company. A member of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, she sang in The Tales Of Hoffmann and wowed viewers in the Ensemble’s performance of Handel’s Semele, giving a tragic turn to the title character; she depicted Semele’s progressive madness in a coloratura aria usually sung for its sweetness. In the fall she won hearts onstage and in the audience as the pert maid, Adele, in Die Fledermaus.”

– NOW Magazine

 

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“Ambur Braid drops her maid’s gear to emerge in finery as the best Adele ever: sexy, sparky, sensational.”

– Toronto Star

 

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“..(the) maid Adele as portrayed by Ambur Braid.  I’d been expecting to enjoy this portrayal, but was not prepared for how fully she inhabited the maid- who- becomes –Olga.  While I’d seen the photos in the publicity, I was unprepared for the power (and comedy) of her transformation from the ugly duckling of Act I into the seductive Olga in Act II. Her rendition of the laughing song had a delightfully angry edge to it.”

– Barczablog

 

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She plays Amore, goddess/god of love (she switches genders midway through the show). She is tall, thin, with Audrey Hepburn eyes, long auburn hair, and perfect teeth.”

– The Walrus Magazine

 

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“The performances are superb. Braid’s Amore is characterful and spontaneous in voice and presence.”

– NOW Magazine