LIMELIGHT

By Brett Allen-Bayes

"...it was immediately apparent that here was a great talent, a singer who must be immediately placed among the finest of countertenors."

 
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Dutch Radio Filharmonisch Orkest | NOVEMBER 2021

 "Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who can easily pierce through a tub of copper with his powerful high register, turns Prince Go-Go (a spoiled little bit of rosewater) into a hilarious gaudy caricature.“

DER VOLKSKRANT | Continue reading

By Rick Van Veldhuizen

"Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen made the childish weakness of Prince Go-Go tangible with his golden countertenor voice.

“The agile countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen was dramatically convincing as Prince Gogo.”

“At the festival, it turned out that the most successful and most precious were saved for last. Firstly, of the three operas by Christopher Moulds with the State Chamber Orchestra, this one turned out to be the best... And the lengthy story… did not for a minute lose either lively adventurousness or volume…

Several serious discoveries were discovered at once. The main one is the young American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who sang the main character. It seems that many falsetto artists, one more textured than the other, reached Moscow, but we have never heard this: a freely flowing lyrical mezzo of the most beautiful colorof excellent range, flexible, chiseled. This Caesar… the elegant manner of the singer made a strict youth-demigod.”

KOMMERSANT

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Review: Giulio Cesare

MOSCOW STATE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA | SEPTEMBER 2021 

"The main super-discovery of the evening was the 27-year-old countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen who performed the role of Caesar for the first time. With a timbre of rare beauty and with professional mastery of baroque vocal technique, with ease he displayed the most incredible grace, confidence, freedom and amazing artistry - these are just a few of the qualities that made the singer especially stand out. Listen to Caesar's "hunting" aria with the solo French horn (end of act 1) - auditory ecstasy is guaranteed.”

“However, whether planned or not, the luxurious final "Caesar" completely overshadowed all other events of the festival… And the casting went off the scale. This sparkling miracle, triumphantly shimmering with jewels and hits, I wanted to listen to forever. It remains only to list the names of the wizards. An enviable selection of countertenors… The Roman dictator Caesar was performed… by Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen with a fantastically beautiful warm timbre.”

“No matter how long this opera was, it still seemed that the marvelously sung vocals of countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (Caesar), we wanted never to end.”

"The ensemble of soloists was brilliant, despite the fact that almost all of them sang these parts for the first time. A new idol for many of those present was the countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen - an ideal Caesar, a resounding winner and an ardent lover who clearly enjoyed and conquered all of the difficulties of his role."

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Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (Adelaide Festival)

ADELAIDE FESTIVAL | FEBRUARY 2021 

"The recital commenced with a brace of three Shakespeare settings by the English master, Roger Quilter, and it was immediately apparent that here was a great talent, a singer who must be immediately placed among the finest of countertenors. There was great beauty to be heard in his tone, which is creamy and reminiscent of the great contraltos and mezzos like Kathleen Ferrier and Janet Baker. The range of vocal colour was extraordinary and he displayed complete technical command, not only in the projection of his voice, but his legato was cello-like in its smoothness and his control of volume truly amazed...

LIMELIGHT

By Brett Allen-Bayes

LIMELIGHT

By Brett Allen-Bayes

(Five Stars) "The recital commenced with a brace of three Shakespeare settings by the English master, Roger Quilter, and it was immediately apparent that here was a great talent, a singer who must be immediately placed among the finest of countertenors. There was great beauty to be heard in his tone, which is creamy and reminiscent of the great contraltos and mezzos like Kathleen Ferrier and Janet Baker. The range of vocal colour was extraordinary and he displayed complete technical command, not only in the projection of his voice, but his legato was cello-like in its smoothness and his control of volume truly amazed...

 

It was onto a truly special account of a quartet of Brahms’ lieder – impeccably nuanced with the quality of voice being entirely appropriate to these often nostalgic songs. The final coupling before the interval was devoted to Hebrew settings by Max Janowski... followed by Ravel’s famous, highly idiomatic setting of the Kaddish. Ravel is also well known for his setting of the gorgeous piece for cello and piano, so Cohen appropriately sang with a melting legato more akin to the string instrument.

 

Following the intermission the bar would be raised even higher with the exquisite delivery of with two Handel arias – one from the oratorio Saul, and the second, Vivi, Tiranno from the opera Rodelinda, which with its highly florid and complex ornamentation, was simply put, magnificent, with the singer and pianist working as true partners... Henri Duparc is often overlooked, [but] it was immediately apparent why such atmospheric fin de siecle settings are increasingly heard by countertenors. The sung notes often glowed as the singer adopted a highly tuned palette and legato to such gems.

 

The performers returned to finish this excellent recital in a more relaxed cabaret style with a contrasting trio of popular American standards – Misty, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and Porter’s witty I Get a Kick out of You. The lyrics were sung with impeccable diction but with the contours of a ‘trained’ voice throughout, there were many a passing vocal trick or ornament... the delighted audience understandably gave both Nussbaum Cohen and Shamray a well deserved standing ovation. They returned for an encore to perform a witty and laconic take on Frank Loesser’s Adelaide – a great choice for an encore... A man of many gifts, he also provided the fine tuned and entirely appropriate translations within the printed program, in German, Hebrew, Italian and French. Bravo indeed!"

THE ADVERTISER

By Stephen Whittington

"Conventional wisdom says that a voice takes years to mature and singers hit the peak in their mid-30s or later. Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is only 27 yet he displays remarkably mature artistry. He is a countertenor, a voice type that has largely been confined to early music and Baroque opera. But Cohen appears determined to break away from that typecasting. His recital ranged widely over a repertoire that included the expected – Handel arias – but also the unexpected – Brahms Lieder and Broadway show tunes...

 

At the core of the recital, on either side of interval, were exceptional brackets where Cohen could be expected to excel, and he did. Two very moving Jewish hymns, Avinu Malkeinu by Max Janowski and Kaddish by Ravel, were sung with deep conviction and perfectly judged expression. Two arias by Handel, from Saul and Rodelinda, were exquisitely sung – these were moments that you didn’t want to end.

 

Around this core, Cohen went into unfamiliar territory for a countertenor... Songs by black American composers Leslie Adams and Florence Price were fascinating to hear... Another voyage into uncharted waters for the countertenor voice came in three songs by Duparc, richly romantic works in which Cohen’s sensitivity to the nuances of the poetry and the music were evident."

BROADWAY WORLD

By Barry Lenny

“Cohen's recital, wide-ranging in choice, brought that bright timbre to repertoire not usually found in the countertenor catalogue.

 

The choice for Cohens's associate artist was a stroke of genius. Konstantin Shamray, the winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, was ideal. The affectionate way the two men hugged at the end of the performance makes me hope for more collaborations between these two gifted individuals.

 

…His bracket of four Brahms lieder was a revelation, as he poured passion to such songs as In Meine Nachte Sehnen with an energy unexpected in a voice type still characterised by restraint…

 

Vivi, Tiranno from Rodelinda - Cohen sailed through the challenges of the coloratura effortlessly.

 

The next bracket was the real surprise of the evening. The three melodies chosen from the works of Henri Duparc were magical. The music flowed suavely from the two musicians. The refrain of L'invitation au Voyage, by Baudelaire is la tout n'est qu'ordre et beaute, luxe, calme et volupte, all is orderly and beautiful, luxurious, calm and voluptuous. This could, itself, pass as a description of the concert…

 

The encore was that song from Guys and Dolls. It was either that or the Beethoven Adelaide, and I'm glad he went Broadway. His poise and personality fitted that song so sincerely… When the bottom drops out of the classical music market, they can go cabaret. He must come back. He and Konstantin should do another recital.”

GLAM ADELAIDE

By Nicola Woodford

“Hosting the rising star of American opera, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, is a triumph for the Adelaide Festival… a dizzying selection of songs that perfectly display Cohen’s versatility. Singing interchangeably in English, German, French, and Yiddish, Cohen's ability to emote transcends language. As he sings Johannes Brahms’ My Wounded Heart the audience feels his sorrow, and in Motionless Tepid Air, his passion and yearning. His silvery and unique countertenor voice is perhaps best showcased in an aria from Handel’s Rodelina, Vivi, Tiranno, in which he perfectly performs the coloratura…To close the performance, Cohen and Shamray loosen their ties before playing three twentieth century favourites. Cohen introduces Misty as holding special meaning for his fiancé – his performance is a little breathy and soulful. The audience erupts in applause before Shamray can even play the final note to I Get A Kick Out Of You…A rare musical delight – at once offering classical recital, Yiddish prayer, and a friendly jam session.”

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ADELAIDE FESTIVAL | FEBRUARY 2021

(Five Stars) As King of the Fairies, 27-year-old countertenor Nussbaum Cohen is one of the only international guests at this year’s festival and upon witnessing his performance last night, it is clear as to why the international press considers him a redefining force in the countertenor field. Festival audiences are in for another treat when he performs in recital on 9 March.

LIMELIGHT | Continue reading

By Jansson J. Antmann

THE ADVERTISER

By Ewart Shaw

“Benjamin Britten’s audacious A Midsummer Night’s Dream delivers on all its promises in this superbly cast opera… Oberon, airborne, is the American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. Androgynous and other worldly, he delivers the vocal enchantment Britten demands.”

THE AUSTRALIAN

By Matthew Westwood

“this is a classic Adelaide Festival: deeply involving, thoughtful, beautiful… with US countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen a rare international guest artist. (He entertained other residents during his stay in hotel quarantine with his own livestreamed performances.)…The cast is terrific, with Nussbaum Cohen… outstanding as Oberon.” 

GLAM ADELAIDE

By Kristin Stefanoff

“Cohen’s soaring countertenor is a wonder for the ears, and the moments of duet between him and Durkin are true musical highlights of the opera... This production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an immersion of sound and sight, delivering both gravity and humour with exceptional skill. The cast, orchestra, crew and creative team well and truly deserved the standing ovation on opening night.”

“Adelaide Festival’s opening weekend conjured worlds beyond the mortal realm of coronavirus and international border closures, courtesy of a United States countertenor released from quarantine to reign over impish fairies and an acrobatic troupe and choir who pulsed as one in a spectacle of human possibility... Floating in from above was the mellifluous high timbre of San Francisco-based countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as king of the fairies Oberon, transported from the ceiling in regal feather headdress.”

THE BAREFOOT REVIEW

By Samela Harris

“Oberon is sung by the utterly dazzling American countertenor, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. His voice is a dream in itself, perhaps the Manuka honey of the musical world.”

"These new live recordings... both are enjoyable: well sung and characterised, and convincingly (often swiftly) paced by two seasoned Handelians (McGegan was Cummings’s predecessor as director of the Göttingen Handel Festival)... Yet on the whole McGegan’s performance fields the stronger cast... He is outshone by the rich-toned Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, whether in a beautifully sculpted ‘O Lord whose mercies wonderless’ or the noble elegy of ‘O fatal day’.”

GRAMOPHONE

By Richard Wigmore

“An A-list cast headed by rising-star countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, as David... The American Nussbaum Cohen proves a winning David; his shapely arias are smooth as butter. “O King, Your Favours With Delight,” and especially “O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless,” ravish the ear... His rich, gender-ambiguous tone is suitably otherworldly.”

OPERA NEWS

By Clive Paget

"There are so many touches to savor, both in the instrumental accents and the phrasing of McGegan’s fine crop of soloists. PBO’s cast ensures that all but the most inattentive of listeners will get the dialogue... Most touching... countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s... sympathetic David... There are many times when the sound and music are so captivating that you may find yourself closing your eyes as you relish their beauties."

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

By Jason Victor Serinus

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PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA AND CHORALE

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra 2019-20 Review: Handel’s ‘Messiah’

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY | DECEMBER 2019 

“Musically vibrant, satisfying and festive... Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen brought his broad melodic line from the first note. Fast, dynamic, energetic arpeggios and gorgeous trills characterized his solos, recitative and songs. This was especially notable in his vibrant embroidery of the phrase “Refiner’s Fire.” At moments, his tone swelled with a fine, hooded quality, that added breadth to the line. As with all strong and simple texts, Cohen used eloquent embellishments that tripled and quadrupled meaning. It was as if it echoed far beyond its basic tonality.”

OPERAWIRE

By Lois Silverstein

SAINT PAUL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA | DECEMBER 2019

“a few key contributors deserve kudos. One is countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who stepped in about a day in advance for the ailing Reginald Mobley and delivered the most memorable performance of his vocal range’s assigned solos that I’ve encountered in 25 years of annual “Messiahs.” From his first rich, powerful and dramatic “But who may abide” — concluding with a final “For He is like a refiner’s fire” full of, well, fire — to a breathtakingly gentle “He was despised” weighty with grief, this was a magnificent interpretation.”

PIONEER PRESS| Continue reading

By Rob Hubbard

"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen... has been a break-out star from the beginning, and assignments at SFO and abroad put him on the radar of prestigious houses worldwide. His Adler Concert selections included exquisite Handel and Mozart, and a heartbreakingly gorgeous Berlioz song."

BAY AREA REPORTER

By Phillip Campbell

"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen... with a long-breathed, ravishingly beautiful excerpt from Berlioz’s song cycle “Les Nuits d’Été.”

SF CHRONICLE

By Joshua Kosman

“Second-year Adler Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (a countertenor from New York), who has already had a lot of success in his short career, gave an excellent rendition of an aria from Handel’s Siroe (another one not familiar to me)... Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in a stunning rendition of an aria from Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Ete.”

CLASSICAL VOICE

NORTH AMERICA

By Elsa Tranter

THE FUTURE IS NOW: ADLER FELLOWS CONCERT

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA | OCTOBER 2019

Last heard last season in Ars Lyrica Houston's stunning Agrippina, another Handel masterwork, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is a vocal wonder. Caramel and crystalline, his voice could melt the hardest hearts, as his David does. Supple and extremely flexible, his ethereal high countertenor superbly matches the young wonder-struck warrior, the beauty of friendship with Jonathan, the stirring love for Michal, the conflicting duty to Saul.”

HOUSTON PRESS | Continue reading

By D.L. Groover

 

HOUSTON PRESS

By D.L. Groover

“Full of scenic wonders, stunning music, magnificent performances, thunderous choruses, and elegant direction, Houston Grand Opera's presentation of George Frideric Handel's commanding oratorio Saul (1739) might just be legendary... a huge success. What an electrifying show this is, mesmerizing and thoroughly provocative throughout... Last heard last season in Ars Lyrica Houston's stunning Agrippina, another Handel masterwork, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is a vocal wonder. Caramel and crystalline, his voice could melt the hardest hearts, as his David does. Supple and extremely flexible, his ethereal high countertenor superbly matches the young wonder-struck warrior, the beauty of friendship with Jonathan, the stirring love for Michal, the conflicting duty to Saul.”

HOUSTONIA

By Michael Clark

“Houston Grand Opera's production of Handel’s Saul is a unique treat... the chorus has become a mob of fans, fawning over their new hero, the young David played by countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. It’s no wonder why they admire him; at the young age of 25, Cohen has a voice of warmth and purity that yielded an angelic quality to his performance. He handles the florid melismas of each aria with total ease. As the first act continues and all the characters literally sing his praises, it appears the show might have been better titled David.”

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

By Chris Gray

“’Houston Grand Opera’s revival... is grandiose, irreverent, and a little jarring. All good things. This “Saul” is a gas... As David, at first Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen... fresh wounds streaking his torso, the rest of the cast regards David like he’s an alien. It might well be the American countertenor’s otherworldly register; in his Act 1 duet with Canadian soprano Andriana Chuchman, as Saul’s excitable yet kind-hearted daughter Michal, their voices could be two sides of the same coin. Cohen’s vocals also mesh harmoniously with tenor Paul Appleby.”

TEXAS CLASSICAL REVIEW

By Steven Brown

“HGO’s cast made the downward trajectory coalesce into a powerful saga of nobility colliding with envy and obsession... Kosky and Stirrup made David’s dignity the counterpoint to Saul’s violence, and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen captured that in the hero’s singing and demeanor alike. 

Cohen brought purity, poise and eloquence to David’s attempt at consoling Saul–the gentle aria “Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless”–and the last-scene lament for David’s slain friend Jonathan. Yet Cohen also sang with nimbleness and vibrancy when happier emotions came to the fore.

Cohen’s David by and large carried himself with a stillness that exuded nobility, and he also captured a tender streak in Kosky’s staging. In the first scene, as the victorious David accepted everyone’s salutes, he kissed Saul on the forehead. During “Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless,” Cohen’s David lowered himself to the ground next to Saul and cradled him in his arms.”

“As David, Cohen’s countertenor bore all of the best qualities of that voice type: an evenness throughout his alto range, clean and clear passagework, and above all, a glistening, silvery quality that befits the heroic protagonists of eighteenth-century operas and oratorios..."

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA | SEPTEMBER 2019

“The art form could hardly have put a better face forward. As the sun beat down and thousands of attendees splayed across the meadow and the adjoining hillside with picnic baskets and blankets, the park filled with the kind of musical delights that don’t always arrive in such beguiling surroundings. They included countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s ravishing account of “Ombra mai fù” from Handel’s “Xerxes” — which all by itself would have been enough to persuade even a skeptical listener of opera’s splendid possibilities.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | Continue reading

By Joshua Kosman

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | Continue reading

By Joshua Kosman

“The art form could hardly have put a better face forward. As the sun beat down and thousands of attendees splayed across the meadow and the adjoining hillside with picnic baskets and blankets, the park filled with the kind of musical delights that don’t always arrive in such beguiling surroundings. They included countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s ravishing account of “Ombra mai fù” from Handel’s “Xerxes” — which all by itself would have been enough to persuade even a skeptical listener of opera’s splendid possibilities.”

“Without question, the recording, which is also available from various streaming services, shows Nussbaum Cohen as a complete artist with an impressive technique. Diction, phrasing, breath support, full rounded tone, and a flair for ornamentation — the veritable checklist of technical attributes essential to great Baroque singing — are there in spades. So is a total commitment to the swings between melancholy, despair, anguish, nobility, fury, pain, and love under duress at the core of the recital’s repertoire. One of the most impressive features of Nussbaum Cohen’s artistry is tonal consistency.”

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

By Jason Victor Serinus

AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS | JULY 2019

Handel’s Orlando Is Riveting at S.F. Opera

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA | JUNE 2019 

“The Act 1 trio “Consolati, o bella” was a masterpiece; the singers told a whole story of coaxing, sympathy, and jealousy, while singing beautiful (and difficult) overlapping runs... The staging demanded nuanced acting from its cast, all of whom delivered... By now, Bay Area audiences should be accustomed to reading the praises of countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum-Cohen. He sang Medoro with buttery tone and lovable earnestness. Especially gorgeous was his smoothly sung Act 2 aria of aching nostalgia (“Verdi allori”).”

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

By Ilana Walder-Biesanz 

OPERA NEWS

By Georgie Rowe

“There was much to enjoy in this revival. The opening's breakout performance was that of countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who offered a Medoro comprised of equal parts strength and refinement. His Act II aria, “Verdi allori,” was one of the opera’s high points—eloquent, shapely, and meltingly beautiful.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

By Joshua Kosman

“...countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Medoro — his tone strong and gleaming, his phrasing endlessly eloquent.”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

By James Ambroff-Tahan

“San Francisco Opera staged Handel’s “Orlando” for only the second time in its history after a 34-year absence Sunday afternoon, but Harry Fehr’s winning production, along with the excellent vocal quintet that graced it, will undoubtedly amplify appreciation and demand for the rarely performed Baroque gem... Countertenor and Adler Fellow Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen looked and sounded like a natural for the part of Medoro while making his SFO debut. Nussbaum Cohen’s youthful attractiveness was paired with a velvety, effortless voice, which was as beguiling in arias as it was the complementary center of Angelica and Dorinda’s attention in their sublime trio at the end of Act 1.”

“The evening’s most revelatory performance came from the young countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Medoro... currently a second-year San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, he displayed not only a mellifluous voice but also a remarkable musicality. He emphasized Medoro’s earnestness in such arias as “Vorrei poterti amar” or the sublime “Verdi allori”. Nussbaum Cohen seems already prepared for a great career that should include the title role of this very opera.”

“The triumph belonged to young countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Medoro. The second-year Adler Fellow is on the fast track to stardom after many notable successes in 2019, which included a knockout appearance with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in another Handel masterpiece, "Saul." Ready from the start for the mainstage of SFO, Nussbaum Cohen proved perfect in diction and tone for the role of likeable Medoro, caught between his admiration for Orlando's heroism and a genuine love for Angelica. His biggest strength lies in the sheer beauty of his voice, and he can back it with power and emotion.” 

“Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, an Adler Fellow in the company’s young artist program, spun out Medoro’s music with astonishing richness in his mainstage debut... Cohen stole the show. He unleashed a countertenor of purity and focus — sleek, with an intoxicating timbral gleam. His phrasing was elegant and expressive... A star most certainly is born.” 

PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA | APRIL 2019

"That would be Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, the extravagantly gifted young countertenor whose every appearance only serves to add luster to an already remarkable level of accomplishment. At 25, an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, he seemed poised to redefine what’s possible for singers of this distinctive voice type."

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | Continue reading

By Joshua Kosman

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

By Joshua Kosman

“But just as in the score itself, this was an occasion on which David walked off with the crown.

 

That would be Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, the extravagantly gifted young countertenor whose every appearance only serves to add luster to an already remarkable level of accomplishment. At 25, an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, he seemed poised to redefine what’s possible for singers of this distinctive voice type.

 

For one thing, Cohen’s singing boasts a combination of ethereal beauty and robust physicality that few countertenors can quite achieve. David, who appears in “Saul” in the double guise of angelic musician and mighty warrior, draws on both sides of this artistry... David’s aria “O Lord, whose mercies numberless” is a kind of invocation of the Orpheus myth, a tribute to the power of music to calm even the most unhinged spirits. Cohen’s rendition — produced with smooth, elegant tone and infused with just a hint of expressive urgency — was a distillation of David’s ingratiating power.

 

At the same time, Cohen’s performance was never less than heroic, as befits a king-in-waiting. The explosive power of “Impious wretch, of race accurst,” delivered in a hard-edged rhythmic flood, made you feel what it might be like to be on the opposing side of the battlefield from him.

 

Cohen’s blend of vocal sweetness and tonal heft is reminiscent of the early career of David Daniels, who as it happens was the David when Philharmonia last performed “Saul” in 1995... Yet there’s a vigor and approachability to Cohen’s artistry that are all his own...”

LOS ANGELES TIMES

By Mark Swed

“A spectacularly vital David, the countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, gave rising-star notice.” 

OPERA NEWS

By Simon Williams

"The humane glow emanating from this performance came mainly from the exceptional musicianship of all engaged in it... Countertenor’s Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s extraordinarily flexible singing as David, was as confident in the stratospheric heights as it was in the warm calmative depths, establishing David as the emotional center of the work; his crushing sorrow at the death of Jonathan was the culminating moment of the drama. In contrast, his love for Michal was aptly reserved: David and Michal both admit that their love arises from admiration for each other’s virtue rather than from any erotic sources." 

“As the virtuous and empathic David, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen captivated from his first self-effacing air — a dignified and demure “O king, your favors with delight I take.” Cohen, a rising star who impresses a listener more on each encounter, partnered in sweet accord with his betrothed Michal... Cohen mustered righteous rage in a number near the end and gave even the simplest line of recitative meaning and a sense of the moment. A supple expressiveness lit up register changes, the highest and lowest notes, and precisely furled ornaments.

Never was Cohen’s gift for making the countertenor’s rarefied air deeply human more evident than it was in a murmurous plea to heal Saul’s “wounded soul.” Here was singing of a high order, not because of pyrotechnics — the aria is daringly understated — but in the sheer, heart-sure conviction of every word and liquid phrase he sang.”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

By Georgia Rowe

“The cast was first-rate. Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen gave a strong, shapely performance as David. Cohen’s a rising star... Saturday’s performance offered a captivating example of his vocal gifts.”

BAY AREA REPORTER

By Phillip Campbell

"The PBO debut of countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as David in "Saul" has created extraordinary buzz. He is breaking out on the national scene... but Bay Area audiences can claim an exciting early star-sighting. The minute he appears, that unmistakable quality is clear... The uncommon strength and soulful expressivity of his remarkable instrument... if anyone is destined to win new fans for countertenors, place your bets on the Brooklyn-born kid who won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017."

 

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen lived up to his advance billing. His countertenor voice is superbly rich in tonal variety, and his range is stupefying. Moreover, Cohen is an immensely gifted interpreter of the music he performs. With exquisite diction in Italian, Cohen brought immediacy and intensity to everything he sang at this New Year’s Eve concert. Perhaps the highlight of the whole affair was Cohen’s interpretation of “Che farò senza Euridice” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This aria, of course, is a familiar chestnut; but Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen made it sound new and fresh...

BERKELEY DAILY PLANET

By James Roy MacBean

A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera

AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS | DECEMBER 31, 2018 

BERKELEY DAILY PLANET

By James Roy MacBean

“If future such events are anything like this one, Bay Area audiences are indeed fortunate, for this was magnificent. Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen lived up to his advance billing. His countertenor voice is superbly rich in tonal variety, and his range is stupefying. Moreover, Cohen is an immensely gifted interpreter of the music he performs. With exquisite diction in Italian, Cohen brought immediacy and intensity to everything he sang at this New Year’s Eve concert. Perhaps the highlight of the whole affair was Cohen’s interpretation of “Che farò senza Euridice” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This aria, of course, is a familiar chestnut; but Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen made it sound new and fresh...

 

Given the prominence of Handel arias in this concert, there was plenty of coloratura. Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen wasted no time in showing off his adroit coloratura in his very first aria, “Sperai vicino il’ lido” from Gluck’s Demofoonte...  From Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen unleashed plenty of vindictive coloratura in the aria “Empio, dirò, tu sei.” In addition to its coloratura passages, an aria from Handel’s Agrippina featured Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen holding a note for what seemed an eternity on the final syllable of the word “dolor”/”grief”. Equally impressive was Cohen’s agitated and spiteful aria “Vivi, tiranno, io t’ho scampato” from Handel’s Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi... What a splendid way to bring in the New Year!”

"It was Cohen who forged a scintillating connection with the audience. In the mood to celebrate, the audience gave this abundantly gifted and ingratiating young artist A Star is Born reception. He deserved every “Bravo!” and barrage of applause.

The countertenor, who made a notable impression in the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows’ concert earlier in December, set the agenda for this “Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera” early on, in an aria from Gluck’s opera Demofoonte. In a performance perfectly attuned to the passage from one year to the next, when minds turn simultaneously to time past and whatever might lie ahead, Cohen made each repetition of the opening stanza in “Sperai vicino il lido” (I hoped the shore was near) a poignant and probing exploration of the speaker’s emotional flow.

On subsequent repeats, he sounded weary and world-wise and finally potent with desperation in the clench of this recurring, seemingly inescapable storm. His voice became a wail, at once reckless and musically disciplined, which only heightened the pain. Anyone who thought that countertenors lack expressive range was hereby and thoroughly disabused of that notion.

 

The concert was filled with such treats — a boxful of bittersweets. None were more exquisite and memorable than the three selections from Handel’s Rodelinda. With “Dove sei, amato bene?” (Where are you, beloved?) Cohen turned a lover’s need for his beloved into an existential plea. The Herbst fell silent from the heart-rending truth of it, rendered in one softly heaving musical swell after another. Three centuries fell away. Cohen’s Bertarido was right there, his pain alive for everyone to hear and witness."

PORTLAND BAROQUE ORCHESTRA | DECEMBER 2018

“Think of how rarely these days you experience yourself in a group, jointly reacting to a shared input... our lives are pretty much lived as individuals and not as part of a feeling whole, in contrast to most of our history as a species. On Friday night there was such an experience when the young countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen stepped up for his first recitative."

OREGON ARTS WATCH | Continue reading

By Fridericke Heuer

OREGON ARTS WATCH

By Fridericke Heuer

“Think of how rarely these days you experience yourself in a group, jointly reacting to a shared input... our lives are pretty much lived as individuals and not as part of a feeling whole, in contrast to most of our history as a species. On Friday night there was such an experience when the young countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen stepped up for his first recitative (3. Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam) and a disbelieving hush descended on the still restless hall, stunned by a voice that was crystalline without being harsh on the edges, melodious perfection for the tender words he had to utter. The combination of musical accomplishment with his empathy for the role and his ability to communicate with the audience was astonishing in one so young. It didn’t hurt to see his etherial presence in the 31. Aria Schließe mein Herz dies selige Wunder be balanced by boyish charm during the soloists’ entrance to the stage...” 

 

The Future is Now: Adler Fellows Concert

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA | DECEMBER 8, 2018 

“Variety and range were the defining virtues of the evening. The wonderfully supple and expressive countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen took on both Handel and Rossini with comparable assurance and aplomb."

SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

By Steven Winn

“Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen... gave a poignant and rich rendering of an aria from Handel’s Admeto... Next was Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and another knock-out aria, this one from Rossini’s Tancredi.

CLASSICAL VOICE

By Elsa Tranter

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, a countertenor of remarkable agility and heroism... Cohen put his extraordinary vocal sonority – muscular, sleek and full of enchanting colors – to use in a dramatic aria from Handel’s “Admeto,” then returned after intermission for a pinpoint account of the showcase “Di tanti palpiti” from Rossini’s “Tancredi.”"

BAY AREA REPORTER

By Philip Campbell

“Everyone on the bill deserved cum laude recognition. First-year countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (Brooklyn, NY) merited summa cum laude mention. His professional demeanor and stunning ability were immediately apparent when he first appeared in San Francisco, and he set the seal on his promise, singing florid and dramatically expressive arias from Handel's "Admeto" and Rossini's "Tancredi." Like so many of his classmates, he's already set for stardom.” 

Agrippina

ARS LYRICA HOUSTON | NOVEMBER 16 & 18, 2018

"Ottone, the opera’s only honest and sincere character, was also the one that came across most compellingly Friday, thanks to countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. For all the flair he brought the role of Nirenus in Handel’s Julius Caesar in last season’s HGO production, Cohen wielded a new emotional heft as Ottone."

TEXAS CLASSICAL REVIEW | Continue reading

 By Steven Brown

 

TEXAS CLASSICAL REVIEW

By Steven Brown

"Ottone, the opera’s only honest and sincere character, was also the one that came across most compellingly Friday, thanks to countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. For all the flair he brought the role of Nirenus in Handel’s Julius Caesar in last season’s HGO production, Cohen wielded a new emotional heft as Ottone.

 

Cohen’s voice boasted a warmth that few countertenors share; combined with the fluency and poise of his singing, his voice let Ottone’s arias exude forthrightness and nobility. The emotional climax came halfway through the story–when Ottone, though no fault of his own, suffers rejection by everyone around him. Cohen made Ottone’s response, “Voi che udite il mio lamento,” a musical portrait of desolation, from pianissimo phrases that were pale as death to surges of vibrant, plaintive sound... 

 

Stage director Tara Faircloth emphasized comedy... But for Handel’s serious moments–as in Ottone’s big aria,–Faircloth quieted everything down, and the poignant results helped Handel’s extraordinary music tell its story." 

HOUSTON PRESS

By D.L. Groover

“Ars Lyrica, Houston's preeminent early music ensemble, under the sparkling direction of Matthew Dirst, has staged an utterly magnificent production of George Frideric Handel's first international smash hit: his baroque opera seria Agrippina (1709)... While the entire cast is super, two voices stand out: John Holiday as Nero and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Otho... Cohen... has a melting caramel voice, handsome stage presence, and charm to spare. Among Handel's nest of vipers, Otho's the hero and Cohen sounds like it..." 

“A solo cello answers the vocal line, then voice and cello counterpoint continues into the second poem, “Time Slips Away.” Nussbaum Cohen’s attractive, gently pulsating countertenor intertwines beautifully with Tim Hugh’s rich, singing cello line... Nussbaum Cohen is subtle and expressive, with cushiony, admirably consistent tone that resonates comfortably with Fuchs’ lush orchestrations.”

OPERA NEWS

By Joshua Rosenblum

Screenshot 2019-04-25 at 12.02.37 PM_edi

OPERA NEWS | AUGUST 2018

L'incoronazione di Poppea

CINCINNATI OPERA | JUNE / JULY 2018

“The cast was ideal, with most of the singers making their Cincinnati Opera debuts…Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen was an affecting Ottone, his soft-grained voice a good foil to Costanzo’s brighter timbre. Like his fellow cast members, Cohen projected Monteverdi’s long lines sensitively, and the scene in which he and Drusilla try to protect each other from Nerone’s wrath was moving.”

OPERA NEWS

By Joe Law

“Playing Poppea’s spurned lover Ottone, 24-year-old countertenor phenom Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen sang and moved with the assurance of a veteran performer. The character’s frustration and anger were palpable in Cohen’s purity of tone and dramatic expression.”

CINCINATTI BEAT

By Anne Arenstein

“Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen brought warmth and touching expression to the role of Ottone.”

CINCINNATI BUSINES

COURIER

By Janelle Gelfand

"HGO gives us three “countertenors:” international superstar Anthony Roth Costanzo (Caesar); David Daniels, one of opera's veterans, the best anywhere (Ptolemy); and newbie Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (Nirenus)... If you've ever rubbed a wet finger around the rim of an expensive wine glass, you know the aural quality of a fine countertenor: ethereal, hypnotic, ambiguous. The voice, un-gendered as it were, sounds like music from a moon of Saturn – clean, bright, unsexed. All of these accomplished artists have that sound....Young Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, though, may be the one to watch. Recent recipient of all sorts of opera awards (HGO's Concert of Arias, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Richard Tucker Music Foundation, George London Foundation), this countertenor has a lovely velvet side to his upper sheen. Though not a large role, Nirenus the eunuch is the comic foil, and Cohen silkily surpasses expectations with nimble artistry, gorgeous voice, and musical chops."

HOUSTON PRESS

By D. L. Groover

"Because the opera originally called for three castrati, today it’s common to hear contraltos or mezzo-sopranos in the roles of Caesar, Ptolemy and Nirenus. HGO has an impressive trio of countertenors instead... Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, as Nirenus, is the sweet voice I can’t forget, pure and surprisingly hefty for its high range."

HOUSTONIA

By Sydney Boyd

Julius Caesar

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA | NOVEMBER 2017

METROPOLITAN OPERA | MARCH 19, 2017

"There were several good singers onstage Sunday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert, a venerable tryout for future stars. (Renée Fleming, the event’s host, was a winner in 1988, on her third attempt.) But there was only one complete artist. At just 23, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, a baby-faced countertenor from Brooklyn, already possesses a remarkable gift for intimate communication in a vast hall, combined with a voice of velvety gentleness — surprisingly penetrating given the tenderness of its texture — and a taste for adventure."

THE NEW YORK TIMES | Continue reading

 By Zachary Woolfe

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

By Zachary Woolfe

"...In a competition that hews toward the standards, Mr. Cohen chose a harrowing aria from Jonathan Dove’s 1998 opera “Flight,” based on the true story of an Iranian refugee stranded in a Paris airport for years. While most young performers in the National Council Auditions concentrate simply on nailing their high notes, Mr. Cohen — his diction superb, his acting alert without overplaying — provided an eloquent reflection on a current international crisis.

But he is no contemporary specialist. Twenty-first-century singers, like 21st-century instrumentalists and orchestras, are rightly expected to range widely as well as deeply. For his second selection (the nine finalists each picked two pieces to perform with the Met orchestra, conducted by Nicola Luisotti), Mr. Cohen balanced the aria from “Flight” with “Dove sei,” an aching lament from Handel’s “Rodelinda” (1725). Expressive yet dignified, his phrasing confident and his ornamentation stylishly discreet, he brought tears to my eyes.

Mr. Cohen was deservedly named one of the competition’s six winners, but
he stood clearly apart from the pack... There was only one singer who could plausibly stand with the voluptuous-voiced Jamie Barton, the commanding Amber Wagner and the impassioned Michael Fabiano — the distinguished previous winners who performed while the judges deliberated. Mr. Cohen is ready."

OPERAWIRE

By James Monroe Stevko

"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, the victorious countertenor and perhaps the concert’s showstopper, is a natural actor who seems to have done his dramatic homework. In both of his performances, “Pompe vane di morte…Dove sie amato bene?” of Handel’s “Rodelinda” and “Dawn, still darkness” from “Flight” by Jonathan Dove, Cohen very clearly envisioned the opera in his head and transported the entire audience with him, so much so that the audience could barely hold back its enthusiastic applause after his final notes."

HOUSTON | FEBRUARY 19, 2018

"Cohen employed mournful vocal colors as his countertenor easily filled the hall with luscious tone. The anguish playing across his face as he sang drove the impending tragedy home to great expressive effect."

Photo courtesy of  Pin Lim / Houston Chronicle

 

THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE

By Eric Skelly

"...The performance found a new gear altogether in the third act, thanks largely to rising young countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as the 3rd Israelite. In the dolorous recitative "How Have Our Sins Provoked the Lord" and aria "O Jordan, Jordan, Sacred Tide," he reacts to Haman's decree that all Jews in Persia are to be slaughtered. Cohen employed mournful vocal colors as his countertenor easily filled the hall with luscious tone. The anguish playing across his face as he sang drove the impending tragedy home to great expressive effect. As with all his oratorios, Handel seemed to be inspired by "Esther's" dramatic biblical narrative in a way that the often trite plots he was saddled with in his operas did not. Cohen joined Dirst and the orchestra to seize upon Handel's inspiration and elevate this scene beyond concert music-making, bringing "Esther" to vivid, dramatic life."

     

"After hearing Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen's Nirenus in HGO's fall production of Handel's "Julius Caesar," more than one operagoer could be heard wishing the young countertenor had been cast in the title role. Sunday, they got their wish, as Cohen and soprano Mané Galoyan teamed up for Caesar's final duet with Cleopatra. Cohen's commanding stage presence, gorgeous tone and musical sensitivity - at one point decrescendoing down to a limpid pianissimo that Montserrat Caballé would envy - were all on display here, as earlier in his supernaturally exotic Oberon in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In performances with HGO, the Studio, Ars Lyrica and elsewhere about town, Cohen is having an extraordinary year."

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

By Eric Skelly

HGO Studio

Showcase

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA | MARCH 2018

“With his even-toned countertenor, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen explored vivid colors and emotions in an aria from Handel’s Agrippina.”

- Tim Diovanni, DALLAS MORNING NEWS

“Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Oberon… command[s] the stage whenever on it with regality and grace.”

- Tony Polese, EVENTALAIDE

"The fairy king, Oberon (Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen) give[s] a performance as lush and hypnotic as the musical motifs - swathed in glittering finery topped by plumed headdresses… visiting American superstar Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is one of those once-in-a-lifetime voices

- Diana Simmonds, STAGENOISE