THE SEVEN STREAMS OF THE RIVER OTA (2020)
Created and written by Robert Lepage and the original cast. Directed by Robert Lepage.
The National Theatre, London, March 2020
THE GUARDIAN UK:
15 March 2020
... It is a shock when the cast of 13 emerges for its final bow because the production creates the illusion of theatre on a grand scale. Christian Essiambre and Rebecca Blankenship are especially strong performers (the latter has a sensational operatic voice, too), but as an ensemble they are all striking in their parts, and even peripheral characters are well realised.
Full review here.
THE ART DESK:
... Against Lepage’s great magic box of a set ... the multi-tasking cast members all play their part in emotionally anchoring proceedings. Not least Umihiko Miya as an intense, dynamic Jeffrey 2 and Rebecca Blankenship whose singing and acting skills bring both beauty and dignity to roles including that of the lovelorn Ada. For those of us who made the pilgrimage to see it in the Nineties, this remains a potent demonstration of theatre and storytelling at its transcendent best. Lepage’s lightness of touch means that it doesn’t feel like seven hours – and while it could equally be argued that it feels like a lifetime, that’s in all the best ways.
Full review here.
THE EVENING STANDARD
14 March 2020
... At time of writing there are still tickets available for the remaining performances. If it’s the last thing you see before London’s theatres are forced to close, you won’t regret it.
Full review here.
ERWARTUNG - Arnold Schoenberg
Director Robert Lepage, Conductor Richard Bradshaw
Canadian Opera Company - TORONTO, Edinburgh Festival, BRooklyn Academy of Music
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
As the solo protagonist (Die Frau) - a killer role in more ways than one - Rebecca Blankenship sings with beauty and ease, achieving ravishingly transparent tone. Her physical command, like that of the dancers, is awesome. (Urjo Kareda)
- There was a moment near the end of Erwartung when I began crying from a pain and joy that I could not mentally comprehend; it seemed to indicate that the deepest emotions can be reached through the body as well as the mind. (Bronwyn Draine).
THE LONDON TIMES
Rebecca Blankesnhip not only has the formidable vocal line under control, but also negotiates the lightning transitions from terror to tranquility, passion to burnt-out resignation, with delicacy and conviction. (John Russel Taylor)
Rebecca Blankenship does not use her voice to sing us lines; she uses it like a torch, to explore and to flicker light towards her own confusion. We clung to the beam, even as it faded to dark. (Mary Miller)
Rebecca Blankenship who treats Schoenberg's vocal line not as if it has been sent to try her but as the unquestionable natural expression of her predicament. (Gerald Larner)
...But thanks to Rebecca Blankenship whose wonderful scalded voice hurls itself to the end of the girl's tether, the directorial interventions always seem to be in the cause of of pity rather than cleverness. (Paul Taylor)
THE NEW YORKER - Paul Griffiths
Contact between stage and the score is further enforced by Rebeccca Blankenship's imposing performance as the Woman: she nurtures her phrases, never makes do with hysteria, and sustains the dislocation form the surrounding events that the production seems to require from her - the sense that she is wondering through actions remembered.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Any singer who masters the vocal line of this piece, let alone who sings it from memory must be regarded as exceptional in musicianship and tenacity; and Rebecca Blankenship possesses, in addition, an ablility to hold thought and impulse in her mind and voice simultaneously. (Roger Covell)
THE AGE Melbourne
..everything on stage appeared or disappeared in response to The Woman's imagination. Throughout all this Rebecca Blankenship sustained her monologue. At no point was she simply singing the music alone. Rather, she sang from the role. As a portrait of neurosis, underlined by all the activity on stage, it was compelling, right to that point at the opera's end when she is prepared to charge off in another direction. (Jim Davidson)
SUNDAY HERALD SUN
As the lone Character of The Woman Rebecca Blankenship gave a performance of explosive intensity with almost every word audible. (Bob Crimeen).
LADY MACBETH VON MZENSK - Schostakowitch Volksoper Wien
Regie: Christine Mielitz. Dirigent : Donald Runnicles
...Und gerade in darstellerischer Hinsicht wurde den Saengern einiges abverlangt, allen voran Rebecca Blankenship deren schonungsloser Einsatz bereits fast schon an Selbstaufgabe grenzte. Wut und Hass der Katarina, ihr Liebesverlangen, ihre Hingabe, ihre Angst und schliesslich Verzweiflung hat sie stimmlich wie darstellerisch ueberaus packend umgesetzt, und dabei, soweit dies moeglich auf eine klare Diktion geachtet. P. Blaha
Den Ausfuehrenden gebuehrt hoechstes Lob, den atemberaubenden Vorgaben von Regisseuse und Dirigent entsprochen zu haben. Nahezu jeder einzelne erfuellt die ihm zugedachte Rolle so konsequent wie Rebecca Blankenship, die sich von der fadisierten Kaufmanns-Gattin in eine blutruenstige "Lady Macbeth" verwandelt. (Wilhelm Sinkovicz)
..oder Rebecca Blankenship, die in die Titelrolle der Schostakovitsch-Oper ein Maximum and Gestaltungskraft plus Persoenlichkeit einbringt und Stadtheater-Routine auf ein Minimum reduziert.
Als Katarina Ismailova feierte Rebecca Blankenship sensationelle Erfolge...
Das ist Maasarbeit fuer Schostakovitsch, der auch die Besetzung entspricht; die stimmlich brilliante Rebecca Blankenship, als Katarina zwischen Leidenschaft, panischer Angst und toedlicher Verzweiflung. (Karlheinz Roschitz)
created and written by Robert Lepage and the Cast
directed by Robert Lepage
LONDON Barbican/ NEW WAVE FESTIVAL 2008
Those nine hours just flew by
...Lupe dies on the flight to liberation, leaving behind a baby boy who winds up being adopted by the opera singer Ada (an intensely affecting Rebecca Blankenship) who was on the same aircraft.
...the cleverness of Lepage, his cast (led by Nuria Garcia, Rick Miller and Rebecca Blankenship) and the vast stage crew is beyond question. Over the course of a long day I was rarely bored. But, for all the technical brilliance, the use of Gorecki's Third Symphony as the story's lynchpin reminds us that there is a strong element of elegiac romanticism behind Lepage's legerdemain. (Michael Billington)
-If there's a single character at the centre of Lipsynch, it's Ada (Rebecca Blankenship), an opera singer who we first meet flying back from Germany to Canada after a performance of Gorecki's Third Symphony.
WIENER FESTWOCHEN 2010
Piesbergen, Blankenship, tolles Ensemble
...Das Natürliche ist bei diesen Akteuren nicht undeutlich, sondern glasklar: Es freut ganz speziell das Wiedersehen mit Rebecca Blankenship, die eine wunderbar warmherzige Ausstrahlung hat und natürlich eine herrlich melancholische Stimme – ferner mit Hans Piesbergen, früher oft in Wien zu erleben.
Lipsynch erzählt im Kern die Geschichte einer Opferung: Lupe, die Prostituierte, die zentrale Frauenfigur, sinkt im Schlussbild als Maria von Guadalupe in die Hände von Ada: eine umgekehrte Pietà, die sämtliche religiöse Motive dieses Bühnenwerks rückblickend einlöst. Ein fabelhafter, philosophischer Abend. (Margarete Affenzeller 14.5.2010)
STAGENOISE / Sidney Festival 2009 + Melbourne 2012
...The show is divided into numbered "chapters", each named for one character whose story features prominently in it. The first, titled Ada - who is an opera singer (Rebecca Blankenship) - is 55 minutes of the most dramatic, intense, unexpected, beautiful and tragic theatre I have ever seen, anywhere. Set on a trans-Atlantic jet, the audience is introduced to characters that will thread through the rest of the piece. In the following chapters/acts, others who are more or less intimately connected to them are introduced and they all, like pinballs, are flipped hither and yon by each other and circumstances In truth, the following acts never reach the intensity of the first, but it would be impossible to maintain and probably constitute an extreme health hazard too. As it is, after Ada's story inexorably drags you in from the outside world, when "Interval" is announced, the audience files, shell-shocked and goggling, from the theatre and can hardly wait to get back to see what happens next.
A little more conversation as Lipsynch analyses language Robert Lepage says: "Rebecca is an amazing actor, and while she's interested in psychology and doesn't negate it, she comes from that gutsy, dramatic soprano place, where they take the energy from the subtext of the music, a very abstract place to feed from," Lepage says."Actors change when they perform with Rebecca. She brings that energy into the show and people go and feed there.