Soprano Jessica Rivera is winning a lot of acclaim as an inspired interpreter of 20th- and 21st-century composers, from Benjamin Britten (in whose "Spring" Symphony she joined Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony and was declared "radiant" by Atlanta critic Pierre Ruhe) to Henryk Górecki and John Adams. "Jessica embodies the music she sings," says conductor Michael Christie, with whom the Californian performed Górecki's Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs") at the Colorado Music Festival (July 7 & 8). "She brings out the humanity of this music and touches the heart with it." Read the review: "Orchestra, Rivera, stunning in minimalist symphony" --Daily Camera, 7/8/11
Praising Rivera's late May performances of the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" with Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times referenced Dawn Upshaw's iconic Nonesuch recording of the piece. He wrote that Rivera's "soprano soared...and conveyed continual intensity. ...A young singer who has worked closely with Upshaw, she now owns Górecki's Third."
Rivera also received raves for reprising the leading role of Kumudha in Cincinnati Opera's recent staging of A Flowering Tree by John Adams. Productions of A Flowering Tree have taken her to three continents, and she is featured on the Nonesuch CD conducted by Adams himself. The Cincinnati Enquirer said of Rivera's June-July portrayal: "Rivera gave a deeply moving performance as Kumudha, both vulnerable as the young bride and tragic in the darker moments. She fully inhabited her role, and sang radiantly." Read Q&A with Rivera and view video clip from Cincinnati Opera.