VANESSA (Barber)

"[O'Regan Thiele's] portrayal is emotionally charged and finely nuanced.  Vanessa is a tragic figure as she denies reality and fights so desperately to stay in the past.  Thiele captured that brilliantly.  Thiele was also brilliant vocally, hitting the high notes of her demanding role with ease while still infusing her singing with a keen expressiveness.  It was quite an impassioned and virtuosic presentation".
- Edward Reichel - REICHEL RECOMMENDS

"The musical success was made complete by a highly accomplished cast of singers.  In the demanding title role (written for Callas but passed down to Steber), Beverly O'Regan Thiele exuded glamour and elegance, physically and vocally.  Hers is an alluring sound and she possesses sound technical ability.  She convincingly makes the transition from desperate longing to almost girlish fulfillment.  She seems to have found a rich subtext to Vanessa, coupled as it is with well-judged vocal effects.... Happily, she doesn't force her beautiful tone beyond its limits and the overall achievement was thoroughly captivating".
- James Sohre - OPERA TODAY

"...Beverly O'Regan Thiele as the mercurial Vanessa...  [Thiele and Alice-Anne Light] expertly conveyed the story's psychological underpinnings as the women's physical and emotional situations gradually reverse.  Thiele sculpted elegant, well-turned phrases during the first act's 'He has come ... Do not utter a word'.  [Thiele and Light's] voices blended like sisters during ensembles, making it difficult at times to determine who was singing which line".
- Robert Coleman, OPERA NEWS

"Michael Ballam searched far and wide to find the right voice for the title role of Samuel Barber's "Vanessa".  With soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele, he found the expressive qualities and vocal agility to tackle the challenge".
-Robert Coleman - THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Previn)

"It's a huge undertaking.  Thiele successfully spans the gamut from a self-absorbed, unabashed flirt to a delusional victim who has endured great suffering and now must depend upon the kindness of strangers.
The vocal challenges are just as great.  It's a long sing.  Plenty of critical lines are delivered at the bottom of the range.  Plenty more are high and floating pianissimos.  But with such soliloquies as "I can smell the sea air", Thiele held the audience in the palm of her hand."
-Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, Grand Rapids Press; MLive

"The brilliant soprano, Beverly O'Regan Thiele, as Blanche DuBois, with Micaela Oeste's Stella, reached the climax of their opening duet that defined the evening's passion with utmost clarity and expressiveness."
"This was certainly one of the highlights of the year in Santa Barbara."
-Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent

"Soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele's Blanche DuBois, the fragile and complex aging Southern Belle, was magical."
"A perfect cast of acting singers was assembled for Opera Santa Barbara's riveting production of Previn's STREETCAR.  Soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele sang the role of Blanche DuBois with the gentle ease of "Soft People" one of her most revealing arias."
-Daniel Kepl, Casa Magazine

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele, soprano, as Blanche DuBois, had a long night carrying the majority of the singing and character development... She was terrific!  All the principles were excellent."
-Joseph Giannino - Opera Online.us (Washington National Opera)

"San Francisco Opera premiered André Previn's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE in September, 1998....  In that time, only two sopranos have left their mark on multiple productions in the leading role of Blanche DuBois: Renée Fleming, for whom the role was written, and Beverly O'Regan Thiele"
-Charles Donelan - Santa Barbara Independent

SUSANNAH (Floyd)

 "Beverly O'Regan Thiele delivered a very intelligently crafted rendering of Floyd's wronged innocent.  The climaxes of "Ain't it a pretty night" rang forth powerfully, and her performance was graced by a myriad of subtly specific touches; a draining of color from her sound for an exhausted "How long's it gonna last, Sam?" tore one's heart out."
- Mark Thomas Ketterson - Opera News

"...the real star is Beverly O'Regan Thiele, whose Susannah begins with a carefree spirit and gradually hardens as her neighbors make her an outcast.  By the end, she becomes completely unhinged.  The soprano... hasn't sung with DMMO since her turn as Abigail in 'The Crucible'.... and it's been too long.  She sings with clarity and streamlined sort of strength that is well suited to the role, especially with its unusually difficult intervals, and her stage presence balances both vulnerability and resolve."
- Michael Morain - Des Moines Register

THE SEAGULL (Pasatieri)

 "Best of the brilliant cast was Beverly O'Regan Thiele as the actress Irina Arkadina, Constantine's mother.  Thiele's interplay with Constantine was a study in the ambiguities of familial relations.  Arkadina thwarts and disrupts Constantine whenever he manages to draw the center of attention away from her, yet in the Act II confrontational discussion Thiele managed to convey the actress's genuine maternal love for Contantine.  Thiele's performance at the end of act III was the most powerful scene in the entire opera".
Arlo McKinnon - Opera News

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele had a commanding presence; not only was her voice tempestuous (as was her character's personality) but she....supplied the opera's few moments of levity.  Arkadina's presence was felt throughout the opera, and O'Regan handled it all with marvelous aplomb".
Victor Wheeler - TheClassicalSource.com

"The strong cast was led by the bright-voiced soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele as the flamboyant Arkadina".
Anthony Tommasini - New York Times
 

THE CONSUL (Menotti)

 "Beverly O'Regan Thiele brought a shimmering soprano and naturally understated acting to Madga Sorel.  Thiele--young, small-boned and vulnerable-looking--suggested a once-vibrant woman with the passion, wt and confidence beaten out of her.  This Madga's quiet reaction to her infant's death was very moving--the more so for its restraint.... Thiele's way felt that much more honest and lived-in (compared to the other cast)."
- Joe Banna - Washington Post

"...soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele displayed as much dramatic flair as vocal power.  Her show-stopping second act [aria], 'To this we've come', is enough reason in itself to make opera lovers want to buy the (first ever) CONSUL recording."
- Curtain Up

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele's Magda looked like 40's actress Madeleine Carroll in one of her trench-coat roles... She does boast a well-produced soprano of attractive timber and dramatic savvy."
- Richard Dyer - The Boston Globe

"It was drama at the highest level, performed by a cast whose vocal excellence matched their acting feats.  Magda Sorel, as portrayed by Beverly O'Regan Thiele, the wife of a hunted human prey, grew into a martyred figure of awesome dimension."
- Simon Wainrib - Berkshire Record

"...there isn't a weak link among them.  Beverly O'Regan Thiele was the doomed Magda, struggling beyond herself to survive a hostile world.  Thiele is strong at the beginnig, determined to save her family, but she is done in by circumstances and terror.  When she faces the secretary straight on "Aren't you secretaries human beings like us?', she speaks for all oppressed people at the mercy of functionaries.  When she is determined to 'burn these paper chains' and be free, she dominates the stage with the heroism of the human spirit and becomes one with the role."
- Ron Emery - Times Union, Albany

"Soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele is compelling as the ill-fated Magda...  Thiele is up to the task of her very physical and gut-wrenching role.  Her voice is rich and her solos powerful, but combined with those of mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle, in the role of the Mother, there is magic on stage... With...great charisma between (Michael) Chioldi and Thiele and a social commentary that is poignant, the Berkshire Opera Company presents a potent musical experience that leaves a strong impact."
 - Rosemary Jette - North Adams Transcript

"...an outstanding cast of fine singer/actors who fashioned viable theater from an all-too-convincing subject...  The rich quality and flexibility of the two lead voices (O'Regan Thiele and Joyce Castle) is maintained throughout the taxing evening."
- Elsbet Wayne - The South Advocate

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele filled the role of Magda with a dramatic intensity and a brilliant voice.  Her agonized denunciation of human beings' inhumanity to each other in the second act - 'To this we've come' - was a show stopper and an overwhelming moment in the opera."
- Ron Lee - Entertainment Scene - WBRK Radio

"Making her impressive company debut as Magda Sorel, the central character who attempts to climb the wall of bureaucracy to gain her familuy's salvation, Beverly O'Regan Thiele brings to the role  scene-chewing dramatic flair, along with a hefty soprano.  Her second act aria, 'To this we've come' is a carefully layered emotional spree that on Broadway is known as a show-stopper."
- Richard Houdek - the Berkshire Eagle

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele as Magda Sorel... displayed not only a marvelous vocal capability in the second act aria, "To this we've come", but also demonstrated her fine acting ability and clear diction throughout the evening."
- Peter Marshall - Lakeville Journal and Millerton News

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele is magnificent vocally and dramatically as Magda Sorel."
- Bill Rice - The Daily Gazette

LOVE COUNTS (Nyman)

 "...That this evening musically impressed also has especially to do with the two fabulous soloists Ulrich Schneider and Beverly O'Regan Thiele...It is most admirable how Beverly O'Regan Thiele made the desperate struggle for a little bit of emotional happiness transparent.  A great achievement in singing and portraying."
- Neue Zuericher Zeitung (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele and Ulrich Schneider deserve full admiration of how virtuously they managed the most complicated parts.  There are no uncertainties. ...O'Regan Thiele's shining soprano fit perfectly well which underlies (her) achievement as well as (her) ability to give deeper dimensions to her character's delicate soul studies..."
- Badisches Neueste Nachrichten (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele acts and sings with unconditional devotion, absoluteness and complexity."
- Deutsche Presseagentur (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

"We have to thank Ulrich Schneider and Beverly O'Regan Thiele that this... premiere of LOVE COUNTS... became something of a psychological thriller.  Both proved to be not only committed performers but also excellent actors.  The American soprano portrays Avril Aigner as an uptight and hurt woman who panics at Patsy's clumsy overtures.... Beverly O'Regan Thiele grandiosely plays an avril who becomes a hellcat and has to worry that she might lose Patsy to the boxing ring again..."
- Badisches Tagblatt (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

"...Ulrich Schneider and soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele... fulfill their role as protagonist couple with an untried urgency which is fragile even in the bed scenes..."
- Branfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)
 

DIFFICULTY CROSSING A FIELD (LANG)

"Besides posing philosophical questions about existence and punishment, the work also examines the position of women and blacks in 19th-century America: The testimony of Williamson's wife, vividly rendered by Beverly O'Regan Thiele, is inconsequential since she is deemed a hysterical woman".
- Vivien Schweitzer - NEW YORK TIMES

ELEKTRA

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele had a performance as a youthful Chrysothemis who is close to hysteria because of her permanent family problems... (she has) a beautiful, slim soprano voice..."
- Badische Neueste Nachrichten (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele pleased as Chrysothemis with a far reaching musical altitudes and shining heights..."
- Rheinpfalz (German translation by Berndt Hendricks)

MAN AND BOY: DADA (Nyman)

 Beverly O'Regan Thiele captivates with a shining soprano and with her ability to transform: from a woman in a waiting line, to a wonderful imitation of a bus ticket inspector, to the satirical portrayal of a BBC editor who interviews Kurt (Schwitters) but doesn't let him talk, to the portrayal of Michael's mother.  The singer succeeds by an impressive study of a woman's character who slowly breaks away from her bitterness about her husband's death in the war..."
- Badische Tagblatt (German translated by Berndt Hendricks)

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Bolcom)

"Beverly O'Regan Thiele plays Beatrice.  She desperately wants Eddie to love her, but knows he never will because of his feelings for Catherine.  She gives a strong, emotional performance that leaves you shuddering in hopes she will see the light and leave her loveless relationship with Eddie".
-Samantha White - THE OAKLAND PRESS

"One of the real highlights in the fine Detroit cast of my A View from the Bridge last April was Beverly Thiele as Beatrice, Eddie Carbone's long-suffering wife, who brought both superb voice and acting truthfulness to the part.  Both my wife, the singer Joan Morris, and I were mightily impressed with her assured delivery and dramatic power."
"William Bolcom, composer of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

COSI FAN TUTTE

 "Soprano Thiele won the biggest ovation of the evening as she tossed off 'Come Scoglio' in Act I".
- Wayne Lee Gay - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"O'Regan Thiele plays the more conservative sister perfectly, and her defiant aria, 'Come Scoglio' in the first act, and her moving 'Per pieta' in the second act, are among the vocal high points of the performance."
- Bill Rice - Gazette Reviewer

"...(Marc Verzatt's) sensational singers are also very fine actors.  Mozart must have hated the soprano who created the role of Fiordiligi, as he gave her two (aria) of awesome difficulty.  Beverly 'Regan Thiele, though, sang them gloriously, making merry with the complex decorations of 'Come Scoglio' and handling the frightening intervals and octave leaps in 'Per pieta' as if they were simple.  As an actress, she had a winsome romanticism wedded to a dignity worthy of a 'Nozzed de Figaro's' Countess."
- Doug de Lisle - The Record

"In 'Come Scoglio' and later in her Act II aria of resolve, 'Per pieta', Beverly O'Regan Thiele showed a glittery control of a beautifully focused voice.  Maria Zifchak was a delight as a Dorabella, and the two sisters in duets were a measure of beautiful singing and art acting....  There was excellent, agile ensemble work all evening."
- Ron Emery - Times Union, Albany

"Fiordiligi, sung by soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele, was more serene and aloof, with her passions banked behind a calm facade... The singers were well matched.  Mozart wrote many different combinations of groupings, from duos to sextets, and all sounded well blended.  The singers also seemed to collaborate rather than engage in the adversarial singing fests that sometimes occur."
- Geraldine Freedman - The Post-Star
 

THERESE RAQUIN (Picker)

 "...headstrong sexpot Therese, Beverly O'Regan Thiele... Thiele, exuding a Lady Macbeth-like mix of passion and guilt, sang with an impressively sexy soprano."
- Clive Barnes - New York Post

"Thiele offered beautiful soft singing in her Act II aria; it was lovely to hear her make music..."
Oussamma Zahr - Opera News Online

DON GIOVANNI

"The three women in the cast varied from fine-and-dandy.... to unexpectedly fine... to --Super-fine (the extraordinarily gifted Beverly O'Regan Thiele as Donna Elvira)....  I can't say enough about Thiele's Elvira.  I saw DellaCasa and Lorengar live as Elvira, Te Kanawa in the Lose film - Thiele... is well on the way to becoming an Elvira to rank with the likes of these (not one note out of place in any aria...).
- Simon Rich - Opera-L Archives

 "As the grand dames-done-wrong, sopranos Susan Foster (Donna Anna) and Beverly O'Regan Thiele (Donna Elvira) were majestic in voice and song, emotive and graceful."
- Sally Vallongo - The Blade: Toledo, OH

IL TABARRO

 Two sopranos... Beverly Thiele and Julia Bentley, served as spark plugs for the most successful panels of the triptych, "Tabarro and "Bluebeard"...  "As Giorgetta, the barge captain Michele's lonely wife who was pursuing a fatal affair with a dock hand, Thiele sang with thrusting tonal beauty and dramatic conviction."
- John von Rhein - Chicago Tribune

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE

 "There was an unusually mellifluous trio of ladies by Beverly O'Regan Thiele, Patricia Risley and Jennifer Dudley."
 - Richard Covello - Opera Canada

Munson: Homegrown opera singer elevates Elma, Iowa

 
 
 

What: Benefit concert for Elma Memorial Hall, with country, Irish and opera songs
Who: Singer Beverly Thiele, accompanied by pianist Jessica Paul, with guest artists Flying Pig Fiddle & Banjo and steel guitarist Darrell Schmidt
When: 2 p.m. today 
Where: Memorial Hall, Busti Avenue and Plum Street, Elma 
Tickets: $10 at the door

 

ELMA, IA. — Call it the rural drought opera.

Typical community fundraisers here include the fish fry, rummage sale or bake sale. So today’s benefit concert of avant-garde opera represents a departure.

Although not a complete departure: The singer, Beverly O’Regan Thiele, is a hometown farm girl who has returned from the opera houses of New York and Europe to help Elma finish paying for its refurbished Memorial Hall — the local hub for everything from wedding receptions to city council meetings and the American Legion.

And the occasional opera.

Thiele (pronounced “tea-lee”) is an understudy for Renee Fleming, a famous American soprano. She’s shared the stage with Placido Domingo. But she remains “insanely proud” of her Iowa roots as the youngest of seven children of Harold and Kathleen Thiele. Her octogenarian parents in this town of 546 still form part of the retiree backbone of local volunteers.

Tickets for the soprano’s 2 p.m. performance cost a thrifty $10 apiece in deference to how this year’s drought has hit the pocketbooks of area farm families.

Thiele’s brother, Greg, tends the family ground north of Elma and is “hoping to get half” of his typical corn crop.

Some of his son’s cornstalks down the road, meanwhile, have completely withered.

The only benefit of the drought was mentioned by Jamie Gansen, co-owner of the local nine-hole golf course: “It added another 30 yards to our drive, because we got a pretty good roll.”

Greg also is gradually selling off cattle — the feed is too expensive — until he reduces his herd of 400 to about half that number.

But he smiles and gazes across the barnyard when he talks about his sister.

“There was a time she used to sing that ‘Queen of Hearts,’ ” Greg remembered of the song that was a hit 30 years ago for Juice Newton. “She was good at that.”

Thiele fronted a couple of country bands — one of them called Free & Easy — that would gig at the Memorial Hall, or the “dingy and great” Blue Bird Tavern down the street with the dance floor caked in sawdust and peanut shells.

In a nod to prevailing musical tastes, the first half of today’s concert will feature country and Irish tunes, with support from a steel guitarist and the Flying Pig Fiddle & Banjo duo.

Since Thiele was back in town last week for the benefit, she also was drafted Thursday to console mourners with a soaring rendition of “Ave Maria” at a local church funeral.

She loves reconnecting but also realizes that, like many native rural Iowans who have long since moved away, she’s homesick for what used to be.

Summer baseball games between small-town adult teams, now defunct.

Nightspots now shuttered.

Days spent swimming in “the marsh” that has become a mud hole.

Thiele began to duet with her mother at age 3 while milking cows in the barn. She sat on a stool as they rehearsed “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

This anti-diva grew up a tomboy — rode motorcycles and horses and tried out for the wrestling team but didn’t make the cut.

She hated opera in the 1980s when she enrolled at Simpson College in Indianola, home of the Des Moines Metro Opera. Gradually, she fell in love and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance to prod her onward; she “didn’t want anything to fall back on.”

Her native New Yorker husband, Bill Knoess, is a stagehand at the Metropolitan Opera.

Per capita, Elma might be considered an unlikely operatic springboard; native sons Charles Garmen and Jon Kolbet became celebrated tenors.

This town has been trying to refurbish more than its community center; it’s chasing a fresh identity.

Don Holdeman since last year has operated the service station and car dealership across the street from Memorial Hall and said that his town “was dying out until about five or six years ago.”

“If they were going to save Elma, they were going to have to start with the younger generation,” he said.

In a sense, Thiele today gives voice to her hometown’s defiant refusal to simply roll over and die.

There are hopeful signs.

A community betterment group founded a decade ago is called the BRIDGE: Building Relationships In the Development of the Greater Elma area. (A covered wooden footbridge that spans Main Street is a signature downtown architectural feature.)

As an offshoot, a new young professionals group was launched at the start of the year.

A bike trail runs through town along the former Chicago Great Western rail line, with aspirations of connecting it to scenic trails in Minnesota.

The local bank donated a vacant building to a newly formed nonprofit group (led by Gansen) so that it can be converted into a fitness center by early 2013. That $125,000 project is the next fundraising goal on deck.

Elma has seen at least two opera houses come and go in its 126-year history.

The original Memorial Hall was built in 1950.

“The only reason it didn’t burn was it wasn’t wood,” said Jim Johnson, the city clerk who ushered the building through its expansion and rehab. Workers discovered burnt, spliced electrical wiring when they tore into the walls. The $520,000 facelift also received key state and federal grants.

This is where Thiele will sing today — a setting far removed from the Met with a folding-chair audience made up of family, friends and neighbors.

She could imagine returning to Iowa some day, Thiele said, assuming she could join the faculty at a nearby college, or perhaps start an organic farm or teach yoga.

I’m sure she could nab a steady gig at the Blue Bird, too.