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Daily Camera, The (Boulder, CO)
April 15, 2005

Author: Wes Blomster Camera Classical Music Critic

Mason has been dreaming of performing "Evidence of Things Not Seen" locally since he and colleague Julie Simson heard the cycle at Utah`s Moab Music Festival several summers ago.

"We were devastated by it," he says, "and I’ve been waiting for the right combination of very intelligent and very good singers and pianists to do it here."

Mason now has that combination in soprano Gina Heintzleman, mezzo Rena Pyland, tenor Brigham Timpson and baritone Samuel Mungo, who—along with pianists Michael Tilley and Jennifer Bratz—are involved in this Herculean endeavor.

Daily Camera, The (Boulder, CO)
March 17, 2006

'Figaro` Musicians Sparkle
Author: Kelly Dean Hansen For the Camera

Mezzo-soprano Rena Pyland manages to capture a definite air of masculinity in the "trouser" role of the page Cherubino—a masculinity that even shines through the scenes where Cherubino is dressed as a girl. Her Act I aria has just the right level of barely restrained excitement, and her humorous interactions with the other characters are among the highlights.

Daily Camera, The (Boulder, CO)
October 22, 2004

Humor, Pathos in CU Opera
Mozart work exhibits powerful performances
Author: Kelly Dean Hansen For the Camera

The other female romantic lead, the more flighty Dorabella, is sung by Rena Pyland. Her challenges are no less real, including a tricky light, quick aria in the first act, which Pyland negotiates admirably.

Daily Camera, The (Boulder, CO)
October 16, 2005

CU Opera Goes Bilingual
Fairy-tale opera to be presented in English and German
Author: Kelly Dean Hansen For the Camera

The casts for both productions include singers familiar to CU Opera audiences. In the German production, Sara Gartland and Rena Pyland will play Gretel and Hansel. Gartland has had major, well-reviewed roles in almost every recent CU production, and Pyland impressed as Dorabella in last year`s "Cosi fan tutte."

Daily Camera, The (Boulder, CO)
October 21, 2005

‘Hansel and Gretel’ Worthwhile
Author: Kelly Dean Hansen For the Camera

In Wenesday’s rehearsal for the German performance, Sara Gartland and Rena Pyland created a more mature but no less convincing Hansel and Gretel. Pyland’s performance as Hansel creates an entirely different conception from Lippard’s more “masculine” version, somewhat more passive and fearful, with wonderful facial expressions. There is equal validity to both approaches.

The German cast certainly proves the CU singers can handle this notoriously difficult language. Their diction, especially that of Pyland and Holznagel, is nothing short of superb. Another selling point for the German version is that the original fairy tale is of German origin, creating an air of authenticity, but the English production has enough felicities to recommend it as well.