The Arts Desk, 18 July 2012

…the astonishing warmth and richness of Rachel Nicholls’ Brünnhilde… Nicholls’ Brünnhilde is in every way an extraordinary creation. Well-known as a baroque and classical soprano with extensions (she was a Valkyrie here two years ago and a Flower Maiden at Covent Garden), she emerges now as a dramatic soprano of real brilliance and intense expressive power. The voice is clean, bright, but with dark colourings, strong in the low register, firm and secure on top, and with a fluency of line that even the greatest Wagner sopranos sometimes miss. She can also act. She knows how to act with her voice, her body and her face; quite simply she has presence. In the immolation she commands the stage (and to his credit Privett lets her do so). At other times she is the wronged heroine, vulnerable and bewildered. She reminds us that Wagner, among other minor talents, was a penetrating psychologist. It’s one of the most affecting performances I can remember.