A round-up of critics’ reviews of Cynthia Erivo: Legendary Voices, part of this year’s BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cynthia Erivo joined the BBC Concert Orchestra on Sunday night, 17 July 2022, to salute the legendary women who have inspired her, including artists like Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holiday and Gladys Knight
Born in London, Cynthia studied at RADA and started her career in London theatre. She has gone on to become a Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer. In 2014 she was recognised in the Ian Charleson Awards for her performance as Poins/Earl of Douglas in Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Phyllida Lloyd.
She starts rehearsing for the new two-part movie version of Wicked this August, playing the role of Elphaba. Principle photography for the movie starts in November, and chapter one will be released on 25 December 2024, with chapter two on 25 December 2025.
She won the Tony award for her lead role in musical The Color Purple, a production that started out at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou
Reviews round-up for Cynthia Erivo: Legendary Voices
"The breadth and range of the set was extensive, packing both a huge punch and filling that vast auditorium"
"... the evening was one of both light and shade, showcasing Cynthia’s vocal clarity, authenticity and powerful connection with the audience."
"A Hollywood star from London conquers the Proms"
"Starring in her own BBC Prom was a useful way to remind her fellow Brits just how far the south London-born actress and singer Cynthia Erivo has come."
"... Erivo’s homage to “Legendary Voices” amounted to much more than a night of reverent fangirl covers. Once you accepted the terms of engagement, there was plenty to enjoy — foremost Erivo’s magnificent singing."
"Big sounds kept the crowd happy"
"The award-winning actor and singer was backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, not always to positive effect"
"Erivo’s voice has a strong, feelingful quality, at times slightly nasal but always inflected by blues and gospel idioms."
"Erivo’s voice is big and emotive, and she has the wherewithal to turn down the dial to something intimate. Here, though, grand vocal gestures held sway, their impact only exaggerated by over-emphatic amplification. On the night, though, this was a minority view: the audience acclaim was all but unanimous in its enthusiasm."
"Erivo proved to be a 21st-century leading lady in her element"
"On Sunday night, 35-year-old Erivo was a homecoming queen at her own Proms date"
"The Proms audience was instantly enchanted by Erivo when she entered wearing a glitzy chiffon-skirted gown that made it look as though she was floating on clouds"
"The orchestral accompaniment was immaculately sleek, although the BBC Concert Orchestra’s highly refined treatments do tend to verge on easy listening; I found myself wishing the music wasn’t quite so polite"