Beste as La Belle Hélène with Toronto Operetta Theatre

Adam Fisher (Paris) and Beste Kalender (Helene) in TOT’s The Beautiful Helen. Photo: Gilbeto Prioste; Maestro: Peter Tiefenbach; Reggia: Guillermo Silva-Marin

Beste’s performance of title role in La belle Hélène by Offenbach was very well received by the critics and audiences:

“Turkish-Canadian mezzo Beste Kalender was every inch the glamorous diva, sang with luscious tone, and acted up a storm.” (Joseph So, Opera Canada)

“There are some very good performances, notably by Beste Kalender in the title role. In appearance she could have stepped straight out of a Minoan fresco and vocally she navigates Helen’s very tricky music with great facility and rather beautiful tone colours. She does “petulant” and “hissy fit” really well too.”( John Gilks, Operaramblings)

“La Belle Hélène, Offenbach’s most popular operetta after La Vie parisienne (1866) and Orphée aux enfers (1858), provides an excellent showcase for the talents of Beste Kalender in the title role. Kalender possesses a large, lustrous and rich mezzo-soprano. But she also has a delightful agility of technique and a sense for comedy that she shows off in a series of extended interpolated runs in Act 2. She has the full measure of the role playing Hélène as an faux-innocent victim of destiny as well as a young woman instantly attracted to the strapping young Paris who clearly outshines her aged husband. Kalender is wonderfully coy and flirtatious in “On me nomme Hélène” and brings out the beauty of the operetta’s most famous melody, “Va t’en, va t’en, mon amour te suivra”, a melody you will instantly recognize without knowing that this operetta is its source.” (Christopher Hoile, Stage Door)