The papers join the cheering, and how couldn't they:
Lyric finds a real diva in the wings -- Chicago Tribune
Into the breach went her understudy, young soprano Elaine Alvarez, who had never before sung with a major American opera company. She looked and sounded fully prepared to take on this touchstone Puccini role.
Far from displaying any obvious nerves, Alvarez looked and sounded like a poised veteran. As the consumptive seamstress Mimi, Alvarez on Monday revealed an appealingly natural stage presence and a big, vibrant lyric soprano the color of deep burgundy. The voice bloomed under pressure the way you want a Puccini voice to bloom, yet kept its warm tonal finish when she floated the high pianissimos opera lovers wait for in rapt anticipation. Conveying lyric pathos seems to come as naturally to Alvarez as breathing.
Impressive 'La Boheme' debut for Mimi understudy -- Daily Herald
I first worked with Elaine when I was the Assistant Conductor at the Music Academy of the West in 2003. She was, even then, a consummate professional with an extraordinary voice/talent. She's a wonderful person, as well, and deserves all of attention she has and will continue to receive. Brava Elaine!
Time Out Chicago's Marc Geelhoed: