Tenor Anthony Dean Griffey produced large and gleaming tone and displayed subtle musical and verbal intelligence. He is an altogether exceptional artist.” – Boston Globe

OF MICE AND MEN (Lennie Small)

New York City Opera

“Anthony Dean Griffey repeats his heart-breaking portrayal of Lennie, the hulking, mentally challenged migrant worker who, after unwittingly killing the foreman’s wife, is shot by his agonized friend, George, before an approaching mob can lynch him. A huge man, Griffey seems born to the role, which he not only acts with frightening authenticity but also sings with a lyrical sweetness that makes Lennie all the more pitiable.”

Peter G. Davis, New York, November 23, 1998

“If in this production, [Of Mice and Men] finally becomes riveting and unmissable, we can thank tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, who elevates the role of the simple-minded giant Lennie Small into a tragic figure far beyond the scope of Floyd’s sometimes eloquent but often clumsy and sentimental score.

Griffey is a big but nimble man and from the instant he runs onstage and flings himself beside a rusted oil drum, his characterization of Lennie is one of exact and absorbing paradoxes. Lennie, an itinerant ranch hand in Depression-era California is inarticulately eloquent, sweetly timid and dangerously powerful, gratingly mannered and utterly natural. Griffey’s singing is as lordly as his character is dispossessed. Executing a mumbler’s part in English so neat that it made the supertitles superfluous, he somehow melds the behavior of a beclouded rustic with a sharp, soigné musicality, never letting artifice show. Lennie’s curse is heavy-handedness – he crushes everything he loves – but Griffey touches soft, high notes with the gentlest caress.

Not for an instant – whether rhapsodizing about the soft furry creatures he plans to collect, or sitting massively on a rickety stool, silently twisting and kneading a rag when the music does not include him – does Griffey inch out of character. What makes his Lennie a great interpre tation is not deprivation, but having been born into America’s most select society: the brotherhood of talent.”

Justin Davidson, Newsday (New York), November 9, 1998

“If they gave out operatic Oscars, Anthony Dean Griffey would deserve one for his performance as Lennie in New York City Opera’s new production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. Griffey is a sweet-toned lyric tenor who can also act – a combination as rare as sunshine in Siberia – and his Lennie was no hulking caricature of idiocy, but a tortured, uncomprehending man-child whose confused longing for a better life was almost unendurably moving.”

Terry Teachout, Daily News (New York), November 9, 1998

“Anthony Dean Griffey gives us two views of Lennie: as an actor, he astutely conveys the nuances of Lennie’s childlike personality; as a singer with an attractive, focused tenor, he conveys the full measure of Lennie’s vulnerability.”

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, November 9, 1998

“He simply was Lennie. In the precise angle of the stoop of his shoulders, the confused and nervous fluttering and grasping of his hands, the play of wonder, joy, befuddlement, anger, and distress across his face, he absolutely was the character, without characterization. His embodiment of the slow-witted itinerant ranch-hand was so complete that there was no room to react to the brilliance of the acting, only to Lennie. Griffey communicated depths of nuance to this character that one wouldn’t have imagined were there. More brilliant than his acting was his singing. His is a lyric tenor of the most delicate sort, but even the highest and softest notes sailed out over the orchestra into the far reaches of the house with astonishing lack of effort.”

M. K. Blackwood, ConcertoNet.com, November 7, 1998

Share This Post:
Follow Anthony