OPERA REVIEWS

“In glorious voice, and with splendid diction, Sarah Connolly’s Octavian encompassed the full range of emotions, from lovesick puppy to petulant teenager. Donning military jacket and with hair tied back for the ‘Presentation of the Rose’ scene, she brought off ‘love at first sight’ convincingly…Crowe and Connolly intertwined vocal lines seductively in the Rose scene… Both were superb in the final duet ‘Ist ein Traum’…”


Mark Pullinger, Bach Track

Wagner | Die Walküre  |Royal Opera House

26 September 2018

"Sarah Connolly’s Fricka has become one of the production’s highpoints: she conveys the bitter anger of marital betrayal in every phrase and every stiffened joint. Nina Stemme’s Brünnhilde is also tremendously accomplished, reflecting the gamut of emotions in facial expression and vocal line alike.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 27 September, 2018

"Sarah Connolly is at the peak of her considerable powers as Fricka, delivering a performance of naked manipulation and mezzo power that would make any opponent crumble.''

Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 27th September, 2018

“Sarah Connolly's Fricka curdled from a sensual, frustrated young wife into someone capable of using physical affection like a poisoned needle.”

Richard Bratby, The Spectator, 13th October, 2018

Brett Dean | Hamlet | Glyndebourne Festival Opera

13 Jun 2017

“Sarah Connolly is on excellent form, all tiaras and condescension and cracking veneer as Gertrude.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 12 June 2017

“Dean undoubtedly benefited from a dream cast: Sarah Connolly as a distraught Gertrude, matronly and sexy as she does so well.”
Cara Chanteau, The Independent, 13 June 2017

“The role of Gertrude is wonderfully delineated by Sarah Connolly.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 13 June 2017

“In the other major roles Sarah Connolly, Rod Gilfry…add up to a strong cast.”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 12 June 2017

“Sarah Connolly engrossing in her growing desperation as Gertrude.”
George Hall, The Stage, 12 June 2017

“…staged with a sure, straightforward and often blackly comic touch by Neil Armfield, dispensing with well-worn Oedipal interpretations in favour of an open-ended approach that allows Sarah Connolly to present an unusually sympathetic portrayal of the anguished Gertrude.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, 13 June 2017

“…in Gertrude’s “There is a willow grows aslant a brook” Sarah Connolly is gifted a gratefully crafted vocal aria.”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 12 June 2017

Berg | Lulu | English National Opera

11 Nov 2016

“Sarah Connolly’s lush mezzo helps make lovelorn Countess Geschwitz’s plight genuinely involving.”
George Hall, The Stage, 10 November 2016

“Utterly compelling as always is Sara Connolly, bringing an intense desolation to the role of Countess Geschwitz, Lulu’s lesbian admirer who sacrifices everything for her. Berg’s sister was gay, and the depth of Connolly’s performance makes perfect sense of why it is she – when Geschwitz is not otherwise a large role – who closes the opera.”
Cara Chanteau, The Independent, 10 November 2016

“ENO has pushed the boat out to cast this show, and there are first-rate performances from…Sarah Connolly (Geschwitz) [and] David Soar (Athlete)…in particular.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 10 November 2016

“The Countess Geschwitz is Sarah Connolly, straight out of a 1920s novel about redoubtable women.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 10 November 2016

“Sarah Connolly harrowing as the devastated Countess Geschwitz.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 13 November 2016

“Perhaps the only truly sympathetic character is Sarah Connolly’s Countess Geschwitz, who sacrifices everything for Lulu while fully self-aware…the very last scene, when the music finally got under my skin with an aching, yearning quality that matched my empathy – a commodity in short supply in this opera – for Connolly’s Countess.”
David Karlin, Bachtrack, 10 November 2016

“Sarah Connolly was superb as the pathetic, lovelorn Countess Geschwitz.”
Peter Reed, Classical Source, 09 November 2016

“The supporting company is no less distinguished and includes stand-out contributions from some major artists: Sarah Connolly as the emotionally churned Countess Geschwitz.”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 10 November 2016

“Sarah Connolly’s heartbreaking and deliciously buttoned-up Countess Geschwitz, sung with such suppressed passion.”
Alexandra Coghlan, Broadway World, 10 November 2016

“Sarah Connolly is splendid as lesbian admirer Countess Geschwitz.”
Clare Colvin, Express, 13 November 2016

Wagner | Das Rheingold & Die Walküre | Bayreuther Festspiele

01 Aug 2016

“Sarah Connolly’s consummate artistry made one want to be on Fricka’s side in her argument with Wotan.”
Matthew Rye, Bachtrack, 28 July 2016

“Sarah Connolly in firm voice as Fricka.”
Matthew Rye, Bachtrack, 27 July 2016

Enescu | Oedipe | Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

24 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly presents a glamorous Jocaste.”
George Hall, The Stage, 24 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly makes a fragrant, untouchable Jocasta, whose vocal lines unfold in unbroken arcs of melody, all legato seduction. We understand very well what drawn Oedipe to this glossy creature.”
Alexandra Coghlan, New Statesman, 25 May, 2016

“Sarah Connolly lends a dignified devastation to Oedipe’s wife/mother, Jocaste.”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 25 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly responds splendidly to Jocasta’s sensuous music.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 27 May 2016

“Queen Jocaste (memorably incarnated by Sarah Connolly).”
The Independent, 24 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly underlined the humanity of Jocasta’s relatively brief role with singing of nobility and warmth.”
Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, 23 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly gives a gripping performance here as Jocaste, an unnerving and increasingly fraught presence.”
Gavin Dixon, Opera Britannia, 24 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly’s formidable Jocaste resplendent in khaki, potent in voice.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 29 May 2016

“Sarah Connolly [was] Jocaste, and the mezzo sang with formidable focus to evoke the queen’s suffering; despite Enescu supplying Jocaste with some sensuous music, Connolly kept a lid on that sensuality and was detached and dignified as the mother-wife.”
John Allison, Opera, August 2016

“…as Jocaste, mezzo Sarah Connolly flaunted physical and vocal glamour.”
George Hall, Opera News, August 2016

Handel |Ariodante | Dutch National Opera

14 Mar 2016

“Sarah Connolly’s Ariodante remains a compelling portrait of the stricken lover – her ‘Doppo notte’, when the veil of darkness is lifted and Ariodante sees the light of day, was an exhilarating outpouring of joy, its rangy syncopations thrillingly sung.”
Hugh Canning, Opera, April 2016

Wagner |Tristan und Isolde | Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

05 Dec 2014

“Sarah Connolly the warm-toned Brangäne…”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 07 December 2014

“In Sarah Connolly’s Brangäne, [Nina Stemme] had the perfect foil – a marvellous characterisation…sung with rich expressivity and urgency.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 06 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly and Iain Paterson, too, both make huge impacts as Brangäne and Kurwenal. So much, in fact, that the anguish of these too-loyal sidekicks becomes in some ways more interesting than the fate of Tristan and Isolde themselves — both of whom seem so imprisoned by past tragedies (Isolde by her lover’s death at Tristan’s hands, Tristan by his mother’s death in childbirth) that their self-destruction seems inevitable.”

Richard Morrison, The Times, 08 December 2014

“Iain Patterson and Sarah Connolly, star singers both of course, were impassioned and magnificent as Kurwenal and Brangäne respectively…”

Mark Valencia, Whats On Stage, 06 December 2014

“[Connolly] produced one of the outstanding vocal moments of the evening, the ‘Einsam wachend’ in which she urges the lovers to think of her as she watches over them.”

David Karlin, BachTrack, 06 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly’s Brangäne [is] superbly accomplished.”

Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 08 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly’s Louise Brooks-style Brangäne is exquisitely sung…”

Michael Church, The Independent, 08 December 2014

“Also reaching a level of excellence [is] Sarah Connolly as a richly lyrical Brangäne…”
George Hall, The Stage, 08 December 2014

“…Connolly’s striking Brangäne, in total command of the role, the voice supple and rich, with wonderful legato and exuding excellent stagecraft. The off-stage warnings of Act Two were ravishing. One anticipates a fabulous Kundry one day…”
Alexander Campbell, Classical Source, 05 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly also performs impressively as Isolde’s confidante Brangäne, managing the near impossible feat of not being overshadowed by the power of Nina Stemme.”
William Hartston, Daily Express, 10 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly is a sumptuous-toned Brangäne.”
Sam Smith, Music OMH, 10 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly’s Brangange is as gripping as you would expect from such a wonderful singer.”
Stephen Pollard, Jewish Chronicle, 11 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly makes a fascinating foil as Brangaene”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 08 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly’s protective Brangäne is superb, in fetching auburn wig.  Her interaction with Kurwenal during the night scene suggests that the maid too has a life of her own.”
Clare Colvin, Express, 14 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly makes a spellbinding Brangäne.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 14 December 2014

“Sarah Connolly [is] simply ideal as Brangäne both in the intelligence of [her] acting and in [her] meaning-charged singing”
Michael Tanner, Spectator, 03 January 2015

“Sarah Connolly’s lustrous-toned Brangäne supplied mystique…singing with a focus that made her voice quite complementary to Stemme’s.”
Johhn Allison, Opera, February 2015

Handel | Ariodante | Festival d' Aix-en-Provence

03 Jul 2014

“The British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, in superb vocal form, delivered a memorable performance in the role.”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, 4 July 2014

“A strong British artistic presence this year is felt especially in the new staging of Handel’s Ariodante, directed by Richard Jones with Sarah Connolly in the title role. As a butch-looking Ariodante, Connolly gives the performance of the evening, her mezzo smooth and brightly focused. The intensity she brings to ‘Scherza infida’ is underlined by detailed accompaniments from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, conducted with style by Andrea Marcon.”
John Allison, The Telegraph, 09 July 2014

“À côté de cela, Sarah Connolly campe un Ariodante mesuré, digne, nuancé… convaincant.”
Florent Albrecht, Altamusica, 05 July 2014

“As a very masculine Ariodante, Sarah Connolly gave the performance of the evening, her mezzo smooth and brightly focused; her coloratura was fleet-footed, especially in the infectious rejoicing of ‘Doppo notte’.  The intensity she brought to ‘Scherza infida’ was underlined by marvellously detailed accompaniments from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, conducted with lithe stylishness by Andrea Marcon.”
John Allison, Opera, September 2014

“L’Ariodante de Sarah Connolly est très stylé et émouvant, d’une grande candeur juvénile.”
Chantal Cazaux, L’Avant-Scène Opéra, 10 July 2014

Handel | Agrippina | Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona

20 Nov 2013

“Sarah Connolly ya conocía la producción y maneja su Agrippina desde todas las aristas, con una entrega que es todo un lujo.”
Pablo Melendez-Haddad, ABC Cataluna, 18 November 2013

“El tratamiento de los personajes, aunque se enfade McVicar, remite inequívocamente a las arpías protagonistas de culebrones televisivos como Dallas, Dinastia y Falcon Crest. Y la mezzosoprano Sarah Connolly (Agripina) es la Joan Collins de este culebrón con sonido barroco.”
Javier Perez Senz, El Pais, 18 November 2013

“Connolly es siempre una excelente cantante y actriz, aunque dejó a la protagonista al nivel de una dominadora e intrigante de Hollywood, más Joan Collins que emperatriz romana (‘Pensieri…’ fue su mejor momento sin duda, pero aquí la botella en mano pesó).”
Jorge Binaghi, Mundo Clasico, 26 November 2013

“La mezzo soprano británica Sarah Connolly tuvo una destacada actuación en la parte de Agrippina. La voz es cálida, bien manejada y adecuada  en agilidades.”
M. Irurzun, Beckmesser, 18 November 2013

Rameau | Hippolyte et Aricie | Glyndebourne Festival Opera

01 Jul 2013

“[Sarah Connolly’s] ability to inhabit these complex, tortured women – remember her Medea last year – is famously peerless. And it was no shock that her rendition of ‘Cruelle mère des amours’ was the hypnotic heart of the evening.”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, 30 June 2013

“Sarah Connolly’s portrait of Phaedra was compelling, powerful and nuanced. Although clearly a character to be crossed only at one’s peril, she also showed a more human side by eliciting our sympathy for the amorous feelings she cannot help but feel for her stepson but which she cannot reasonably act upon.”
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, 01 July 2013

“Sarah Connolly as Phaedra very nearly steals the show. Appearing in elegant, stylish dresses, she has a commanding presence and was in fine voice. I have never heard her sing so well, particularly when she delivers Phaedra’s confession of guilt.”
Margarida Mota-Bull, Seen and Heard, 01 July 2013

“Sarah Connolly plays the stepmother from hell to the manner born.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 30 June 2013

“Sarah Connolly invests Phaedra with both grandeur and a desperately human vulnerability.”
Michael Church, The Independent, 01 July 2013

“Sarah Connolly’s Phaedra added yet another role to the list of mezzo parts which she ‘owns’.”
Melanie Eskenazi, Music OHM, 29 June 2013

“Sarah Connolly’s Phaedra leads the field. Following her Medea for English National Opera in February, the mezzo discovers another full-bodied star part to sink her teeth into, seizing and holding the audience’s sympathetic attention throughout Phaedra’s long and painful emotional journey.”
George Hall, The Stage, 01 July 2013

“Sarah Connolly is perfectly cast as Phaedra, racked with guilt for her incestuous infatuation with her stepson Hippolytus.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 04 July 2013

“Sarah Connolly’s magnificently sung and acted Phaedra.”
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 07 July 2013

Charpentier | Médée | English National Opera

16 Feb 2013

“The towering central performance of Sarah Connolly. Singing with coruscating power, acting with white-hot intensity, she makes Medea’s journey from mother to monster, via jealousy and humiliation, nightmarishly plausible.”

Richard Morrison, The Times, 17 February 2013

“Connolly, at the peak of her powers, has done nothing finer: she takes us with her every step of the way on a terrifying emotional journey.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 17 February 2013

“Sarah Connolly carries all before her in the title-role: here is an artist majestically in her prime, singing with total technical assurance and radiating baneful charisma.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 17 February 2013

“Sarah Connolly is excellent at stepping up to the extraordinariness of the role: her singing, along with her dramatic presence, is the indispensable factor of the show.”
Matthew Ingleby, Play to See, 16 February 2013

“A power-suited Sarah Connolly stands apart. Her Medea chafes against the confines of her role and gender, exploited then discarded at the whim of a libidinous husband. Vocally dwarfing her colleagues, her struggle to repress herself into this world of social hierarchies is mirrored visually and musically. Forging her own path through Charpentier’s fluid tempo-transitions and moods, she never lets her hand slip from the psychological string that guides us through the endless corners and corridors of recit. Her miniature aria of grief once Jason’s abandonment is certain coaxes tears, while her final invocation of the forces of Hell partners that earlier fragility with a reckless blood-lust. We feel for her, even as we know the small, pyjama-clad bodies are coming, and in her final ascent (not descent, interestingly) to darkness she is at once magnificent and horrifying.”
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, 16 February 2013

“The disintegration from the elegantly coiffed princess of the first act to the dishevelled harpy summoning the powers of hell to avenge her showed the singer at her formidable best. In the big aria “Is this what love is worth?” Connolly vividly evokes a woman losing her grip on all that she values and turning to the path of utter destructive fury.”
Sebastian Petit, Opera Britannia, 16 February 2013

“In the title role Sarah Connolly was on fire. Over the course of a gripping staging the formidable mezzo-soprano descended from sophisticated power-dresser to bug-eyed monster, and she did so with utter conviction each step of the way towards her final coup de théâtre. Her singing was not only beautiful it was also alive to every nuance both in the score and in Christopher Cowell’s excellent translation. “Vengeance must learn to wear a mask” declares Medea early on – which is exactly what Connolly did until the moment when, blade in hand, she ripped the mask away and all Hades broke loose.”
Mark Valencia, Classical Source, 16 February 2013

“The A-list cast is, as one would hope, A-list magnificent. As Medea, Sarah Connolly is at her vocal and dramatic best, with a powerful and technically superb voice that conveys Medea’s rage and anguish – she stands out even amongst a stellar cast.”
Julia Savage, Bachtrack.com, 18 February 2013

“The first thing that must be said of this UK stage premiere is that Connolly’s presence in it is its greatest strength. The word “presence” is overused but in her case the voice and manner exude it. Her commitment to each idea, each word, each musical inflection has been thought and felt through – and when she is not on the stage you feel her in absentia.”
Edward Seckerson, 16 February 2013

“In an opera peopled by morally frail, dishonest men, Sarah Connolly portrays Medea as a powerful heroine driven by a combination of fiery anger, eloquent finesse and sharp intelligence. From the opening of Act 1 the profound depths of her character are evident: her passionate love, her jealousy, her pride, her tenderness. It is the powers at her command which set her apart, as is evident in the pulsing accompaniment of her first recitative and the tempestuous cascading string lines which frame it. Her softer side is revealed in Act 2, accompanied by strings and dulcet recorders, preparing us for the pathos of her brutal, inhuman murder of her children in order to inflict pain upon the man who has rejected her. Connolly’s compassion as a mother was evident throughout Act 2, and her powerful soliloquies in Act 3, when she laments Jason’s betrayal and the futility of her love and loyalty, evoked tender empathy in the audience, before her invocation of Satanic darkness injected her thoughtfulness with a terrifying, nihilistic blackness, inspiring both terror and wonder. In her aria-moments Connolly combined warm, shapely lyricism with an elegant declamation of the text, ever alert to Charpentier’s unique arioso which is itself responsive to both word and affekt.”
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 17 February 2013

“[Charpentier’s Medea] provides a gift of a vehicle for one of our great singing actresses, Sarah Connolly. She’s not a woman to be trifled with, and Charpentier charts her spiralling descent from insecure lover to unhinged filicide in music of extraordinary emotional power. Connolly’s assumption of the role is not only characterised by singing of immense beauty but she even manages (with the help of Euripides and Charpentier) to make us sympathise with this wronged woman.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 18 February 2013

“Connolly gives a performance which is at once commanding and heart-rending: the long recitative in which she is transformed from a scorned and self-harming wife into an avenging fury has blistering authenticity…her singing – with its very high tessitura – is a delight.
Michael Church, The Independent, 18 February 2013

“Sarah Connolly on magnificent form as Medea.”
William Hartston, The Express, 18 February 2013

“Sarah Connolly’s business-suited interpretation is still and steely, gradually ratcheting up the tension, as injustice at her husband’s infidelity eats at her soul and unthinkable violence becomes her only resort.”
Simon Thomas, What’s on Stage, 19 February 2013

“It was Sarah Connolly who suggested Charpentier to the management, and there is no mezzo-soprano today better equipped to impersonate his monster-mother from Greek mythology. Connolly’s refined timbre and sure musical instincts are the ideal medium for Charpentier’s highly charged but chaste idiom. Thanks to her skill at harmonising the human qualities of the part in the first two acts with its heinous qualities in the last two, Connolly enjoys a deserved triumph.”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 18 February 2013

“Connolly’s incandescent performance may have been the largest single factor in the production’s success..That act belonged wholesale to Connolly, who in both voice and bearing brought a sense of vulnerable humanity into her imperious performance.”
Erica Jeal, Opera, April 2013

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