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Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Leontyne Price Gala

The first aria, a stirring opening number for the concert, showcased both the power and expressive range of Graham's magnificent voice, and the second revealed a winning vulnerability and tenderness through subtle nuances of phrasing and dynamic control. The performance earned Graham the first of several standing ovations of the evening." -- Clifton Noble, Jr., February 19, 2017, MassLive.com

"...Graham seemed to revel in the spin and ring of her voice, as she soared above the orchestra, as her instrumental compatriots executed some fiendishly difficult music." -- Clifton Noble, Jr., February 19, 2017, MassLive.com

"Once again Graham dazzled the Springfield audience with the breadth of her expression and the emotional intensity of her delivery." -- Clifton Noble, Jr., February 19, 2017, MassLive.com

"Kevin Rhodes provided the narrative of the Leontyne Price story, and showcased Price’s “greatest hits” which in turn, showcased Miss Graham, who has a beautiful instrument, solid technique, and the requisite acting ability to turn each song into a story. Her rendering of “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca was magnificent; her performance of two scenes from Antony and Cleopatra was fascinating."​ -- Mark G. Auerbach, February 19, 2017, The Westfield News​

Ariadne

Othalie Graham has a well-supported voice with pleasantly metallic qualities at the top of her tessitura. She made for a powerful and impressive Ariadne. Her Prima Donna was also imposing. - BY CHARLISE TIEE, July 13, 2015, San Francisco Classical Voice

As Ariadne, Othalie Graham unleashed a long, dramatic aria of considerable beauty and pathos. Reviewed by James Roy MacBean, Monday July 13, 2015, The Berkley Daily Planet

Turandot

Opera News

Opera Carolina’s second production of its season, Puccini’s Turandot, opened on January 24. This grand and improbable legend inspired Puccini to write some of his most intriguing music, and this production did the score justice. The cast was strong from top to bottom. Othalie Graham was a vocally secure Turandot, her gleaming tones well suited to the ice princess’s misanthropic resolve. The part is, in many ways, an unsympathetic one, but Graham’s interpretation was engaging to watch.

Link to Article

80th BrAVA Anniversary Concert

Lewis Whittington

The orchestral thrust in this hall was right out of the gate with Canadian-American soprano Othalie Graham's ...'In questa reggia' from "Turandot." Graham (in drop dead opera couture) has a voluptuous voice that engulfs, she also played the scene, setting the tone that this concert would not have cold recital feel.

Turandot: Opera Carolina

Voix Des Arts

Othalie Graham deserves the designation more than almost any other soprano singing today. A svelte, beautiful lady, she moves with confidence and uses her expressive face to mirror the emotions of which she sings. Turandot is not an easy rôle to master, dramatically: the necessity of almost continuous full-throttle singing limits many sopranos’ abilities to connect with the character on a plane beyond the concern for getting the notes out. The profundity of Ms. Graham’s identification with Turandot was evident from the first phrase of ‘In questa reggia.’ What was also obvious from the first lines that she sang was that Ms. Graham’s command of the rôle’s two-octave range is comprehensive. Her singing of ‘Principessa Lou-Ling, ava dolce e serena’ seethed with fury, the top B on ‘Quel grido e quella morte!’ unleashed with zeal. Her phrasing of ‘Ah, rinasce in me l'orgoglio di tanta purità!’ exploded with umbrage. Ms. Graham gloriously joined Mr. Tanner on the unison top C on ‘No! No! Gli enigmi sono tre, la morte è una,’ and she shaped the Riddle Scene with glacial singing of ‘Straniero, ascolta!’ and ‘Percuotete quei vili!’ The biting irony of ‘Su, straniero, il gelo che dà foco, che cos'è?’ inspired the soprano to singing of frightening potency, offset by her glowingly feminine delivery of ‘Figlio del cielo! Padre augusto!’ The power of her pair of top Cs trumpeted over the chorus on 'Mi vuoi nelle tue braccia a forza riluttante, fremente!—the second of them doubled by the sopranos in the chorus—was stupendous. Turandot’s gradual awakening to love was clearly indicated by Ms. Graham’s singing of ‘Che mai osi, straniero!’ She brought to Turandot’s ‘La mia gloria è finita!’ an element of catharsis that cemented the passage’s kinship with the decisive ‘Son io’ in the penultimate scene of Bellini’sNorma. The repeated top As and hair-raising top B in ‘Del primo pianto’ embodied this Turandot’s blossoming sensuality. After so much extraordinary singing, the top B♭ on ‘Il suo nome è Amor!’ as Turandot reveals to her father and the people of Peking that she has discovered her unknown swain’s name—Love—perfectly crowned Ms. Graham’s performance. Dramatically, she was the unique Turandot who made the character a woman, not an archetype. Vocally, she was, as bears repeating, a sensationally natural Turandot.

OAKLAND EAST BAY SYMPHONY

By Paul Hertelendy

How about the dramatic soprano Othalie Graham equally adept interpreting operas by both Verdi and Wagner, who are many kilometers apart, both texturally and linguistically. Her excerpts from both “Aida” and “Götterdämmerung” showed a keen focus, hall-filling power, a span of dynamics and more stage presence than many a singer costumed in a staged opera. She breathed the roles while showing a touching vulnerability of spirit.

OAKLAND EAST BAY SYMPHONY

By Georgia Rowe

Graham, making her OEBS debut, joined the orchestra to sing "Ritorna vincitor!" from Verdi's "Aida." Looking regal in a bejeweled, burgundy-colored gown, she deployed her large, gleaming soprano with urgency and expressiveness as the Ethiopian slave torn between love for her homeland and passion for the Egyptian warrior, Radames.

OAKLAND EAST BAY SYMPHONY

Joshua Kosman

And when Graham arrived to put the seal on the evening with a fearless "Immolation," at least one listener started wondering about all the Wagner we had been denied. Graham was a full-voiced, dramatically forthright Brünnhilde, lofting true and stirring high notes above the orchestra and fusing them into long-breathed, meticulously arced melodic phrases. The orchestral conclusion to that scene brought some of the concert's most engrossing musical rewards.

Aida

CVNC Perry Tannenbaum

Othalie Graham, making her Belk Theater debut, reminded me a little of Leontyne Price… There was no shortage of strength to the voice, piercing through the orchestra, the chorus, and the full phalanx of principals at the climax of the grand parade scene. Yet there is a bloom to Graham’s pianissimos that Price doesn’t match in her Decca recording with Solti, and there is also ample evidence of diva acting skills. At various times, we see her clearly as both royalty and a serving girl, without a jarring disconnect between the two.

GALA WAGNER

Caro De Alonso Almenara

The great attraction of the night was, without a doubt, the extraordinary performance of (Othalie) Graham, who exhibited a very convincing dramatic strength, a panache, and vocal power that flooded the theatre and conquered the audience immediately. Her participation in this evening received a deserved ovation.

Gala Wagner

Aeronoticias

La Soprano nacida en Canadá, Othalie Graham, nos deleitó En "Las arias de Tannhauser", y "Tristán e Isolda", deslumbrando con su poderosa voz, gran aplomo en escena, y muy aplaudida de pie por el público.

The Canadian born Soprano, Othalie Graham, delighted us with arias from Taanhauser and Tristan und Isolde, impressing us with her powerful voice, great stage presence, receiving a standing ovation by the audience.

Turandot in Monterrey

By José Noé Mercado

The complex role of Princess Turandot: the Canadian soprano Othalie Graham offered a convincing interpretation thanks to her powerful instrument with its resounding high notes and expressive middle register. (Graham, surely has not even arrived at 40 years of age), it is undeniable the pleasant surprise that her vocal presence and theatricality offered to the audience. Without doubt, an excellent choice to embody the ice-princess.
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Nashville Opera: La Fanciulla del West

Art Now Nashville, By Evans Donnell on April 13, 2012

Puccini was clearly right to dub Minnie “my Valkyrie”: the stamina required is equivalent to running a vocal marathon. The legato (or “the line” as it’s commonly known) phrasing must be smooth and savory; a powerful top range, along with equal command in middle and lower voice, is also required. In those and other measures – including but not limited to a bold Act I high C – soprano Othalie Graham excels as Minnie. Graham’s exquisite artistry goes beyond her vocal prowess to include consummate acting skills. Whether poignantly telling us about Minnie’s “$30 worth” of education, playing a game of poker to save the man she loves or later pleading for his life before a lynch mob, Graham masterfully reveals the strength, tenderness and ultimate integrity of her character. This is her Nashville Opera debut; I fervently hope it will not be the last time this remarkable performer graces us with her gifts.

Nashville Opera: La Fanciulla del West

Amy Stumpfl, For The Tennessean

Acclaimed soprano Othalie Graham makes her Nashville Opera debut as Minnie. She tackles the demanding role with convincing style and obvious vocal strength. But she also shines in more tender moments.

Turandot Arizona Opera

Maria Nockin 2011

With Opulent-voiced Canadian soprano Othalie Graham in the title role, the audience had no trouble believing that suitors would risk their necks for the chance to spend their lives with her...This most impressive soprano not only has the sizeable voice that the role requires, she uses it with superb control and consummate taste. Dramatically, she...made a believable transition from Ice princess to passionate lover by the final duet...With Graham in the title role, there was no doubt that Turandot should win in the end. The final duet was pure delight."

Turandot Arizona Opera

Christian Dalzon 2011

Othalie Graham is a commanding Turandot. She is alternately icy and vulnerable, delivering ... "In questa reggia" ..powerful[ly] with a voice that easily carries through the House, flying over a thundering Orchestra."

Turandot Washington Chorus

By Anne Midgette Nov 10 2009

The concert proved a fine showcase for two rising stars in its "Turandot" portion -- Carl Tanner (his weighty, thrilling tenor perfectly matched to this music) and Othalie Graham (with a slicing, yet full-bodied, soprano of Wagnerian amplitude)"

Turandot

“Soprano Othalie Graham’s princess was imperious of voice and stature throughout. Her voice is a thrilling amalgam of gold and steel, and she sang Puccini’s challenging leaps and ever-increasing vocal ascendancy with great power and ease. She was fierce in her telling of Turandot’s fears (the rape of her ancestor in this very palace, ‘In questa reggia’) and ferocious in her determination to remain solitary by imposing three deadly riddles (‘Straniero, ascolta’). Yet Graham also showed vulnerability in her softened plea to her father the Emperor, begging him not to have her marry (‘Figlio cel Cielo!’).”
San Francisco Classical Voice / July 11, 2009 / James Keolker

“The company’s new production of Puccini’s bloody final work, playing at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, has its ups and downs, but in soprano Othalie Graham it can boast a leading lady of prodigious vocal and dramatic force. And without the right Turandot, there’s no ‘Turandot.’ Graham, who made an impressive company debut three summers ago as Tosca, brought the same combination of vocal prowess and regal stage presence to this assignment Tuesday night. As the steely Chinese princess who keeps her empire under a bloody reign of terror while working out her obscure psychosexual issues, she unleashed a potent and superbly controlled sound that conveyed the implacable firmness of the character while hinting at the emotional undercurrent that ultimately wins out. ‘In questa reggia,’ the Act 2 showpiece that marks Turandot’s long-delayed vocal arrival (she appears mutely for a moment in Act 1), found Graham deftly negotiating Puccini’s demands for both heroic power and intimate lyricism. And if Graham couldn’t make Turandot’s final conversion to the power of love entirely convincing – who could? – she delivered it with unflinching precision and presence.”
San Francisco Chronicle / July 17, 2009 / Joshua Kosman

Turandot

By Matthew Guerrieri, Boston Globe | June 3, 2009

“the Canadian soprano's timbre and power were thrilling - steely ring from top to bottom - and her path from imperiousness to passion was convincing.”

Turandot

by Ed Tapper, EDGE Boston

“The title role was sung by Othalie Graham, a remarkable Canadian soprano who has made something of a specialty of the grueling role, and has apparently survived unscathed. Her voice is sumptuous, with firmly-focused, penetrating high notes that subjugated the other onstage performing forces. Those awesome high C’s were made even more impressive by her dead-on intonation. Possessing beauty, temperament and superb acting skills, Graham is destined for stardom in the world of opera. The Met would do well to snag her for their roster.”

In the title role of TURANDOT

Graham's grand gleaming voice soared over the colorful, but often loud orchestra, handling the role's notoriously punishing tessitura with ease. Hers is a sound that could fill any major opera house. Imagine its impact in the Palace, a theater less than half the size of the Met..... the Riddle Scene was electric and her final duet with Calaf in Act 3 must rank among the more thrilling CGO&O experiences in the Palace Theatre."
By Jerome R. Sehulster, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 05/18/2008

"The second cast Turandot, Othalie Graham, had a clear, secure and powerful voice and gave a very account of herself in her demanding first aria, (In questa reggia)."
Turandot Michigan opera / Opera Review by Dina Soresi Winter / Grosse Point News / April 26 2007

"Graham offered more eloquence, capturing Turandot's latent vulnerability as she recounted her tragic family history, and shaping her phrases with a lovely tone and arching line even at full volume."
Detroit Free Press / Mark Stryker / April 23, 2007

“The centerpiece in this musically strong and dramatically vivid production is a new Turandot. Soprano Othalie Graham is undertaking Puccini’s icy princess for the first time. Graham commands the stage with her imperious presence and powerful voice. Turandot is one of the most demanding roles in the dramatic soprano repertory. As she beheads the suitors vying for her hand, Puccini asks his princess to soar up to high B’s and C’s and dominate the massed voices of the chorus and other soloists. Graham commands the voice to do that. In Turandot’s dramatic entrance aria, Graham’s soprano flashes through the Grand Opera House like a javelin tipped with bronze. In the ‘riddle scene’ in which Turandot tests the unknown prince, her voice takes on a steely shine as it soars through the testing vocal lines. This impressive Turandot stands at the center of a traditional but impressive production...The audience cheered Graham at the end of Saturday evening’s performance.”
Courier-Post / November 1, 2004 / Robert Baxter

“Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ explores anguish on a grand scale. The OperaDelaware production describes a violent, degraded society. That Puccini creates such a world with some of his most beautiful music is especially ironic. As Turandot, Othalie Graham doesn’t sing until the middle of Act II, but when she does her soaring soprano gives life to the loodthirsty princess. A recent graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Graham, 30, has the power and range to make Turandot as intriguing as her riddles. She cuts a majestic figure, but that remarkable voice makes the audience believe a score of noblemen would die for the chance to love her.”
The News Journal / November 3, 2004 / Tom Butler

“Othalie Graham, for example, in the role of Turandot, has a huge, powerful voice that fills the auditorium and navigates the musical difficulties beautifully. Simon Kyung Lee, in the role of Prince Calaf, matches her strength well.”
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City) / July 12, 2005 / Rebecca C. Howard

“Rearrange schedules, change plans, and run to see this vocally and visually stunning new production featuring a young dramatic soprano (Othalie Graham) who is destined for international stardom. As Turandot, Othalie Graham electrified the audience with enormous vocal power, tonal depth, and dramatic savvy. The young singer’s striking appearance, musicianship, and poise brought to mind the famed soprano Jessye Norman...The South Korea-born tenor matched well with Graham, demonstrating enough vocal heft to keep up with the imposing soprano.”
Salt Lake Tribune / July 7, 2005 / Robert Coleman

“Puccini’s writing for Turandot was almost as cruel as her character, demanding stratospheric high notes and almost Wagnerian stamina. Canadian-born soprano Othalie Graham, who played Aida last season for Bohème Opera, managed the high-flying lines with strength and cut an aptly imperious figure.”
The Star-Ledger / November 6, 2006 / Bradley Bambarger

“Bohème Opera assembled a strong cast led by soprano Othalie Graham in the title role...Graham commands a big, steely voice that opens up with impact in the high climaxes...her soprano rode the chorus and orchestra with thrilling impact. Graham proved fearless in the testing riddle scene when Turandot challenges Calaf to win her heart. Her voice rang out with authority in the warm acoustics of the War Memorial...Together, the tenor and soprano made quite an impression when they soared up to sustained high notes.”
Courier-Post / November 6, 2006 / Robert Baxter

Aida (El Paso Opera)

By Betty Ligon, El Paso INC. 9/16/07

Such a magnificent opera calls for strong voices. Aida, sung by a sturdy Othalie Graham, possesses a magnificent soprano with a mellow tone and a pretty face. She conveyed the anguish and tortured self conflict over her loyalties to good effect.

Aida (El Paso Opera)

By Alex Hinojosa, The Prospector 9/11/07

The smart casting contributed to this performance's success as Graham's high-soprano voice rang through the air...

In Elijah

soprano Othalie Graham, an arresting Angel"
The Salt Lake Tribune / May 12 2007 / Terfel's 'Elijah' for the ages / By Catherine Reese Newton

"The other singers were also superb. Particularly noteworthy were Graham's "Here Ye, Israel"
Choir's 'Elijah' a feast for ears / By Edward Reichel / Deseret Morning News / Tuesday May 15 2007

As Odabella in ATTILA

“From the moment the curtain rose on a beautiful scene populated by singing Huns the audience knew it was in for a treat. What they didn't know was that Othalie Graham in her Sarasota Opera debut would come roaring in as Odabella and blast Young-Bok Kim's Attila off his throne. Like Abigaille hammering Nabucco, she gave clear notice from the outset that she wasn't about to be pushed around. Othalie Graham had a big exciting voice…”
Seen and Heard International Opera Review / Lew Schneider

“Othalie Graham was a physically striking Odabella with gleaming high notes…”
Miami Herald / March 7, 2007 / Lawrence A. Johnson

“And that brings us to Othalie Graham as Odabella. It’s an arduous role, combining the facility of a coloratura with the power of a dramatic soprano and a range that jumps from the heights to the depths, all within one character. When Graham made her first appearance on stage and let loose with her opening notes, it was as if a typhoon had been unleashed. This is a soprano with an enormous, no, a humongous voice...She soars over everything, orchestra, chorus, and other soloists. Reigned in and tempered, this is a voice to be reckoned with…”
The Observer / March 1, 2007 / June LeBell

“Soprano Othalie Graham certainly displayed the stage presence the role demands, marching on in a fury (and a breastplate) and handling her sword with terrifying expertise…”
Herald Tribune / February 20, 2007 / Richard Storm

In the title role of TOSCA

“The evening’s one arresting asset was the company debut of soprano Othalie Graham in the title role, a high-powered blend of musical assurance and theatrical temperament. Singing the role for the first time, Graham displayed a potent and secure soprano that soared effortlessly through the role. Most impressive was her blend of delicacy and sheer muscle, which often combined forces within the space of a single phrase...her rendition of ‘Vissi d’arte’ was a heartbreaker.”

San Francisco Chronicle / July 10, 2006 / Joshua Kosman

“Singing the first ‘Tosca’ of her career, Othalie Graham introduced a large, bright-toned soprano...”
Contra Costa Times / July 10, 2006 / Georgia Rowe

“The opera’s center remains, of course, Tosca. And that is currently the case with Festival Opera’s production at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, where the young Canadian soprano, Othalie Graham sings the title role. Miss Graham is a wellspring of unstinting sound. Her Tosca is immediately in command, whether hectoring her lover, Mario Cavaradossi (‘Perchè chiuso? Why is the door closed?’), revealing her jealous nature (‘A chi parlavi? Who were you talking to?’), giving in to her her piety (‘O! innanzi la Madonna! Oh, don’t kiss me in front of the Madonna!’), or her suggestive romanticism (‘È luna piena, There’s a full moon out tonight’) - all delivered with pointed expression within minutes of her appearance. Miss Graham also gives her character musical dimension, using Puccini’s softer passages to build toward her exciting full-voiced climaxes. Her offstage anthem in Act Two (‘A te quest’inno di gloria a te, May this hymn of glory rise to thee’) was so lovely you hated to hear it end. And yet within moments she was unleashing a corruscating dismissal of Scarpia, the Roman chief of police, and his insinuating interrogation as to Mario’s whereabouts (‘Demone!’ ‘Ah! mostro!’). Likewise, she dominated Puccini’s carefully escalating coil of tension as Scarpia requires more of her than information, each vocal demand intensely building upon the other in a futile attempt to free Mario (‘Cessate!’ ‘Quanto?’ ‘Il Prezzo!’), climaxing with her fervent prayer, ‘Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore, I have lived for art, I have lived for love.’ This brought the opera to a near standstill, Miss Graham spinning out such lovely arabesques of sound, she received prolonged applause. And yet she was soon terrifying in her repeated stabbings of the hateful Scarpia (‘Muori dannato! Die damned!’), nervously standing over him (‘È morto! Or gli perdono! He’s dead! Now I can forgive him!’), and making a slow, trembling exit. This Tosca has not the bright, steely sound of a Maria Callas, but rather the softer texture of a Leontyne Price, with its subtle coloration and haunting smokiness...And thus her run to the parapet and jumping off with the fierce cry, ‘O Scarpia, avanti a Dio! Oh, Scarpia, we will meet before God!’ seemed as inevitable as Puccini had wished.”
San Francisco Classical Voice / James Keolker

In the title role of AIDA

“...well done was the Act II duet from Aida, featuring soprano Othalie Graham and mezzo-soprano Soo Yun Chung. Far and away the most daunting music sung all evening, the two young women performed it with impressive vocalism and memorable passion.”
Chestnut Hill Local / February 8, 2001 / Michael Caruso

“Debuting as Aida, Othalie Graham is a Canadian import with a gorgeous high range.”
The Times, Trenton / November 8, 2005 / Anita Donovan

“The centerpiece in this production is the Aida of Othalie Graham. Playing the role for the first time, Graham sings with lyrical power and acts affectingly. Aida is torn between her love for Radames and her devotion to her father. Moving elegantly, the soprano portrays Aida’s plight with innate dignity. Graham’s keen-edged, metallic voice loves to soar high and sing loud...She rides the great second-act ensemble powerfully and crowns the Nile aria with a shimmering high C.”
Courier-Post / November 7, 2005 / Robert Baxter

In the title role of ELEKTRA

Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts

“Othalie Graham dominates the stage from her first entrance as Elektra crawls from a hole and scatters the servants with her manic appearance. She commands the vocal and dramatic resources for this harrowing role. Graham’s big, shining soprano soars up to the high C’s and plunges into the depths with the impact of a knife thrust.”
Courier-Post / March 2, 2004 / Robert Baxter

“Othalie Graham was just overwhelming – a force of nature. Not once did she fail to rise to the oncoming climaxes, and sustained, in Strauss’s words, ‘the tremendous increase in musical tension to the very end.’ Dressed in raggedy black, she was huge, obsessive, mad and clearly of dreadful purpose...All the others were superb, if overshadowed by the extraordinary art of Ms. Graham.”
Philadelphia City Paper / March 6 – 11, 2004 / Lou Camp

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