Reviews Prior to the 2014 Season

Reviews Prior to the 2014 Season

Brahms, Alto Rhapsody
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
“Mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has become an ASO guest vocalist staple. The Alto Rhapsody is unquestionably for ‘alto’ solo voice, not your typical mezzo. The vocal part goes only up to a G-flat at the top of the staff, which is demanded of the soloist only once. But it also drops to the vocal Netherworld, the ledger line domain below the staff, where Brahms at one point writes a low A-flat, while offering a pair of alternative notes for singers who can’t hack it. But O’Connor has the necessary oomph and rich color to the low end of her range to nail it solidly.”
Mark Gresham, Arts ATL, April 7, 2014 (View Article)

Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary Recording
Los Angeles Philharmonic (2014)

presslogo_laweekly“All the soloists here created these roles. Kelley O’Connor ably negotiates a demanding mezzo part (it dips into alto range). She brings alternating alarm, urgency, confusion, and love to the role of Mary Magdalene in a musical and dramatic triumph.”
– Christian Hertzog, LA Weekly, March 21, 2014 (Article Link)

Stravinsky, Elegy for JFK
Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“The Los Angeles-born O’Connor, with her movie-star good looks and shimmering voice, infused the work with dramatic import and an emotional depth that belied her youth.”
The Times, (Article Link)

“This two-minute work for mezzo-soprano and three clarinets on a text by Auden is typical late Stravinsky in its taut concision. Yet the Elegy is clearly deeply felt by Stravinsky who met and greatly admired the young president. Kelley O’Connor sang the homage with dignified feeling, sensitively supported by clarinetists John Bruce Yeh, Gregory Smith and J. Lawrie Bloom, in a timely tribute on this 50th anniversary weekend of President Kennedy’s assassination.”
– Lawerence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, Article Link)

Carnegie Hall Recital
with Jessica Rivera, soprano and Robert Spano, piano (2013)

presslogo_nytimes“The concert’s highlights were solo moments, particularly Ms. O’Connor’s. Her coffee-colored voice — elegantly focused, with a touch of earth — is both direct and insinuating, appropriate for the subtle surrealism of Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis… Of the three recent song cycles on the program — all New York premieres — Ms. O’Connor got the most successful. In That Time With You (2013), David Bruce has set four Glyn Maxwell poems in an eclectic range of styles united by an intoxicating haziness… Ms. O’Connor sang the mostly a cappella title song with a countertenor’s plangent pang. The stark, dry piano chords that opened ‘Bring Me Again’ yielded to a bluesy, torchy melody in whose moody slowness she reveled.”
– Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, October 30, 2013 (Article Link)

Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary
Los Angeles Philharmonic (2012)
“Kelley O’Connor’s Mary [in the world premiere of John Adams’s ‘The Gospel According to the Other Mary’] is a great performance. This young, L.A.-trained singer has been coming into her own the last couple of years. On Thursday she arrived. Adams gives the mezzo-soprano arias of incredible richness, and O’Connor finds their inner core.”
– Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, July 2012

J.S. Bach, St. Matthew Passion
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (2012)

“Kelley O’Connor, a young mezzo-soprano, was stunning. The mezzo has a pretty big night in this work, and some of the most beautiful music, and this showed off O’Connor’s ample power, flexibility and range. The fine, dark coloring of her voice is perfectly matched to this material.”
– James L. Paulk, ArtsATL, March 2012

Ravel, Sheherazade
Philharmonia Orchestra (2011)

“In the role of fin-de-siecle Sheherazade, Kelley O’Connor brings a stunningly beautiful presence: tall, lithe and pencil-slim, with an appealing voice, what one might call an Alice voice, neither rich nor thin, but somewhere just right in between. It matched Ravel’s diaphanous score admirably…”
– Peter Cudmore, Musical Criticism, September 2011

Bernstein, Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah)
Los Angeles Philharmonic (2011)
“Dudamel brought it off magnificently by simply playing each side of the work for all it was worth. By the end of soprano Kelley O’Connor’s vibrantly tragic rendition of the Lamentations in the final movement, I’d been mesmerised into thinking I’d had a genuinely deep experience.”
– Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, January 2011

Lieberson, Neruda Songs
Seattle Symphony (2010)

“O’Connor’s voice…is as emotive, easily expressing the meaning in every word of Neruda’s poems. Her voice penetrated with uncommon feeling. Every phrase escaped her lips with longing buttressed by romantic passion. As she sang about absence, death, and love we could easily imagine O’Connor was singing to someone her deepest, personal feelings. Each stanza grabbed our attention. Every word pierced our hearts.”
-Zach Carstensen, The Gathering Note, December 2010

Weill, Seven Deadly Sins
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (2010)

“For Weill’s offbeat song cycle, O’Connor could have channeled the streetwise spirit of Lotte Lenya, who originated the role of the twins who travel across the United States and fall prey to each of the legendary seven sins. But O’Connor made the two Annas a fascinating pair by summoning up a lot of theatricality for an unstaged performance. With each new city and sin, O’Connor’s characters revealed another part of their personalities, pouty at her departure, then displaying a hope-laced world weariness in Memphis, a wide-eyed innocence in Los Angeles, and a dark desperation in Boston. The mezzo’s supple voice made the transformations as fascinating to hear as to see.”
– Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, May 2010

Lieberson, Neruda Songs
Colorado Symphony Orchestra (2010)

“Every so often, a singular singer comes along who can handle traditional opera but is better suited to art song, contemporary music and unconventional works of whatever kind. One such artist is mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, who has the potential to be one of the great singers of our time… With singing that managed to be at once seductive and haunting, O’Connor was equal to this smoldering music in every way. She possesses an amazing, dark-hued lower register but can agilely soar into her upper range as needed.”
– Kyle MacmIllan, The Denver Post, January 2010

Golijov, Ainadamar
Cincinnati Opera (2009)

“Last but not least, was mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in the role of Lorca. I must admit in my short life span I have not heard such a beautiful contralto tone. It has a sublime quality and luscious velvet color, rarely heard in such a low register. ”
– Antoine François López, Music in Cincinnati, July 2009

Lieberson, Neruda Songs
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2008)
“O’Connor invested the songs with a luster, sensitivity and grace of her own… The first artist to take up the ‘Neruda Songs’ since Hunt Lieberson’s death, she sang them from memory.”
– John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune , June 2008

“Kelley O’Connor was Lieberson’s own choice as his wife’s successor in the work, and she brought a careful intelligence and Iberian flavor to the five settings of the Spanish writer’s love poems”
– Andrew Patner, Chicago Tribune , June 2008

Haydn, Mass in Time of War
San Francisco Symphony (2009)
“The standout, though, was mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, whose Symphony debut was marked by dark, lustrous vocal tone and an arresting command of melodic phrase. Her few moments in the spotlight – particularly the opening of the “Sanctus” – left a listener wanting more.”
– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle , June 2008

Golijov, Ainadamar (2009)
“Upshaw was the big draw…but it was Kelley O’Connor’s Lorca who gave us a thrill. A Russian bass wouldn’t sniff at this mezzo-soprano’s lower range, and the poet’s passion and allure shone from her features.”
– Geoff Brown, The London Times, April 2008