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Scroll down to read critical acclaim for…

Recital Kennedy Center

Semele The English Concert

Ariodante Lyric Opera of Chicago

I Puritani Oper Frankfurt

Recital Wigmore Hall

Lucia di Lammermoor • Opera Philadelphia

Candide • Santa Fe Opera

Lucia di Lammemoor  Santa Fe Opera

Rigoletto  Oper Frankfurt

Tancredi • Opera Philadelphia

Lulu • English National Opera

Ariadne auf Naxos Staatsoper Berlin

Ariadne auf Naxos Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Die Schweigsame FrauBayerische Staatsoper

Semele  Seattle Opera

La Sonnambula • Oper Frankfurt

Don Pasquale • Santa Fe Opera

Fantasio • Opera Rara

Giulio Cesare Oper Frankfurt

 
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Known for long phrases with boundless colors, emotions and dynamics, Rae’s coloratura soared effortlessly with a glittery vibrato... But it was Rae’s subdued moments, where her voice shimmered so softly that one could hear the auditorium’s faintest rustle, that commanded attention throughout the concert.
— Washington Post

Recital • 2019
Vocal Arts DC • Kennedy Center

“A captivating program that spanned three centuries. Known for long phrases with boundless colors, emotions and dynamics, Rae’s coloratura soared effortlessly with a glittery vibrato, especially in the Richard Strauss and Fanny Mendelssohn pieces. But it was Rae’s subdued moments, where her voice shimmered so softly that one could hear the auditorium’s faintest rustle, that commanded attention throughout the concert. Rae and accompanist Ware excelled in five Franz Liszt songs full of drama. In “Six Elizabethan Songs,” by the late American composer Dominick Argento, Rae made the Shakespearean language sound fresh and relevant, from the bereft, foreboding quality of “Sleep” and the reflective specter of “Dirge” to the staccato joy of a lad in love in “Diaphenia.” Rae and Ware brought their talents to bear in the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s “Five Songs on Poems of Jean Starr Untermeyer,” Op. 135. The 20-minute work fit the duo like a glove. Together, they rendered the meandering lines and triplets of the opening “Lake Song” as a diaphanous mist over water. In “New Tributes,” both jived in the syncopated rhythms. Finally, Ware rippled his way across the keyboard in the Ravelean “Forget-Me-Nots,” as Rae’s voice ascended above the watery landscape.”
Washington Post

“A stellar debut…a delightfully varied program revealed both an effortless vocal technique and a sure musical sense. Rae opened the set instead with “Die Nacht,” which demanded a soft, silken thread of sound. She answered this challenge with floating pianissimo high notes and a seamless tone. In “Befreit,” Rae’s voice opened, flower-like, on the ecstatic refrains of “O Glück!” With the final song, “Frühlingsgedränge,” Rae rounded out this knockout set in a gorgeous spirit of quiet rapture. Ware’s technique also sparkled in a more effective set of Liszt songs, as in the repeated-note patterns of “Comment, disaient-ils.” Rae again deployed more of the diaphanous side of her voice in “Es muss ein Wunderbares sein” and the lovely “Bist du.” Rae luxuriated in the subtle turns of “Oh! quand je dors,” especially the surprise final phrase, which evaporated in sensuous quietness. Two more contemporary American sets on the second half rounded out this portrait in music. Rae’s English diction is impeccable, a quality proved when the supertitle machine went dark during one of the songs. The ultimate triumph came with the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s brilliant Five Songs on Poems by Jean Starr Untermeyer. Composed specifically for Rae to poems selected by Rae from Untermeyer’s oeuvre, the songs fit her voice like a glove; the pianissimo high notes glimmered above the meandering, oscillating harmony… Although many facets of Rae’s voice shone in this recital, it was Zerbinetta that won out in the single encore, the fluttery showpiece of Richard Strauss’s “Amor.” Executed to perfection, it was a thunderbolt...”
Washington Classical Review

 
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Semele • 2019
The English Concert

Vainglorious, infuriating and alluring, Brenda Rae’s Semele hit the spot. The most startling combination of wonder and arrogance...
— Bachtrack

“Brenda Rae’s Semele does not impose herself as a diva. She discreetly integrates her breaths into the musicality of her singing, and takes advantage of the concert version to tap into the expressive colors of the piano recital. The thoughtful interconnection of phrases, the variance of timbres and complete breath control in the ornaments are undoubtable: this soprano has mastered her technique.”
Opera Online

“The new Semele in concert also offers a sense of theatrics, thanks to Brenda Rae. She distinguished herself with measured, restricted movement... Her clear tone delivers a perfect piano in the a cappella section of the sleep scene, before reaching the peak of its success during the aria "Myself I shall adore" with brave vocal choices (some improvised!) And a high note sung with full voice.”
Olyrix

“She made ‘Myself I shall adore’ a captivatingly glamorous showpiece, sprinkling it with just the right amount of diva self-parody.”
Opera Magazine

“In the role of Semele, Brenda Rae was exceptional. Dressed in blue for the first act, in red for the second and third acts as part of a performance in concert version, she first brought an exceptional technique, especially in the two famous tunes of the Act III, "Myself I shall adore if I persist in gazing" (scene 3) and the air of bravery "No, no! I'll take no less "(scene 4), where she wins against Jupiter, regardless of the consequences that will lead to death. But above all, Brenda Rae knows, as the true actress she is, to vary her game according to the character's state of mind and to adapt to the circumstances that face it…”
ConcertoNet

“Handel gives Semele (the soprano Brenda Rae) a pair of arias: a tender, lyrical plea to Jupiter to inform her of what to do; and the bravura “The Morning Lark,” in which her ecstatic desires are expressed in streams of twittering, coloratura runs. Ms. Rae brought plush radiance to the confessional aria and brilliant, agile singing to the showpiece.”
The New York Times

“Vainglorious, infuriating and alluring, Brenda Rae's Semele hit the spot. In Act 1, Semele is all gloom and pouting. In her second aria she sings that the sound of the morning lark merely adds to her distress; the aria contains a series of dozens of lark-like trills, and Ms Rae sang them each perfectly, but with a darkened color. When finally ensconced in Jupiter’s realm, the trills and runs and staccati in “Endless pleasure, endless love” were of a brighter hue. Throughout, her remarkably accurate fioriture and embellishments amazed while remaining at the service of the situation, and in the ravishing “O sleep why does thou leave me", with Joseph Crouch’s stunning cello backing, we heard some of the most gorgeous, sustained, long-breathed pianissimo singing presented this year. “Myself I shall adore”, a paean to her own beauty, was delivered with the most startling combination of wonder and arrogance as she toyed with a jewel-encrusted mirror.”
Bachtrack

 

 
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Rae acted with an immersion worthy of her stellar vocal display... The complete singing actress.
— Chicago on The Aisle

Ariodante • 2019
Lyric Opera of Chicago

“Soprano Brenda Rae, in her sparkling Lyric debut as Ginevra, the king’s daughter whom Ariodante adores [was] well past focusing on technical considerations. It wasn’t the notes these three projected, but rather the reckless and searing emotions that made this nearly 300-year-old story seem potent still.”
Classical Voice North America 

“His object of desire and nemesis, Ginevra, was equally strong in Brenda Rae’s portrayal. Rae’s abundant energy, both physically and vocally, undergird Ginevra’s genuine optimism, subsequent despair and eventual self-determination. Davies and Rae’s performances were platinum quality in every sense.”
Bachtrack

“As the horribly wronged Ginevra, soprano Brenda Rae acted with an immersion worthy of her stellar vocal display. Ginevra goes from giddy girl on the verge of marriage to utterly distraught and madly confused by the charges brought against her – and by the instant categorical rejection she meets even from her father. In Ginevra’s reeling response to her wretched predicament, Rae was the complete singing actress.”
Chicago on The Aisle

“Rae, who moves with grace and confidence, and sings with great warmth, beautifully blended voices in the lush first act arias that suggest their love and promise of faithfulness, with Rae also bringing a lovely freshness to the celebration of her impending wedding.”
WTTW

“In her Lyric Opera debut as Ginevra, soprano Brenda Rae lit up the stage with her big, bright soprano voice, handling with ease both the high-flying vocal acrobatics and the dark emotions this role demands.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Thrillingly sung by Brenda Rae’s gorgeous-toned Ginevra.”
Stage and Cinema

“Ginevra, winningly portrayed by Brenda Rae, takes her fate into her own hands in a silent reinterpretation of the ending.”
New City Stage

“From the outset, soprano Rae created a Ginevra of luscious timbre and ample vocal heft, her top register radiant in “Orrida, a gl’occhi miei,” her virtuosity unmistakable in “Volate, amori.”
Chicago Tribune

“The brightly alluring Brenda Rae was alive to the varied emotions within Ginevra’s music, from the giddy enchantment of ‘Vezzi, lusinghe, e brio’ to the heart-stopping poignancy of ‘Il mio crudel martoro’.”
Opera Magazine

 
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I Puritani • 2018
Oper Frankfurt

Rae delivers her part with a technical brilliance in which nothing gets cheated and everything sits like immaculately placed pearls.
— Frankfurter Rundschau

“Brenda Rae draws an Elvira of great dramatic significance. Always precise in the high register and in her agility, each aria is a genuine pleasure, starting with the happy accents of the cabaletta "Son vergin vezzosa". The soprano, making her debut in the role, combines vocal brilliance with acting that accurately reflects the trauma of a frightened and wounded soul.”
Teatri Online

“Brenda Rae was convincing in the title role as empathetic and delicate, but still a woman who succumbed to her neurosis. Vocally she dominated both the tenderest pianissimi and dizzying coloratura and sang as an Elvira in a vocal excess which would seem to be unparalleled.”
Bachtrack

“Out of the house ensemble and moving into a world career, soprano Brenda Rae debuted in every way as a beautiful and dream-lost Elvira.”
Neue Musikzeitung

“First there is Brenda Rae as Elvira. With intense play and crystal-clear, breakneck coloratura she believably created the instability and inner turmoil of the young woman. Girlishly naive, she was playful at the beginning of the first act, when she expresses her joy in a cabaletta, and also her cabaletta "Son vergin vezzosa" in which she works with fresh ease and great agility in the runs.”
Online Musik Magazin

“Rae, a charming actress debuting as Elvira, delivers her part with technical brilliance, in which nothing gets cheated and everything sits like immaculately placed pearls.”
Frankfurter Rundschau

 
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One of the best of 2018... Rae showed that her flawless technique, thoughtful artistry, careful exploration of the text and beautifully silky and sumptuous vocal tone can serve nineteenth-century lieder and mélodie just as satisfyingly.
— Opera Today

Recital • 2018
Wigmore Hall

“A group of Liszt songs gave the first sign of the riches that would fully blossom later, a sensuous and operatic intensity as Rae relaxed and communicated naturally; ‘Oh! quand je dors’ (Victor Hugo) was vocally and emotionally stunning and Jonathan Ware’s accompaniment immaculate. Debussy’s early songs were written for his lover Marie-Blanche Vasnier who possessed an exquisite instrument. Rae’s mobile and lyric coloratura was shown to its best advantage here especially in the exotic vocalise of ‘Rondel chinois’ and the sultry and witty ‘Coquetterie posthume’. The following Schubert selections comprised settings from the beginning and end of his career, interspersed with the timeless ‘Du bist die Ruh’. ‘Lied der Delphine’ was written for a theatrical presentation, an Eastern-style Romeo and Juliet, and emphasised Rae’s dramatic gifts to bring the evening to a magnificent climax. Strauss’s ‘Amor’, with its ringing trills and arpeggios, brought the house down as a playful and sexy encore.”
Classical Source

“My last visit of the year to Wigmore Hall also proved to be one of the best of 2018. American soprano Brenda Rae has been lauded for her superb performances in the lyric coloratura repertory, in the US and in Europe, and her interpretation of the title role in ENO’s 2016 production of Berg’s Lulu had the UK critics reaching for their superlatives. In this recital, her debut at Wigmore Hall, Rae showed that her flawless technique, thoughtful artistry, careful exploration of the text and beautifully silky and sumptuous vocal tone can serve nineteenth-century lieder and mélodie just as satisfyingly.”
Opera Today

 
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Lucia di Lammermoor • 2018
Opera Philaedelphia

Rae herself was incandescent, creating a three-dimensional character whose fluid coloratura mirrored the passionate meanderings of her mind.
— Washington Post

“Quivering with fear and rage in the title role, the soprano Brenda Rae acts and sounds girlish but somber, innocent but wounded.”
The New York Times 

“Brenda Rae doesn’t just inhabit the role, she sings it exquisitely as well.”
Musical America

“Brenda Rae was a standout in Pelly’s deliberately bleak production of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” which premiered at Opera Philadelphia’s O18 festival... Rae herself was incandescent, creating a three-dimensional character whose fluid coloratura mirrored the passionate meanderings of her mind.”
The Washington Post 

“Rae's voice burst forth in all of its technically accurate and theatrically adept glory, reminding you she is among the finest Lucias out there.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer 

“Vocally Rae’s Lucia traversed the same route, her voice growing in volume, depth and color as the tragedy unfolded. Rae’s emotionally shattering rendition of Lucia was enhanced by the otherworldly sounds of the glass harmonica (invented by Benjamin Franklin, who made Philadelphia his home) which Donizetti called for in several of the opera’s crucial scenes. The sounds that floated into the hall during the Mad Scene, both human and instrumental, were stunning. Rae embraced the risks in the role, magnified by Pelly’s staging, and triumphed.”
Seen and Heard International 

 
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As spirited, determined, and sexed-up a Cunegonde as you could ever wish to see... Her flights of fancy in the form of effortless coloratura in a definitive ‘Glitter and Be Gay’ stopped the show with roars of approval.
— Opera Today

Candide • 2018
Santa Fe Opera

“Brenda Rae was as spirited, determined, and sexed-up a Cunegonde as you could ever wish to see. She sings brilliantly, with excellent diction, secure tone, and absolute assurance in all registers... It is above the staff that this soprano soars, and her flights of fancy in the form of effortless coloratura in a definitive “Glitter and Be Gay,” all the while performing comic physical moves, stopped the show with roars of approval. It is to her credit that Brenda always found a way to make the character likable, even as she is driven by self-serving motives.”
Opera Today

“Soprano Brenda Rae takes the coy Cunegonde through all her adventures with high notes, spirits and charm.”
Durango Herald

“Wisconsin soprano Brenda Rae proved an adept commedienne in Bernstein’s light-hearted composition. She was an ebullient Cunegonde, whose aria ‘Glitter and Be Ga contains the most famous music in Candide... Rae brilliantly performed the showstopper and was rewarded with a sustained ovation from the responsive Santa Fe audience.”
Opera Warhorses

“Brenda Rae, the sparkling Lucia of last summer, was a spectacular Cunegonde whose ‘Glitter and be Gay’ was a show-stopper. Not only can she sing coloratura with gusto, she can act, run, and dance while singing with great beauty.”
Broadway World

“Brenda Rae effectively personifies Cunegonde's transformation from sweet young thing to femme de plaisir, her soprano glittering gaily on top.”
Dallas Morning News

“Brenda Rae’s Cunegonde was a showstopper, with her ‘Glitter and be gay’ garnering much applause.”
Opera Magazine

 
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Lucia di Lammermoor • 2017
Santa Fe Opera

The moment Brenda Rae opened her mouth, it was clear that this production was going to be memorable. Rae’s voice was crystalline, with unforgettable beauty of tone and vocal tenderness.
— Culture Vulture

“Brenda Rae has a lovely lyric voice that also has flexible coloratura plus unusually strong projection. Her Lucia is no wilting violet. She dominates the stage throughout the opera. With a combination of good looks, a lovely sound, and dazzling technique, Rae jumps to the top among all of today’s Lucias.”
DC Metro Theatre Arts

 “A stunning performance by soprano Brenda Rae in the title role. Rae, who made waves here with her sparkling high notes in the same composer’s Don Pasquale in 2014, had both dramatic and musical heft as the disturbed Lucia. In her Act I cavatina, ‘Regnava nel silenzio,’ Rae sang with a tender legato, caressing the phrases. She was capable of exploding with forceful volume, but the emphasis was on carefully controlled decrescendos and gossamer pianissimo tone. In the cabaletta that followed, Rae’s mastery of the complex figures and embellishments was extraordinary. What set the performance apart from merely being technically accomplished was Rae’s use of her vocal arsenal to reveal character. When she came down a staircase for the mad scene in Act II, in a white robe streaked with blood, the horror of the scene contrasted with the sweetness of Rae’s tone quality to disturbing effect. In the astounding aria, ‘Il dolce suono,’ Rae again favored soft dynamics, with more volatile outbursts matching her gestures of fits and starts.”
The Classical Review

“The moment Brenda Rae opened her mouth, it was clear that this production of Lucia di Lammermoor was going to be memorable. Rae’s voice was crystalline, with a lightness that was a perfect counterpoint to the darkness of the plot. Rae demonstrated madness that was touching, physicality that never went over-the-top, and as mentioned before, unforgettable beauty of tone and vocal tenderness.”
Culture Vulture

“Brenda Rae as Lucia is well worth the flight. Brenda Rae makes such a magnificent Lucia that the rest of the cast seemed very ordinary in comparison. She is the perfect coloratura soprano: crisp diction, strong trills and runs, clean onsets and crystal tone. She floated high notes and made them swell with flawless control.”
Bachtrack

“Brenda Rae proved that she has all the attributes required for the role. She is an attractive actor in a role that projects a young woman’s emotional turmoil from the opera’s earliest moments. Rae’s voice has the technical ability to sustain the lengthy Mad Scene’s emotional intensity and vocal demands...Rae was brilliantly successful in the long and intense role and was awarded with sustained applause after the Mad Scene and a vociferous standing ovation at opera’s end.”
Opera Warhorses 

“This production centers around Brenda Rae] first seen here in 2013 in the title role of La Traviata. Rae as Lucia gives a very strong first act ‘Regnava nel silenzio’, but it is her mad scene that makes this production. Amazingly, she both acts and sings this exceptionally difficult aria with a theatrical sense of insanity quite stunning in its depth of expression. Halfway through, she earned the applause that went on for a good half-minute.”
Albuquerque Journal

“At the head of the cast is soprano Brenda Rae. She displayed fine musical sensitivities, fluent technique and dramatic flair in her depiction of the hapless heroine forced by her brother to abandon the man she loves and marry the groom he has chosen — and sheds her sanity in the process…Rae is on stage a lot and works hard, but she doesn’t show it. Already in her opening scene, particularly in her cabaletta Quando rapito in estasi,’ her coloratura displayed a relaxed technical mastery that allowed her to bend the tempo without breaking it. The result was fluid while respecting the stylistic intentions of bel canto expression. In her Act 2 ‘Il pallor funesto’ (which expands into a duet with her brother), she unleashed textbook renditions of high-velocity scales ascending and descending, diatonic and chromatic, all finely calibrated; and then she brought definition to the dotted rhythms in her ensuing larghetto ‘Soffriva nel piano.’ The role requires serious stamina, but Rae remained vocally fresh for her heartbreaking interpretation of the famous Mad Scene, a 20-minute expanse of surpassing virtuosity in which, having killed her bridegroom, she raves lunatically in front of stunned onlookers. She held the audience rapt in the palm of her bloody hand. She maintained mostly quiet dynamics during the first part of the scene (“Il dolce suono”), which imparted an inward quality to her interpretation.”
Santa Fe New Mexican 

“Brenda Rae, the Lucia, was an excellent choice to carry the burden of this interpretation. Her voice is without a blemish and maintains tonal purity throughout her range... In the cabaletta to ‘Regnava nel’ silenzio,’ Rae articulated Donizetti’s stratospheric heights with notable serenity. She is also a resourceful actress. In the fountain scene with Edgardo, Rae’s strained, pallid, Brontësque beauty suggested a young girl on the verge of self-discovery. Detail by sharply delineated detail, we watched her sink into madness and isolation, so that the murder of Arturo was no gratuitous piece of violence but an inevitable outcome. Rae delivered the mad scene with statuesque gestures and psychological nuance that gave immediacy to her acting and saved it from bathos.”
Opera News 

“Rae’s performance was vividly acted and insightfully sung in a firm, distinct voice. Her phrasing was enhanced by lovely dynamic contracts, and coloratura passages sparkled with scrupulous accuracy. She brought real pathos to the Mad Scene, which emerged as the production’s emotional high point.”
Musical America 

“At the head of the cast is soprano Brenda Rae. She displayed fine musical sensitivities, fluent technique and dramatic flair in her depiction… She held the audience rapt in the palm of her bloody hand.”
Santa Fe New Mexican

 
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In contrast to the strictly cool character, Rae’s soprano voice excels in variable degrees of warmth, illuminated in many colors, in quiet moments and in the minute coloratura.
— Frankfurter Rundschau

Rigoletto • 2017
Oper Frankfurt

“Brenda Rae was a stunning Gilda, her statuesque figure representing a mature and strong woman of her own will. Her voice had a slight vibrato on top but was secure and clear throughout with magnificent brilliance. Her coloratura passages were thrilling and beautiful, with solid technique. Extra ornamentations were generous but not excessive. She communicated Gilda’s emotional journey with exacting and physical acting.”
Bachtrack 

“The US soprano draws here all the stops of her art – strong, but also insistently quiet in height and elation.”
Op-Online 

“Brenda Rae as Gilda: in contrast to the strictly cool character, her soprano voice excels in variable degrees of warmth, illuminated in many colors, in quiet moments and in the minute coloratura.”
Frankfurter Rundschau 

“Brenda Rae in her role debut as Gilda does not need to shy away from comparison with the greats in her field.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine

“Brenda Rae thrilled in Hendrik Müller's Frankfurt revival of Verdi's "Rigoletto"... Soprano Brenda Rae is ideally cast here once again, from the girl with bewitchingly light coloratura…to the assertive young woman.”
Allgemeine Zeitung 

“Brenda Rae as Gilda donated a soft light, the only comfort in a dark leather-and-leather men's world that knows no morals and no values. Brenda Rae made her debut as Gilda with huge volumes in the difficult heights and filigreed sophistication in the three duets with her possessive father.”
Musik Heute 

“Brenda Rae sings Gilda's coloratura-rich role in a blissfully confident and angelic fashion, dramatically expressing Gilda’s evolution from rebellious girl to a determined young woman.”
Klassik.Com

“Equally exceptional is Brenda Rae, leading her Gilda from girlish chastity to glowing desire and the sobering perception that love can take a brutal toll. She savours the famous ’Caro nome’ aria with all its virtuosic subtleness in every sense… How versatile, touching and fascinating this wonderful voice is.”
Frankfurter Neue Presse

 
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Tancredi • 2017
Opera Philadelphia

A constant source of vocal allure with the kind of dramatic instincts that turn a flashy cadenza into an intense character study.
— Philadelphia Inquirer

“Brenda Rae is a soprano of the highest caliber, with such roles as the Queen of the Night and Lulu already under her belt. Her performance as the much put-upon Amenaide combined vocal and visual allure with stunning coloratura technique and notable dramatic intensity.”
Seen and Heard International

“This is a breakout role for soprano Brenda Rae and she cuts through the amped up emotional grit of the doomed daughter, bringing a much quieter intensity. Vocally Rae is inventive, powerful, and has lengthy solos that emotionally are all over the place.”
Huffington Post

“Brenda Rae as Amenaide scored a star-making impression, with an affecting lyric quality above and beyond her ability to sing cascades of coloratura roulades.”
The Opera Critic

“Soprano Brenda Rae -- a discovery for many -- became a constant source of vocal allure with the kind of dramatic instincts that turn a flashy cadenza into an intense character study.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“Brenda Rae, making her company debut, made a very strong impression. She has a very high set light soprano of impressive agility and dead on intonation (recent roles include The Queen of the Night and Lulu). Her tone takes on a particular radiance in the upper fifth of her range. She sang her long prison scene with wonderful line, great feeling and a beautiful sound. Even better was her later prayer, spun out breathtakingly.”
Parterre Box

“A stellar performance by soprano Brenda Rae, in both her company and role debut as Amenaide, affirms her consummate mastery of Rossini’s elaborate ornamentations and her engaging acting skills, as she constantly astonishes with her pure mellifluous voice, flawless execution of extended passages of coloratura, and profound emotional commitment to the compelling role of an honorable woman who would sooner give up her own life than betray her true love. She is poignant and prayerful as she petitions God to protect her beloved in ‘Gran Dio! Deh! tu proteggi’ and in her hope that Tancredi will believe in her innocence after she is dead.”
DC Metro Theater Arts

“In her equally welcome company debut, Rae made a lovely, graceful stage figure, only occasionally directed into the kind of manic twirling Diana Damrau has trademarked. The Wisconsin-born, Juilliard-trained soprano is a star in Europe, and she showed us why in long, well-sculpted lines and thrillingly executed passagework; she also acted movingly.”
Opera News

“Her Amenaide, Brenda Rae, possessed a graceful stage presence and a lovely, limpid lyric soprano that she could swell to impressive size for the many dramatic moments. She sailed dazzlingly through the role’s fioritura, and her thrilling Act 2 cabaletta made one yearn to hear her in La sonnambula or I puritani.
Opera Magazine

 
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Lulu lives and dies with its heroine, and in Brenda Rae ENO have a soprano capable not only of scaling the unnatural heights of Berg’s vocal writing but also of projecting the fascination she must if this paper castle of illusion and beauty isn’t to come tumbling down. Rae proves herself the consummate singing actress, sexual without being obvious, vulnerable without being weak, capable of carrying us with her in her precipitous rise and sudden fall.
— Broadway World

Lulu • 2016
English National Opera

“Brenda Rae in the title role is less of a rapacious flirt than conventionally played, but this is also her strength, enabling us to see the character as a flesh-and-blood woman; her singing of the part is a tour de force.”
The Evening Standard 

“For me, the one outstanding feature of the production was the American soprano Brenda Rae in the title role. The part is extraordinarily demanding but she seemed to cope with it effortlessly.”
Daily Express

“Brenda Rae, who so greatly impressed me in the Bavarian State Opera’s Schweigsame Frau – now there is an interesting Strauss-Berg comparison to consider – shone at least as brightly as Lulu. The canvas on which we more or less uneasily project our fantasies of Lulu was no more empty than the changing visual decoration of the set, but, amidst, or perhaps beneath, the despatch of the coloratura and the seduction of the more conventional melodic line, there was a fine balance struck between nihilism and defiant character.”
Seen and Heard International

“A considerable part of the success of achieving that must lie with the singer performing the role of Lulu, and Brenda Rae fulfilled the role marvellously. Aside from the technical challenges of the role, she brought an ideal tone and temperament that suited the intent of the production here. This Lulu as portrayed by Rae is neither lascivious nor hysterical, but essentially and necessarily human, as flawed and capable of misjudgment as anyone. If she is irresistible to men, it's clearly more of a projection of what the men impress on her than anything she initiates. She's more victim than vamp.”
OperaJournal

“Soprano Brenda Rae makes an extraordinary role and house debut as Lulu. It’s a feat simply to learn and sing the role, and Rae seemed to find ease in the quick turns from blazing coloratura to sustaining high, soaring lines. Her voice has a softness about it that seemed to bring out the subtle, muted danger in the title character; when she showed off more vocal extremes, we understood Lulu’s volatility and unpredictability. Rae seemed constantly comfortable onstage, in her stages of undress and tough musical demands; she made sense of Berg’s dense writing, as if Lulu’s music were simply the exaggerated, unnerving way that she speaks.”
Schmopera

“Brenda Rae made a rivetingly effective Lulu.”
Ronan Theatre Reviews

“Athletic and seductive, innocent and predatory, Rae captures the facets of the woman who exploits and is exploited by the men in her life.”
Express

“Brenda Rae’s Lulu, tirelessly busy and vocally spot-on, is the enigmatic centre of it all, very much the blank slate on which men can project their own fantasies, almost oblivious to her own allure.”
The Guardian

“Excellent Brenda Rae makes a suitably capricious femme fatale, surrounded by a very strong cast of those helplessly pulled into Lulu’s death-dealing orbit.”
The Independent

“Individual sung performances are generally strong, with Brenda Rae reaching all the high notes as Lulu while suggesting her character’s sexual magnetism, with its appeal to men and women alike.”
The Stage

“But Lulu lives and dies with its heroine, and in Brenda Rae ENO have a soprano capable not only of scaling the unnatural heights of Berg's vocal writing but also of projecting the fascination she must if this paper castle of illusion and beauty isn't to come tumbling down. Rae proves herself the consummate singing actress, sexual without being obvious, vulnerable without being weak, capable of carrying us with her in her precipitous rise and sudden fall.”
Broadway World

“Brenda Rae makes a sensational house debut in the title role, one of the most challenging in the repertoire. The American soprano husbands her resources early on, mindful of the extremes that lie ahead; yet she never undersings and her characterisation is dynamite. Fearless, probing and compelling, radiant of voice and beauty, she is the complete Lulu.”
What’s On Stage

“Her ascents to the vocal stratosphere made light of the role’s technical demands, and she is a natural creature of the stage: her every appearance lit up the theatre, and she rents the heart in the final scene, where she falls victim to Jack the Ripper.... unforgettable antiheroine.”
The Sunday Times 

“It’s well sung, too, especially by Brenda Rae, pellucid and light-timbred as Lulu.”
The Times

 
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Ariadne auf Naxos • 2015
Staatsoper berlin

This delightful, eclectic artist, with her charming timbre and impeccable vocals, excites a delirious public who enthusiastically applauded her for several minutes after her grand aria.
— Anaclase

“Brenda Rae won the only applause of the night for Grossmächtige Prinzessin... The singer has an impeccable technique that allows her to go up and down the staff with great fluency.”
OperaClick

“Brenda Rae is gorgeous and confident – completely without stress and with attractive self-knowledge.”
Der Standard

"Zerbinetta is sung by Brenda Rae with graceful coloratura and beautiful lacy tones.”
Neue Bürcher Zeitung

“Brenda Rae as Zerbinetta has a perfect command of her coloratura.”
Der Tagesspiel

“Brenda Rae is a bewitchingly coloraturally secure Zerbinetta.”
Deutschlandfunk

“Rae lent her fresh, agile voice to Zerbinetta, arguably the opera’s most memorable vocal character. She sang the coquettish role with extravagant colors, an alluring texture and dazzling runs and trills.”
Opera News 

“Brenda Rae was fabulous as Zerbinetta, trilling and pirouetting in the highest reaches of the register with great agility: ‘Grossmächtige Prinzessin’ deservedly stopped the show.”
Opera Magazine

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

“Irresistible, Brenda Rae interprets the role of Zerbinetta in a superlative way, adding to the vocal prowess an intense psychological penetration which is rewarded by colossal personal success.” Concert Classic

“Discovered at Garnier in the role of Anne Trulove of Stravinsky's Rake's Progress, Brenda Rae knows Zerbinetta well as she has already sung the role in Frankfurt. This delightful, eclectic artist (from Händel to Strauss to Donizetti), with her charming timbre and impeccable vocals, excited a delirious public who enthusiastically applauded her for several minutes after her grand aria "Großmächtige Prinzessin’.”
Anaclase

 
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I doubt that Brenda Rae’s Aminta could be bettered in any theatre today. Just as sure of note and line as the orchestra and with greater, contrasting warmth... This was a performance to savour.
— Opera Today

Die Schweigsame Frau • 2015
Munich Opera Festival

“The part calls for the silver purity of Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) or Danae (Die Liebe der Danae), which Rae undoubtedly possesses in abundance, as she does sufficient ardour for her duets with Henry.” Classical Source 

“I doubt that Brenda Rae’s Aminta could be bettered in any theatre today. Just as sure of note and line as the orchestra and with greater, contrasting warmth, especially at those wonderful revelations, through the disguise of Timidia, of the fundamental humanity of Aminta, this was a performance to savour.”
Opera Today

“Brenda Rae was a fantastic Aminta, vocally and dramatically stunning in her self-control. You always felt that a volcano was waiting to erupt right up to the final point of the wedding night and the final divorce scene.”
Bachtrack 

 
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Semele • 2015
Seattle Opera

Rae triumphed vocally and theatrically in the title role, unafraid to push Semele’s hedonism to sensual extremes and yet still conveying vulnerability. She added giddily over-the-top – and pinpoint accurate – ornamentations but also floated the most delicate trills and messa di voce notes in her lovely high range.
— Bachtrack

“It doesn’t hurt to have a cast that’s easy on the eyes as well as on the ear: the lovely and stratospheric soprano Brenda Rae is the opening-night Semele, the ill-fated mortal who falls in love with a god.”
Seattle Times 

“Soprano Brenda Rae took full advantage with her brilliant coloratura turns, particularly in the amusing “Myself I shall adore.” Her moving recognition of her fatal mistake was heartbreaking.”
Queen Anne and Magnolia News 

“Singing her first Semele, Brenda Rae was sensual in “O Sleep” and “With fond desiring,” dazzling in the coloratura of “Myself I shall adore” and long runs of “No, no, I’ll take no less,” and moving in her death scene.”
Opera News

“Brenda Rae triumphed vocally and theatrically in the title role, unafraid to push Semele’s hedonism to sensual extremes and yet still conveying vulnerability in her final, Elsa-like confrontation with her lover-god. She added giddily over-the-top – and pinpoint accurate – ornamentations to “Myself I shall adore” but also floated the most delicate trills and messa di voce notes in her lovely high range.”
Bachtrack

 
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The vocal sensation of the evening: Brenda Rae as a breathtaking sleepwalker [who] could guarantee Frankfurt Opera a bestseller...with beguiling delicacy and is rightly stormily celebrated.
— Klassik

La Sonnambula • 2014
Oper Frankfurt

"Enchanting melodies and dreamlike sounds musically flattered the vocal sensation of the evening: Brenda Rae as the breathtaking sleepwalker. In her, Frankfurt Opera is guaranteed a bestseller... Brenda Rae is Amina, the enchantress who floats as a sleepwalking lover, a dreamlike dancer always a little more above the earth. Her Sonnambula breathes life into the figure and is at the same time something unreal, raptured. She celebrates the melodie lunghe with beguiling delicacy and is ,rightly, stormily celebrated."
Klassik

"Brenda Rae sings a very youthful – almost childlike –tender and therefore fragile Amina. Very finely, she chiseled out the contours of the highly virtuosic soprano part.”
Deutschlandfunk

"Brenda Rae’s sleepwalker stood out for the premiere with fantastically secure coloratura... Brenda Rae’s soprano rises to unimaginable pitch even while sleepwalking, with fireworks and coloratura as pure emotion, the salt in Bellini's opera hit soup.”
Op-Online

 
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Don Pasquale • 2014
Santa Fe Opera

Feisty soprano Brenda Rae breathed fire and gumption into her quirky interpretation of Norina… with a few comic moves reminiscent of Carol Burnett in her prime.
— Communities Digital News

“Brenda Rae — so impressive as the tragic Violetta in Pelly’s Traviata revival last season — emerged as the production’s comic center. Few coloratura sopranos could act as imaginatively drunk onstage or set up such a wicked rapport with the audience; we had to root for Rae’s Norina in her assault upon the hapless Pasquale. Rae employed her formidable coloratura not just to display her voice but to create a volatile character who was viperish yet full of sex appeal.”
Opera News

“Vocally, she is superb – as she was last summer in the Verdi. All of Norina’s coloratura fireworks are tossed off with ease and she has an impressive trill. The voice is full and rich, which isn’t always the case in coloratura singers. Agree or not with the directorial decisions, Rae burns the stage vocally.”
Theater Jones

“Feisty soprano Brenda Rae breathed fire and gumption into her quirky interpretation of Norina…with a few comic moves reminiscent of Carol Burnett in her prime. The interplay between Ms. Rae’s Norina and Mr. Shore’s Pasquale is quite simply a comic sensation. Ms. Rae drives her point home with her substantial but well-controlled soprano instrument. In the context of this clever production, bigger-than-life is clearly what’s called for and Ms. Rae delivers every time.”
Communities Digital News

“The singer who held this performance together was Brenda Rae…a fascinating Norina. Her personality and musicality helped to keep this comedy on an even keel.”
Opera Today

 
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The highest accolades, however, go to Brenda Rae as Elsbeth who stunned with a voice of glistening purity and with her beautiful execution of runs and trills.
— MusicOMH

Fantasio • 2013
Opera Rara

"The highest accolades, however, go to Brenda Rae as Elsbeth who stunned with a voice of glistening purity and with her beautiful execution of runs and trills.”
MusicOMH 

“Brenda Rae as the Princess fearlessly tackled the tricky coloratura Offenbach gives her and is a very appealing performer.”
Seen and Heard International 

“The best numbers and the outstanding performance, though, came from the American soprano Brenda Rae as the Princess. She first brought the evening to life with her Act 1 romance, and then won a resounding ovation for the coloratura trills and runs of her Act 2 aria – Offenbach also at his very best.”
Opera Magazine

“It was Brenda Rae as the Princess who sang everyone else off stage. This young American laughed, wept, danced and leapt through her music in a tireless, golden soprano.”
The Times

“Opera Rara fielded an excellent cast, with Brenda Rae a sparkling Elsbeth possessed of a good trill.”
The Telegraph

“The real vocal honours belonged to Brenda Rae's spectacularly sung Elsbeth.”
The Guardian

 
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Giulio Cesare • 2012
Oper Frankfurt

Rae, an exceptional actress, was the star of the evening as a world-class Cleopatra: virtuosic and sensual, capable of both power and exquisite nuance.
— Opera Magazine

“Brenda Rae, recently remembered as Maria Stuarda in the Alte Oper, thrilled and excelled in her great da capo arias, precise and light-footed coloratura, wonderful pianos as well as soulful and energetic play.”
Online Musik Magazin

“Brenda Rae, a vocally brilliant Cleopatra.”
Op-Onlin 

“The soprano singing Cleopatra, Brenda Rae, is a vocalist capable of unfurling all the facets of her seductive powers while always capably spinning her line.”
Frankfurter Rundschau

“Brenda Rae, an exceptional actress, was the star of the evening as a world-class Cleopatra: virtuosic and sensual, capable of both power and exquisite nuance in ‘Se pietà per me non senti’ and ‘Piangerò’.”
Opera Magazine

 
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