Press

MOST RECENT PRESS QUOTES

In Concert with the Greenwich Choral Society

“Downen’s thrilling tenor voice rang out, against accompaniment in French horn and trombones.” (Greenwich Citizen)

As Harlekin in Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis

“Brian Downen wielded a penetrating high tenor as Harlekin.” (Opera News)

“Harlekin was illumined by Brian Downen’s fine tenor.” (Voce di meche)

“Downen’s bright but doleful tone brought out the ambivalent melancholy of the Harlequin, the clown of the Commedia dell’arte tradition.” (OperaPulse)

As Mathurin in Gluck’s The Reformed Drunkard

“Mathurin, the young girl’s uncle, played by tenor Brian Downen; and his friend Lucas, who also wants to marry the girl, played by baritone Matthew Singer.  Both young men inhabited their roles with gusto and great energy, and sang beautifully. Mr. Downen especially had some delightful comic moments, and I liked him vocally very much.  (He has some lovely clips at his website that show more what he can do than this score did.)”

ADDITIONAL PRESS QUOTES BY OPERA AND CHARACTER

LA CENERENTOLA – Don Ramiro

“Brian Downen (Don Ramiro) was a winner too, offering a voice of fine lyric beauty coupled with a strikingly handsome stage persona.” (Opera News)

“In a tenor role that’s drawn a lot of attention in recent years, the handsome Brian Downen as Don Ramiro sings with beauty and sensitivity.  He moves with an aristocratic demeanor that he also lends to his musicianship; he’s a Prince – and heartthrob.” (Columbus Dispatch)

“Tenor Brian Downen as young Prince Ramiro displayed great vocal quality in terms of size and color combined with fine acting talent.” (Greenville News)

“The most stylish performance last night came from Brian Downen as Don Ramiro, the prince.   With a tenor that is agile, nuanced and ringing, Downen negotiated the florid music with exceptional élan, rising to thrilling high notes and conveying every line with finely detailed phrasing. He also happened to look the part, which is never a bad thing.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

 

L’ITALIANA IN ALGERI – Lindoro

“Isabella’s love interest, Lindoro, unhappily detained as a slave to the Bey of Algiers, was beautifully sung by Brian Downen. Downen has a deliciously pure tenor voice and the heart soared when he nailed his high notes.” (Anchorage Daily News)

“First there’s Lindoro, a lovesick swain who’s captured by Mustafa and enslaved; tenor Brian Downen, in his debut with Anchorage Opera, contributed terrific pipes, charming stage presence, and a deft way with physical comedy to Lindoro’s role, making the most of what is essentially a supporting part. Downen’s voice is as high and resonant as any tenor’s I’ve heard; to go much higher you’d need a castrato.” (The Anchorage Press)

“Tenor Brian Downen, as Lindoro, delights us with his effortless bel canto style and understated humorous approach. (The Denver Post)

“Tenor Brian Downen had the role of Lindoro, Isabella’s love interest. Tenors with a clean bel canto technique aren’t that common, but Downen has it. His opening lament brought cheers and applause, deservedly so.” (The Denver Post)

“No such problem for Brian Downen, the Lindoro, my favorite in this exceptional cast. A young man of small stature and proudly exhibited premature male baldness, Downen gives the impression of being supremely comfortable on stage, and more importantly he sings without the slightest effort. Here’s a lyric tenor, who could go to the top of the genre and stay there for any number of years. His is a voice flexible, right on the money, and with a beautiful clarity that doesn’t get old.” (Post Newspaper Group: Rocky Mountain News)

“Brian Downen brings a light, flowing tenor to the role of Isabella’s beloved, Lindoro.” (Denver Westword)

“Tenor Brian Downen was impressive as Lindoro, a young Italian slave of the sultan Mustafa.   His high range was brilliant, and his ability to handle the difficult coloratura passages quite remarkable. When given the chance, Downen proved he could prance and dance through Kraus staging with the best of them.” (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

“Downen, as the Mustafa’s Italian slave, Lindoro, was a fellow worthy of the Italian girl’s (Isabella) serious interest, acting with perception and animation, moving with the dash of a hyperkinetic teenager and singing with a focused, light lyric tenor that immediately caught one’s full attention and held it unceasingly in his every scene. A young Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Flores has made an immense impact in New York, London and many of the world’s other leading houses. Downen bears a remarkable likeness in sound and artistry and seems certain to achieve comparable celebrity. Too few such lyric voices have existed in recent times and Rossini’s comic works cannot succeed without them. Downen fills the bill entirely and, in addition, sings his rapid divisions with the precision that brings the music alive.” (News-Chronicle, Green Bay)

“Tenor Brian Downen, as Lindoro, delights us with his effortless bel canto style and understated humorous approach.” (Coloradodrama.com)

“Downen can nail an aria down and then some with steely tenor tones and sheer power. His first aria, a lament about lost love full of coloratura runs that he rattled off flawlessly, stopped the show.” (The Daily Gazette: Albany, New York)

“Tenor Brian Downen as the lover Lindoro thrilled with his agile and clarion voice that navigated more coloratura passages than even the female leads.” (The Post Star: Albany, New York)

“As the hero, Lindoro, tenor Brian Downen had the best voice: supple in handling Rossini’s florid style, brilliant high notes and a sweetness of sound that marks him as someone to watch out for.” (Times Union: Albany, New York)

“Downen as Lindoro (who is a slave of Mustafa) sings an aria of love and longing in slow and measured tones with eloquent shading from soft to bright, all near the top of the tenor register.  It’s followed immediately by a patter song duet with Mustafa – quick, articulated, and a great contrast to the earlier aria. So, the tenor shows his operatic mettle, which is considerable.” (The Saratogian: Saratoga Springs, NY)

“Brian Downen, a solid and endearing actor, has two bravura pieces, and he tossed them both off with aplomb and seeming ease, caressing the lyrical lines with a honeyed tenor and tossing out his high notes with great ping and accuracy. Downen started his Lake George career as an apprentice, moved on to major roles in two other LGO productions to great effect, and on the basis of this Lindoro is more than ready to go out anywhere he pleases. With the continuing revival of interest in Rossini beyond ‘The Barber of Seville,’ he seems poised for a major career.” (The Record: Troy, New York)

 

IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA – Count Almaviva

“Tenor Brian Downen brings the perfect love-smitten energy to Almaviva.” (Pensacola News Journal)

“She (Rosina) is justifiably smitten by Brian Downen’s Count Almaviva. He has a bright and sonorous high range that hits the notes dead on, and he appears able to have fun onstage as well.” (The Columbus Dispatch)

“The ensemble includes Chris Pedro Trakas as a lively Figaro, Brian Downen as a refined Almaviva, Julia Anne Wolf as a gutsy Rosina, Randall Scarlata as a crisply befuddled Bartolo and Matthew Burns as a dark-toned Basilio.” (London Financial Times)

 

DON PASQUALE – Ernesto

“His voice was light and he navigated the many notes like a practiced athlete. His Act III love duet with soprano Phoebe Fennell as Norina, which was sung in close harmony, was very fine.” (The Daily Gazette)

“Downen, as Ernesto, displayed an unusual tenor timbre, not at all “light” as the part is described, but even throughout the broad range. He was quite amazing at moments when he offered slight, but effective, crescendos as testaments to his passion.” (The Saratogian: Saratoga Springs, NY)

 

DON GIOVANNI – Don Ottavio

“Nothing her beloved Don Ottavio (Brian Downen) can say or do will dissuade her. Downen gives one of the evening’s most astonishing solo moments in Act II when he swears vengeance for his bride to be.” (Mobile Register)

“Downen’s pure tenor embodies the gracious elegance of the rococo as Don Ottavio…” (SEE Magazine)

 

DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL – Belmonte

“Downen shone as Belmonte.” (Times Union: Albany, NY)

 “Downen, handsome as a matinee idol, sings with excellent control and interesting dynamics, launching long-held notes and bringing out the effervescence of Mozart’s melodies, even in a sad love song.” (The Saratogian: Saratoga Springs, NY)

“In all his work, Downen spun out his clear tones with a beautiful, smooth line. He sang with an intense, focused sound and finished his phrasing with style.” (The Post-Star: Glens Falls, NY)

 

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE – Tamino

“The warmth of Downen’s tenor was colored by a clear sense of sincerity. No matter how strange the world around him, his emotions always seemed real.” (Dayton Daily News)

 

COSÌ FAN TUTTE – Ferrando

“How rare it is to hear a tenor who can really sing with intelligence and feeling, with a beautiful voice that easily encompasses all the notes. Brian Downen was just that kind of singer as Ferrando.” (The Morning Call – Pennsylvania)

 

LA TRAVIATA – Alfredo

“Tenor Brian Downen, as Violetta’s lover Alfredo, utilized his Rossini-type light tenor voice in ever-controlled ways, from pianissimo to powerfully pleasing. An incredibly exciting high note, held for what seemed an eternity at the conclusion of the aria ‘O Mio Rimorso’ gained the most sustained applause of the evening. In acting, his was a highly energized Alfredo.” (Danbury News-Times)

“…Brian Downen made the most of head voice, voix mixte, and stentorian high notes to portray Alfredo’s changing mental states. He alone of the principles used the text effectively.” (Opera News Online)

 

LES PÈLERINS DE LA MECQUE – Ali

“As Ali, Brian Downen showed off a lithe, slender bright-topped tenor.” (Opera News Online)

“…the Ali, Brian Downen, has a slightly reedy tenor, but it grows on you, not least because he phrases gracefully and is a natural actor.” (The New York Times)

 

IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO – Paolino

“Brian Downen…is a stunning Paolino. His light tenor has genuine bite, and his big scene in Act II has a grace and sheer beauty that stops the show. All that, and he, too, is very funny.” (The Record: Saratoga Springs, NY)

“Brian Downen’s role is a humorously wimpy one and he managed it well. But the tenor really came through with flying colors in his big romantic aria, ‘Just before the break of dawn,’ in which he tells Carolina they best run away to get out of the mess they are in. The song was cleverly worked into a dance as it went along.” (The Daily Gazette: Saratoga Springs, NY)

“Tenor Brian Downen glides through the difficult coloratura with ease, always fixed on his beloved Carolina.” (Albany Times-Union)

“Brian Downen stole the show with his lovely tenor voice and equally fantastic movie-style soft-shoe.” (The Chronicle: Albany, NY)

 

H.M.S. PINAFORE – Ralph Rackstraw

“Brian Downen and Amanda Raddatz, as the lovers Ralph and Josephine, look great, sang wonderfully and made the most of their comedic moments.” (Rocky Mountain News)

 

THE MIKADO – Nanki-Poo

“Francis Graffeo beckoned impressive young talents:…Brian Downen (Nanki-Poo)…” (The Register Guard: Eugene, OR)

“…Nanki-Poo, played by tenor Brian Downen, and Yum-Yum deliciously depicted by Angela Turner Wilson, are beautiful both physically and vocally, and equally funny.” (The Register Guard: Eugene, OR)

“…Brian Downen burnished ‘A wandring minstrel I’ with a golden tenor…” (The Register Guard: Eugene, OR)           

 

THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS (a play by Stephen Massicotte) – Petr Kien
DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS (an opera by Viktor Ullmann) – Harlekin

“Brian Downen, who portrays Kien in the play with boyish élan, uses the same gift for antic performance in his Harlekin role, and his tenor voice has the right touch of carny barker to make the most of the opera’s parodic thrust…Downen, especially, has created a character for Kien that rises above the other singers’ performances.” (Edmonton Journal)

 

ROMÉO ET JULIETTE – Roméo

“Tenor Brian Downen as Roméo made his debut in the role. Downen has a pleasing voice capable of soaring above the orchestra with clarity and power. It will be worth following the careers of the three leads as they mature and establish careers, for all three have the potential to be tomorrow’s stars.” (The Express Times – Pennsylvania)

“The opera’s title roles were accorded fabulous accounts last night by tenor Brian Downen and soprano Courtenay Budd…both singers were most compelling throughout the course of their demanding roles. Further, each was highly convincing in a variety of dramatic and vocal situations from the opera’s lighthearted beginning to its pathos-laden tragic ending.” (Sunday Telegram – Massachusetts)

 

BÉATRICE ET BÉNÉDICT – Bénédict

“…Brian Downen…showed a crisp, characterful tenor as Bénédict.” (The New York Times)

 

MESSIAH – tenor soloist

“Tenor Brian Downen phrased the opening aria ‘Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted’ with caressing tone and breath control that sustained Handel’s long musical lines. In the more dramatic ‘Thy Rebuke Hath Broken,’ he gave the Biblical text verbal immediacy, so clear was his diction.” (The Hartford Courant)

“Of the soloists, tenor Brian Downen was the most impressive. His is the kind of high clarion voice, and his the sort of intelligent musicianship, that directors contemplating demanding baroque-era works dream of finding. His elegant phrasing and strong upper range made ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron’ a high point.” (The Syracuse Post-Standard)

“Tenor Brian Downen brought perfect diction and intelligent singing to his recitatives and arias.” (Pensacola News Journal)

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