Spectacular ‘Rigoletto’ benefits from concert format

"Kelsey’s highlights included his touching duet with Gilda (Nadine Sierra), and his portrayal of a father’s anguish as he tries to find out what has happened to his missing daughter. It was a knockout performance, and he is clearly at the height of what will surely be a long and storied vocal career."

Ruth Bingham - Special to the Star-Advertiser

Lyric revisits one of Verdi's toe-tappers with success

"Kelsey has now fully graduated into the leading Verdi baritone roles he was clearly born to sing. Kelsey's passionately rendered di Luna amply demonstrated this gifted young singer's prodigious artistic growth in recent seasons, with an elegantly shaped account of "Il balen" and an upper register that rang above the ensembles."

Mark Thomas Ketterson - Chicago Tribune


"Kelsey found a wonderful vocal balance between snarling outbursts and a darkly resonant power that made his Count both frightening and entirely human."

Wynne Delacoma - Sun-Times Media

Rigoletto – review

"While his music explodes with all too human anguish, his brutal nature, superbly portrayed by the Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey, is repellent. His boorish, tortured performance, together with a voice rich and secure from bottom to high top, is incomparable."

Fiona Maddocks - The Guardian/The Observer

Rigoletto – review

"...what dramatic intensity there is comes from individuals and especially from Quinn Kelsey in the title role. His Rigoletto is a huge, shambling presence, who sings with tremendous assurance and easy, even richness..."

Andrew Clements - The Guardian

Out with the old 'Rigoletto' and in with the new at ENO

"The principal fascination for Verdi in tackling Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse was the character of the jester. In Quinn Kelsey, Alden has a singing actor eminently capable of carrying the composer’s close psychological scrutiny. Singing with a looseness, almost a roughness, he makes Verdi’s ferociously high writing sound completely instinctive, conversational (if that conversation has been scripted by Shakespeare). It’s a performance worth going back a second time for."

Alexandra Coughlan - theartsdesk.com

Review: Musically splendid Aida Ends Vancouver Opera season

"Baritone Kelsey delivers his small but crucial part with such effortless authority that one wishes his role were twice as long."

David Gordon Duke - Vancouver Sun

Rigoletto (Canadian Opera Company)

"The title role was magnificently performed by baritone Quinn Kelsey. His voice was rich, warm and resonant, and his empathy for Rigoletto's plight was completely evident in his dramatic interpretation."

Keira Grant - Mooney on Theatre

This Rigoletto fails to meet its potential

"[Quinn Kelsey's] richly modulated voice, musical intelligence and dramatic physicality are exactly what the role [of Rigoletto] demands. He gave a stupendous performance."

Robert Everett-Green - The Globe and Mail

Rigoletto engaging

"This production is nothing short of a musical feast, featuring a cast led by Quinn Kelsey, a magnificently expressive baritone with a face and a voice made for tragedy."

John Coulbourn - Toronto Sun

A Man's World

"Quinn Kelsey in the title role brought the appropriate Verdian voice to the production...I’ve never seen a Rigoletto so capably impersonate a hunchback, a man whose acting overcame his obvious youth."

Leslie Barcza - Barczablog

COC Rigoletto Combines Superb Singing with Idiosyncratic Staging

"On opening night, top vocal honours went to the magnificent Rigoletto of Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey. What a voice! He has beauty of tone, ample dramatic intensity, volume without resorting to pushing, youthful timbre, and most of all , his is an authentic Verdi baritone, a rare breed. His Rigoletto recalls none other than a young Louis Quilico. A big guy, he's quite free with his body. Unlike many heavyset opera singers, Kelsey is not afraid to throw himself around the stage, fall down etc. I hope he will come back to the COC - voices like that don't grow on trees."

Joseph K. So - La Scena Musicale

SFist Reviews: Terfel, Aida, Bronfman

"Quinn Kelsey just stormed the stage and stood both literally and vocally head and shoulder above the rest of the cast: he was just more alive, more intense."

Cedric - SFist

'Aida' by San Francisco Opera review: No subtlety

"...one of the new cast members proved able to deliver the prevailing flavor of theatrical and vocal heft with the requisite clarity and brilliance. That was baritone Quinn Kelsey, who turned from his triumphant showing as Sharpless in this season's "Madama Butterfly" to give an equally splendid performance as Amonasro.

The captured Ethiopian king, and father of the title character, is the last character to show up in "Aida," coming into the story only at the end of Act 2 after the long Triumphal March. Once Kelsey opened his mouth, the evening immediately took a brighter turn.

Kelsey's singing is capacious and weighty, with effortless power and plenty of vibrant color. But once again, he deployed those resources with wondrous agility, turning the performance into something both authoritative and tonally light-footed; the Act 3 duet with Aida was emotionally devastating."

Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle

Madama Butterfly Opens Her Wings

"Quinn Kelsey and Daveda Karanas portrayed the U.S. Consul Sharpless and Butterfly's maid Suzuki, who try to protect Cio-Cio-San, with an extra measure of warmth and handsome presence, representing the humanity at the center of the opera."

Bay City News

Opera review: "Madama Butterfly"

"Also marvelous was the performance by baritone Quinn Kelsey as Sharpless, the American consul who watches the train wreck unfold without being able to stop it. In place of the usual genial but ineffective figure, Kelsey used his capacious sound and imposing stage presence to turn Sharpless into a compelling participant in the drama."

Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle

SFist Interviews Baritone Quinn Kelsey

Full article HERE

Cedric - SFist

Optical allusion, and some things stick in throat - Tim McNamara reviews The Pearl Fishers at the London Coliseum

"What was outstanding about the operatic performances on the night was Quinn Kelsey playing the role of Zurga, the village headman. He dominated the stage with a rich baritone voice and was by far and away the foremost figure on stage."

Tim McNamara - TribuneMagazine.co.uk

The Pearl Fishers

"Indeed, Alfie Boe and Quinn Kelsey, as Nadir and Zurga respectively, offer two of the best reasons to catch this show. ... As Zurga, Kelsey maintains an authoritative presence and complements this with a firm and wonderfully resonant baritone. Their duet is the highlight it claims to be."

Laura Battle - www.newstatesman.com

Pearl Fishers, ENO

"One cast member was consistent — the Zurga, Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey. He has a pleasant, even tone with complete security throughout the role’s considerable vocal range, coupled with a mature and centered stage persona. ...he was so expressive in his Act 3 aria."

Ruth Elleson - www.operatoday.com

'Pearl Fishers' Offers Great Performances, Grand Imagery

"...Zurga, the village headman (a role sung with melting beauty by Quinn Kelsey)."

Paul Levy - The Wall Street Journal

ENO's new Pearl Fishers: a camouflage job on a piece of tosh

"But she has at least one star voice in a beefcake American baritone called Quinn Kelsey who, for all his size, sings an astonishingly elegant and nuanced Zurga. Nothing else on stage matches his tonal beauty..."

Michael White - Telegraph.co.uk

The Pearl Fishers at the Coliseum, London WC2

"A big Hawaiian baritone, Quinn Kelsey, produces some suave, sumptuous tone as Zurga..."

Richard Morrison - TimesOnline.co.uk

The Pearl Fishers, English National Opera

"The vocal palm, though, goes to revelation of the season so far, Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey as the friend faced with the dilemma of whether to punish his beloved Nadir's sacrilegious pursuit of the priestess they both love. His Verdian sound is full and rich from ringing top to resonant bottom, the expressive use of the hoary text moving to tears. What follows his meltingly beautiful aria in Bizet's Act Three shows Woolcock working superbly with the duet form: Alattar's Leila begins with pious Hindu supplications, again taken from the life, but ends up defiant of the big man's violence. It only reinforces that Bizet's essential drama is the usual conventional operatic love triangle, try as Woolcock may to show us the tragic results of the village-burning with which Zurga allows the lovers to effect their getaway."

David Nice - TheArtsDesk.com

Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, English National Opera, London

"Quinn Kelsey (Zurga) and Alfie Boe (Nadir) don’t short-change us with the number...vocally and physically, is truth and honesty. Quinn Kelsey gave us that, too, though with far more reliance on what is undoubtedly a resoundingly fine instrument."

Edward Seckerson - The Independent

The Pearl Fishers: English National Opera, 1st June 2010

"Quinn Kelsey I first encountered as a most persuasively sparky Schaunard in Morticia’s Met Bohème, and the resonant, evenly-produced, warm sound of his honeyed baritone is even more impressive live than it was heard in the HD relay. Given that the opera concerns his ethical and moral dilemma(s) rather than anyone else’s – Leila and Nadir operate under no such scruples, both lying their respective faces off to all and sundry – it struck me as odd that at the curtain calls he was not treated as the star, but merely as the precursor of the tenor and soprano leads. If ever there was a baritone’s opera outside of Verdi, it’s surely this: very odd, and not least because he was vocally the most impressive of the soloists, dominant in ensemble, and a simple vocal cut above the rest."

Stephen Jay-Taylor - Opera Britannia

ENO's The Pearl Fishers, at the London Coliseum

"...Alfie Boe and Quinn Kelsey, both giving exceptionally strong vocal performances as the eternal friends Nadir and Zurga."

Rupert Christiansen - Telegraph.co.uk

The Pearl Fishers

"Zurga's tent is like an oyster shell, gnarled outside, soft and delicate within. Dark bass roles aren't often sympathetic, but Quinn Kelsey animates his voice with sensitive acting. Kelsey's Zurga hints at mysteries in Zurga's personality, deeper than words alone. He kills, he's brutish, but he's a hero in his own way. His solution may be wrong, but he faces his inner dilemmas."

Anne Ozorio - musicOMH

English National Opera - The Pearl Fishers

"Much really rests on the three principals and in Quinn Kelsey ENO is fortunate to have someone who can do justice to the considerable demands of the role of Zurga. Throughout Kelsey sang with a full-throated and velvety sound, right up to the topmost reaches of this high-lying baritone role. He also has the power and colours to accent the character’s more angry and dramatic outbursts. Indeed, he was at his best in the Act Three encounter with the pleading Leïla, where even Zurga’s rather abrupt change of allegiance with regard to Nadir seemed credible. Here is a singer who has no need of surtitles to make himself understood!"

Alexander Campbell - www.classicalsource.com

Madama Butterfly, NYCO Once again, as in L’Etoile, Mark Lamos’s staging and Robert Wierzel’s lighting nearly steal the show in the City Opera’s revival of Madama Butterfly.

"Quinn Kelsey’s Sharpless possessed — not only because of his size — a real presence, so that one accepted the judgments of this involved, sympathetic observer as more than the official boilerplate they can seem."

John Yohalem - Opera Today

New York City Opera's Madam Butterfly

"Quinn Kelsey as Sharpless is an exciting baritone with a solid, lovely sense of line and character. This is the most challenging role he's undertaken in New York and he was more than up to the task."

Susan Hall - BerkshireFineArts.com

'Madama Butterfly' - New York City Opera

"The baritone Quinn Kelsey gave the evening’s best vocal performance as a sympathetic Sharpless, the American consul."

Steve Smith - The New York Times

'Butterfly' back, and so is New York City Opera

"Baritone Quinn Kelsey, making his company debut, did the best singing of the evening as Sharpless, the U.S. counsel, who tries to caution the officer against his callous behavior. He was the moral and vocal center of the performance."

Ronald Blum - Associated Press

Isle son gives deft, moving opener

Full article: Honolulu Advertiser

Ruth Bingham - The Honolulu Advertiser

Cunning Little Vixen - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

"Quinn Kelsey’s touching and humorous Forester, who is also a bit of a poet, stood out."

Elisabetta Torselli - Il Giornale della Musica

SF Opera closes Verdi's "Il Trovatore" with Sondra Radvanovsky, Anvil Chorus: To die for

"Smooth operator Quinn Kelsey as Count di Luna Nevertheless baritone Quinn Kelsey earned bravos as Count di Luna. I felt he almost won me over with his smooth baritone and it was hard to tell who the bad guy was. Until he smacked down a nun trying to get his lover to take the veil. Quinn sang with a mellow understated strength of one who takes his status for granted. What I found particularly appealing and refreshing: He acted free of a sense of entitlement or aristocratic privilege or just plain conceit of a handsome European lady killer that would have made me resent the character. It would have marked him as a Don Giovanniesque badboy. It was a refreshing performance in a melodrama that lent itself well to the grand and sweeping nature of Il Trovatore. The melodrama remains in the writing itself. Speaking of which. Quinn has sung a psycho before in San Francisco. Quinn has been described appreciatively as awesome in his Schwabacher recital by my colleague Steve The Professor of Pain Smoliar. So this time when Leonora asks: O mad one, why are you here? Quinn’s Count di Luna answers, To make you my bride (Manrico appears). Later, The Count: This woman [the gypsy] drives me into these acts of madness [burning her at the stake]."

Cindy Warner - SF Opera Examiner


"Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings the role of Manrico’s rival, the deceptive “Count di Luna”. Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey will take over the role in the final two performances, October 4th and 6th. Mr. Kelsey, a Merola Opera Program alumnus, made his San Francisco Opera debut as “Marcello” in last season’s production of La Boheme."

Seán Martinfield - San Francisco Sentinel.com

Bregenz Festival, review - A superlative Aida is the highlight at Austria's lakeside opera festival. Rating *****

"Quinn Kelsey's potent Amonasro and Bradley Garvin's imposing King were most impressive."

John Allison - Telegraph.co.uk

Dmitri Hvorostovsky replaced by Quinn Kelsey in last two performances of "Il Trovatore" at SFO


Cindy Warner - SF Opera Examiner

Opera Grand Rapids - Faust

"As Marguerite's brother, Valentin, Quinn Kelsey, a big man with a big baritone worthy of Verdi roles, sang with a voice that stops you in your tracks."

Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - The Grand Rapids Press

Honolulu Symphony - Carmina Burana

"Born and raised in Hawaii, Kelsey debuted last spring at the Metropolitan Opera in "La Boheme" and is becoming well known in the operatic world. His voice is warm as mulled wine, with an arching lyricism that compels attention."

Ruth Bingham - The Honolulu Advertiser

Kelsey shows command of phrasing

Read Full Article

Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle

Fitting the Voice to the Space

Read Full Article

Stephen Smoliar - The Rehearsal Studio (blog)

Kelsey's buoyant baritone carries him atop a wave.

Read Full Article

Cheryl North - contracostatimes.com

San Francisco Symphony - Mahler Symphony #8

"Baritone Quinn Kelsey, recently here for the all-Bernstein concert, made the greatest impression with a wonderful clarion quality that is supported by a rich lower register."

Philip Campbell - Bay Area Reporter

San Francisco Symphony - Mahler Symphony #8

"The chocolate voices of mezzo-soprano Katarina Karnéus and baritone Quinn Kelsey stood out..."

Richard Scheinin - Mercury News Silicon Valley

San Francisco Opera - La Boheme

"Merola and Ryan Opera Center alum Quinn Kelsey (Marcello), who also sings at San Francisco Symphony this week in Mahler's Symphony No. 8, drew deserved cheers for his gorgeously voiced, endearing portrayal. A big boy who can nonetheless move well, he has a beautiful instrument notable for its flexibility and warmth. Although Kelsey debuted at the Met earlier this year in the smaller role of Schaunard, his SFO triumph and recent Richard Tucker Career Grant portend a future filled with major roles."

Jason Victor Serinus - Bay Area Reporter

San Francisco Opera - La Boheme

"The Happy Mystery of Quinn Kelsey"
Click HERE for article.

Janos Gereben - San Francisco Classical Voice - Music News

San Francisco Opera - La Boheme

"Merola alumnus Quinn Kelsey of Hawaii charmed everyone with the expansive warmth of his beautiful baritone in his convivial characterization of Marcello the painter."

Cheryl North - InsideBayArea.com

San Francisco Opera - La Boheme

"Marcello was supposed to have been sung by baritone Gabriele Viviani, but he bowed out earlier this month. Instead, the assignment went to the brilliant young baritone Quinn Kelsey, who made an unforgettable company debut. Some of us have been waiting for this with utmost confidence ever since Kelsey's magnificent Marcello in the Merola Opera Program in 2002. But even the optimists would have been amazed at the power, scope and theatrical flair of his performance on Sunday. If nothing else, the sheer magnitude of his singing, so robust and forceful as to put everyone else in the shade, was remarkable. But there was more too - nimble rhythms, arching lyricism and exquisite comic timing. His role as ringleader of the Act 1 showdown with the landlord Benoit was perfectly executed, and his Act 4 duet with Rodolfo was a subtle, heartbreaking bit of sorcery."

Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Opera - La Boheme

"Quinn Kelsey sang Rodolfo’s closest confident, Marcello. A former member of the Merola Opera Program, Kelsey made his mainstage debut in this production. His abundant baritone was persuasive and rich with color."

James Keolker - San Francisco Classical Voice

Opera Memphis - La Traviata

"...Alfredo's father Giorgio Germont, sung exceptionally well by Quinn Kelsey. Perhaps the most touching pairing was Esperian and Kelsey's "Dite alla giovine," a beautiful expression of love, pain and understanding."

John W. Sparks - CommercialAppeal.com

Madison Opera - Lucia di Lammermoor

"Quinn Kelsey was darkly villainous as the selfish Enrico"

John W. Barker - Isthmus/Daily Page

Metropolitan Opera - La Boheme

"Quinn Kelsey had a wonderful Met debut as Schaunard. This American baritone not only sings accurately, he sings with real flavor."

Jay Nordlinger - New York Sun

Lyric Opera of Chicago - La Boheme

"Kelsey's major-league instrument limned Puccini's baritone line resplendently, and one could be forgiven a stray fantasy of hearing that voice (in a few seasons) as Verdi's Iago."

Mark Thomas Ketterson - Opera News

Quinn Kelsey's More Than Just a Pretty Voice

"Quinn Kelsey has a fine, full and fluid baritone voice, but it was his sheer musicianship that made his Monday night recital at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater so exciting. ... Kelsey's voice is large, healthy, versatile and attractive but, in truth, there are many others out there that are equally sumptuous. What makes him special -- and very special indeed -- is the way he moves into whatever material he sings and inhabits it entirely. William Butler Yeats once mused poetically on knowing the dancer from the dance; it is similarly difficult to separate Kelsey from the music he sings. He sets a mood immediately -- whether the loopy, comical world of Polyphemus the giant in Handel's "Acis and Galatea" (the aria, here described as "I Rage, I Melt, I Burn," is much better known as "O Ruddier Than the Cherry") or the bleakest despair of the Mussorgsky "Songs and Dances of Death." He is always believable -- indeed, he seems to be living through whatever he is singing about before our eyes and ears. Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) was not a great composer, but he was an unmistakable one: The three settings of Shakespeare that Kelsey sang, with their tart, tidy dissonances, could have been written by no other artist. A set of three songs by Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler's cycle "Songs of a Wayfarer" all come out of mid-19th century, middle-European folk traditions, but Kelsey imbued the Mahler works with just the additional trace of fin de si?cle neuroticism that they demand. And it would be hard to imagine a more harrowing reading of the ghostly, ghastly Mussorgsky songs." Click here for full article.

Tim Page - The Washington Post

'Butterfly' soars with fluid visuals

"And speaking of Sharpless, Quinn Kelsey shone throughout the evening. Everything comes easy from his beautiful baritone voice. His persona had no flaws and the audience loved him."

Valeria Wenderoth - Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Ready for the Met

Click here for full Article

Alice Keesing - Midweek Magazine

Time Out Chicago - #2 of 20 people to watch in 2007

"Burly and imposing, Quinn Kelsey has emerged as a major presence in the Chicago opera scene. But it’s not just his size that has garnered attention: The Hawaiian native began turning heads with his wall-shaking voice while studying at the Ryan Opera Center, the Lyric’s training program, from 2003 through last spring. The talented baritone grew up singing in the insular arena of Hawaiian opera. “I probably know them all,” he says when asked if he knows of any other Hawaiian opera singers. But his whole family is in the business, and it was his music-teacher mother who pushed him to be a vocalist. Kelsey has landed an agent at Columbia Artists Management, a powerful player in the classical music industry, and he has high hopes of singing “at the world’s big companies—La Scala, the Met, the Berlin Staatskapelle.” This year, he reprises his comic role as Ping, a Chinese courtier, in Puccini’s Turandot, beginning Saturday 13 at Lyric Opera."

Marc Geelhoed - Time Out Chicago

Opera Cleveland - Gala Concert

"A few seized their moments splendidly. Baritone Quinn Kelsey revealed a voice of honeyed timbre and an ability to plumb expressive depths in Riccardo's aria, 'Ah! Per sempre io ti perdei,' from Bellini's 'I Puritani.'

The quartet from Verdi's 'Rigoletto' suggested that Kelsey one day will be commanding in the title role, and his teaming with the fine bass Jordan Bisch in a duet from 'I Puritani' was further confirmation of his artistic gifts."

Donald Rosenberg - The Plain Dealer

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Turandot

"...Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey's Ping is a superb anchor..."

Andrew Patner - Chicago Sun-Times

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Turandot

"...baritone Quinn Kelsey floating admirable legato lines as Ping..."

John von Rhein - Chicago Metromix

Grant Park Music Festival - Orff's CARMINA BURANA

"The hardest-working soloist of the night was baritone Quinn Kelsey, whose part has the lion's share of the songs. He heralded the joys of spring, the woes of wasted youth, the habits of a drunken abbot and finally, with the soprano, the eager anticipation of love. Kelsey's voice grew warmer and more full-throated as the evening progressed, telling the tales with more and more passion."

Dorothy Andries - Pioneer Press

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Rigoletto

"Quinn Kelsey's booming pronouncement of Monterone's curse would scare the hell out of anyone."

Mark Thomas Ketterson - Opera News

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Rigoletto

"Quinn Kelsey's Monterone sends a chill down your back when he pronounces his fateful curse."

John von Rhein - Chicago Metromix

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Carmen

"The solid comprimario forces included...a dose of aural luxury in Quinn Kelsey's plush-velvet Morales."

Mark Thomas Ketterson - Opera News

BBC Cardiff Singer of the world 2005 - Profile

Click Here to see profile

Baritone grew up in a musical Island family

Article about Quinn Kelsey: Click Here

Wayne Harada - Honolulu Advertiser

Marilyn Horne Foundation concert "The Song Continues: A Feast of Folksongs"

"The most memorable moments of the recital belonged to baritone Quinn Kelsey. Mr. Kelsey's ravishing baritone caressed the air, its considerable beauty anchored by fully felt emotions. Lieder singers must be storytellers, and Mr. Kelsey used timing and enunciation to make whatever he sang absorbing."

Patrick Giles - New York Sun