Reviews, Laura Vlasak Nolen

New York City Opera – La donna del lago

From the June issue of Opera News:

"In the trouser role of Elena's beloved, Malcolm, Laura Vlasak Nolen stole the show with her creamy voice and softly glowing timbre. She was convincing in everything from pining recitatives to cavatina-cabaletta showpieces -- and at any tempo."                — Oussama Zahr, Opera News


"The trouser role of Malcolm Graeme - actually a kilt role - served as a triumphant vehicle for Laura Vlasak Nolen of Dallas. Her exceptionally large and lush mezzo-soprano coped easily with Rossini's unreasonable demands for lofty ascents, lowly descents and florid accents. Remember the name."
                                            -Martin Bernheimer - Financial Times, March 24, 2007

“New York City Opera's new production of Rossini's sweeping saga of the North, "La donna del lago," was not the dullest evening of opera I've ever witnessed, and for that I'm grateful to Laura Vlasak Nolen. A mezzo-soprano with a husky voice, a veteran's aplomb and a plentiful supply of nuance, Nolen sang the role of Malcolm, one of the lake-lady Elena's three would-be swains (which would have made it a pants role if she had not been wearing a kilt). It should not have been up to a singer in a supporting part to keep the opening-night performance single-handedly afloat.

Nolen wandered through Rossini's melodiously war-scarred Scotland like a talented refugee, singing with dignity and standing around as if waiting for something: for someone to direct her, for the rest of the cast to snap out of its stupor, for the orchestra to catch up.”
                                          - Justin Davidson, Newsday New York, March 24, 2007

“But fortunately there was a strong cast led by soprano Alexandrina Pendatchanska, mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen and tenor Barry Banks. Nolen, in the trousers role of Malcolm, had a rich bottom that showed in the aria "Mura felici."                                  - Ronald Blum, Associated Press, March 23, 2007

“In the pants role of Malcolm, Laura Vlasak Nolen makes a strong impression.”
                                          - Bernard Holland, New York Times, March 24, 2007

FROM THE JULY OPERA NEWS/ ON THE BEAT column by Brian Kellow: "Amid the sea of tuxes and taffeta at Manhattan's Union Club, it was easy to spot the star of the evening: Renata Scotto ....presided over a benefit for her Opera Academy at the Westcheser Music Conservatory.... three of Scotto's most promising pupils were there to perform: Daniel Lee ..... Othalie Graham..... and, best of all, mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen, who offered an exhilarating "Mura fellici" she'll perform at New York City Opera next season. (She also covers Podles in Caramoor's Tancredi.) Talent like hers can't possibly stay a well-kept secret for long."


Richard Tucker Rising Stars Gala

“Best of the bunch that I heard: the talented tenor Dimitri Pittas and the blazing mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen; Vlasak Nolen's "Cruda sorte" was astonishingly full-blooded; one wonders what she'll be capable of a few years from now.”                                                            -Brian Kellow, Opera News, March 2006

“A few of these young people sounded opera-ready. Laura Vlasak Nolen's mezzo-soprano seems on the verge of opening up into something of considerable size and style. ”
                                                                   -Bernard Holland, New York Times, January 13, 2006

New York City Opera – Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

“La jeune débutante Laura Vlasak Nolen faisant grosse impression en Sélysette.”
                                                                                -David Shengold, Opéra Magazine, January 2006

“...another, even more velvet-voiced mezzo, Laura Vlasak Nolen, gave no end of pleasure as Sélysette, the most vocally prominent of the imprisoned wives.”
                                                                                       -Leighton Kerner, Opera News, January 2006

Danbury Chamber Orchestra ­ Messiah

“Excuse me if I jump immediately to the musical offering of one particular soloist. I don't expect to ever hear in Danbury, maybe anywhere, a better presentation of the mezzo-soprano arias than that
of Laura Vlasak Nolen. Impressed as I was by her voice in last year's Messiah, I was completely enthralled this year. The voice ranges from powerful to gentle, with remarkable coloration. She proved this brilliantly in "He was despised and rejected.

"From my seat far back in the church, her voice arrived ever on pitch, effortlessly controlled and produced. Hers is a major career in the making. The reviews from her New York City Opera debut, in Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, by Paul Dukas, of "Sorcerer's Apprentice" fame, were most laudatory.”
                                                                                 -Jim Pegolotti, Danbury News Times, December 23, 2005



New York City Opera ­ Ariane et Barbe-bleue

“The outstanding voice is Laura Vlasak Nolen’s sumptuous mezzo as Sélysette.”
                                                                                      -Andrew Clark, Financial Times, UK, October 11, 2005

New York City Opera ­ Ariane et Barbe-bleue

“Also admirable was Laura Vlasak Nolen as Selysette, the wife who speaks for the group: Her plaintive, luxuriant mezzo made her an ideal foil to Ms. Behle.”
                                                                                      -Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2005
Renata Scotto Opera Academy Recital

“After a long first half filled with substantial monumental operatic numbers, we were charmed by a duet from Rossini’s comedy “L’Italiana in Algeri.” Mezzo-soprano Laura Vlasak and Baritone Daniel Lee tickled our fancy with their cheeky antics.  Vlasak owns a stunning and dark tone as well as a gift for comedy and Lee met her every step with his dead pan manner.  Their ensemble was delightful and their voices blended to perfection.”
                                                                                                      -Mary Petro, Greenwich Time, July 1, 2005
Renata Scotto Opera Academy

“…and Laura Vlasak Nolen, a gifted mezzo who seems to have won the Stephanie Blythe sweepstakes.”
                                                                                                   -Brian Kellow, Opera News, September 2005

Opera Theater Connecticut ­ Julius Caesar

“The fact that Laura Vlasak Nolen held her own as the conqueror Caesar with McMahon's Cleopatra attested to the strength and richness of her mezzo soprano voice. Nolen's enunciation made every word clear, a big plus in the recitatives, which, unlike the arias, did not have supertitles.”
                                                                                               -Jon Lender, Hartford Courant, August 13, 2005

Berkshire Opera - Rinaldo

“Young Laura Vlasak Nolen (Eustazio) showed a lush, beautiful mezzo with formidable technique: clearly a Handelian star in the making.”
                                                                                                                  - Opera News Online, July 9, 2005


Berkshire Opera - Rinaldo
“Mezzo-soprano Laura Vlasak Nolen, with a voice of 19th-century magnitude yet convincing Baroque agility (she essayed terrific roulades in Act I's "Sulla rota di Fortuna"), took the part of Goffredo's brother Eustazio.”

- Clifton J. Noble Jr., The Republican, July 09, 2005

Berkshire Opera ­ Rinaldo
“There was plenty of mezzo timbre to go around: Laura Vlasak Nolen, who sang Eustazio (another Crusader) produced a dark, velvety tone…”

- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, July 9, 2005

Berkshire Opera ­ Rinaldo
“Young mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen brings…the primal thrill of a major voice, she sounds like a Stephanie Blythe in the making.”

-Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, July 11, 2005

Berkshire Opera ­ Rinaldo
“Laura Vlasak Nolen indicated a nicely developing coloratura contralto as Eustazio…”

- Richard Houdek, The Berkshire Eagle, July 9, 2005

Indiana University – Rigoletto

“Laura Vlasak Nolen contributed a strong mezzo and a wanton characterization as the assassin’s assistant who falls for the handsome Duke.”

- George Walker, WFIU, 2001

Indiana University - Rigoletto

“…Laura Vlasak Nolen embodied the sexy role of Maddalena, Sparafucile’s sister, and did their part in the opera’s famous Quartet.”

-Peter Jacobi, The Herald Times, 2001

Indiana University – Madama Butterfly

“Laura Vlasak Nolen’s Suzuki benefited from a lush mezzo and an obvious feel for the character.”

-Peter Jacobi, The Herald Times, 2001

Indiana University – Die Fledermaus

“If anything, Laura Vlasak Nolen was even better at finding her environment “boring” as Sunday afternoon’s Orlovsky, exhibiting both a strong contralto and a fine stage presence.”

-Peter Jacobi, The Herald Times, 2002

Indiana University – Die Fledermaus

“Laura Vlasak Nolen handled the trouser role of the bored party-giving Prince Orlovsky with strong speaking and even more powerful singing.”

George Walker, WFIU, 2002

Santa Fe Opera – Intermezzo

“Fanny, the cook, was played in deadpan fashion by the very talented apprentice, Laura Vlasak Nolen, who also sang with considerable vocal acumen.”

Opera Japonica, 2003

Santa Fe Opera – Intermezzo

“The nonsinging apprentice artists playing Christine’s servants were first-rate, especially Laura Vlasak Nolen’s bristly, flour dusted cook, Fanny.”

- Craig Smith, The New Mexican, 2003

Santa Fe Opera – Intermezzo

“Laura Vlasak Nolen, a Santa Fe apprentice raised in Garland, is a wonderfully sullen Fanny (the Storches’ cook) with a thick Slavic accent.”

- Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News, August 2, 2003

Cleveland Opera – Die Zauberflöte

“Many smaller roles were more strongly cast, especially the three ladies (Jennifer Lyn Rowley, Sandra Ross, Laura Vlasak Nolen)…”

Donald Rosenburg, Plain Dealer, April 13, 2003

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