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Samuel Ramey

  • Bass


Samuel Ramey press reviews

In recital – The Orpheum, Vancouver

"This is the voice that registers majesty, that paints big sorrows and big happinesses, that speaks with God; a voice for emperors and prophets and victorious generals."

— Michael Scott, The Vancouver Sun

"How many opera singers get to be a sex symbol?"

— William Livingstone, Stereo Review

"Ramey's singing is the stuff of which operatic legends are made."

— New York Post

"Perhaps the only negative effect of Samuel Ramey's recital was that the listener came away exhausted by its virtues. Few voices at any range work as well and are used to better purpose so consistently as Mr. Ramey's."

— The New York Times

"The evening was dominated by Samuel Ramey as much by his voice as his overwhelming interpretation. To put it succinctly, his performance was that all too rare evening of world-class caliber."

— Hamburger Abendblatt

In recital – Carnegie Hall, New York City

"It's doubtful anyone else today could sing such extensive and demanding numbers ... with such beauty of tone, interpretative acumen and staying power."

— New York Daily News

In concert – Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Tuscaloosa

"Ramey showed a vocal mastery that few singers achieve and every listener dies for.

"[H]is grand bass was disarming. Its even, deep tone would represent everything sinister and evil if Ramey's singing wasn't so gorgeously musical. Although his first two arias were sung by a devil character, how can such artistic beauty be hated?"

— Frederick Kalmann, The Birmingham News

In recital – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles

"His diction was exemplary, as was his ability to connect with and entertain an audience."

— Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times

Olin Blitch – Susannah – Metropolitan Opera

"If dark chocolate had a sound, it would be Ramey's voice."

— Charles Passy, The Record

Four villains – Les Contes d'Hoffmann – Metropolitan Opera

"It was Mr. Ramey's voice, with its domineering quality of menace, that made the opera cohere. His voice has the size and character for these roles; there were times, particularly as Dr. Miracle, when he seemed a natural force. This was an impressive achievement, a hint of how much this opera depends upon personality and display for its impact."

— Edward Rothstein, The New York Times

"But the evening belonged to Samuel Ramey, who sang the roles with virtuosic aplomb and dapper malevolence in a voice that called to mind the darkest, rarest and most caloric of rich chocolates. When Ramey is at his best, as he was Monday night, this is a golden age."

— Tim Page, New York Newsday

Argante – Rinaldo – Metropolitan Opera

"The night belonged to debuting Samuel Ramey. His entrance aria simply stopped the show, and he used his magnificent voice and acting abilities to make his Saracen general a thrilling achievement. Tasso's 'Jerusalem Delivered' has Argante humbled by the crusading Rinaldo, but Ramey emerged the winner in his own marvelous manner."

— Byron Belt, The Star-Ledger

In recital – Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg

"It's not just that Ramey has one of the great bass voices, but rather the way he makes one feel right at home with it. This recital wasn't a program designed around pure visceral excitement, and although the audience was on its feet at the end, it was more a collective response to a thoughtfully chosen group of less familiar recital material, delivered with poise and consummate technical finish."

— James Manishen, Winnipeg Free Press

In concert – "Date with the Devil" – Civic Opera House, Chicago

"He rolled out his richly saturnine voice in arias by Gounod, Berlioz, Boito, Offenbach, Meyerbeer and Stravinsky. There was never a sense of interpretive sameness because he is a master of coloring his voice over an exceptionally large compass."

— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

In recital – The Orpheum, Vancouver

"Ramey can produce a vast range of notes without appearing to reach for them, so that his highest have all the clarity and strength of his deepest, and the power behind each seems equally weighted, as if drawn from some wellspring of endless possibility."

— Louise Whitney, The Vancouver Courier

 In recital – Dade County Auditorium, Miami

"Ramey's voice commands the stage, fills the theater – and here fulfilled each composer on his program, not only in realization of particular sounds, but also styles.

"He spun [Handel's 'hissing' aria from Rinaldo] off like some huge black velvet ribbon."

— James Roos, The Herald

"There wasn't a false note all evening, no artifice, no posturing. Just pure service to music."

— Tim Smith, Sun-Sentinel

Title role - Boris Godunov – The Washington Opera

"What further praise for Samuel Ramey? Suffice it to say that his electrical presence, his bounding athleticism, his keen intelligence, his dark and chimerically versatile bass voice were all put to the noblest of purposes – a fully fleshed-out, highly complicated portrayal of the flawed Czar Boris."

— Tim Page, Washington Post

"To the impressive range, youthful lift and elasticity he brought to the role, he now adds a maturity that brings to terrifying life the aging and psychological exhaustion of Boris' final scenes. When he shouts 'Dovol'no!' ('Enough!') to Shuisky after hearing a description of the czarevich's murder, he makes one shudder. Few singers so completely embrace the ambiguity of Boris' noble but fatally ambitious personality."

— Stephen Wigler, The Baltimore Sun

Olin Blitch – Susannah – Lyric Opera of Chicago

"Commanding singing actor that he is, Ramey turned in a memorable portrait of Blitch, the fire-and-brimstone zealot who succumbs to the same fleshy temptations of which he (in the opera's most dramatic scene) warns his congregation. If Ramey ever decides to give up singing, he could make a terrific living, I am sure, on the camp-meeting circuit."

— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"Ramey's Rev. Olin Blitch was both cold and very human. Like Fleming, Ramey was completely at home in the cadences of the rural South. His spoken exhortations to the brethren and 'Sister'n' sounded like natural conversation."

— Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

Escamillo – Carmen – Metropolitan Opera

"But Ramey's Escamillo was clearly the only match for Carmen. His vibrant, resonant, responsive voice and lithe, strong presence made a man who is a star and knows it. Jose is just a toy; Escamillo is the real thing."

— Peter Goodman, Newsday

Méphistophélès – Faust – Lyric Opera of Chicago

"Singing another of his sexy-satanic roles, Samuel Ramey unleashed his gleaming black bass in the 'Golden Calf' song and the Serenade, prancing about the stage with virile, athletic glee, always giving the devil his sardonic due. He commanded the stage even when standing still."

— John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune