Vocalist - Soprano
Acclaim
 
‘La Reine de Saba’ : The Tale of a Feminist

"Kara Shay Thomson is the obvious star of the show. When she first appears onstage, dressed in stark magenta amid a sea of muted costumes, she shines. She is able to express the most peaceful contentedness when singing with her servants in the woods...She can also be antagonizing, a match for King Solomon’s impassioned fervor. She manages to invoke a sense of primal sadness in response to Adoniram’s death with a raw cry that leaves the viewer with a deep remorse and an overwhelming urge to applaud."

Kalos K. Chu, The Harvard Crimson
Odyssey Opera Resurrects the Queen of Sheba

"Kara Shay Thomson appears as the Queen, with a soaring soprano that expresses both love and power."

Steven Ledbetter, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
La reine de Saba - Odyssey Opera

"As Balkis, Kara Shay Thomson sang with a soft but plush soprano that flowered beautifully in the upper register. The singer convincingly conveyed the queen’s torn feelings over duty and passion. In the Act 3 aria 'Plus grand dans son obscurité,' her voice trembled with sweet sadness as the queen longed to forget her newfound feelings for Adoniram. In their final duet, Thomson’s singing swelled with overwhelming sorrow and horror over her lover’s demise."

Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review
After 150 years, a majestic Queen of Sheba arrives in America

"In her company debut, soprano Kara Shay Thomson made for a wonderfully elegant Balkis."

Zoë Madonna, The Boston Globe
Sarasota Opera opens last exquisite production of the season

"Kara Shay Thomson’s Marta captured and shared the full impact of her early humiliation, domination and vindication of her personal servitude to her master. She has appeared in many roles and productions of Sarasota Opera, but this is her best performance by far, both vocally and dramatically. Her sizable soprano possessed vocal color and dramatic intensity that projected throughout the theater, from moments of self-pity to blinding rage."

Edward Alley, Your Observer
The Consul – Dayton Opera

"Much of the weight of The Consul falls on Magda Sorel, and Kara Shay Thomson gave a white-hot performance. Dramatically, she fully inhabited the role, living the character’s frustration and growing despair. And she fulfilled all Menotti’s sometimes unreasonable vocal demands. There was power to spare without stridency, with the tone always remaining beautiful. The voice carried wonderfully at lower dynamic levels as well. “To this we’ve come” was a vocal and dramatic tour de force, greeted with an ovation that seemed cathartic."

Joe Law, Opera News
Der Freischütz - Virginia Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson commanded attention as Agathe with her warm, ample, evenly produced soprano and the exceptional legato she revealed in her arias. The very classy vocalism was matched by assured acting."

Tim Smith, Opera News
Der Freischütz - Virginia Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson (Agathe) offered a strongly focused, lyrical soprano and dramatic delivery."

Shulson, Virginia Gazette
Der Freischütz - Virginia Opera

"Thomson’s voice here is pure of tone, widely expressive and gorgeously controlled, unwavering in its climactic moments."

Andy Garrigue, Richmond-Times Dispatch
Virginia Opera hits the target with a winning 'Freischütz'

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson, in a strong company debut as Agathe, showed impeccable breath support and luscious tone in the Act II prayer scene. In the equally striking first scene of Act III, Thomson gauged the power of her voice appropriately to the room, creating confident swells up to soaring notes that still retained a virginal quality."

Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review
Der Freischütz - Virginia Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson ... did credit to Agathe’s excellent music, particularly the second of her two showpiece arias."

Anne Midgette, Washington Post
Der Freischütz - Virginia Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson, making her VO debut as the marksman’s beloved Agathe, has a memorably rich soprano that invests her arias, duets and ensemble singing with glorious sound."

M.D. Ridge, Washington Pilot
Fidelio – Sarasota Opera

“Kara Shay Thomson gave an elegant performance as Leonore in Fidelio ... a welcome foray into Beethoven’s only opera. Thomson, known for her Tosca with Sarasota and other regional companies, was a galvanizing vocal presence right from 'Komm, Hoffnung,' spontaneous and powerful in her Act I aria to faithful married love.”

John Fleming, Opera News
Grand finale indeed for Verdi cycle in Florida, where matters of the stage are serious business

"The Grand Finale evening ... benefited form the fiery soprano of Kara Shay Thomson."

Arthur Kaptainis, National Post
Roaming Operagoer

"Kara Shay Thomson ... managed the difficult music’s every detail impressively, with shining spinto tone for dead-on high notes but also the requisite agility. Moreover, her commitment and deep feeling shaped the whole opera, as they must for a successful Leonore."

David Shengold, Gay City News
Sarasota Opera offers a dramatic and largely rewarding “Fidelio”

"Kara Shay Thomson is an inspired actress, and brought committed characterization to the faithful Leonora.... she brought undeniable excitement to the climax of the dungeon scene and sang with passion, dedication and technical security throughout."

Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review
Superb talent in Utah Opera’s Tosca

“Thomson’s voice was beautiful — full of power throughout, and with a range that blossomed in the highest notes.”

Sara Neal, Utah Review
Utah Opera kicks off season with stirring ‘Tosca’

“Soprano Kara Shay Thomson is a natural as the diva Floria Tosca. Her voice possesses thrilling power, and she has the dramatic skill to make this insecure, impetuous and ultimately intrepid heroine believable and sympathetic.”

Catherine Reese Newton, Salt Lake Tribune
The Consul – Florida Grand Opera

“Soprano Kara Shay Thomson sang a great Magda, always well balanced in all the registers, going from emotional to violent with great ease and musical conviction. Her ‘To this we’ve come,’ received thunderous applause.”

Jean-François Lejeune, Opera News
Florida Grand Opera Closes Season with The Consul

“Soprano Kara Shay Thomson (already having given a spectacular turn in last season’s Tosca) performed a remarkable Magda, carrying the role from frightened and relatively naïve young mother and wife to embittered fighter and defeated victim of the political process. Her evolution as singer and performer in the role did much to highlight the Pulitzer Prize-winning music.”

Abel Folgar, Miami Times
Florida Grand Opera delivers a powerful staging of Menotti’s “Consul”

“From top to bottom, the FGO cast is close to perfect. Magda Sorel demands a singing actress with extraordinary musical and dramatic gifts. Kara Shay Thomson is riveting, completely commanding the stage in every scene. Voicing her pleas in a radiant soprano with a laser-like edge at the top, Thomson was the embodiment of a compassionate woman caught in a web of heartless regulation. Appropriately, her Act II aria ‘To This We’ve Come’ was the high point of the evening, a heartrending outpouring of emotion and harbinger of the tragedy to come.”

Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
FGO’s English Language “The Consul” Is Affecting Nightmare

“Soprano Kara Shay Thomson, who starred in FGO’s Tosca last year, wrung every ounce of passion from proletariat everywoman Magda. Her second-act closing aria more than earned the extended ovation from the opening crowd as Magda pled to see the consul and then exploded in a denunciation of the heartless machine.”

Bill Hirschman, Florida Theater Onstage
The Consul - Florida Grand Opera

“It is hard to imagine The Consul being mounted without a cast able to scale these dangerous heights. Florida Grand Opera secured the giant vocal and dramatic talents of Kara Shay Thomson. Magda has not a pleasant moment, yet Thomson demonstrates solid dignity right up to her horrifying end. The voice soars, her diction is spot on, the character is completely explored.”

Jeff Haller, ConcertoNet.com
Sarasota Opera presents a thrilling Tosca

“As Tosca, Kara Shay Thomson dominated the stage with a performance that echoed the golden days of the past. In the first act, the ‘Jealousy’ duet was coy and teasing, fiery and loving, with Thomson’s lustrous soprano catching every eye and ear. In the second act, her confrontation with Scarpia had the audience at the edge of their seats. Thomson sang ‘Vissi d’Arte’ with tremendous passion all the way to ‘Signore’ with resounding power, then faded and tapered beautifully with a heart-rending ‘Rimuneri Cosi’ at the finale.”

Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sarasota Opera - 2015 Verdi Concert

“Among the stand-out performances was one by Kara Shay Thomson, who’d sung Tosca in the afternoon. Certainly well warmed up from that role, the soprano took the stage in the evening to perform an exquisite aria as Abigaille in ‘Nabucco.’”

June LeBell, Sarasota Observer
Sarasota Opera delivers an intense, gripping “Tosca”

“The fact is Sarasota Opera does one hell of a Tosca.... Thomson is a fiery actress, impassioned and intensely dramatic.”

Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review
Kara Shay Thomson is 'Tosca'

“When Puccini named his opera ‘Tosca,’ he did it because Floria Tosca is the very essence of the melodrama. At this season’s Sarasota Opera production, Kara Shay Thomson’s rendition of the title role proves the point. She is Tosca. From the moment she sings her first notes, ‘Mario, Mario, Mario,’ and sweeps into the magnificent church, to her dazzling ‘Vissi d’arte,’ the night is hers. Her even, huge and beautiful soprano even outshines David P. Gordon’s glorious interior of Sant’Andrea della Valle in the first act, the majestic study of the evil Scarpia in his Farnese Palace in the second and the glistening stars and unfolding of dawn stunningly hanging over the parapets of the Castel Sant’Angelo in the last act.”

June LeBell, Your Observer (FL)
'Tosca' tragedy never fails to surprise

“Floria Tosca was very well sung and, of equal importance, very well acted by Kara Shay Thomson.... Her portrayal was both musically and dramatically compelling, incorporating flirtatious jealousy and deep anguish.”

Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Kentucky Opera Launches New Repertory With Emotional 'Fidelio' Production

“Her [Leonore’s] transformation is internal, and as she gathers the courage to face all of the horrors she might encounter inside the prison, that fortitude comes out in Thomson’s clear, strong soprano in the aria ‘Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?’”

Erin Keane, WFPL Radio
Hear Me Roar: Kentucky Opera's Woman-Powered Fidelio

“The role of Leonore calls for a truly courageous and engaging performance. There’s no fluttering around in gorgeous costumes, reclining in romantic poses, or lovely shoe-gazing melancholy to hide behind here. Soprano Kara Shay Thompson is the main reason that this production succeeds so well. Her handling of the character delivers the compassionate heart without sacrificing the strength and bravery of Leonore’s actions. And, of course, there’s the singing. In the aria, ‘Komm, Hoffnung, Lass den Letzten Stern,’ Thompson was spectacular. The song describes the intensity of her horror at Pizarro’s plan, but also the hope that sustains her as she tries to save her husband. Thompson’s plush voice fills the room, rich, nuanced, fully in control of each phrase and delicate note. She was brilliant throughout.”

Selena Frye, Louisville.com
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