Vocalist - Soprano
Passionate "Fidelio" Has It All

“Ms. Kara Shay Thomson. She gets better and better with every time I hear her lush and enticing voice. Her Leonore/Fidelio is no exception. From Leonore‘s Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern (Come, hope let the last star) dreaming and praying for her husband, to Fidelio’s Wie kalt ist es in diesem unterirdischen Gewölbe! (How cold it is down here!), Ms. Thomson shows fantastic range and versatility. Not to mention, a huge nod to the make-up artists and costumers that had the task of making the lovely Ms. Thomson less womanly.”

Annette Skaggs, Arts-Louisville
Soprano shines in FGO's dramatically intense "Tosca"
“Kara Shay Thomson’s soprano is so plush and sensuous that it must have taken some real restraint to deliver a performance of Tosca’s aria ‘Vissi d’arte’ that was so focused and on the money. But she did, singing in a chaste manner, with feathery high notes, sensitive phrasing and climactic notes that rang through the hall without overpowering the delicacy of the aria. Thomson let loose the richness of her voice in her Act 1 love scene with Cavaradossi, with fervent, ringing high notes. In her scene with Scarpia she was entirely convincing in her wails of pain at Cavaradossi’s torture.”
David Fleshler, Miami Herald
Murder, Betrayal and Baritones: FGO Delivers Soaring Tosca
“Kara Shay Thomson’s liquid soprano confidently conquered a role she has done at least four times before. She was impeccable in her famed arias pouring out emotional agony such as ‘Vissi d’arte’ (I have lived for art…) when Scarpia tells her that only her submission to his lust will save her lover’s life. But she was also convincing in her displays of coquettish playfulness and foolish jealousy in the first act and her deluded hope in the third.”
Bill Hirschman, Florida Theatre Onstage
“Thomson has a sizeable voice with a lovely command of nuance, especially in regard to color and dynamics. While some sopranos choose to underscore this heroine’s melodramatic qualities, Thomson emphasized Tosca’s vulnerability.”
Stephanie Adrian, Opera News
Atlanta Opera up to challenge of "Tosca"
“Making her debut with Atlanta Opera in the title role, Kara Shay Thomson has presence. She commandeers the stage, her luscious soprano ringing throughout Cobb Energy Center. While Thomson delivers the typical neediness and jealousy of Tosca, she balances the drama with superior expression and subtlety, especially with her hands. Her clever flips of the wrist … capture the emotion as much as her singing.”
Jamila Robinson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Opera's "Tosca"
“American soprano Kara Shay Thomson (as Tosca) has a large, bright, liquid voice with nice intonation.... She’s riveting to watch, and truly fearsome in the scene where she murders Scarpia. The voice always delivered for the big moments: Her ‘Visi d’arte’ aria alone was worth the price of admission.”
James L. Paulk, Arts Atlanta
Twisty 'Tosca' a terrific showcase for Pensacola Opera
“Thomson and Vania … move us with their powerful vocals, but equally so with their skills in portraying the poignant drama of lovers being torn apart by dark forces. … Another aria highlight takes place in Act III with Vania’s superb rendering of ‘E lucevan le stelle’ (And the stars shone).”
Andy Metzger, Pensacola News Journal
Weekend MusicWatch: Baroque & Beyond
“Kara Shay Thomson … soars in the title role.”
Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch
'Tosca': a lithe and lively leap into the abyss
“Thomson sings Tosca beautifully, with a honeyed and full-bodied tone, and when the drama gets deep she’s hellzapoppin. Don’t cross Tosca. She’s tough.”
Bob Hicks, Oregon Arts Watch
'Tosca' review: mounting same production as eight years ago works well
“In the title role, Kara Shay Thomson was vocally bright and secure throughout.”
James McQuillen, The Oregonian
An Operatic Weekend in Cincinnati
"Sumptuous is the word for Thomson's glorious voice. It's huge in scale, warm and dark in color, all delivered with dramatic passion and supreme musicality."
Charles H. Parsons, Music in Cincinnati
Littler: Surprising Sarasota Opera a testament to ambition
"What stood out for me this season was a rare revival of an opera that won Samuel Barber the Pulitzer Prize in 1958, the Metropolitan Opera-premiered Vanessa, part of Sarasota Opera's recently inaugurated American Classics series, with Kara Shay Thomson a powerful interpreter of the title role."
William Littler, Toronto Star
Sarasota Opera's 2012 Winter Festival
"Kara Shay Thomson embodied Vanessa with her regal decorum and impressive instrument, tuned to perfection."
Karyl Charna Lynn, Opera Now
Sarasota Opera presents a handsome, mostly effective staging of Barber's "Vanessa"
"Kara Shay Thomson possesses the imposing voice and regal dignity required for the long-suffering Vanessa, whose life is restored with the appearance of Anatol, the younger."
Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review
'Vanessa' brings welcome challenge to Sarasota Opera
"The principal singers in this production are superb, especially Kara Shay Thomson as Vanessa."
Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
"But the evening clearly belongs to Kara Shay Thomson, as Tosca. She seems poised on the edge of greatness and the audience realizes that in her arias. Her second act ‘Vissi d'arte' brought one of the longest, sustained ovations, with roars of ‘brava,' I've heard in years."
Stuart Duncan, Centraljersey.com
Two "Rings" Face Off
"Best of all were the singers, sopranos Kara Shay Thomson and Jennifer Cherest and tenor Ric Furman. Cherest possesses a beautiful but lighter voice, while Thomson and Furman seemed eminently capable of walking off the stage into a production of Wagner's 'Ring' at any time."
Mary Ellyn Hutton, Music in Cincinnati
Conlon, CSO and guests serve up Rachmaninoff rarities at Ravinia
"Kara Shay Thomson ... brought a pure-toned soprano and ardent expression to the second movement."
Lawrence A Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
May Festival off to impressive season
"Thomson projected a big, glorious sound and was richly expressive in her solos."
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati May Festival
"The final section, Dignare, Domine, was lyrical ... [Thomson], laudatory and downright tingling with joy."
Mary Ellyn Hutton, ConcertoNet.com
The Real Sopranos Are at NYC Opera
"Soprano Kara Shay Thompson, in the standout performance of the evening, gave a warm-toned and powerful account of this dynamic and often angular score."
Christian B. Carey, Musical America
Slipping Over the Edge at City Opera
"For 'Erwartung,' a kind of fever dream of a woman stumbling over the body of her dead lover in a forest, the rich-voiced soprano Kara Shay Thomson ably navigates the expressionistic outbursts and crooning irregularities of the vocal line."
Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Review: NYCO mixes familiar with far-out
"Kara Shay Thompson was a strikingly haunted figure in 'Erwartung'."
Mike Silverman, San Diego Union-Tribune
New York City Opera Presents Monodramas: Three Sopranos Pushed to Thrilling Extremes
"Kara Shay Thomson in her City Opera debut, sang beautifully ranging from anxiety to full erotic feeling.... Her luscious performance captures Schoenberg's musical comment on women whose character resembles Natalie Portman's in Black Swan."
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts
Who Killed This Woman's Lover? And Other Elusive Operatic Issues
"From the first phrases sung by Kara Shay Thomson, a compelling American soprano with a plush, vibrant, powerful voice, you do not know whether to pity or fear her.... Ms. Thomson was marvelous."
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Schoenberg's ERWARTUNG - New York City Opera
"Thompson sang the part with great emotional commitment and displayed a luscious warm sound that she was able to produce evenly across the range - a requirement for a part so full of jagged jumps."
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, Classical Review
At New York City Opera, Three Far-From-Monotonous Monodramas
"Formidable soprano Kara Shay Thomson gave a performance of Schoenberg's Erwartung that was flush with imagery and dramatic heft and light on the chewier notoriety that 12-tone music has gained.... If 'a gripping dramatic portrayal is now considered an essential part of a successful opera performance,' as James Levine has said, then Komsi, [Kara Shay] Thomson and Sieden all exemplify this ideal-and they delivered the goods effortlessly and hypnotically."
Olivia Giovetti, WQXR-FM
Kentucky Opera's season opener brings spectacular pleasure
"The principal glory was soprano Kara Shay Thomson's explosive, altogether astonishing Santuzza. As a young woman disgraced in her village, bearing the anguish of excommunication, Thomson acted with honest, unaffected intent. She sang powerfully, wrapping every phrase in sumptuous tone retaining its core focus no matter how far above the staff."
Andrew Adler, Courier-Journal
Aleko, Prologue to Boris Godunov 1812 Overture, Cincinnati May Festival
"The rich darkness of Thomson's lyric-soprano voice was quite attractive, smoldering in its dramatic intensity as she tossed out powerful top notes with abandon."
Charles H. Parsons, Opera News
May Festival ends with blockbuster
"In the role of Zemfira, the gypsy who spurns her old lover, Aleko, soprano Kara Shay Thomson, of Loveland, was the most exciting debut of the season. She projected an alluring presence and a luxuriant lyric voice that remained smooth all the way to her powerhouse top notes. Her love duet with the Young Gypsy ... was one of the opera's high points."
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
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