Vocalist - Baritone, Symphony Pops
Landmarks Orchestra plays all-Italian on the Esplanade

“The star of the evening was baritone Stephen Powell, who opened the concert with the Prologue to Leoncavallo’s ‘Pagliacci.’ Here and in Iago’s ‘Credo in un Dio crudel,’ from Verdi’s Otello, he commanded a full range of emotions, with a gloriously rich voice and exemplary diction. At the end of Iago’s aria, the line ‘E poi? La Morte e il Nulla’ sent chills down my spine. The last section before intermission was the finale from Act I of Puccini’s Tosca, in which Powell sang Scarpia to Barbara Shirvis’s Tosca.... Powell and Shirvis are husband and wife, and they matched each other in beauty of voice and passion. It made me wish I could hear them in the complete opera.”

Jeffrey Gantz, Boston Globe
La Favorite – Caramoor Festival

“Vocally, the evening was dominated by Stephen Powell as Alphonse — the richest and most fully drawn character, who is a clear model for Ernani’s regal Carlo. Powell exuded authority while using his fine sense of line and genuinely beautiful baritone to dispense Donizettian elegance, including a trill, true pitch and nuanced dynamics.”

David Shengold, Opera News
CARMINA BURANA – Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus

“The baritone Stephen Powell sang with force, an assured tone and lots of character, inhabiting his solos as if he were on the opera stage. He brought sulfurous anger to his first solo in the Tavern section and a bilious pomposity, complete with staggering and a well-timed hiccup, to the song of the Abbot of Cockaigne.”

David Fleshler, Miami Herald
SWEENEY TODD - Virginia Opera

“In the title role, Stephen Powell’s commanding work started with his intensely focused look, which suggested a single glance could have turned Sweeney’s enemies into stone, had there not been a more elaborate plan in mind. The baritone’s dark, solid voice and wonderfully animated phrase-sculpting were matched to an affecting portrayal of the tormented soul.”

Tim Smith, Opera News
Atlanta Symphony returns to loud ovation

“Baritone Stephen Powell’s stentorian invocation to sing was bold and on target.”

Mark Gresham, Arts Atlanta
Kraemer opens MOB season with well-tempered Mozart

"The vocal end was especially well-served Monday with a finely balanced quartet … [which included] baritone Stephen Powell.”

Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Virginia Opera's gloomy, surprisingly moving 'Sweeney Todd'

“As Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, baritone Stephen Powell was superb as Sondheim’s hulking, brooding, working-class anti-hero. Throughout most of the evening his troubled face was a mask of anguish, revealing the kind of intense, personal suffering that only death can end. His deep, commanding baritone focused the action whenever he appeared on stage and his diction was nearly flawless—a superb, memorable performance.”

Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News
'Sweeney Todd' at Virginia Opera Company

“Stephen Powell is a brooding, powerful Sweeney, who manages to maintain the Barber’s bitter stoicism while being expressive and engaging.... Both Mr. Powell and Ms. Pancella [Mrs. Lovett] avoid the trap of caricature, instead singing their parts with a grounded humanity that belies their unthinkable acts, as in the Act One ending ‘A Little Priest.’”

Michael Poandl, DC Metro
Va. Opera's 'Sweeney Todd' rides on operatic voices, despite miking

“The baritone who played the title role [is] Stephen Powell. Much is written about opera singers and acting, and whether they can or can’t act, and whether, if they can do it, they can really sing: Powell is one of the rare birds who truly, and excellently, does both. His voice is powerful and dark; his spoken delivery was less stilted than I’ve heard from some Broadway actors in the role. And I’ve never seen Todd done better.”

Anne Midgette, Washington Post
SWEENEY TODD - Virginia Opera

“Stephen Powell, who debuted locally as Falstaff earlier, is in fine voice as the ominous barber who comes back after 15 years to seek revenge for the supposed death of his wife and abduction of his [daughter]. He looks the part, and he captures the soul-searching qualities.”

Mal Vincent, Virginian-Pilot
Opera Was in Superb Form at the Caramoor Festival Last Weekend

"[Powell's] voice is large yet lyrical, just right for the warmly romantic moments when the tragic jester allows himself to feel tender affection for his daughter. Yet Mr. Powell had plenty of power in reserve for the dramatic moments, even the fierce denunciation of the courtiers in the second act. Even then, his singing was utterly musical, with every grace note precisely on the mark, but never studied or fussy."

James Jorden, New York Observer
play your hunch

"Well, one note out of Stephen Powell‘s (Rigoletto) mouth, and you quickly understood why Crutchfield scheduled this performance. Powell was absolutely amazing—this is the Rigoletto voice we all hear in our heads as the 'ideal' Rigoletto, but never actually encounter in live performance. Powell’s baritone was rich, booming, powerful from top to bottom. He had no problems with the extreme demands of the role—he could interpolate all the traditional high notes (at the end of 'Pari siamo,' 'Si vendetta,' and the final 'Maledzione') but his lower register had a rich, organ-like resonance.

"He could make his voice do anything—he could turn it into a nasty snarl when he was at court, or he could sound tender and heartbroken. He could even trill. He was wonderfully expressive, and really gave us a completely towering, three dimensional portrayal. Bravo to Stephen Powell for proving that yes, there are still baritones who can really sing Rigoletto."

Parterre Box
Will Crutchfield Conducts 'Rigoletto' at Caramoor

“The title role of Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ is one of the great Jekyll and Hyde operatic characters: a man of manipulative sneer in public and tender paternal love in private. His dual personalities were aptly illuminated at Caramoor on Saturday evening in a powerful performance by the baritone Stephen Powell.... Mr. Powell imbued his interpretation with a bel canto aesthetic, singing with beautiful legato, smooth and mellifluous timbre and a rich dynamic palette. His range of vocal colorings and shadings rendered potent the conflicting personality elements of snarky jester and tender father, especially vital in a semi-staged performance that had limited physical movement.”

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
Minnesota Chorale helps close Minnesota Orchestra's shortened season

“Of the soloists, baritone Stephen Powell had the most to do and delivered the most sonorous and nuanced performance.”

William Randall Beard, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota Orchestra offers a big, big farewell to short season

“Helping on that account was baritone Stephen Powell, who used his ample operatic experience to deliver each splendidly sung solo as if it were coming from the mouth of a different vividly drawn character.”

Rob Hubbard, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Review: 'La Traviata' from Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

“Alfredo’s father [is] sung with rich conviction by Stephen Powell … as he pleads with his son to return home.”

Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Phil takes you to 1920s Paris with a new La Traviata

“Stephen Powell plays the role [Germont] with an imposing baritone, completing this dynamic trio of leads.”

Esteban Meneses, Orlando Weekly
Suspenseful Last Note for a Tribute to Britten

“The baritone Stephen Powell brought a robust voice, crisp diction and sober directness to his singing of the Owen poems.”

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Atlanta Symphony and Chorus shine a light darkly on Britten's "War Requiem"

“The baritone Stephen Powell sang with robust, crackling tone and brought excellent narrative instinct to the text. A clear and floating top register served him well, but it was his imposing and ominous sonority that made him a force in this performance. His powerful singing of [poet Wilfred] Owen’s description of an artillery piece gave the brass and chorus room to spit fire in the ‘Dies irae.’”

Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review
California Dreaming

“Remember City Opera’s 2003 ‘pregnant Lucia’ staging, in which only Stephen Powell’s Enrico did the music full justice? Happened again here, due to his combination of oakish resonance, flexibility, and fine diction.”

David Shengold, Gay City News
Lucia di Lammermoor - Los Angeles Opera
“Stephen Powell, as the brother, was a believable villain with an excellent baritone voice.”
Juliet Schoen, Malibu Times
A Dream Lucia Gives LA Opera a Magical Success
“From the onset, baritone Stephen Powell as Enrico showed strength in voice and stature. An ultimate and secure professional, he sang ‘Cruda, funesta smania’ with distinction and was a commanding presence throughout.”
Carol Jean Delmar, Opera Theater Ink
L.A. Opera's 'Lucia di Lammermoor' sweeps away resistance
“Opposing him [Edgardo], dynamic for dynamic and confrontation with confrontation, was Pennsylvania baritone Stephen Powell as a powerhouse Enrico, excellently even in range, and actually sensitive to the havoc he was causing his sister because of the desperate political need to save the Lammermoor line as well as, not so incidentally, his own position.”
Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times
A Haunting and Magnificent Lucia di Lammermoor at LA Opera
“With his silky baritone, Stephen Powell portrayed the vengeful Enrico with the imperiousness demanded of the role. As Lucia’s brother, a man willing to sacrifice his sister for personal gain, Enrico is one of opera’s most villainous characters. Yet with his vocal shadings and his depth of tone, Powell manages to make Enrico’s inhumanity almost comprehensible.”
Jane Rosenberg, Seen and Heard International
San Diego Opera's 'Pagliacci' Stands On Its Own
“In his first ever appearance in the role of Tonio, [Stephen Powell] captured the audience’s attention with his vocal beauty and brilliance from the opening note of the difficult Prologue - a tour-de-force for any baritone - to his final, ‘La Commedia è finita!’ His highly nuanced rendering of the tormented hunchback vividly presented the dark, conflicted character’s desires for love and revenge.”
Erica Miner, Broadway World
“Stephen Powell sounded terrific as Tonio. His rich, resonant baritone voice filled the theater. The malevolent nature of his character was never in doubt.”
James Chute, San Diego Union-Times
Top five performing arts events of 2013
"The Virginia Opera has had its financial troubles this year but that didn't stop the struggling company from mounting a superb production of Verdi's last opera. Led by the blustery Stephen Powell in the role of the philandering knight, the production was mirthful and musically excellent.”
David Nicholson, Daily Press
Virginia Opera's 'Falstaff' has everything necessary for great opera buffa

“It may be that, at least for opera buffa, all you need to put on a great show is a first-rate lead.... The Virginia Opera’s new production of Falstaff, Verdi’s last opera, has … Stephen Powell, with his big, expressive and agile baritone voice, as a rollicking but dissolute Sir John Falstaff.”

Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post
Virginia Opera production of Verdi's 'Falstaff' is great fun

“Baritone Stephen Powell had an interesting take on Sir John Falstaff as he morphed his character from a snooty, dismissive actor into the very person of Sir John himself, demonstrating his genuinely sophisticated acting chops. Vocally, Mr. Powell has a dominant, authoritative instrument but capably works falsetto and humorous tics into his routine as well. He is quite simply a marvelous, fully realized Falstaff, which is, after all, what this opera needs: a vain buffoon who’s bigger, fatter, and more outrageous than life. With a Falstaff like Mr. Powell, everything else in the production pretty much falls into place.”

Terry Ponick, Washington Times
Opera review: 'Falstaff'

“‘Falstaff’ requires performers as adept at acting as they are at singing. That’s where Lawless’ production succeeds, beginning with the wonderful introspection that baritone Stephen Powell brings to the title character. His Falstaff is just as foolish as Shakespeare’s King Lear, but this is foolishness raised to a majestic level.”

Roy Proctor, Richmond Times-Dispatch
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