AS SUzuki IN Madama Butterfly at Glyndebourne Festival
". . . the supporting honours were easily stolen by Elizabeth DeShong's angry and vocally sumptuous little Suzuki. . . "
The Sunday Times of London
"In terms of the singing, the star of the evening was the Suzuki of Elizabeth de Shong, whose vivid characterization and magnetic phrasing engaged us in every one of her scenes – not that she hogged the limelight, far from it, but so convincing was her acting and so engrossing her singing that one saw this character in a new light."
"Thereafter, thankfully, Miskimmon's production has been improved through revision. The ensuing house scenes now make dramatic sense and are glued into place by a performance of vocal beauty and heartbreaking commitment from American mezzo Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki, the maid who sees the implications of everything that befalls her fragile mistress. DeShong shines here as she did last year for the Royal Opera; possibly even more so, since here she serves a very different Butterfly."
"Elizabeth DeShong’s Suzuki was more striking – a rock of sanity and compassion, with a voice of superb authority."
"Elizabeth DeShong, a mezzo who has sung Cenerentola, is sheer luxury as Suzuki...”
The Arts Desk
"By far, the best performance of the evening came from Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki, her plummy tones and cavernous chest register making a strong aural impact, her acting oozing sincerity from every pore."
"A wonderfully strong and convincing Suzuki by Elizabeth DeShong, "
"Loyally at her side, with a full life's experience, is companion Suzuki, US mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong bringing the first-night house down with her heart-felt, soulful tone."
"The loudest applause of the night was reserved for Elizabeth DeShong’s Suzuki who so impressed in the role at the ROH last year; we were ever aware of DeShong’s presence, even when she was silent, and the slightest of vocal utterances intimated great strength of character, feeling and loyalty, qualities released by the expansive of her vocal contribution in the Act 2 flower duet and in her Act 3 exchanges with the Pinkertons where her mezzo-soprano plummeted with real pain."
". . . Elizabeth DeShong’s dark-toned Suzuki comes across like the authentic voice of old Japan."
"Elizabeth DeShong, sounding darkly sumptuous, is a Suzuki to be reckoned with. . . "
"Elizabeth DeShong, as the faithful Suzuki, grows in stature, coming into her own in Act Two with a chocolate-torte contralto of tremendous power that works well in the poignant flower duet."
"There’s strong singing, too, from Joshua Guerrero’s two-timing Lt. Pinkerton, Elizabeth DeShong’s outstanding Suzuki and Michael Sumuel’s sympathetic Sharpless."
The Daily Mail
". . . a magnificent Suzuki from Elizabeth DeShong. . .
"The finest performance was that of Elizabeth DeShong, kindly, angry, desperate as the maid Suzuki, with fervent, resonant low notes. "
AS Arsace IN Semiramide at The Metropolitan Opera
"Elizabeth DeShong sang with lovely, well-rounded tone and fine technique in the trouser role of Arsace, who becomes an instrument of revenge after learning he is Semiramide and Nino's son."
The Financial Times
"As Arsace, the Assyrian commander whom Semiramide chooses to marry before learning she is his mother, the mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong has her first really major turn at the Met, which hasn’t seemed to know what to do with her talent. Her voice is more clarinet than trumpet, but it’s agile, even and velvety."
The New York Times
"That said, the true star of the night was Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace. From the first note to her last, she suited the vocal lines perfectly. The coloratura was pure and clean at all moments, and she seemed to be exploring its expressive qualities throughout. In her opening aria, it took on a more gentle touch as Arsace thought of Azema. In the confrontation with Assur, the voice was more accented, exploring the tension and hatred Arsace feels for Assur. In moments with Semiramide, it took on a nobler quality, the voice filling out to match Meade’s far more voluminous quality. DeShong’s lows were splendid. . . and it has a clarity that is simply stunning in its beauty."
"The American mezzo Elizabeth DeShong sings Arsace with lively color swimming in a sumptuous sound. Like Meade, she can throw her voice forward in the mask, dancing through passage work without losing a drop of tone. Her vowels live, breath and develop ever so across long florid passages, and her use of text is smart, smart, smart. She owned, tonight, the role previously sung at the Met by mezzo icon Marilyn Horne."
"And Ms. DeShong overcame a series of silly hats to rock the notably difficult part of Arsace, showing grit and determination in navigating the sometimes choppy vocal course charted for her character. This trouser part may be Ms. DeShong's breakout role, and it is well deserved."
"As the mysterious prince Arsace whom Semiramide chooses as her husband and consort until (spoiler alert!) she realizes the young man is her long-lost son, Elizabeth DeShong flung out roulades untiringly. . ."
New York Observer
"The ladies outclass their male partners. Elisabeth [sic] DeShong, who has sung Arsace previously in Bordeaux, has qualities that electrify the listener. The voice has a broad range and unfolds easily, the top notes trumpet, and the bass resonates with the necessary heft to make the heroism of her character credible. Bel Canto alchemy does the rest. Dizzying variations and held notes, put this mezzo in the footsteps of her illustrious predecessors."
"The loudest curtain call was for Elizabeth DeShong. Her plush mezzo plumbs the depths and soars on high, never missing a single demisemiquaver. Her 'Da quel giorno' aria and cabaletta is refinement itself, with silky supple softness, yet fire where flames must burn. In the soft singing department, perhaps the evening’s loveliest moment is her tender mother-son recognition duet with Semiramide, though its spectacular cabaletta ratchets up the volume along with the excitement."
AS SUzuki IN Madama Butterfly at the Royal opera
"As Suzuki, Elizabeth DeShong, so luxuriously rich a mezzo and with formidable acting skills, was emotionally convincing and heartrendingly dignified."
"But if we are looking for sheer excellence among the smaller roles, it is to Suzuki we should go. In a sense it was just as well Jaho was on such fine form as American mezzo Elizabeth DeShong would have upstaged many. Perfectly focused voice coupled with true identification with both words (held within faultless diction) and dramatic situation meant her every gesture and sound were significant. I do hope to hear more from her (this was her Royal Opera debut, and a triumph)."
Seen and Heard International
"Making her ROH debut American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong exhibited a wonderfully glossy lower register as a fierce, loyal Suzuki, animated of manner and voice; Carlo Bosi’s self-important, guileful Goro suffered the sharp end of her tongue. I’d like to see much more of DeShong at the ROH."
"But if Jaho is superb, Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki is outstanding. She has a deep mezzo voice of stunning power and beauty – I have never heard the role sung better. But she also invests the portrayal of her devotion to Butterfly with a dramatic depth that is crucially important to the plot. Without it, there is a danger that Butterfly’s foolish love for Pinkerton makes her look pathetic rather than tragic. Here Suzuki’s powerful support allows Butterfly to show a resilient and determined side. And when Suzuki knocks the marriage broker, Goro, to the ground I was worried she really had injured him!"
Plays To See
"Elizabeth DeShong, making her Royal Opera debut, was a terrific Suzuki, her ripe, plum-toned mezzo fabulously dark in its lowest register. She turned on Carlo Bosi's wheedling marriage-broker with real venom and the Flower Duet with Jaho was beyond sublime."
AS Adalgisa IN NORMA at Lyric Opera of Chicago
"The Adalgisa of mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong enlightens and enlivens the story’s limp arc with vocal and emotional depth, the range of each seemingly insuperable; she is the Marilyn Horne of our time."
"DeShong’s rich mezzo-soprano fits the part of Adalgisa convincingly, and her first-act duet with Norma “Sola, furtiva al tempio,” was memorable."
Seen and Heard International
"Ryan Opera Center alumna Elizabeth DeShong delights as Adalgisa. A mezzo-soprano whose voice matches Radvanovsky’s for sheer agility and technique, but with a lighter touch, DeShong deftly portrays the role of a young priestess caught between love and devotion."
Stage and Cinema
"Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong brings all the goods providing a stupendous Adalgisa. Her low notes are smoky and rich while her upper range is full of silver."
Hyde Park Herald
"The same could be said of Norma’s antagonist Adalgisa, gloriously portrayed by Ryan Opera Center alumnus turned international sensation, Elizabeth DeShong. An exceptionally expressive mezzo-soprano, her portrayal of the novice priestess who unwittingly falls in love with Pollione is heartbreaking, and her duets with Radvanovsky are heavenly."
Chicago Stage Review
"DeShong prowls the stage like a predator, and her amazingly husky contralto register simply has to be heard. Her duets with Radvanovsky were the vocal highlights of the night: the two seem to sing from one lung, the articulation and phrasing consistently in tune and glued tight."
"Ms. Radvanovsky’s Norma is met full on by an exquisite Elizabeth DeShong as Adalgisa. Their Act Two duet is radiant."
Theater and Film
as Calbo in Maometto II at Canadian Opera Company
"And Crocetto’s Anna, as wonderful as it was, competed for attention with the amazing mezzo of Elizabeth DeShong, playing, as a trouser role, Calbo, a Venetian General, and Anna’s would-be beau. What a sound DeShong made all evening! She reminded us that a mezzo- soprano is merely a soprano with an enhanced lower range, so that DeShong traversed an enormous vocal compass in her part, with a thrilling timbre throughout. Her second act aria, reminding Anna’s father of his daughter’s loyalty, was a staggering show stopper."
Toronto Globe and Mail
"But it was the fourth principal, mezzo Elizabeth DeShong, who virtually stole the show as Calbo. Her Act Two aria with its two-plus octave range and incredible fioritura brought the house down, the first true ovation of the evening. "
"The quartet is rounded out by Liz DeShong as Calbo. It's her first heroic pants role we are told and all I can say is that the heroic pants fit pretty well. Consistently excellent, she brought the house down with her big Act 2 number Non temer: d'un basso affetto."
. . . "mezzo soprano Elizabeth DeShong, as Calbo, is mesmerizing."
"DeShong executed intricate coloratura passages with seemingly effortless agility. This agility, combined with a deep, fruity tone was truly awe-inspiring."
Mooney on Theatre
“All four principals had great moments, although I think that DeShong had the loudest applause."
“Even more impressive was Elizabeth DeShong as Calbo, a bellicose Venetian general with a human side. Barring a return to the stage by Marilyn Horne, there could be no better demonstration of the viability of a woman in a heroic male role. Vibrant tone, pyrotechnic technique, intense stage presence, spot-on-diction: this American mezzo- soprano has it all.”
“Superb is the performance given by Elizabeth DeShong: no better vocal virtuosity can be asked for the challenging role of Calbo.”
Stars of Lyric Opera at millennium Park
"DeShong was luminous, her burnished mezzo an aural splendor and Rossini's vocal demands were all surmounted with aplomb."
Chicago Classical Review
" She had the vocal beauty, range, and agility for Cinderella's coloratura showpiece, "Non piu mesta."
AS HERMIA IN BRITTEN’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM AT Aix-en-Provence
"Shakespeare's hapless, hopeless lovers are just as well matched. Rupert Charlesworth as Lysander is the brooding romantic, all flowing locks and charm, in contrast to John Chest's boyish Demetrius, while Leyla Claire's maypole Helena is the perfect foil for Elizabeth DeShong's acorn-like Hermia. All four voices blend together or grate against one another with shrewdly judged musicality. DeShong in particular throws some thrilling vocal acrobatics at her character without a trace of shame or restraint."
"Elizabeth DeShong's Hermia must be singled out for a juicy projection of her mezzo lines..."
"Les deux couples qui s’éparpillent dans la forêt ensorcelée charment par la qualité des voix ; Rupert Charlesworth, John Chest et Layla Claire sont passés par l’Académie Européenne de Musique, et Elizabeth DeShong déploie un très beau mezzo."
Rosina in Rossini's Barber of Seville at Los Angeles Opera
"This was an exuberant production. The opening scene was a bit staid, but when Elizabeth DeShong took the stage as Rosina, things really heated up. Her mezzo-soprano is rare and contradictory phenomenon. In size and range it suggests that she would be most at home in the dramatic roles of late nineteenth-century Italian opera; in its contralto depths, in particular, the voice is utterly thrilling. DeShong also has the agility normally associated with more contained voices, and this allows her to carry her ample tones easily over her entire range. She is also an admirably forthright actor, with a flair for strong characterization. There was no doubt who would be wearing the trousers in this marriage; this Rosina was no tragic Countess in training. The marvelous amplitude of DeShong’s voice had the potential to reduce the voices of the singers around her, but fortunately they responded to the challenge she set them with vigor."
"The news is Elizabeth DeShong, making her L.A. Opera debut as Rosina.
The young mezzo-soprano from Pennsylvania attracted attention two years ago when she was a soloist in a Bach cantata that Gustavo Dudamel conducted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has since won raves for her Rossini in Vienna and London.
She's clearly earned them for her combination of autumnal richness and easy flexibility."
Los Angeles Times
"But I’m really here to sing the praises of Elizabeth DeShong. Having already sampled her art from the DVD of Lucrezia Borgia from San Francisco I was keeping some very high hopes in check for her LA Opera debut as Rossini’s Rosina. I needn’t have worried. It’s a plum-ripe, juicy mezzo with thunder on the top and her coloratura is full power with no “ha-ha-ha-ha” aspirations. Her vocal production is seamless and she is never off the breath (even in a couple spots where I would have liked her to be as in “…ma” in “Una voce poco fa.”) She was unfailingly nuanced in everything she did and is an adroit comedian, especially when disposing of the thrown kisses of her guardian. I want to hear her in all of the Rossini travesti roles now and eagerly await her Italiana Isabella."
". . . Elizabeth DeShong’s Rosina was a gleaming presence – her feisty character burst through with every note of her brilliant coloratura. Her disgust for Bartolo was palpable in every scene, as was her girlish delight in Lindoro."
Seen and Heard International
"The role of Rosina, written for a lower female voice (mezzo-soprano), was in years past performed in a revised score to accommodate the ranges of lyric coloratura sopranos, whose training at that time better accommodated the fireworks of the aria Una voce poco fa.
In my interview with her [Rising Stars – An Interview with Elizabeth DeShong] in response to my question about singing roles in operas by Rossini and Donizetti, she spoke of the differences, but also stated their operas “all require you to use every tool in your vocal toolbox . . . agility, seamless quality throughout your range, endless colors, breath control, etc. in order to make the characters and music come to life.”
In fact, the resources of DeShong’s “vocal toolbox” were evident throughout the evening. DeShong’s big aria was brilliantly sung, and she acted convincingly, displaying, as a Rosina must, the determination to assert her independence and to have her way."
" It was DeShong as Rosina who was the most consistently forceful, bursting forth on the intricate bel-canto passages with a rich and powerful but also radiantly lovely tone."
"He was matched by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong. With a substantial sound, her voice seems almost too weighty for the young Rosina, the passionate and playful object of Almaviva’s adoration. But her sound is so beautiful in its warmth and complexity and her technique so flawless that all preconceptions are forced aside. She is a joy to hear. Fabulous!"
"Rosina is played by American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, a rising star who is extremely impressive with her command of coloratura, vocal trills and controlled dynamics. She demonstrated her ability to skip from coy and delicate to fierce and forceful in an instant."
Culture Spot LA
"Almost all of the cast members are LA Opera regulars. There is one exception-- Elizabeth DeShong, the mezzo-soprano who plays Rosina, makes her LA Opera debut. She has such ease, as well as strength, in her voice. And is a lovely full-toned voice, as well. She also has complete mastery over the bel canto style. She creates a funny, petulant character who is charismatic and hard not to watch, even with all the antics going on around her by the male characters."
"American mezzo soprano Elizabeth DeShong, in her LA Opera debut, was the star of the night and scored a triumph as Rosina, seemingly doomed to marry the elderly Doctor Bartolo, but pining for the young, handsome Lindoro (the Count in one of many disguises). DeShong was vocally brilliant from rich low tones to a gleaming top, and was a deft comedienne as well. She is definitely an artist to watch."
Arts Beat LA
"And let us bow to a glorious discovery with the alluring mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania in an illustrious debut that’s not to be missed.
So where in the dickens is Selinsgrove, having presented us with this thrilling artist?"
Beverly Hills Courier
"The highlight and saving grace of the show is without a doubt
Elizabeth DeShong in her L.A. Opera debut as Rosina. The American mezzo-soprano brought the most vibrance, life and personality to the stage, acting the part of both
love-struck woman and belligerent girl with as much skill as she sang the role's notoriously taxing arias."
EDGE Los Angeles
"Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, in her company debut, vaults all of Rosina’s vocal hurdles with aplomb, the depth and creaminess of her voice evident at speed as well as altitude."
Orange County Register
"Elizabeth DeShong is new to Los Angeles, but she has already sung major mezzo-soprano coloratura roles at Covent Garden [sic], the Metropolitan and the Vienna State Operas. The possessor of a distinctive timbre, her waves of vocal color filled the hall with beauty."
"Despite these shortcomings, Barber has some standout performances, in particular mezzo-soprano DeShong, who handles Rosina’s songs with grace and virtuosity."
Los Angeles Downtown News
"Likewise, though we are used to hearing Rosina sung as a soprano, the role was originally written for a mezzo and Elizabeth DeShong's coloratura is virtuosic and lovely without ever upstaging the merriment around her."
" I especially enjoyed the humor created by Alessandro Corbelli when the good Doctor Bartolo begins snoring during Rosina's lovely recital, gloriously performed by Elizabeth DeShong sitting atop a white piano."
As Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Metropolitan Opera
“Conlon also shepherded a breakout performance from Elizabeth DeShong as Hermia. DeShong was an unstoppable presence. Others have gone all out with the acting, both comic and plaintive, but DeShong combined it with one of the finest new voices to be heard at the Met – plummy and rounded but nonetheless with reliability of rhythm.”
-William R. Braun, Opera News
“The quartet of misbegotten human lovers was wonderful: the tenor Joseph Kaiser as Lysander, the baritone Michael Todd Simpson a resonant Demetrius, the soprano Erin Wall bright-voiced as Helena and, most memorably, Elizabeth DeShong as Hermia, her mezzo-soprano creamy and her acting memorable in slapstick and heartache.”
-Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
“The lovers’ music is often warm and sensuous, with a bit of colorful drama when the sisters fight. The sense of lush overflow when the four finally reconcile and appreciatively drink in each others’ affection is a highlight of the performance. All sing with fresh, opulent voices, with Elizabeth DeShong a standout as a vocally sumptuous Hermia.”
-Ronni Riech, The Star-Ledger
“…DeShong, as the forgotten love Hermia, was of particular note for her flexible, incredibly rich mezzo voice.”
-Sophia Vastek, The Classical Review
“In Benjamin Britten’s centennial year, the Met revives Tim Albery’s strange, hypnotic production of the composer’s intimate “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The staging walks the line between childlike and childish, with straightforward costumes and oversize settings, arranged innocently askew, that have the homespun feel of a school pageant. Britten gave each of the opera’s three worlds a distinct sound—the beguiling tintinnabulations of the fairy realm, the ripe lyricism of the young lovers, the bumbling farce of the rustics—which the conductor James Conlon realizes beautifully. Lestyn Davies’s bright, ethereal Oberon, Elizabeth DeShong’s plummy Hermia, and Matthew Rose’s larger than life, firmly sung Bottom anchor the cast, but Barry Banks, the most delightful ham on two legs, delivers Flute’s eleven-o’clock number with undeniable appeal.”
-The New Yorker
Bach Cantata No. 60, O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort with
Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic
“Using a small orchestra Dudamel nicely negotiated between opposing schools of Bach performance. He allowed modern instruments to produce their luxuriant singing sounds but tempered them enough to keep counterpoint clean. The singers were expressive. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong sounded more like a full-bore, opulent alto, and wonderfully so. Tenor Benjamin Bliss and bass-baritone Kelly Markgraf, along with suave orchestral solos from violinist Nathan Cole and oboist Ariana Ghez, were all finely gauged.”
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with The Cleveland Orchestra
“While the memory of Hunt Lieberson remains closely attached to the Neruda settings, the gifted young mezzo Elizabeth DeShong gave a mesmeric performance. Exuding glamour, DeShong spanned the score’s wide vocal range in dusky tones, her rich low notes and wild upward leaps strongly enunciated. She conveyed the text’s vivid drama, registering mood swings from nervous agitation to passionate declarations of love and, finally, acceptance of loss. A superb singing actress, DeShong seemed to live the music and text, imparting her own stamp on a remarkable score.”
-Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
“Anyone familiar with Hunt Lieberson’s incomparable artistry, with her natural gift for phrasing melodic lines and dynamic shaping, would understand the enormity of the shoes Mezzo- soprano Elizabeth DeShong had to fill for this performance. With a deep but tender, powerful but soothing voice, and a vast palette of musical colors, DeShong more than did both Mr. and Mrs. Lieberson justice. It was an intimate rendition, becoming apparent that Ms. DeShong understands that Neruda Songs are filled with a sort of delicate passion and peace made with the loss of a loved one.”
-Fernando Landeros, Artburst
“The round and rich voice of mezzo Elizabeth DeShong navigated this five movement piece, fraught with beauty and dissonance, illuminating the different phases of love and loss. From the opening arpeggios, the oboe and clarinet apparently following DeShong, the first 2 movements were highlighted with lush strings in a slow dance, courting the mezzo, sparkling orchestral flair-ups turning and swirling around her. DeShong, vocally pure from bottom to top, became prayer-like in the third, crescendoed in the fourth, and in the melodic fifth, cresting and falling toward a stirring conclusion, recited “amore” as the orchestra finished with a long satisfying chord.”
-Steve Gladstone, miamiartzine.com