Elizabeth DeShong shimmered in the trouser role of Odoardo Douglas, the royalist brother of Malvina. The American mezzo, whose voice can plumb the darkest contralto depths, turned the extensive second act aria “Ah! Del giorno sanguinoso” into a bravura pièce de résistance. She stunningly tackled the complicated chromatic scales and coloraturas, and confidently rode out the enormous range demands of an aria that was reminiscent of the most cruelly demanding Rossini scores.
...it was Elizabeth DeShong who was the true star. She certainly brought the house down in the astonishing (and massive) ‘Ah! del giorno sanguinoso’ in the second act. Of all singers, it was DeShong who most obviously lived the part to the maximum.
Seen and Heard International
“Elizabeth DeShong brought the house down in Act 2 with a truly death-defying aria and cabaletta “Ah! del giorno sanguinoso”, moving up and down her registers at phenomenal pace.”
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong shone with a metallic low range in the trouser role of Calbo, the hothead who urges Erisso not to surrender to the Ottomans. She had to wait until nearly the end of the second act for her showpiece, “Non temer,” and then proceeded nearly to steal the show with thrilling passagework and impressive strength on her high notes as well. She paired seamlessly with Crocetto, especially in the florid double-melisma in the Act I trio “Mira, signor.
Washington Classical Review
But it was Elizabeth DeShong as Calbo who indisputably walked off with the show. I have never heard her mellow, rounded tone more expressive, more rock solid at the extremes of her enormous range, more effortlessly nimble, or more unflappably elegant than she was on Saturday.
The Act II aria “Non temer” received showstopping applause as the most natural-fit Rossinian in the cast sang with such ease and flexibility. Especially in a role where the vocal line is consistently characterized by Fiordiligi-like jaggedness, she won the audience over and deservedly received the evening’s most overwhelming ovations.
WCO’s Maometto secondo was an evening of uniformly superb singing, but, even in such distinguished company, the Calbo of mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong was extraordinary. Created by French contralto Adèle Chaumel, who sang in Naples under the Italianized name Adelaide Comelli and married the famous tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini a year after Maometto secondo’s première, Calbo is a rôle upon which Rossini lavished particular creativity. In Act One’s Terzettone, the character is developed via pained articulations of disappointment and disbelief, voiced by DeShong with a shining top B and incredible command of the bravura writing. In DeShong’s performance, in which passages of unison fiorature in thirds were rendered with tremendous accuracy, presages of Rossini’s later music for Arsace and Semiramide and of Bellini’s duets for Adalgisa and Norma were unmistakable. This Calbo was a galvanizing presence in the terzetto with Erisso and Maometto and the final scene of Act One, every astounding feat of technique serving the character’s uncertain predicament.
Voix des Arts
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, as Bradamante, unleashed long cascades of acrobatic and terrifyingly precise coloratura.
Elizabeth DeShong slyly negotiated the gender-fluid characterization of Bradamante.
Los Angeles Opera
“DeShong dispensed the coloratura in her arias “E gelosia” and “Vorrei vendicarmi” with great bravura, and is largely impressive and convincing through the sections where the character inhabits a travesti role.”
- Parterre Box
American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, oft-heard at the Metropolitan Opera in Puccini, dived into Handel’s vocal gymnastics with accuracy and abandon for Bradamante, Ruggiero’s fiancée who lands unexpected on the island, clad as a knight. A torrent of high-speed coloratura fazed her not a bit in the thrilling ‘Vorrei vendicarmi’, expressing her frustration and fury that Ruggiero won’t believe she is who she says she is.
Seen and Heard International
Then there was Elizabeth DeShong’s Suzuki, a role she debuted with the company in 2014 and has performed 15 times in total since. Suzuki spends a lot of time onstage throughout, but she doesn’t really get any major dramatic moments to herself for most of it. But when she does, DeShong made the most of them, stealing the scene vocally and dramatically. Her first vocal outburst came when she chided Goro for his rumor- mongering, her singing jagged and ferocious as she dragged him across the stage. And then there were two distinct moments in the final Act where her heart broke for Cio-Cio San and you couldn’t help but feel for her. First was her “Ahime sante degli avi!” where her voice thundered with pain as she dropped to her knees. And then a few moments later, with “Oh, me Trista!” she also blasted her sound and dropped to her knees in pain. With most singers, the repetition of that action would have felt repetitive and awkward;
DeShong delivered the moment with so much intensity that you didn’t care; you fell with her. But perhaps the most intense moment of her performance, which I related earlier, was her final interactions with Buratto during which she has to confess the truth. You could feel the inner tension in DeShong’s performance, the hesitancy coming from piannisimo singing and her frozen posture as she looked into Buratto’s eyes and broke her Cio-Cio San’s heart. Personally, I wish the Met would give her more starring roles like it did with “Semiramide” a few years ago. She is an artist of utmost integrity and quality.
– Opera Wire
As Suzuki, Elizabeth DeShong was the emotional compass to the action as the drama unfolded. DeShong lent a rocklike stoicism to Butterfly’s faithful servant through both her appearance and the deep stillness of her commanding mezzo-soprano. So different in timbre and weight, Buratto and DeShong’s voices blended perfectly in the Act II Flower Duet.
– New York Classical Review
DeShong sings leading roles like Arsace in Semiramide and brought a first-rank voice to the role rather than usual veteran house mezzo or glorified comprimaria. The rich contralto timbre powerfully communicated Suzuki’s foreboding of disaster and fierce affection for her mistress. DeShong validated the theatrical saying “There are no small roles, only small actors (or singers).
– Parterre Box
As Suzuki, Butterfly’s companion and maid, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong brought dignity and fierce empathy to the character. Her powerful, at times steely, glistening mezzo voice served her in moments of anger and intense motion as in tenderness. One could tell that she truly felt for Butterfly’s plight and would have been capable to fight to the death to protect her, if it were possible. In the Flower Duet, DeShong’s imposing voice blended beautifully with Buratto’s in soaring shimmering phrases.
– Woman Around Town
In “Saget, saget mir geschwinde” Elizabeth DeShong put across the joyful anticipation of finding Jesus in the hereafter, wielding her ample, contralto-like mezzo with striking ease and agility in Bach’s coloratura lines.
– Chicago Classical Review
This was starkly more contemplative and solemn than the luster of the preceding, not in the least owing to the mellow oboe d’amore (Anne Leek) and the huskier tone of Elizabeth DeShong’s mezzo-soprano.
The excellent cast also boasts Samuel Youn as Count Tomsky, Lucas Meachem as Prince Yeletsky, and Elizabeth DeShong as Lisa’s friend Pauline. The latter two show off their beautiful voices with intimate, tender folk songs, while Youn drives the plot forward with his powerful baritone and expressive acting, his character’s machinations goading Gherman from silent passivity to single-minded action.
– Lyric Opera of Chicago
It was rich casting to have Elizabeth DeShong as Pauline, the deep-voiced mezzo blending gratefully with Radvanovsky in their Act I duet.
– Chicago Classical Review
DeShong’s Hansel was a little more moody and much more the scallywag. Singing with rich fruity assortment and sturdy support, DeShong delved deep and chartered high with a fullness in sound that resonated impressively. When it came to having to spend the night in the forest, DeShong could just as easily shine in the softest of territory.
– Limelight Magazine
“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
“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
“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
"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."
– Opera News
"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."
– Parterre Box
". . . 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.
– Opera Warhorses
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.”
– Opera Warhorses
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."
– Opera Warhorses
" 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."
– LA Weekly
"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."
– Splash Magazine
"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."
– Opera Today
"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."
– Broadway World
"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..."
– Opera News
"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."
– La Marseillaise
"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."
– Chicago Tribune
"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. "
– Musical Toronto
"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."
– Opera Ramblings
. . . "mezzo soprano Elizabeth DeShong, as Calbo, is mesmerizing."
– Toronto Star
"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.”
– National Post
“Superb is the performance given by Elizabeth DeShong: no better vocal virtuosity can be asked for the challenging role of Calbo.”
– Corriere Canadese
"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."
– Newcity Stage
"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 Suzuki, Elizabeth DeShong, so luxuriously rich a mezzo and with formidable acting skills, was emotionally convincing and heartrendingly dignified."
– The Guardian
"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."
– Opera Today
"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."
"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."
– Opera Wire
"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."
– Zeal NYC
"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."
– Super Conductor
"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."
– Forum Opéra
"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."
– Blasting News
“ Without hesitation, we can say that THE voice of the evening is the mezzo Elizabeth DeShong: the authority of color, the reliability of the line, the evidence of the projection and the real intelligence of the role are combined in a Suzuki worthy of the greatest references in the history of opera.”
". . . 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."
– Music OMH
"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."
– The Telegraph
"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, "
– Mark Ronan
"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."
– Culture Whisper
"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."
– Opera Today
". . . Elizabeth DeShong’s dark-toned Suzuki comes across like the authentic voice of old Japan."
– The Independent
"Elizabeth DeShong, sounding darkly sumptuous, is a Suzuki to be reckoned with. . . "
– The Stage
"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."
– Classical Source
"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. . ."
– Mail Online
"The finest performance was that of Elizabeth DeShong, kindly, angry, desperate as the maid Suzuki, with fervent, resonant low notes. "
– The Guardian
"In the slow 'Lamentation' , sustained by the Santa Cecilians warm and solid strings, the US mezzo Elizabeth DeShong voiced the sorrows of Jerusalem with a striking sense of dignity and tragedy alike. She projected a sort of muscular grief. DeShong commanded the hall, and sumptuously filled it, but her strength never hardened into stridency."
– The Arts Desk
"... the work closes with a vocal setting of sections of the Biblical text, here expounded with full-toned dignity by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong."
– Financial Times
"And the final lamentation, stunningly declaimed by Elizabeth DeShong, is like a requiem for a still-unfolding catastrophe."
– The Times
"After that, the Lamentation, sung in the thrillingly intense tones of Elizabeth DeShong came like a healing balm."
– Daily Telegraph
"The third Lamentation movement is on an entirely different emotional plane. Sumptuously performed by the wonderful Elizabeth DeShong, the vocal line ranges from breathtaking pianissimi to full out rage on the climactic 'They cried unto them Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not!' DeShong is fully equal to all the demands though the aforementioned section pushes her to the limit."
“Elizabeth DeShong’s account of the final ‘Lamentation’ was expert, her full voice having no problems with the lower register. Her sound was burnished, and yet she could fly over the orchestra when required. She impressed massively in her Covent Garden debut – also with Pappano when, at the Royal Opera House, she took the role of Suzuki in Butterfly – and one hopes her career path will continue onwards as successfully.”
– Seen and Heard International
“A decade ago a young singer named Elizabeth DeShong charmed audiences at Wolf Trap as Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina. The American mezzo-soprano has gone on to perform in major houses all over the world, including reprising the same Handel role at Washington National Opera last fall. DeShong showed another side of her considerable talents in a brilliantly crafted song recital Friday night at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, presented by Vocal Arts DC. When songs by Reynaldo Hahn are the most familiar selections, a performer has clearly plumbed the repertorial depths for buried treasure.”
– Washington Classical Review
“Amid the myriad of classical music ensembles in the DC area, Vocal Arts DC provides the unique opportunity to experience art song recitals performed by up and coming and seasoned opera singers. Their choice in presenting Elizabeth DeShong, an American born mezzo-soprano whose awe-inspiring voice both rivets you with its intensity and vast array of colors, reminded everyone in attendance of the often-overlooked beauty of art song literature and the sheer marvel of the naked human voice.”
– MD Theatre Guide
"...mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong was the most vocally rich of the four soloists."
– Philadelphia Inquirer
"But DeShong’s performance was for the ages. In “Fac ut portem,” the upper range rang out brilliantly, while the lowest notes—this mezzo’s special glory—rolled out like waves of molten gold.But DeShong’s performance was for the ages. In “Fac ut portem,” the upper range rang out brilliantly, while the lowest notes—this mezzo’s special glory—rolled out like waves of molten gold."
– Parterre Box
"DeShong’s rich, rounded tone resembles Marilyn Horne at the peak of her powers."
– Broad Street Review
"Elizabeth DeShong was outstanding as the mezzo soloist. Her voice has projection and color, and is evenly produced from top to bottom. She was a perfect foil for Angela Meade in last year’s Semiramide at the Met and I’d love to see her someday as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma."
– The Cultural Critic
"And yet one left feeling that Juno was actually the work's plum role: Elizabeth DeShong, who marveled as Arsace in last season’s Met Semiramide, exhibited a huge, booming, perfectly focused sound and wicked virtuosity."
“Elizabeth DeShong provided the evening’s greatest thrills as Juno/Ino, sounding like Marilyn Horne and Stephanie Blythe—both killer in this assignment—rolled into one. Her plush, well-knit voice effortlessly filling the hall at whatever dynamic, DeShong drew highly effective and sagely inflected double portraits—tragic and comic both—without resorting to any shtick, vocal or dramatic. Breath control, legato and coloratura runs all proved flawless, in a magnificent display of Handel singing.”
– Opera News
“Who could fail to be knocked sideways by the balanced tones and glorious thrust of New York’s Clarion Choir (so aptly named), or the forceful characterisations of the mezzo Elizabeth DeShong, magnificent in her dual roles of feisty Juno and Semele’s sister?”
– The Times (London)
"As it was, Elizabeth DeShong (Ino/Juno) almost stole the show with her fruity mezzo perfectly connected to solid low notes and exemplary control of fioriture. She too made a great deal of the text and could make the audience laugh by just rolling her eyes."
– I Hear Voices
"Two recent appearances in the role of Butterfly’s maid, Suzuki, by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong - at the ROH in 2017 and at Glyndebourne DeShong - at the ROH in 2017 and at Glyndebourne last year - whetted the - appetite for her doubling up here as Ino/Juno, and we were not disappointed. Despite a spangly silver shawl, it wasn’t always clear where Ino ended and Juno began, but that was of no import. Like Handel’s genre, DeShong’s voice seems to elude definition: soprano, mezzo, contralto, it encompasses and assimilates elements of them all. The top notes tingled, and the lower inky expanses mesmerised. What wonderful layers and textures, too: plummy, honeyed, smoky, gleaming. DeShong’s range seems limitless, rising and falling, and it’s a voice that feels free but is meticulously focused. The legato phrases of ‘Turn hopeless lover’, in which Ino first expresses her unrequited love, were exquisitely sculpted but replete with burning, repressed passion. The self-congratulatory extravagances of Ino’s moment of self-determination, ‘Hence, Iris, hence away’, were bulls-eye precise and lyrically appealing - no hint of hootiness, though vigorously accented."
– Opera Today
"The standout of Sunday's singers was mezzo Elizabeth DeShong, doubling as Semele's sister Ino and Juno, Jupiter's oft-betrayed queen. The voice she brought to her dual role was spectacular, dark in its middle, with a thundering chest. This is an instrument of enormous weight, so it is astonishing to hear her navigate her many running passages so nimbly. Juno's ‘Hence, Iris hence away’, showed her in all her fierce, regal, fury, contrasting the burning power of her chest voice with dazzling coloratura."
– New York Classical Review
"Elizabeth DeShong, singing the double role of Juno and Semele’s sister Ino, took the afternoon’s vocal honors. Her opulent mezzo has contralto power in its lower range, and she embodied the comic side of Juno’s jealous rage as well as its viciousness, from her speedy accuracy in ‘Hence, Iris, hence away,’ to her sidelong glances at her victim, to her nihilistic triumphal statement: ‘Love’s a bubble / Gain’d with trouble / And in possessing dies.'"
– The Wall Street Journal
“. . . ferocity and a comic streak..."
– The New York Times
"Elizabeth DeShong took pride of place as Sesto. Completely unrecognizable in her beard and dingy armor, DeShong sang with the range, expressiveness and musical precision that captured the hysterical extremes of her character. Much of Sesto’s music lies in the cellars of De Shong’s mezzo-soprano, where the intensely deep contralto tones she commands contrasted startlingly with the dazzling coloratura runs at the top of her range.”
– Opera News
"Elizabeth DeShong dazzled in the florid runs of the trouser role, Sesto, and blended beautifully with mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven’s Annio in an Act I duet."
– The Los Angeles Times
"DeShong was a perfect Sesto who appeared to be a man and sang like the magnificent mezzo-soprano she is. She crafted a dramatically three-dimensional character who was torn between his respect for the emperor and his infatuation with Vitellia. In the opera's best known aria, "Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio" ("I go, I go, but you my love"), she showed remarkable agility as well as power and beauty of tone. With its slower tempo, her second aria, "Deh per questo istante" (" For this Moment"), explained her character's complex emotional state."
– Broadway World
"In an earlier conversation with M. Conlon, he refers to Elizabeth DeShong’s affinity for singing her lines very rapidly. Not only is she one of the most pronounced characters singing on a scale of realized depth and passion, she easily delves through her “Parto, parto” with pristine dexterity, especially when buoyed by the bubbly basset clarinet obbligato."
"Vitellia’s main counterpart in the opera, Sesto, is excellently portrayed with palpable love-struck commitment and an overwrought culpability by a bearded Elizabeth DeShong (the role was originally written for a castrato). DeShong’s Sesto is heartbreaking and sympathetic as someone who is enslaved by a strong need to please Vitellia (“Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio”), is besieged by second thoughts regarding sedition, and is ravaged by the shame of threatening the trust of Titus (“Deh, per questo istante solo”). In the latter case, especially, mezzo-soprano DeShong is magnificent at communicating the throes of desperation with her heartfelt and full-toned pleadings."
– LA Excites
"DeShong does a remarkable job filling in for an 18th-century castrato. DeShong has the most material in the show but delivers it with ease and a voice that sounds the way velvet feels. She and Taylor Raven — who plays the young patrician Annio — both exhibit refined physical character work as first-century noblemen."
– Daily Trojan
"Having enjoyed her in a number of roles now, live and on video, I was looking forward to hearing her bring her formidable technical skills to Mozart’s tormented anti-hero. She did not disappoint. Maestro Conlon, when mentioning some of the more virtuosic moments in the score in his lecture pointed out that Ms. DeShong likes to sing fast... Her “Parto, ma tu, ben mio” was a miraculous combination of breath and skill so ferocious it would be hard to better. The monumental runs at the piece’s finale were perfectly articulated, at a dizzying speed, without an over indulgence of aspirants separating the notes so her line was uncommonly clean."
– Parterre Box
"Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong was a magnificent Sesto, singing with large-scale emotions."
– Classical Voice
"Modern opera companies substitute a mezzo-soprano, and L.A. Opera’s production features a dazzler, Elizabeth DeShong, in the role of love-struck, would-be assassin, Sextus. DeShong may not tower above the cast physically, but vocally she is a tower of power. Her low notes can resonate like a growl, her high notes soar, and she can reel off coloratura ornamentation at light speed. Her showpiece aria, “Parto, parto” with its virtuoso clarinet accompaniment (performed by Stuart Clark) was stunning."
– San Francisco Classical Voice
"The most anticipated moment in any performance of “Clemenza di Tito” is Sesto’s bravura aria Parto, parto whose main section is an enchanting duet between the mezzo-soprano and a virtuoso clarinetist, and which ends with with rapid, repetitive coloratura fireworks. Pennsylvania mezzo-soprano’s Elizabeth DeShong’s performance of Parto, parto, accompanied by the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra clarinetist Stuart Clark, was a sensation greeted with thunderous applause... DeShong is one of the most-sought after mezzo-sopranos for the coloratura mezzo roles of Mozart and the Italian bel canto operatic composers, and has made a specialty of the musico roles, in which she plays young men."
– Opera Warhorses
"Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong was stellar in the pants (that fit perfectly) role of Sesto. Matching exhilarating expressive vocal variety to every change in circumstance, DeShong’s passionate and troubled Sesto deservedly earned the mercy granted by Titus. In love with Vitellia and putty in her hands, DeShong’s confidently placed ornamentations added believable bite to Sesto’s thoughts and declarations. In agreeing to murder Titus, the words “I will be what you want me to be” became heartfelt and near-tragic in DeShong’s grasp as part of one of the opera’s many gorgeous arias, “Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio”. With DeShong, Stuart Clark’s dashing, willowy basset horn accompaniment shared the spotlight."
– Opera Chaser
"Guanqun Yu's Vitellia and Elizabeth DeShong's Sesto were both spectacular... with DeShong taking her triplets in "Parto, parto" at breakneck speed."
"Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong. . . is a tower of power. Her low notes resonate like a growl, her high notes soar and she can reel off coloratura ornamentation with dulcet precision. Her showpiece aria, “Parto, parto,” with its virtuoso clarinet accompaniment (performed by Stuart Clark) was stunning."
– LA Daily News
"And DeShong’s Sesto kept drawing my attention. The big Sesto aria, “Parto, parto,” was exceptionally well done, with DeShong’s closing coloratura perfectly conveying Sesto’s delirious happiness at being granted Vitellia’s merest favoring glance. Actually, much of the aria was delivered to Vitellia’s back, one of many examples of Strassberger’s excellent clarifying staging... But the moment that most convinced me of the vividness of this production was the Accompanied Recitative “Oh Dei, che smania è questa,” Sesto’s description of the train of destruction just unleashed in Rome. I could see it all and then I realized, “There’s no-one but Sesto and nothing else on stage at this point.” It was all done in the voice and orchestra."
"While Tito is the titular role, Mozart’s greatest gifts in the opera go to Sesto, and DeShong is more than up to the task. Her delivery of rococo runs, often at a breakneck pace, were stunning, and her Act I duet with Raven is a highlight."
– Los Angeles Blade
"Best of all though is mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Sesto. Her voice is incandescent, and she was utterly riveting in “Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio” in Act I. Her Act II aria “Deh, per questo istante solo” was also a highlight of the evening. I felt lucky to hear DeShong sing this gorgeous music right in front of me."
– The Opera Tattler