Lecuona and De Falla
(Symphony of the Americas)

The smoky voiced Australian soprano Dona Balson offered two emotion tinged arias from De Falla's one act opera La Vida Breve, sung with impassioned fervor. Balson's lustrous version of Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix from Saint-Saens' Samson and Deliah was a wonderful bonus. Opulent of voice and intensely expressive, Balson was appropriately seductive.                     The evening's piece de resistance was a reconstruction of Ernesto Lecuona's 1931 cantata Del Manglar. This is a striking work, harmonically adventurous and rhythmically exciting. The soprano solos are sensuous while the third movement La Conga de media noche is a piano solo both elegant and virtuosic. Lecuona pulled out all the stops for a finale of true vocal and instrumental abandon, music of great color and excitement. Balson soared in the heroine's voluptuous arias. Tirino brought stylish evocation to the important piano part and Brooks-Bruzzese drew high octane playing from the orchestra, generating real excitement. This worthy score deserves additional performances. Lecuona is known for a few short pieces. His large scale instrumental works and zarzuelas reveal a composer of dazzling originality who was very much in touch with the musical crosscurrents of his time. Music and Vision: http://www.mvdaily.com/2010/12/cani.htm.

Graham Ashton and Friends
(Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, USA)

 The Embassy Series concert Friday evening at the Embassy of Australia was an absolute jewel of a concert. The performers were highly talented, the music was delightful,... It was the inevitable richness of riches (featuring) Graham Ashton’s astonishingly skilled trumpet performance and Donna Balson’s equally celebratory singing.- www.allartsreview4u.com   
  

La Forza Del Destino
(Canterbury Opera, New Zealand)

“This is an opera of set piece tableaux, culminating in Leonora's Pace Pace mio Dio. Just this aria would justify the ticket price with Donna Balson in superlative form...Here was vocal acting at its best, with expression and colour in abundance” - The Canterbury Press

The great success was the Leonora of Donna Balson. Not only was her voice even, firm and warm, but she also filled her role visually and histrionically. Her several arias were impressive and her performance seemed to gain in intensity and emotion till her great ‘Pace, pace, mio Dio’.” - New Zealand Opera News

“Donna Balson, as Leonora, performed a huge role with attractive musical radiance”
- The Christchurch Star

“the leads – in particular the fearsome Australian soprano Donna Balson – were outstanding”
- Canta Magazine, University of Canterbury

“Of the principals,…..Donna Balson (Leonora) delivered the goods, making an impressive début in the role. Her pleasing voice met the demands of the wide vocal range with assurance and expressive colour.” - New Zealand Listener Magazine

“Donna Balson's Leonora showed great musicality throughout, reaching great heights in her aria 'Cruda sventura' in the final scene” - The Opera Critic

“A towering rendition of Leonora by Donna Balson whose effortless power from her one finely integrated voice completely dominated all the solo singing. How well she conveyed Leonora’s disquiet over her uncertain future and her remorse over her duplicity with her father in the opening. Her closing aria had that genuine poignant limp of a dying person. Verdi’s great masterpiece …. relied … on one person – a towering Leonora from Australian soprano Donna Balson.” – Opera- Opera, Australia

Tosca
(Canterbury Opera, New Zealand)
“(In) the showstopper Vissi D’arte Balson flared it out to a radiant credo…, then climaxed it with an outburst of intense grief. This was a finely interpreted performance. The, when Scarpia rushed to embrace (her), Balson knifed him, singing with visceral venom, “This is the kiss of Tosca”, she was a leonine fireball.” The Press, Christchurch

“Donna Balson (Tosca) gave a finally rounded portrayal, switching from fine singing to impassioned “speech” as the work demanded. Her portrayal of Tosca as vulnerable and almost girlish in the first act set the stage nicely for the switch in tone as the opera moves to its dark climax.

The fact that the final suicide in the opera – hardly a surprise in a much-loved 100-year-old work – could still draw a gasp from the audience is a testament to the fine ability of Balson to engage the audience, both as an actress and a singer” Canterbury Star

“The diva, Floria Tosca, was played to perfection by soprano Donna Balson, who bears an uncanny resemblance vocally to that most celebrated Tosca, Maria Callas. It was as though the audience knew what every gesture meant, the sign of a great actress, and then there was the voice!” The Opera Critic

Verdi Requiem
(Tuscon Symphony)

“All the soloists impressed, but especially tenor Robert Breault and soprano Donna Balson, both of whom sang with deep commitment and exhilharation.” – Arizona Daily Star

Verdi Requiem
(Prague Symphony Orchestra)

“The soprano Donna Balson showed lyric suppleness, particularly in the upper register. Wonderful the “requiem aeternum” in the finale, where she floated feather-light through the most tender pp. She thrilled the audience also with the final ascent culminating in the high C.” – Lorscher Tagespresse.

“Amongst four outstanding soloists, the Australian soprano Donna Balson dazzled with lyrical belcanto.” Rhein-Main Presse

Cambiale di Matrimonio -Rossini
(Frankfurter Kammeroper)

“The star of the evening is Donna Balson as Fanny, an audacious little beast like a marionette with a well-controlled beautifully clear voice.” -Frankfurter AIlgemeine Zeitung

Clarke Songs
(Long Beach Opera at the Getty Museum, LA)

“We heard one of the more substantial voices we’ve heard from the company recently, in the person of Donna Balson. Her instrument is truly impressive, with tremendous support in the lower registers, giving her soprano its wide range in expressing her thoughtful reading.”-Beverly Hills Outlook

“Soloist Donna Balson, an Australian soprano making her local debut, sang five songs, each delivered with great poise and excellent diction. In her final two songs, Balson shined as Clarke's music gave her the chance to sing and act. They almost sounded like arias. Let's hope that Long Beach and Balson's next collaboration will be a true opera. It appears it's what they do best.” Los Angeles Times

“Five songs, set to texts by British poets followed, with soprano Donna Balson in Victorian dress. Balson was able to convey, with her clear and resonant voice, and the simple acting, the depth of feeling of these richly varied works.” – LA Press-Telegram

Les Noces -Stravinsky
(Seymour Group, Sydney)

“Donna Balson was splendid -she really seized the barbaric element of the piece and she did so full-bloodedly.” - Sydney Sun Herald

“Donna Balson stole most of the vocal limelight, rising to any and all challenges magnificently and with seaming ease, conveying admirably the almost barbaric emotional excitement that is so fundamental to this work.” - Opera Australia

One Pearl - Alison Bauld
(Seymour Group, Sydney)
"Australian composer Alison Bauld's 1973 work for soprano and string quartet.... Text and music treat the solitary character as an icon - abstract and stylised. The sound of the accompanying string quartet.....provides a halo for the vocal part which is sometimes sprechgesang, sometimes more flowing, sometimes with a slow, studied vibrato, sometimes an oscillating ululation. The singer all the while strikes deliberate poses like a Thai statuette: Donna Balson did it all with skill and conviction." - Sydney Morning Herald

"A fine performance, indeed a superb one, by Donna Balson lent strength to the work" - The Australian

"Balson handled its stylised presentation with the delicacy it deserved" - Sun Herald


Canti di vita e d'amore -Nono
(Het Residentie-Orkest, Den Haag)

“I wanted to inform you how extremely satisfied we were with Donna Balson as soloist. She was really wonderful; she sang with an intensity, beauty and just pitch that took hold of the audience as I seldom have been witness of.” - Dr H.B. van der Meer, Managing Director, het Residentie-Orkest Den Haag

In concert -Strauss, Walton, Mozart, Puccini - Sydney
“Highly passionate singing from Donna Balson made one think of the young Maria
Callas, and was received with tumultuous applause from the audience.” - Daily Telegraph, Sydney

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“the leads – in particular the fearsome Australian soprano Donna Balson – were outstanding”
- Canta Magazine, University of Canterbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Amongst four outstanding soloists, the Australian soprano Donna Balson dazzled with lyrical belcanto.”
- Rhein-Main Presse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Donna Balson was splendid -she really seized the barbaric element of the piece and she did so full-bloodedly.”
- Sydney Sun Herald


 

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