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Joanne Sydney Lessner
Opera News, November 2013

In four songs by Duparc, [Lawrence Brownlee] is tender and yearning, with that indefinable edge that stirs emotion in the listener on a primal level. Particularly in “Chanson triste” and “Extase,” his sound seems to hover over the notes, hummingbird-like, with a quivering, anticipatory passion. One can hear the expectant murmur in the audience at the first notes of the intro to “Ah! mes amis…Pour mon âme,” from La Fille du Régiment. Brownlee seizes the opportunity for operatic drama and delivers, all the way through to his thrilling nine high Cs. What’s remarkable about them is that the first eight don’t break the vocal line at all, so that the uninitiated might not realize quite how high a note he’s hitting. Then he holds the final C for an impossibly long eight seconds, with no diminution in quality. The resulting bravos are well earned. He showcases his gift for fioritura in his other, equally impressive operatic turn, “Tu seconda il mio disegno,” from Il Turco in Italia.

…Moore’s songs are pleasing and capitalize on the inherent sweetness in Brownlee’s tone. Ginastera’s Cinco Canciones Populares Argentinas are a beguiling collection, allowing Brownlee to be playful in “Chacarera,” soulful in “Triste” and soothing in “Arrorró.” “Gato” finishes off the set with bravura playing by pianist Iain Burnside and another scintillating high C from Brownlee. The recording is bookended by two spirituals arranged in traditional fashion by HT Burleigh—“Deep River” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” which Brownlee performs with simplicity and clarity.

It’s hard to imagine a collection of spirituals more artfully and impassionedly performed than these. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review



Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, November 2013

…Brownlee sings with a great deal of heart, bringing each line to life and making one sit up and take notice: this is a true artist, and a complete one.

In the three Liszt Petrarch Sonnets, Brownlee’s vocal control—especially considering that this is a live recording—is simply phenomenal, even achieving a messa da voce effect…in “Pace non trovo”—and hitting an effortless high D♯—that are simply phenomenal. This is the kind of tenor singing—interpretive qualities included—that one can only compare to some of the greatest tenors of the 20th century…

As expected, Brownlee sings his calling-card aria, the showoff piece from La fille du Regiment. Is he as good as Pavarotti? No, he is better: the line is purer, the high notes more rounded and not sounding as if he is at the end of his tether. Brownlee has no breaks in the voice, none at all, and he is wisely sticking within his Fach.

By the time Brownlee reaches the Moore songs, one is aware that he is a very special talent indeed…

If you are a fan of outstanding tenor singing and/or most of the songs on this album, you need to pick up this CD. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Frank Villella
Black Grooves, October 2013

Lawrence Brownlee’s newest collection of songs and arias provides a portrait of this excellent tenor, proving he is an insightful and evolving artist skilled on both the opera and recital stages.

It is certainly a treat to hear the Liszt Petrarch settings sung by a tenor…and sung so well as they are here…Brownlee is in his element and has the opportunity to show off his remarkable ability to seamlessly blend head and chest voice, especially in the cycle’s incredibly demanding operatic passages. Liszt demands equally of the accompanist and Burnside formidably meets the challenge. © 2013 Black Grooves Read complete review



Robert A Moore
American Record Guide, September 2013

The program begins and ends with Burleigh arrangements of American spirituals that Brownlee sings with great depth of feeling. In between he sings in French, Italian, English, and Spanish. It’s all perfectly clear… © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide





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