ELEM ELEY
Selected Reviews
 
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CD, Der Geist spricht/The Spirit Speaks (Centaur Records):
 
“Elem Eley, baritone, gives deeply expressive, moving performances of some of the most awesome examples of German lieder we are likely to encounter on record. With the assistance of his recital partner, pianist J.J. Penna, who is a fellow faculty member of the Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton NJ, he conveys the full emotional weight of songs that are likely (and no exaggeration) to inspire the fear of God in the listener…To put across a dire-foreboding program such as this requires the utmost in intelligence and interpretive insight. Elem Eley and J.J. Penna possess both, plus the technical powers to do justice to awesome settings of awesome literary texts.” (Audio Visual Club of Atlanta, Phil Muse)

 
CD, Drifts and Shadows: American Song for the New Millennium (Albany Records, TROY1050):
 
"No matter what technical and expressive hurdles these songs present, Eley surmounts them with conviction and assurance...What they [Eley and Penna] achieve here is truly profound." -- Gregory Berg, Journal of Singing - Nov/Dec 2009

"This is a miraculous compilation of gems...a Want List candidate." -- Colin Clarke, Fanfare - May/June 2009

"Eley's voice is warm and clean. He is definitely one of the best singers of English I've ever heard...Buy this record." -- Stephen Estep, American Record Guide - Jan/Feb 2009

CD, Laurie Altman: On Course (Albany Records, TROY1041):
"The Three Antarctic Songs...Elem Eley is the fine baritone who commissioned the work and who delivers the text with such authority. This set of songs is the most memorable music of the disc." -- Colin Clarke, Fanfare - March/April 2009

As Soloist in Bach's B Minor Mass w/Oratorio Singers of Westfield (NJ) c. Trent Johnson:
"The afternoon’s two-hour Mass recruited some world-famous singers...charismatic bass-baritone Elem Eley. Each singer complemented the orchestra that earned the sustained and enthusiastic ovation at the work’s impassioned finale." -- Sam Juliano, The Westfield Leader - March 20, 2008

As Soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 w/Springfield (MO) Symphony c. Ron Spigelman:
"Eley opened the famous 20-minute finale with the baritone's firm exhortation to shift from somber orchestral tones to the joyous sounds of vocal affirmation. All four soloists delivered strong performances that blended beautifully with the massed choirs' vigorous singing." -- Larry T. Collins, The (Springfield) News-Leader - March 4, 2008

As Mendelssohn's Elijah w/Burlington (VT) Choral Society c. David Neiweem:
"Elem Eley, a baritone with a dark richness in his voice that cut through the orchestral texture at all times, and a decided gift for the drama of the work, was a wonderful Elijah. Since Neiweem took over the reigns of the BCS, he is the finest baritone to sing with the BCS. An exemplary performance of the work...the single best compilation of soloists that he has achieved.” -- Dan Wolfe, The Vermont Times - May 2, 2007

As Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore (Gilbert and Sullivan) w/Syracuse Opera c. Curtis Tucker d. Anthony Salatino:
"The H.M.S. Pinafore steamed into the Mulroy Civic Center on Friday evening...It was clear sailing all the way...Elem Eley combined flexibility of tone with a stiff upper lip to remain in-character during his steadfast 'I Am the Captain of the Pinafore,' and acted superbly." -- David Abrams, The (Syracuse) Post-Standard - March 11, 2006

As Soloist in Mozart's Requiem w/Westminster Choral Festival c. Joseph Flummerfelt:
"...baritone Elem Eley was solid in providing a foundation to the solo quartet." -- Nancy Plum, Town Topics (Princeton, NJ) - July 21, 2004

As Dumdum Devine in Vera of Las Vegas (Daron Hagen/Paul Muldoon, world première) w/Center for Contemporary Opera (NYC) c. Robert Frankenberry d. Charles Maryan:
"The leads were excellent…the hearty baritone Elem Eley as Dumdum…The theatrical audacity of "Vera of Las Vegas" elicited many cheers from the packed house." -- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times - July 1, 2003

"Performances throughout were excellent. As the two roguish Irishmen, McCartney and Eley were both excellently cast, edgy and brash. "Vera of Las Vegas" is essentially musically sound and was well-performed." -- Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com

As Soloist in Fauré's Requiem and Haydn's Theresienmesse w/New Jersey Symphony & Westminster Choir c. Joseph Flummerfelt:
"The soloists likewise showed little timidity. Baritone Elem Eley may have been singing about being "seized with fear and trembling" in the "Libera me," but the voice itself sacrificed none of its poised, lyrical smoothness. When [Rochelle] Ellis and Eley were joined by mezzo-soprano Leah Wool and tenor Don Frazure in the Haydn, the soloists became a quartet of equals, wisely focused on vocal blend as much as their own sound. Together, they faced the object of their worship, not as awestruck individuals but as a united front of humanity." -- Ken Smith, The (Newark) Star-Ledger - March 15, 2003

As Prince Ottokar in Der Freischütz w/Charlotte Symphony c. Christof Perick:
"The cast not only sings potently, but it carries on with a dramatic flair that radiates through the singers' faces and stage presence. And even the small roles were done with flair." --Steven Brown, Charlotte Observor - February 8, 2003

As Soloist in Jersey Rain (David Sampson, texts by Robert Pinsky, world première) w/Colonial Symphony c. David Sampson:
"Inspired settings and evocative music. The sweet-voiced Eley, symphony and choruses can be proud. What a glorious feeling!" -- Frederick Kaimann, The (Newark) Star-Ledger - May 20, 2002

As Soloist in Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem w/Oratorio Singers of Westfield (NJ) c. Trent Johnson:
"Elem Eley, as always, carried off this music with a moving mix of forcefulness and tenderness. Mr. Eley's first solo, 'Herr, lehre doch mich,' was sung with a sense of pleading lying behind even the most powerful notes. His articulation in the other solo, 'Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis,' was so clear that it alone energized the music, although his vocal power when invoking 'der letzten Posaune' (the last trombone) was formidable." -- Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey Society Journal - May 1, 2003

As Soloist in Fauré's Requiem w/Springfield Symphony c. Apo Hsu:
"Singers richly add depth to orchestra [HEADLINE] Guest soloist Eley offered solid solos in the 'Offertory' and 'Libera me' sections. Fauré's pale, low-octane pleasantness was clearly conveyed by both vocal and instrumental forces." -- Larry T. Collins, Springfield (MO) News-Leader - April 22, 2002

As Soloist in Handel's Messiah w/Princeton Pro Musica c. Frances Fowler Slade:
"In its second performance of the weekend, Princeton Pro Musica, under the direction of founder Frances Fowler Slade, presented George Frideric Handel's monumental oratorio "Messiah" Sunday at the Trenton War Memorial's Patriots Theater. It requires virtuostic talents among orchestra, chorus and soloists, and Pro Musica has managed to find them all. Among the soloists...baritone Elem Eley fared best with [his] robust diction." -- Anita Donovan, The (Trenton, NJ) Times - December 19, 2004

As Soloist in Verdi's Requiem w/Burlington Choral Society c. David Neiweem:
"Orchestra, chorus and four soloists proved able to take on this large work successfully…Eley was next, using his voice to remind us of the text and of the long line of Verdi baritone and basso roles that are almost cello-like in their timbre. Audience was SRO." -- Dan Wolfe, Shelburne (VT) News - April 2002

As Soloist in Mozart's "Great" Mass in c w/Camerata Singers and Pennsylvania Sinfonia c. Allan Birney:
"A highly respectable performance characterized by musicality and good interaction among conductor, soloists, orchestra and choir. Eley had more limited, supportive role, but performed competently." -- Dan Peleg, The (Allentown) Morning Call - April 19, 2002

As Soloist in Vaughan Williams's Dona Nobis Pacem and Fauré's Requiem c. Andrew Megill:
"Soprano solos open and close the piece, but the bass gets even meatier parts -- most of 'Reconciliation' and the movement entitled 'The Angel of Death.' Both soloists were outstanding. There are many exquisite passages in the Fauré and once again soprano and Eley acquitted themselves admirably." -- Peter Wynne, The (Newark) Star-Ledger - March 12, 2002

As Soloist in Bach Cantatas 211 and 212 w/Westfield Bach Festival c. Edward Brewer
Cantata 211 (Coffee): "Soprano and baritone Eley made the most of the semi-staged performance. It was all sung in deliciously punchy English so there was no mistaking the byplay and the modernisms. The acting was funny and had the air of being on the spur of the moment."
Cantata 212 (Peasant): "It was grand fun…and Eley were brought back to the stage many times. Instrumentalists and singers were applauded enthusiastically. Many felt that the evening was as much pure fun as they could remember at a concert in quite awhile." -- Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey Society Journal - March 21, 2002

As Peter in Hansel and Gretel w/Princeton University Orchestra c. Michael Pratt:
"Elem Eley was especially confident and strong in his role as the Father, a broomstick maker." -- Nancy Plum, Town Topics - December 12, 2001

As Marcello in La Bohème w/Athena Grand Opera c. Mark Cedel D. Stephanie Pierce:
"The voices were awesome, the sets were spectacular, the orchestra was seamless, the opera a smash. Marcello sung by Eley was quite good."
M.A. Barnes, Athens (GA) Daily News - February 25, 2001

As Soloist in Messiah w/Pennsylvania Sinfonia c. Allan Birney:
“The singing of the four soloists is all-important, and here there was little cause to cavil. Baritone Elem Eley proved robust and dramatic. The audience was unabashedly enthusiastic.” -- Philip A. Metzger, The Morning Call - December 19, 2000

As Soloist in Britten's War Requiem w/Sioux City Symphony c. Stephen Rogers Radcliffe:
"The effort was anchored by Nassief, Osgood and Eley, who each delivered expressive as well as precise performances, particularly Eley and Osgood, who had the lion's share of the work interpreting Owen's elegant poems. Often the score skirted the high ranges for tenor and baritone voices, and the pace and tempo changed from line to line, but the two never wavered in their readings." -- Judi Hazlett, Sioux City Journal - November 12, 2000

As Falke in Die Fledermaus w/Syracuse Opera c. Doris Kosloff d. Richard McKee:
“‘Fledermaus’ is perfect at ‘bat’ Syracuse Opera’s season finale clicks on all counts [Headline] Great chemistry among its cast and superb singing. McKee assembled an incredibly well matched cast - one that endeared itself to the audience almost immediately. Eley was entirely convincing as the revengeful Falke. His strong acting and powerful delivery during his aria ‘Sing to Love’ were among the high points of the production.” -- David Abrams, Syracuse Herald-Journal - May 6, 2000

Soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 w/Springfield Symphony c. Apo Hsu:
“The vocal forces dominate the proceedings. The three men - baritone Elem Eley - acquitted themselves well, with the lower-lying passages cutting through the sometimes dense orchestration with greatest ease.” -- Larry T. Collins, Springfield (MO) News-Leader - April 17, 2000

As Falke in Die Fledermaus w/Athena Grand Opera c. Mark Cedel d. Stephanie Pierce:
“The production was flawless...fun, lively, familiar and beautifully sung. Eley performed with style and versatility. He was another professional that added distinguished panache to the performance.” -- M. A. Barnes, Athens Daily News/Athens Banner-Herald - February 20, 2000

As Soloist in the American Première of Ivor Gurney’s Song Cycle The Western Playland w/Lyrica Chamber Music at Merkin Hall c. Mariel Bossert:
“Eley, winner of the 1996 Joy in Singing award, a pupil of Margaret Harshaw, dedicated the performance to her memory. Singing with a rolling, mellow, resonant voice, Eley did honor to the music and to his late teacher.” -- Harris Goldsmith, New York Concert Review - Fall 1997

As Mr. Martin in Kalmanoff’s The Bald Soprano and Tracy Gates in Bucci’s Tale for a Deaf Ear w/Center for Contemporary Opera c. Richard Marshall d. Charles Maryan:
“Performing forces were top-drawer, most of the singers doing double duty in both operas with baritone Elem Eley giving outstanding portrayals.” -- Bill Zakariasen, Opera News - August 1997

“The casting was solid...Elem Eley were also memorable.” -- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times - June 2, 1997

In Recital - Joy in Singing at Merkin Hall:
“Vocal richness...Not only does Eley have fine vocal resources, he has a true lieder singer’s ability to grasp the heart of his text.” -- Ken Smith, New York Concert Review - December-January 1997

CD, Dixit Dominus by Vivaldi and Handel (MusicMasters Classics) c. James Litton:
“Performances by Eley are most notable for their strength, clarity and virtuosity.” -- Robert Haskins, Chorus! Magazine - November 1992

In Madama Butterfly w/Hawaii Opera Theatre c. Robert LaMarchina d. Henry Akina:
“Eley’s polished, sensitive Sharpless” -- Howard Driver, Opera News - July 1993

“His rich baritone is well-suited to the role and pleasant to the ear.” -- Richard McKinney, (Honolulu) Star-Bulletin - February 27, 1993

In La Bohème at Teatro José Lúcio da Silva c. Marco Armigliato d. Giorgio Lalov:
“Eley as Marcello with a marvelous voice and good stage presence, moved well on the stage.” -- Alvaro Sales Martina, Diario de Leiria (Portugal) - October 27, 1992