Critical Acclaim

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"Sarah Heltzel makes a very handsome young man, ardent and sleek, and handy with a rapier. Her rich, powerhouse voice travels high to low without strain and is equally supple too, scaling with effortless grace those essential vocal arabesques of which the nineteen-century ear was so enamored. As envoy for the Montagues, Romeo is dignified in "Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio," where he laments killing Capulet's son in battle, then bursts into a searing cabaletta where he vows revenge when his marriage proposal is rebuffed by his enemy. Heltzel chewed up this double-aria.  Throughout, she was never less than first-class.”

  1. -D.L Groover, Houston Press, Nov 9, 2012 [Opera in the Heights]

“Mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel is absolutely stunning as Romeo. Her robust tones strike the perfect balance of power and subtlety. The gorgeous Ms. Heltzel makes quite a handsome and beguiling Romeo and her acting is so convincing and authoritative that we believe without a shadow of a doubt that she is Romeo.”

  1. -Buzz Bellmont, Houston Chronicle Blog, Nov 13, 2012


Acclaim for Der Ring des Nibelungen

“Speaking of soaring, two women who subbed on short notice were outstanding. Soprano Lori Phillips... and Mezzo Sarah Heltzel stole scenes as Fricka, spewing venom as she skewered husband Wotan”

  1. -Rob Hubbard, “‘Wagner’s Classic, trimmed by 12 hours, still soars,” Pioneer Press Sept 14, 2013 [Minnesota Concert Opera Mini-Ring]


“The troupe of Valkyries - Wendy Bryn Harmer, Jessica Klein, Suzanne Hendrix, Luretta Bybee, Tamara Mancini, Sarah Heltzel, Renee Tatum and Cecelia Hall - are terrific, moving from roistering jollity to terror and grief at Brünnhilde’s punishment.”

- Melinda Bargreen, “Setting the Night on Fire: Die Walküre at Seattle Opera,” Seattle Times, August 6, 2013


Acclaim for Azucena in Il Trovatore

“With Michelle Johnson raising goose bumps as the tragic heroine Leonora and Sarah Heltzel making hair stand on end as the insanely vengeful gypsy Azucena, Opera in the Heights' "Il Trovatore" delivers a thrilling realization of the beloved Giuseppe Verdi masterpiece. Johnson and Heltzel set the standard for a sterling rendition blessed with strong voices in all the leads... Heltzel sets the stage ablaze with her vocal and dramatic pyrotechnics as the weirdly witchy Azucena. Recalling her mother’s fate for questing for vengeance, always both tormented and bloodthirsty, Heltzel delivers every fiery aria with awesome fervor and intensity.”

- Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle, Mar 21, 2012


Sarah Heltzel’s superb acting turned Azucena from a caricature of a gypsy villain to a sympathetic, multi-dimensional character. Through little more than a tilted head or a narrowed eye, she portrayed a woman barely clinging to sanity... Ms. Heltzel made Azucena’s side of the story absolutely believable.  Acting this good, sometimes lacking in opera, elevated what was good singing on its own into a truly artistic portrayal."

-Robin Lowe, Opera Pulse, Mar 22, 2012


Acclaim for Suzuki in Madama Butterfly

"Sarah Heltzel was moving as the loyal Suzuki. She has a rich mezzo that offered a perfect contrast to the lyric soprano of DeAthos' Butterfly."

  1. -Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJones, 30 Sept 2012 [Amarillo Opera]


Sarah Heltzel’s mezzo is bronzy and her acting especially intuitive.”

- Leah Harrison, greenroomreviews.com, Apr 26, 2012 [Syracuse Opera]


Sarah Heltzel gave my favorite performance as Suzuki, Cio-Cio’s maid. Of the entire cast, Heltzel appeared most comfortable onstage”

- Sarah Desantis, The News House, Apr 23, 2012 [Syracuse Opera]


Sarah Heltzel was a Suzuki with a spine, wise to the drama being played out but powerless to stop it... Both McKern and Heltzel also sang well. He and Heltzel were splendid as two-thirds of the trio early in Act 3 when they acknowledge the catastrophe that is about to overwhelm Butterfly.”

-David Rubin, CNY Café Momus Apr 22, 2o12 [Syracuse Opera]


Sarah Heltzel’s confident mezzo-soprano was an asset as she interpreted Suzuki.”

- Linda Loomis, Syracuse Post-Standard, Apr 21, 2012 [Syracuse Opera]


“Mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel made her Indianapolis Opera debut as Suzuki, Butterfly's servant. These three singers—Lim, Mattsey and Heltzel—vocally dominated the production.”

– Tom Aldridge, Nuvo.net, Sept 27, 2011


“Contributing to the quality of this production were the high-caliber performances of baritone Jeffrey Mattsey as U.S. Consul Sharpless and mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel as Butterfly’s maid, Suzuki. Both showed presence in their supporting roles.”

-Tom Alvarez, Examiner.com, Oct 1, 2011 [Indianapolis Opera]


Acclaim for Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos

Sarah Heltzel, the Composer, has a gorgeous instrument and was a believably angst-ridden young man.”

- Sarah Bryan Miller, St Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan 27, 2012


“As the Composer, mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel sang with fire and allure.”

- Mike Silverman, Associated Press, August 11, 2011


Sarah Heltzel was utterly compelling as the Composer... The blind devotion to music as an art form that she injected into the character made the themes of the opera... more tangible.”

  1. -Gregory Moomjy, Opera Today, August 14,2011


Acclaim for Desideria in The Saint of Bleecker Street, Dicapo Opera Theater

Sarah Heltzel, vocally striking and visually appealing, walked away with the second act as Desideria, Michele’s vindictive, doomed lover.”

  1. -Steve Smith, New York Times, Feb 25, 2011


Sarah Heltzel’s handsome stature and rather angular singing gave Desideria’s impassioned desperation the profile it requires.”

  1. -David Shengold, Opera News (online), June 2011


“Also strong was Sarah Heltzel as Desideria, whose sultry mezzo stood up handily to Michele’s ill temper.”

- George Loomis, “’Bleecker Street’ Revisited,” MusicalAmerica.com, February 28, 2011


“…his lover Desideria (vibrant mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel)”

- Bruce-Michael Gelbert,  [Q]onStage, February 2011


Sarah Heltzel’s singing and acting captured a credible, grandly temperamental jealousy as Michele’s jilted girlfriend. Her powerful entrance in Act Two was a highlight. In Desideria’s Act Two aria… Heltzel’s mighty, attractive voice admirably amplified her feelings of the moment.”

- Victor Wheeler,  www.classicalsource.com


Acclaim for Various Performances


“With her powerful and dramatic voice and strong stage presence Heltzel skillfully managed to capture the audience.”

  1. -The Daily Herald (St Maarten), January 14, 2012


“…Heltzel’s grounded and rich mezzo-soprano, almost contralto, sound.”

- Sudeep Agarwala, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, May 16, 2011 [Verdi’s Requiem with Back Bay Chorale]


“Mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel made a commanding, sinister Mortician and Doctor in the evening’s first two operas.”

- Dana Astman, “edgar allan nouveau,” Parterre Box, November 3, 2010 [for The Poe Project, American Lyric Theater]


“A special mention should be made of former Seattle Opera Young Artist Sarah Heltzel who played Flora as well as she can be played.  It does not hurt that Ms. Heltzel is a beautiful, vivacious redhead, just about a perfect casting choice. She sang well, partied well and, when Violetta needed a friend, was convincingly concerned and comforting.”

- Joel Grant, Classical Voice (classicalvoice.org), November 9, 2009 [Seattle Opera]


Sarah Heltzel was a remarkably good Flora”

- Melinda Bargreen, Classical King FM, king.org, October 17, 2009 [Seattle Opera]


Sarah Heltzel and Annie Pennies sang their roles with alluring mischievousness”

- Allan Kozinn, “Mythology Inc.: Carthage on Wall Street,” New York Times, Dec 5, 2008 [for Spirit & Witch, The Dido Project]


“mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel and bass-baritone Charles Robert Austin were both strong and sensitive”

- Bernard Jacobson, “Seattle Symphony’s Spirited Messiah,” Seattle Times, December 19, 2008


Acclaim for the Marquise de Merteuil in The Dangerous Liaisons

“Most impressive were the admirable villains, mezzo Sarah Heltzel and baritone Michael Chioldi, producing singing which sensitively embraced their acting.”

- Clive Barnes, “The Villians are its High Note,” New York Post, February 29, 2008


“Not that the company doesn't perform with great dedication and virtuosity, with Heltzel's de Merteuil (she has a plummy, nuanced mezzo) [a] standout… the diction is so clear that the supertitles are superfluous.”

- Mark Miller, Backstage, February 22, 2008


Sarah Heltzel had the emotional range for the part of the Marquise de Merteuil”

- Bernard Holland, New York Times, Feb 23, 2008


“The central pair were aptly sexy and stageworthy. Sarah Heltzel sang with clarity and force”

- David Shengold, The Gay City News, March 13, 2008


Acclaim for various performances

“On hand was an unusually personality-rich quartet of vocalists… Janácek uses his mezzo and bass sparingly — a pity, since I wanted to savor more of Sarah Heltzel's amber tone”

- Thomas May, Crosscut.com, June 14, 2007 [Alto soloist, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Seattle Symphony]


"The soloists, well known to Seattle Opera audiences, were chosen with care for their ability to handle vocal lines that always seem to be written for some other instrument than the voice. They are asked to sing at the extremes of their registers, frequently against the entire orchestra and chorale in full cry. Fortunately, the four soloists (Christine Goerke, Sarah Heltzel, Gary Lakes and Patrick Carfizzi) prevailed... Heltzel made a good impression in brief, low-lying solo segments." ”

- Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, June 11, 2007  [Alto soloist, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Seattle Symphony]


Sarah Heltzel was extremely sexy in the role. Her performance was… spicy and tantalizing. She made it very believable that men were falling in love with her left and right… She has the makings of a very strong and lengthy career ahead of her.”

- Conrad Askland, ConradAskland.com, October 7, 2006 [for Carmen at Skagit Opera]


“notable contributions included… Sarah Heltzel’s admirably firm Monitor.”

- David Shengold, Opera News, October 2006 [Suor Angelica, Chautauqua Opera]


This “Walküre” is fortunate in its cast of Valkyries (Holly Hall, Caroline Thomas, Stacey Rishoi, Luretta Bybee, Marie Plette, Sarah Heltzel, Fredrika Brillembourg, and Jennifer Hines), an uproarious bunch whose singing and acting are both stellar. The scene in which they take their farewell from the exiled Brünnhilde is surprisingly affecting; Brünnhilde may not have been the only one in the house who was wiping away tears.”

-  Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, August 10, 2005 [Seattle Opera]


Sarah Heltzel was perfectly polished and vivacious as the page Cherubino”

- Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly, April 6-12, 2005 [Seattle Opera Young Artist Program]


Sarah Heltzel was a delightful and suitably mercurial Cherubino”

- Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times , April 5, 2005 [Seattle Opera Young Artist Program]


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© sarah heltzel 2012

"...the production boasts two particularly potent star performances in mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel’s heroic Romeo and soprano Camille Zamora’s passionate Giulietta. They make a power couple to reckon with... Heltzel projects Romeo's youthful ardor, heroism and impulsiveness, her voice maintaining its clarion strength throughout her wide range. Everything about her performance radiates vigor and conviction... Even by another name, this is Romeo and Giulietta's show all the way - especially when Heltzel and Zamora are unfurling Bellini's bel canto splendors."

- Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle, Nov 13, 2012

Acclaim for Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi