Bach's St. Matthew Passion with California Bach Choir, Berkeley, CA

No sooner was the this Passion off to an absorbing, strong start than one of its other vital assets surfaced. In supplying the piece's narrative thread, tenor Brian Thorsett spun out the role of Evangelist with a keenly attentive and flowing throughline. Singing entirely in recitative, sometimes in shapely long paragraphs and sometimes in emphatic single lines, he drove the story along or brought it up short with a hissing sibilant, percussive consonant or hushed rubato. At the moment of Peter's disownment of Jesus at the crowing of the cock, Thorsett made time stand still with his heartsick description of Peter's bitter tears at what he's done. That was one of many times Thorsett's wonderstruck Evangelist seemed to be witnessing the story even as he told it. ~ Steven Winn, 11 October 2016, www.sfcv.org

Brian Thorsett was the Evangelist, using his bright tenor for hours of heavy lifting. Thorsett's ringing clarity has been a Bay Area fixture, with roles including the nimbleness of Baroque and the difficult intervals of contemporary works. ~ Adam Broner, 20 October 2016, Berkeley Times

Alumni Insight Recital at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, CA

More important, overall, was the narrative progress of the entire cycle, ingeniously conceived by Choate and effectively communicated through last night's performance. ~ Stephen Smoliar, 12 October 2016, www.therehearsalstudio.blogspot.com

Bach's Mass in B minor with Mendocino Music Festival, Mendocino, CA

Domine Deus featured a duet with the soprano and tenor Brian Thorsett, whose voice seems ideal for sacred music with its lucid clarity. The highlights here were the singing of Mr. Thorsett in the Benedictus. ~ Paula Mulligan, 23 July 2016, www.classicalsonoma.org

Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte with Mendocino Music Festival, Mendocino, CA

Thorsett has a fine lyrical tenor voice that never shows strain, and his voice floats easily in his upper range and descends with full sonority into the upper register of a baritone. In addition his performance was infused with tender feeling and wistfulness that perfectly suited the text and music. ~ Paula Mulligan, 21 July 2016, www.classicalsonoma.org

This was a sympathetic and ingenuous reading, with Thorsett credibly inhabiting the persona of the smitten youth. ~ Jeff Kaliss, 1 August 2016, www.sfcv.org

Britten's War Requiem with Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, Berkeley, CA

Ming Luke forged an intensely committed performing ensemble... tenor Brian Thorsett sang movingly of the still warm body of a newly killed comrade. What's the point of it all?, he seems to ask, with infinite sadness. ~ James Roy MacBean, 10 June, 2016, www.berkeleydailyplanet.com

"It has been a while since I was so moved by a performance. It was one of the most satisfying musical events I have ever attended." ~ audience member polled for Best of the Bay 2015-6 Winners, Paul Kotapish, 29 August 2016, www.sfcv.org

Blitzstein's Airborne Symphony and Korngold songs with Curious Flights, San Francisco, CA

Thorsett sang 3 yearning and lyrical love songs by Korngold, composed for Hollywood films. His high, clear voice was controlled, even and caressing, and he elegantly shaped the songs and gave each a full range of dynamics and vocal color. The high notes of "I meant to say I love You" were beautifully clean and full, and he ended the song with a wonderfully gentle falsetto. ~ Axel Feldheim, 31 May 2016, www.nffo.blogspot.com

The Korngold [was] sung winningly by Brian Thorsett in a long-gone style right out of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist... The Blitzstein was expertly put across in its West Coast premiere with splendid work by Thorsett and Solis. ~ Ken Bullock, 4 June 2016, www.berkeleydailyplanet.com

Bach's Mass in B minor with San Francisco Bach Choir, San Francisco, CA

...each of them found a moment to shine, especially Thorsett in the Benedictus. ~ Niels Swinkels, 17 May 2016, www.sfcv.org

Premiere of Eshima's Bourne to Shelley, Britten's Canticle III and Schubert's Auf dem Strom with San Francisco Opera Lab ChamberWORKS, San Francisco, CA

Those who follow chamber music recall that Thorsett and Rivard performed the Britten at a concert in San Francisco last year - last night's performance was just as compelling... Thorsett knew exactly how to establish the significance of Schubert's perspective... listening to it performed with such a sensitive interpretation was a real treat... a recital in which there had been so many well considered, highly expressive and superbly executed performances. ~ Stephen Smoliar, 8 April 2016, www.examiner.com

Bruckner's Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem with Durham Choral Society and Raleigh Symphony, NC

One is tempted to call this a "million-dollar quartet..." The tenor has a light, lyric voice with a considerable heroic ring that let him project with apparent ease. The soloists were radiant at every turn~ John Lambert, 30 April 2016, www.cvnc.org

Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with Greensboro Choral Society, Greensboro NC

Tenor Brian Thorsett’s ringing and nimble voice was a perfect fit for Judas himself. ~ Nicholas Rich, 11 May 2015, www.news-record.com 

Tenor Brian Thorsett brought a ringing clarity to the role of Judas Maccabaeus, projecting his lines with plenty of heft. ~ William Thomas Walker, 8 May 2015, www.cvnc.org 

Edoardo in Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio with Philharmonia Baroque and San Francisco Opera Center, San Francisco, CA

Brian Thorsett’s nimble tenor was steeped in ardour as her amour. ~ Allan Ulrich, 21 April 2015, www.ft.com

Thorsett, whose warm tenor voice blended handsomely with Piccolini’s fluting tone, played Edoardo… His musical line and phrasing came naturally. ~ Steve Winn, 20 April 2015, www.sfcv.org

Piccolino offered a virtuoso display and limpid tonal beauty to the early love duet, where tenor Brian Thorsett matched her perfectly. ~ Joshua Kosman, 16 April 2015, www.sfexaminer.com

Tenor Brian Thorsett’s singing was high, clear and elegant, even though his character, Fanni’s young lover, often behaved boorishly. ~ Axel Feldheim, 27 April 2015, www.nffo.blogspot.com

Brian Thorsett sings Edoardo Milfort with effortlessness. ~ 18 April 2015, www.operatattler.com

 JL Bach’s Trauermusik with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Berkeley, Palo Alto and San Francisco, CA

The energetic tenor Brian Thorsett sang with great emphasis and purpose and showed his refinement and range in the aria “Lob und Dank zum Opfer geben.” ~ Niels Swinkels, 10 February 2015, www.sfcv.org

Evangelist and soloist in JS Bach’s St. John Passion with Berkeley Comm. Chorus & Orchestra, Berkeley, CA

Here, as in general, Brian Thorsett’s solo arias were the high points of this St. John Passion. Thorsett’s angelic tenor and clear German diction admirably conveyed both the text and, more importantly, the emotion of the text. …. [the performance] still managed some inspiring moments, largely thanks to tenor Brian Thorsett. ~ James Roy MacBean, 16 January, 2015, www.berkeleyplanet.com

Opera’s Greatest Moments with Cape Cod Symphony, Hyannis, MA

Then tenor Brian Thorsett, who might have been the greater among equals, sailed through “La donna e mobile.” … there were certainly tears in some eyes after Thorsett finished “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot, with the tenor climbing a mountain of heroic emotion. ~ Keith Powers, 10 November 2014, www.capecodtimes.com

Mendelssohn's Elijah with Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra, Berkeley, CA

Even the soloists had a meaty presence, with tenor Brian Thorsett sealing the deal in his every solo. In his “Man of God” there is a lovely control of shape where he focuses the interior of the sound as well as polishing its outer edges. And in “See now” he entered with a very high note that softly penetrated to the back of the hall, truly visited by the angel whose part he sang. ~ Adam Broner, 13 June 2014, www.repeatperformances.org

Recital with Jarring Sounds for Noontime Concerts at Old St Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, CA                       

Thorsett then sang 3 lovely Monteverdi songs. His voice is high, floating and focused, and his singing expressive and urgent. ~ Axel Feldheim, 19 February 2014, www.nffo.blogspot.com

Haydn's Paukenmesse with Santa Rosa Symphony, Santa Rosa, CA

The tenor gets only a brief solo in the Sanctus, but Thorsett made the most of it, displayingpure tone and remark-able power. All the voices were good, but Thorsett really stood out. ~ Steve Osborne, 7 December 2013, sfcv.org

Mendelssohn's Elijah with Masterworks Chorale, San Mateo, CA                                    

The pinnacle of the evening, by far, was Thorsett's unbelievably beautiful tenor voice. Clear, ringing, and luminous, it was balm for the ear and made me wish Mendelssohn had reserved more moments for the tenor soloist. The recitative “Ye people rend your hearts” and its accompanying aria “If with all your hearts”  made me wish that it would go on indefinitely. ~ Maggee Vanspeyboeck, 9 November 2013, www.sfcv.org

Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten with San Francisco Choral Society, San Francisco, CA

The true stars of the evening, however, were the tenor and baritone...and their voices were absolutely sublime. Thorsett’s clear voice leapt into the upper register with ease, while his sense of the musical line during his recitatives, arias, and cavatinas was impeccable. ~ Maggee Vanspreyboeck, 20 August2013, www.sfcv.org

Brian Thorsett, on the other hand, was exquisite, modulating his volume depending on the moment, and his German diction was so good that it felt as if you could understand every word whether you spoke the language or not. Thorsett has been specializing and excelling in performances of Benjamin Britten recently, and it was a joy to hear him sound this good in different music. ~ Michael Strickland, 22 August, 2013, sfciviccenter.blogspot.com

Thorsett produced a tenor that seemed natural and effortless, even in the highest reaches.... [He] gave a gorgeously artistic bent to his German diction: he over pronounces his consonants to better circumscribe those smooth-as-silk vowels. ~ Adam Broner, 17 August 2013, www.repeatperformances.org

Britten's Canticle III: Still Falls the Rain with Curious Flights, San Francisco, CA        

Perhaps most haunting, though, was the Canticle III... Tenor Brian Thorsett, singing with extraordinary clarity and tonal beauty, was joined by hornist Kevin Rivard and pianist Ulysses Loken in an elegant rendition. ~ Joshua Kosman, 6 June 2013, San Francisco Chronicle

The performance on Tuesday was so striking that it actually managed to efface the original recording by Pears, Britten and Brain, a major accomplishment... Thorsett, in particular, seems to have become even stronger in Britten's music and it was a great rendition, sad and poetic. ~ Michael Strickland, 8 June 2013, sfciviccenter.blogspot.com

Tenor Brian Thorsett was arresting in the Canticle III. His high, ringing voice filled the hall & sounded fervent & eerie. There was a startling moment when he suddenly switched from singing to speech. ~Axel Feldheim, 6 June 2013, www.nffo.blogspot.com

Songs of San Francisco with Corey Jamason, piano and San Francisco Bach Choir, San Francisco, CA            

His free-flowing yet booming voice filled the church with ease. Even when narrating prose interludes, his speech had a dramatic, mellifluous quality, delivered with good humor and charm. Thorsett’s specialty is his highest register, which he controls with delicate phrasing and accuracy. ~Be'eri Moalem, 18 May 2013, www.sfcv.org

Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea with West Edge Opera, Berkeley, CA  

Into the action strode the wonderful, frequently hilarious tenor Brian Thorsett a the aged female nurse Arnalta. Not only did his drag-to-the-hilt impersonation include skillfully exaggerating vocal ornaments for comedic effect, sly glances and much silliness; he also sang superbly. If everyone had sung as beautifully as Thorsett, it would have been easier to forget the idiocies of a less-than-convincing production. ~ Jason Serenius, 1 February 2013, Opera News

But some of the evening's vocal and comic highlights were provided by tenor Brian Thorsett in a brilliant cross-dressing appearance as Poppea's nurse Arnalta. ~ Joshua Kosman, 4 February 2013, www.sfgate.com

Brian Thorsett is terrifically fun in the drag role of Arnalta, & his high, ringing voice is gorgeous. It is a crime that Arnalta's final monologue is cut from this production. ~ Axel Feldheim, 31 January 2013, www.nffo.blogspot.com

Thorsett added a gorgeous high tenor and comedic talents... There were many gorgeous moments, but one high point was Thorsett's final aria, where he abandoned acomic approach for vocal beauty, fading out in a high register. ~Adam Broner, 1 February 2013, www.repeatperfromances.org

 CPE Bach's Magnificat with Santa Clara Chorale, Santa Clara, CA              

Thorsett was exceptional: ease of delivery, gorgeous tone, and with a powerful thrust to his phrasing, exploding out of his upper register. ~ Richard Sheinin, 8 December 2012, www.mercurynews.com

Purcell's Dioclesian with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

There were good contributions on Wednesday night from tenor Brian Thorsett, especially in his tender, haunting love song “What shall I do to show how much I lover her?” ~ Joshua Kosman, 4 October 2012, www.sfgate.com

Complete US Premiere of Ian Venables On Wings of Love in composer's showcase, San Francisco, CA         

Your beautiful and expressively powerful performance of my “On the Wings of love” cycle yesterday moved me beyond words. Your singing was simply superlative and you lifted the music off the page as no one else has ever done. It's strange that you singled out Sonnet X1 because for both of us your performance of it was simply magical and its emotional power almost unbearable to listen to. ~ Ian Venables, letter dated 13 August 2012

Rameau's Pigmalion with American Bach Soloists' Academy 

Tenor Brian Thorsett in the title role has a clear, bright voice that is very attractive, & he sounded especially ardent & ringing in a climactic song with the chorus. ~ Axel Feldheim, 22 July 2012, www.nffo.blogspot.com

Most of the burden was on Thorsett, whose account of his role as Pigmalion was thoroughly engaging. ~ Stephen Smolier,  21 July 2012, www.examiner.com

Purcell's Hail! Bright Ceclia with California Bach Society, Palo Alto, CA  

Thorsett rounded out the Ode with a richly complected tenor, agile runs and sharply defined diction. ~ Adam Broner, 22 October 2010, www.repeatperformances.org

Britten’s Sereande for Tenor, Horn & Strings with New Century Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco, CA        

The Britten [was] lifted to greatness by the brilliance of tenor Brian Thorsett and horn player Kevin Rivard. Thorsett brings a rare combination of virtues to the work: a strikingly beautiful lyric tenor voice and the kind of musical intelligence that was characteristic of Pears’ singing. Thorsett matches that sheer beauty of tone with good diction, vivid use of the text, excellent breath control, and sterling dynamic control — all crucial to the success of the Serenade. ~ Lisa Hersch, 8 March 2010, www.SFCV.org

Tenor Brian Thorsett brought wonderful tonal grace to piece. With a remarkably sweet, high lyric tenor, it is such a pleasure just to listen to him. And it’s clear that he has thought long about this piece; he is as careful with the words as Britten was. When Thorsett decides to put an emotional spin on a word or emphasize it with forte dynamics, he is controlled, precise and … subtle. His diction and phrasing, clear and unhesitating. ~ Jaime Robles, 10 March 2010, www.repeatperfromances.org

Gounod’s Faust with Festival Opera, Walnut Creek, CA

“Salut, demeure chaste et pure” was perfection. Not just “another lyric tenor,” Thorsett has something special to offer. ~ Janos Gereben, 11 August 2009, www.sfcv.org

Making his company debut, Thorsett proved to be a strikingly gifted tenor, with a deeply moving, resonant and unblemished voice. One of the opera’s brightest moments was his “Salut!” ~ Eman Isadiar, 17 August 2009, www.sfmusicaljournal.com

Singing his first Faust, [he] had a clear, firm tenor that seemed to grip the notes. His opening aria was impressively infused with desperation, anguish and impotent rage. ~ Sue Gilmore, 10 August 2009, San Jose Mercury

Donizetti's La Favorite with Pocket Opera, San Francisco, CA   

Thorsett, as the lovelorn young novitiate Fernando, sings a longingly gorgeous “Una Vergine” Thorsett projects a fresh and even innocent stage presence... the opera's ending scene is not only gripping but is also emotionally cathartic and deeply moving when filtered through such alluring voices as Michelberg's and Thorsett's. ~ Jaime Robles, 10 May 2009, www.repeateprfromances.org

Benefit Recital for Calvary Connects, San Francisco, CA

Thorsett certainly has the vocal goods; the quality of his instrument is undeniable... he is more than capable of producing beautiful tones that vary from caressingly sweet to ardent and masculine. He seemed in command from first note to last. A judicious complement of facial expressions and carefully judged yet never stilted physical movements proclaimed a singer invested in the meaning of his music. In his two opening songs by Purcell, Thorsett gave notice of what was in store. Come All Ye Songsters was strong and fluent, with tone darker and more virile than a few years past; Sweeter than Roses was meltingly sweet in all the right places. Six songs from Schubert's Schwanengesang reinforced the impression of his mastery. Diction was exemplary, legato near seamless, and tone appropriate to the lyrics. Am Meer was light and innocent at its start, with the phrase "und bin auf's Knie gesunken" especially lovely. As Thorsett launched into the four songs of Coates' cycle The Mill O' Dreams, he allowed his unabashedly sentimental side to come to the fore. Although he resisted laying it on thick, the encore, Guy d'Hardelot's Because, provided enough old-fashioned sentiment to levitate 50 nursing homes. ~ Jason Serenius, 20 January 2009, www.sfcv.org

Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore with Union Ave Opera, St. Louis, MO

The talent onstage at Friday night’s opening was a cut above the company’s usual. That’s especially true of tenor Brian Thorsett, whose big lovable lug of a Nemorino offered goofy charm, a heart of gold and a gorgeous voice. ~ Sarah Brian Miller, 12 July 2008, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Brian Thorsett, as Nemorino, is splendid -- his clear, beautiful, effortless tenor is perfect for this role, and he has such fun with it. ~ Steve Callahan, 19 July 2008, www.kdhx.org

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with Pocket Opera, San Francisco, CA

Brian Thorsett, in the title role, was a major contributor to the afternoon’s success. He is an impressive young artist who boasts a firm, well-supported tenor instrument marked by richly colored sound throughout his range and bright, ringing top notes. Saturday, he lavished warm tone and elegant, articulate phrasing on the role, sounding forthright in his first duet with Elizabeth, tender in the Act 1 farewell to his beloved Sara, virile and true in his final aria. ~ Georgia Rowe, 24 June 2008, Contra Costa Times & SFCV.org

Mozart’s Misero! o sogno, o son desto at the Santa Clara Fesitval of Song  

Tenor Thorsett gave a powerful and impressively emotive performance of Mozart's "Concert Aria KV 431." Thorsett was wholly believable as a man tortured by lost love, singing through a strain of volatile emotions with a clear and flexible voice.  ~ Molly Gore, 3 May2007, The Santa Clara

Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor with Pocket Opera, San Francisco, CA

It immediately becomes clear why Anne prefers Fenton: his singing. In the person of tenor Brian Thorsett, he possesses a magnificent voice that is both powerful and tender.             ~Anne Carol Dudley, 1 May 2007, SFCV.org

The other singer who went all the way was Brian Thorsett, Fenton. Ardently engaged, his voice has also grown in strength and beauty, with a new, virile metal promising success on larger stages. ~ Jason Serinus, 7 April 2007, Opera News

Grand Prize Winner’s Recital, Caramel Music Society Vocal Competition, Carmel, CA

Tenor Brian Thorsett impressed us in a fine vocal recital assisted by the distinguished pianist Charles Worth. … [He] impressed us not only with his vocal mastery, but also with his excellent skill in programming and an impressive versatility… Thorsett exudes confidence, as well he should, for he has accumulated an impressive track record of opera and lieder recital engagements, which tends to suggest that everything he does, he does extremely well… Thorsett displayed an appealing stage presence and fine dramatic skills. There were some especially impressive moments in Thorsett’s recital last night. Britten’s lovely setting of The Last Rose of Summer made a powerful effect with its bittersweet nostalgic mood, and Thorsett’s occasional use of falsetto capped off with a great climax in a dramatic crescendo and a lovely fading away ending was truly impressive. Also the dramatic intensity and variety of sound he achieved in the Hugo Wolf songs — all done for musical reasons, and not for effect — was further evidence of his mastery. The intensity he projected in Fauré’s Fleur Jetée and in Wolf’s Rattenfänger was a knockout. ~Lyn Bronson, 6 May 2007, Peninsula Reviews

Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio with Berkeley Opera    

Ensembles fared best, especially when the shining light of Brian Thorsett's Pedrillo was involved. He came to life in comedy. His voice has never sounded lovelier: In Mohrenland was fetchingly sung sotto voce, and other passages were distinguished by strength and beauty. ~ Jason Serinus, 10 March 2007, Opera News

von Flotow’s Martha with Pocket Opera                                    

The tenor was Brian Thorsett, who delivered a consistent, unflashy, impressive performance. Even when others jacked up the volume, Thorsett sang quietly and beautifully, as a good lyric tenor should. ~ Janos Gereben, 7 February 2007, SF Examiner

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with San Francisco Lyric Opera  

Brian Thorsett delivered a sterling performance as Tamino. His supple tenor is ideal for Mozart, and his phrasing was exemplary. He was equally good as an actor, moving naturally from speech to song. Thorsett excelled in a long recitative sung in front of the portals to Sarastro’s temple, where ease of expression is at a premium, and the scene never flagged.   ~Michael Zwiebach, 21 November 2006, SF Classical Voice

San Francisco Opera Center Merola Opera Program Grand Finale      

One of the evening's finest moments came from an unusually quiet and intimate performance of the love duet "Tornami a dir che m'ami," from Donizetti's Don Pasquale. Guarrine and Thorsett exchanged tender words, and were perfectly balanced by Buckley, who kept the orchestra down to a near-whisper. In a 3,000-seat opera house, elegance is more difficult to achieve than big, earthshaking climaxes, and these two young artists (assisted by a knowing conductor) did just that. ~ Janos Gereben, 22 August 2006, www.SFCV.org

There was a winged lightness, too, in the alluring pianissimo pairing of soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine and tenor Brian Thorsett in “Tornami a dir che m’ami” from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. They were like a pair of hummingbirds, singing and moving in improbable synchronicity. ~ Steve Winn, 21 August 2006, SF Chronicle

Händel’s Samson with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra  

 

 

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