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Charlotte Wesley Holloman, Soprano
Opera and Recital Criticisms
 
 

New York Recital Debut, February 25, 1954

New York Times — 1954

“An extraordinarily gifted young soprano named Charlotte Holloman made her debut in recital at Town Hall last evening. In her performance Miss Holloman demonstrated a vocal range and facility nothing short of phenomenal. She executed staggeringly difficult arias as casually as if they were Marchesi vocalizes. In the florid “Di face armate” from Vivaldi’s “Juditha Triumphans”, the long and coupled roulades appeared to be tossed off by Miss Holloman with the greatest of ease.

The Soprano made no less a spectacular showing in Mozart’s difficult “Mia Speranza Adorata” (K416). Miss Holloman even proved able to cope with the finale of Strauss’s 1937 opera “Daphne”, written with typical Straussian disregard for vocal limitations. The aria was listed as a first performance in this city.

New York Herald Tribune — 1954

“One of the most arresting debuts to come along this season was made by Charlotte Holloman, young American Soprano, last night at Town Hall…. It would be difficult to conceive of a vocalist coming to the recital stage with a fuller bounty of natural and cultivated resources than are possessed by Miss Holloman. To begin with, her voice is incredibly light, airy, clear, and just tinged at the edges with sweetness. It is balanced throughout its entire range, is capable of bird-like coloratura and equally adequate in the easy middle-register rendition of difficult florid passages, several of which occurred in the opening Vivaldi arias. The singer is brimming with intelligence, too, and approaches her work with stylistic sensitivity and instinctive consciousness of the music’s content…. So long as the quality of music was high one sensed utter assurance in the manner of its ovocation. At those moments when the musical substance grew thin, however, a certain groundlessness and delicate confusion entered her singing as well. One can infer from this only a single thing; that Miss Holloman projects good music with ease, and mediocre music with difficulty. What a splendid condition!”

Musical Courier — 1954

“Superb vocalization, such as one seldom hears among today’s debutantes was the prevailing standard of Miss Holloman’s first New York recital. The soprano seemed very youthful for consummate achievement, and a glance at the terrifying program gave this reviewer some qualms. But those melted before the radiance of floriture and tonal clarity in the Viavldi opening arias. After this impressive group, one needed only to sit back, and enjoy everything Miss Holloman offered in song. To enumerate a few of the attributes observed at this first hearing: she was personable and easy on the stage; she disclosed marked understanding of text and mood color; she possesses a spectacular voice of beautiful timbre which ascended and descended the vocal octaves with exciting ease. She coped with the cruel Straussian tessitura of the “Dephne” aria, mellowly fluted through Mozart’s “Mia Speranza Adorata”, and sang with lyric sweetness the “Brautlieder” cycle of Peter Cornelius….”

Evening Star, Washington, DC 1954

“At all too rare intervals, an unheralded voice appears on the scene which is unmistakable stamped with greatness…. Miss Charlotte Wesley Holloman…is the fortunate possessor of such a voice…. Miss Holloman’s is a voice of completely extraordinary beauty, edged with silver and gold, and tinted with fire and tenderness. Hers is a completely extraordinary vocal technique which makes child’s play of the most difficult problems of singing. And most unusual of all, hers is the completely extraordinary musicianship which makes listening to her a genuine musical experience and an unalloyed delight.”

Washington Post, Washington, DC — 1954

“Charlotte Holloman has a lyric soprano of great delicacy and beauty which she uses with strong appeal and fine taste. Bachelet’s “Chere Nuit”, Winter Watts “Strassa”, and the Serenade of Strauss displayed her vocal finesse, while the first act aria of “Traviata” brought out a bravura flair of appropriate daring.”

Mid-Ocean News, Bermuda 1955

“..the golden age of music returned for this evening – Miss Holloman has everything. She is young, attractive, charming on stage – just as easy to look at as to listen to. She has impeccable musicianship. She is sensitive and intelligent in her singing. In her runs every note is hit with crystal clarity, yet she is much more than a coloratura. At times she has the warmth and liquid quality which is supposed to be heard I only the best Italian singers. The voice is beautiful throughout; musicianship and artistry are always evident.”

San Francisco Chronicle 1955

“…it was a highly interesting event because it was one of the first coloratura soprano recitals I have heard that included – in addition to the usual coloratura set-pieces – four songs by Hugo Wolf. It was also interesting because Miss Holloman demonstrated in a version of the “Hoalle Rache” aria from the Magic Flute” that she was a coloratura style of good range and flexibility. In such Wolf songs as “Elfenlied” and “Verschwiegene Liebe” she likewise demonstrated that she is a singer with and excellent feel for the sentiments of lieder and the ability to project them with charm!”

New York Herald Tribune 1956

“…the possessor of a penetrating intelligence and a flexible vocal technique, the artist injected the breath of life into whatever she chose to sing, and as a result, her recital was an event of distinction in every way!”

New York World Telegram and Sun 1956

“…a stimulating program of unusual taste and diversity. Mostly, the readings were the work of an earnest little artist, well-schooled in the secret of making a song come alive – and very good to look at besides.”

New York Times 1956

“Miss Holloman’s voice is a very pretty instrument, used for the most part with skill and musicianship…. Miss Holloman gave a good account of herself in two very florid Purcell works and in most of the Strauss group. “Die Nacht” was sung with flawless, polished artistry…a recital that in its best moments, was very fine.”

Staats-Zeitung und Herold, New York 1956 (translation)

“…Volume of tone, intelligent understanding and phrasing, unfailingly skillful execution of a material rather difficult by nature and exceptional breath control proved again that here an artist of universal scope is developing, has already-matured in many ways.

Joyful surprise and special satisfaction gave the German songs, “Staendchen”, Nacht”, which was wonderfully uniform in mood and deeply felt in vocalization, and in emotional contrast to this “Schlechtes Wetter”, all by Richard Strauss, were a whole series of climaxes. Even Heinrich Heine’s incomparable text one could understand!”…

The New York Amsterdam News 1958

“Miss Holloman was a lovely picture of charm and Spanish-essence of beauty in her flowing orange tinted chiffon gown which enhanced her simple and modest style of vocal delivery-yet there was drama and plenty of verve in Vidal’s quaint ariet and the brilliant “Bell Song” from Delibes’ popular opera, “Lakeme”. It is one of the best of coloratura show pieces, and Miss Holloman floated her rippling scale passages and high tones like a Metropolitan diva. She has acquired a delicate pianissimo which Miss Holloman has the power and training to sing like the full notes of a bird. Needless to say, she had the audience at her feet and the ringing applause demanded encore after encore.”

The Dayton Daily News 1960

“Philharmonic Impressive in Season’s Finale….” No less important was the brilliance of soprano Charlotte Holloman’s singing. This attractive young woman, daughter of Dr. Charles Wesley, President of Central State College, is blessed with a bright, beautifully focused voice which she uses with extraordinary skill. This is an uncommon solo instrument….”

Daily Mail 1961 (London, England)

“!!A voice that is a gift and considerable looks and personality to go with it…. This artist, experienced in Broadway musicals, opera, and the recital platform, has a voice of wide range, even, supple, and easy in the heights, and musical temperament. In the Wolf group… we had beautiful sound, a captivating style, and a fine sensitiveness. In Stravinsky’s “Air du Rossignol” there was facile command of the high line. In “Nachtigall” by the modern German composer Walter Braunfels, the tone and manner were engaging, the technique as precise, the final soaring phrase had an enchanting grace, and the high “D” was effortless.”  

The Times 1961 (London, England)

“As Richard Strauss so well new, few things are more ravishing than a first-rate soprano voice floating high above the ledger lines…. Miss Charlotte Holloman an American soprano was often able to produce sounds of usual beauty in her first English recital at Wigmore Hall last night, not least in Strauss’s own “Daphnes Verwandlung”! It was certainly not presumptuous of her to include five songs about nightingales (Rorem, Berg, Milhaud, Stravinsky, and Braunfels) for as well as being radiant, her voice could be amazingly agile. She has intelligence, character, and charm as well as a voice (a group of Lieder by Wolf was very well done) and she was clever in sustaining the atmosphere of each song even while silently listening to her cooperative pianist, Mr. Geoffrey Parsons.”

Daily Telegraph and Morning Post 1961 (London, England)

“Ideal Strauss Voice– U.S. Soprano’s Radiance”

The soprano voice of Charlotte Holloman from America, who appeared at Wigmore Hall last night for the first time, is ideally suited to those high-lying parts which Strauss created for his favorite voice. In the aria from “Daphne” her soft singing had real radiance, and she was able to sustain the long soaring phrases with consummate art.

The agility of her voice was also well shown off in Stravinsky’s “Air du Rossignol” and in Braunfel’s “Nachtigall” which owed allegiance to Strauss.

…A lively sense of the value of words was seen in her Wolf song and in a different manner in her group of Negro spirituals!!


Opera and Recital Criticisms – Europe – 1964-1966 (Translations)  

The Magic Flute (Mozart)

“The Queen of the Night was immediately excused in the very beginning by Herrn Wedekind. The result: a rarity: Charlotte Holloman sang the part of the Queen of the Night as well as that of the First Lady. One was able to accept the “substitution”. WASI—Saarbrücken Allgemein

“Charlotte Holloman jumped in for the indisposed Leonora Morvaya, and at the same time led the three Ladies. The switch from one part to another was excellently attained. The formation of so difficult a part as the Queen of the Night did not need the security of the preceding introduction of the Intendant’s lyric and coloratura passages also sounded thus satisfactorily placed.” Bockelmann—Saarbrücken Landeszeitung

“The bravest performance came from Charlotte Holloman, who, at the last movement, as the Queen of the Night, must substitute for the suddenly indisposed Leonora Morvaya, and was doubly burdened with the two roles.” Dittmann—Westphalzicher Rundschau

“At the last moment, Charlotte Holloman had to jump in as the Queen of the Night for the suddenly indisposed Leornora Morvaya. The highly expressive first aria laid thus somewhatly under a nervous, flickering vibrato. In the “Vengeance” aria, she began completely, and gave the feared coloratura its glittering coolness. Together with Ursula Kathe and Joy McIntyre, Charlotte Holloman also sang the fine sounding, lulling trio of the three Ladies.” Bitz Saarbrücken Zeitung

Iphigenie in Aulis (Gluck)

“Charlotte Holloman surprised as Klytemnestra with her best Saarbrücken part until now. The mezzo-soprano monologue was vocally and dramatically-convincingly interpreted.” Dittmann—Westphalzicher Rundschau

“Charlotte Holloman has made a sensible step forward with this part. Her American accent has been largely lost. In her solo scene in the third Act, she commanded the stage perfectly. Beckelmann—Landeszeitung

“Charlotte Holloman as Klytemnestra had her overwhelming high point in the highly dramatic vengeance aria.” Bitz—Saarbrücken Zeitung

Das Rheingold (Wagner)

“A marked improvement over the June casting was Charlotte Holloman as Freia. In the not exactly thankful role, she was able to fully convince vocally and dramatically.” Bitz—Saarbrücken Zeitung

“The women’s voices showed Charlotte Holloman as an excellent Freia.” SimonLandeszeitung

Andrea Chenier (Giordani)

“Charlotte Holloman sang the part of Madeleine with beautiful vibrant-also in the middle register-melodious voice.” BitzSaarbrücken Zeitun

“…this succeeded merely in several scenes in the soft satisfying soprano of the light-powered Madeleine of Charlotte Holloman. She raised-rightly-the strongest applause of the not too full house.” Dittmann—Westphalzicher Rundschau

“With radiant vocal timbre, Charlotte Holloman, who attended as Madeleine, completely captured the heart of the audience.” Simon—Landeszeitung

“…Madeleine Coigny was excellent! Her magnificent and voluminous soprano sounds marvelous in all registers.” Erich Fuchs—L’Entr' Acte (Paris, France)

La Tosca (Puccini)

“Charlotte Holloman went in the title role – acted and sung with complete ardour…her employment seemed unsparing. The outbreaking effect was perhaps somewhat too realistic. Yet performers intelligence and singing bravery…(much special applause for the pre-eminently sung great aria, “Nur der Schoonheit”…) DittmanWestphalzicher Rundschau

Nabucco (Verdi)

“The correct convention, as well as noble lyric poetry in the dramatically pale part of Fenena, came from both……as well as when given again by Charlotte Holloman.” “…Charlotte Holloman possesses by far a more penetrating voice. Her prayer in the last scene gave the effect of being very distant.” Bockelmann—Landeszelitung

Madame Butterfly (Puccini)

“…Impressive was her high voice, and her full-sounding middle voice vibrated with much touching emotion. Also in acting, one felt with Charlotte Holloman in every step, in every longing, and painful movement, the figure of a tragic woman.” Kremer—Saarbrücken Zeitung, 1966

“…this sympathetic soprano brought off the affair with much artistic taste. She left Saarbruecken with her best performance. The voice lived this time…not from lyric timbre, but rather from flamingly impassioned outpourings.” Dittmann—Westphalzigher Bundschau 

“…Charlotte Holloman…sang Butterfly’s entrance aria from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. The endless stream of beguiling melody that she gave to this theme has a lyrico-spinto quality. Each note glimmered with a sustained brilliance.” Duncan—NewYork Amsterdam News, 1967

In PerformanceSelections from Charlotte Wesley Holloman's repertoire

Biography


Charlotte Wesley Holloman, 1957
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