Reviews

FALSTAFF - Resonance Works | Pittsburgh

"Mezzo-soprano Kara Cornell, as Meg Page, seemed to “live” her role, as she always does, and was another highlight of the evening."

- George B. Parous, Pittsburgh in the Round, May 2017

CARMEN THE GYPSY - Opera Theater of Pittsburgh

"[Cornell] certainly is able to present a visual picture of the alluring and irresistible gypsy with the gifts nature gave her, and she has a lovely mezzo-soprano voice of abundant power and more than adequate flexibility... She acted the part with appropriate vigor, sang the earlier arias with a fine sense of seductive diablerie, and the sobering card-reading scene quite dramatically. No amount of temporary tattooing could disguise her attractiveness, and she clicks a mean castanet."

- George Parous, Pittsburgh in the Round, June 2016

"There’s no doubt that even if Ms. Cornell sang this role in a coal mine she would do so before a captive audience. Her confident, rich mezzo-soprano cast a spell on all who heard, not just her lovers. She was a femme fatale whose humanity regularly shone through especially when confronted with Fate and her own mortality."

- Brian Pope, PA Theatre Guide, June 2016 

LITTLE WOMEN - Pittsburgh Opera

"Kara Cornell and Daniel Teadt were winning as the parents."

- Mark Kanny, Trubune Review, January 2016

NEW YEARS DAY POPS - Cape Cod Symphony

"Who could imagine, for example, that two lovely operatic sopranos like Kara Cornell and Margot Rood would get into the party spirit. But there was Cornell, coming out with a huge champagne glass and boozily tripping through 'To Each Their Own' from 'Die Fledermaus.' She was followed by Rood, slyly offering 'I Want to be a Prima Donna' from Victor Herbert’s 'The Enchantress.' And then, after a lovely rendering of 'O Lovely Peace' from Handel’s 'Judas Maccabeus,' the two women faced off in a hilarious 'Cat Duet,' complete with high notes and hissing."     

–The Cape Cod Times, January 2015

GEMS OF THE REGION - Upstate Chamber Opera

"The combination of Kara and [pianist Michael Clement] is simply magical. Both are artists at the very top of their game – Kara’s earthy mezzo is glorious in itself, but when you pair that with a performance presence that inhabits the texts utterly, and draws you into their very meaning, it transcends art."

- Arts Talk, Auriel Camerata, July 2014 

STABAT MATER (Karl Jenkins) - Octavo Singers

"Cornell was the only soloist in five of the [12] sections and she was superb. Her voice was lustrous, her phrases were finished and her diction excellent in Latin, English and Aramaic."

- Geraldine Freeman, The Schenectady Gazette, May 2014

TROUBLE IN TAHITI - Union Avenue Opera

"Cornell was effective as the lonely, frustrated housewife Dinah, who more accurately embodies the Mad Men era of the ‘50s... [she] handled Bernstein’s straightforward lyrics and syncopated music with aplomb."

- Mark Bretz, Ladue News, April 2013

"Kara Cornell captures Dinah’s focusless suffering, and she has a lovely dramatic soprano voice... [in the cabaret] Cornell sang a lovely “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s "Mass", as well as the comic “I Can Cook Too” in which she produces a surprising bounty of lolli-pops from somewhere under her clothing."

- Steve Callahan, KDHX, April 2013

CARMEN - Long Island Opera

“Among the standouts in the cast was Kara Cornell in the role of Carmen. Her seductive interpretation was a perfect match for the title role.”

-The Sag Harbor Express, September 2012

CARMEN - THE GYPSY - Opera Theater of Pittsburgh

“The production would be worth seeing for Kara Cornell’s portray of Carmen alone… [she] reveled in Carmen’s  earthiness as well as her personal strength and integrity. [She] was an electric presence [and] sang Bizet’s unforgettable tunes with just the right degree of insinuation and proved to be a good dancer, as well.

- Mark Kanny, The Tribune Review, July 2012 

 “Whenever Kara Cornell came on stage, she might as well have licked her lips, hungry to command the other characters and mesmerize the audience (both of which she did successfully).”

- Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, July 2012

 MUSICAL TRAVELOGUE - Musicians of Ma’alwyck

"[Cornell’s voice] projected easily… she was agile over [Dopo notte’s] extensive range and numerous scales and showed an especially rich low range. Her tone [in Il Tramonto] was luscious and her phrases melted with feeling.

- Geraldine Freedman, The Post Gazette, June 2012

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS - Mosaic Arts

 “Our young and excellent local mezzo, Kara Cornell, is [a] rare artist who sings directly from the heart of the character. What I liked best in this performance was how she looked up at the hoard of riches the kings had brought before she sang the "All that Gold" aria. This gesture, the exactness of her facial expression, the slowness of it, was a kind of singing before the singing began, and nearly equal to it. In Kara's performing, singing is not the only thing that happens; it is part of what happens. And the best thing of all is that this is natural to her. She accomplishes it so simply.” 

- Keith Kibler, Berkshire Review for the Arts, January 2012

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG - Theater Co. at Hubbard Hall

“It was no surprise that the most beautiful singing of the night came from Kara Cornell… Kara sets an excellent example for other young singers. She doesn't use her voice as an excessive instrument, but an incisive instrument. The clarity of her singing is the beauty of it. She showed again in this show, beyond any doubt, that this repertoire can be sung beautifully if the actress is vivid.”

 - Keith Kibler, Berkshire Review for the Arts, June 2011

AMERICAN SONG PROJECT - ENY/NATS 

“The afternoon started with material by Jane Leslie that hinted at musical theater. The marvelous mezzo Kara Cornell sang them with plenty of charm, while also maintaining a classical dignity and restraint.”

 - Joe Dalton, Albany Times Union, April 2011

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC - St. Petersburg Opera

“Kara Cornell, a sexy, glamorous Petra, lit up the theater in The Miller’s Son.” 

- John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times, September 2010

WEDNESDAY BEFORE LAST (opera electronica premiere) - Musaic Concert Series 

“Bass-baritone David Crawford and mezzo Kara Cornell, for my money, were the most accomplished and electrifying singers on stage.  It wasn’t just their voices that captivated but their stage presence, their openness, their complete conviction in every movement they made and note they sang.

- Kala Maxym, The Opera Insider, July 2010

TRAGEDY OF CARMEN - Hubbard Hall Opera Theater

“Kara Cornell's performance was truly extraordinary. Dianna Heldman's staging called for a great deal of action, which never unseated Ms. Cornell's totally secure production for a second. She sang impeccably throughout, with a rich lower register and a golden top.”

- Michael Miller, The Berkshire Review for the Arts, February 2010

“The completeness of Kara Cornell's Carmen at Hubbard Hall was something to behold. Every part of the role was integrated...no, it's better than that...was at one with its interpreter. I have rarely seen so young a performer understand so well what an opera singer needs to do to be real on stage.”

- Keith Kibler, The Berkshire Review for the Arts, January 2010

“Kara Cornell as Carmen is a riveting actress, at once seductive, wounded, damaged and dangerous, and possessed of a beautiful and smoky mezzo perfect for the dizzying range of Carmen’s sometimes-taunting, sometimes-tawdry, sometimes-tender emotions.”

- Phil Drew, The Troy Record, August 2009

 “This production is by no means lesser than larger productions of the traditional version, because of an extraordinary performance by Kara Cornell as Carmen. She is by turns imperious, sultry, passionate, and devious - everything that a great Carmen should be… so by all means at some point in your life catch a production of the traditional Carmen with all the bells and whistles. But when you do, you will not get the experience offered at this Hubbard Hall opera - of experiencing in an intimate setting a first rate portrayal of Carmen by a performer of Cornell’s immense talent.

- Alex Brooks, The Eastwick Press, August 2009

“If you want to see what singing acting really is, go see Kara Cornell… Voice, face and body are one thing. She makes opera a completely believable speech.”

- Keith Kibler, The Berkshire Review, August 2009

“Graves was rightly billed then as “the world’s reigning Carmen,” but having seen Kara Cornell’s performance I think Graves now has serious competition… when she first threw off her cloak and revealed herself here my heart sank because her blonde good looks didn’t immediately make me think of a hot-blooded gypsy. But that fear was quickly laid to rest as Cornell’s powerful soprano, her fine acting, and her sensuous dancing overcame all ethnic boundaries and made her Carmen through and through. In fact, Cornell completely eclipsed everyone else on stage…they were not as electrifying or vocally excellent as Cornell’s performance.”

 - Gail M. Burns, August 2009

CHRISTMAS ORATORIO - Burnt Hills Oratorio Society 

“Outstanding among the 4 soloists was alto Kara Cornell… she sounded as if she understood and felt the meaning and emotions of the words she was singing.”

- Peter C. Gerdine, voxincamera, December 2009

“Cornell [had a] lovely way with a phrase and sang with a smile in her voice”

- Geraldine Freedman, The Post Gazette, December 2009

INTO THE WOODS-  St. Petersburg Opera

“Her performance grew nicely, and by the time she reached the witty On the Steps of the Palace she was totally endearing.”

- John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times, September 2009

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO - Capital Opera

“Cornell’s intense acting and her apparent sympathy for the vagaries of the adolescent male gave her Cherubino an appealing vulnerability and comic extravagance…throughout Cherubino’s escapades her voice was impeccably focused, bright but rich in color, and her phrasing was a marvel of taste and an intuitive sense of form.”

- Michael Miller, The Berkshire Review, April 2009

ST. JOHN PASSION/FERN HILL - Albany Pro Musica

 “It featured… fine solos… from mezzo-soprano Kara Cornell, who had a lovely unbroken sound whether singing in chest or head voice.”

- Joseph Dalton, The Times Union, March 2009

“There was good interplay between the chorus and orchestra [in Corigliano’s Fern Hill] as well as an interlude in the middle that Cornell sang with lush tones… her agile voice and strong range skipped through it all.”

- Geraldine Freedman, The Daily Gazette, March 2009

VOCAL RECITAL - U Albany guest artist series

“[Cornell] gave a splendid recital… [she] is a singer who can balance impeccable production and phrasing with enthusiastic and colorful dramatics. Rossini and Heggie gave her plenty of scope to act, and her bright, coherently balanced mezzo voice richly expressed the beauty and intimacy of Berlioz’ floating lines. And, thanks to Heggie, she proved herself a top blues singer, as well!”

- Michael Miller, The Berkshire Review, February 2009

COSI FAN TUTTE - Hubbard Hall Opera Theater

“Cornell brought a rich, generous mezzo-soprano voice to her Dorabella. Not only did she sing and act her character with imagination and flair, she achieved some truly impressive moments, not the least of which was her “Smanie implacabili”, which she sang with security, style, and a fine sense of Dorabella’s extravagance.”

- Michael Miller, The Berkshire Review, August 2008

“Besides singing beautifully, Cornell was the comic star of the evening, with her facial expressions worth the price of admission. Of the two sisters, Dorabella is much more willing to fall under the spell of the “Albanians” and Cornell makes this obvious with every twitch of her nose.”

- Bill Rice, Schenectady Post Gazette, August 2008

ELIJAH - Octavo Singers

“Cornell had a big voice, and an even range that projected easily.”

- Geraldine Freedman, Schenectady Daily Gazette, April 2008

SACRED SONGS & INTERLUDES (Premiere) -  The Pittsburgh Camerata

“Cornell's voice was lyric and flexible, and soared through her top register beautifully.”

- Eric Haines, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 2006


(Courtesy of Cheryl Cole Finnegan)

(Courtesy of Cheryl Cole Finnegan)

(Courtesy of Laura Shaffell)

(Courtesy of Alberta Pizzolato)

(Courtesy of Ron Lindsey)

(Courtesy of Alisa Milnthorp)