San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (April 29, 2024)

“Pierrot [Lunaire], by far the longest work in SFCMP’s festival, closed out the second program, “Pierrot RE:encountered,” on April 21 and received a bravura performance from mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway…[she] gave a virtuoso account of the demanding vocal part, which calls for a great deal of Sprechstimme (speech-voice), a vocal style that requires the performer to half-sing, half-speak the text. The score gives the singer leeway on just how to execute this, and Calloway leaned toward mostly singing. She sang with an exquisite palette of vocal color — from the driest sound to the warmest — and with exceptional, nearly instrumental, rhythmic articulation of the text.

And while there aren’t stage directions, Calloway’s posture, the angle of her head, her facial expressions, the movements of her arms, conveyed the story physically as much as her voice conveyed the texts musically.”

Lisa Hirsch, Classical Voice San Francisco

“Calloway proved to be an extraordinarily capable interpreter, inhabiting all of the various characters evoked in the five songs that constitute snagS&Snarls: a mouse, a cat, the Duchess, the Mad Hatter, and, of course, Alice herself, with vivid characterization. Although billed as a mezzo- soprano, and featuring a velvety lower register, Calloway showed tremendous flexibility above the staff as well.”
Christian B. Carey

Musical America

“Rachel Calloway gave voice to isolation, despair, longing and desire with penetrating clarity. Around her, the music billowed and heaved fitfully, its bruised harmonies, obsessive repetitions and sudden, stark silences an almost shockingly intimate conjuring of the emotional intensity at play in the words.”
Steve Smith

New York Times

“Mezzo Rachel Calloway has the adept musicianship and dramatic flair required for the demanding role of Asakir, and she controls the weight of her voice effectively, preventing even her most unhinged diatribes from becoming too strident.”
Joshua Rosenblum

Opera News

“…a gale-force…”
Helen Shaw

Time Out New York

“…a mezzo-soprano with a dark-hued and sizeable voice…”
Anthony Tommasini

New York Times

“It was the sultry presence, superb expressiveness, and fine singing of mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway that really heated up the sea of love to bubbly. Rachel Calloway’s performance was the most memorable aspect of the evening. Her low-cut strapless gown, leopardlike in black and gold; her exquisite gestures; her elegant yet yearning facial expressions — all combined to raise the heartbeat far beyond what her voice could do alone… Her lower notes … were rich and alluring.”
Jeff Dunn

San Francisco Classical Voice

…the American mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway… here provides finely-tuned and stylish contributions. Alluring is the richness and warmth of her timbre. Apparently she specializes in contemporary and modern music. She has an instinctive feel for this music, and an innate sensitivity to the ebb and flow of the line. Sample the delightful Ritshkele, the second of the Three Yiddish Songs, and you’ll be amazed how well she characterizes the rippling brook. In the third song, Akh! Nit gut! (Woe is me) there’s melancholy and despondency as she contemplates her fate, effectively reinforced by the plangent tones of the oboe. …Calloway’s pure and flexible voice and clarity of diction is a strong selling point… Rachel Calloway’s sensitive and idiomatic performances cannot be faulted.”
Stephen Greenbank

MusicWeb International

“…the highlight of the concert… The dark-toned mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway gave a dramatically focused rendition of “snagS&Snarls,”…”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

New York Times

“Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway is a specialist in alternate tunings and performs regularly with the microtonal vocal ensemble Ekmeles. She is also a compelling and committed actress, and thus a near-ideal interpreter of this tremendously challenging and dramatically evocative score.”
Christian Carey

Musical America

“Rachel Calloway, the soprano, sang with considerable depth of expression and very little vibrato, and gave superb accounts of both works.”
Allan Kozinn

New York Times

“Ms. Calloway wonderfully obliged with emotional characterizations and sumptuous voices…Ms. Calloway sang …with remarkable sensitivity.”
Andrew Druckenbrod

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“Of the three female leads, Rachel Calloway impressed the most as the sexy maid Lisetta. Her sweeping mezzo-soprano was ideally suited to seduction, whether manipulating old Buonafede or having a sensual moment with Cecco.”
“Leo Zeitlin’s Five Songs from the Yiddish required the voices of mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and baritone Alexander Tall, and the audience’s response to the glorious voice of Calloway suggested that another program better showcasing her talents might prove very successful.”
Stephen Neal Dennis

All Arts Review

“The performance was beautiful. Soprano (Tony Arnold) and mezzo-soprano (Rachel Calloway) were like a single voice entwined in the text. Pianos and percussion, combining elements of sonic fire and ice, never ceased to dazzle. Passion emerged from subtle sounds.”
Mark Swed

Los Angeles Times