Biography | Reviews | Photo Gallery | Appearances | Performance History | Contact | Releases

“To the names Victoria de los Angeles, Teresa Berganza and Montserrat Caballé, we may soon add Carmen Balthrop.”

By Octavio Roca, The Washington Times

Spanish song is a rare bird, captured alive by very few singers. To the names of Victoria de los Angeles, Teresa Berganza and Montserrat Caballé, we may soon add Carmen Balthrop. Her new Con Amores, a recital of Spanish and Portuguese songs, shows a remarkable sense of the idiom as well as an original, refreshing way with some very gorgeous material. The American soprano has a clear, pure and instantly likable voice that has a way of aiming for the heart and seldom missing. Her chest tones come as a surprise, of one piece with the rest of the instrument but with a power that commands attention. She has a natural sense of legato and very good instincts about which way the accents should go. I say all this because some of the songs here have defeated more famous singers. And although Miss Balthrop’s Spanish accent and diction will doubtless be even more idiomatic with time, her sympathy for this music is a joy to experience right now. Élan has announced a forthcoming Messiaen recital with Miss Balthrop, and we can only hope it will be as successful as this beautiful collection of love songs.

with Robert McCoy, piano. CARMEN BALTHROP: Con Amores. Élan (Allegro) 2208.

“...bright... agile... precise.”

By Pierre Ruhe, The Washington Post

Soprano Carmen Balthrop at the Anderson Competition
On Sunday, the Marian Anderson Vocal Arts Competition added a festival component, and the first in a week’s worth of evening recitalists in Tawes Theatre was soprano Carmen Balthrop, the competition’s jury chair. What an excellent lesson in programming she delivered! Her control was agile and precise and she knew exactly where to place emphasis for thrilling effect. In four Ernâni Braga’s husky, moody Portuguese songs, she took us from a colorful, pop-style projection in “Capim di pranta”—as if she were a chanteuse in a nightclub—down to the smoky, mellow contralto range for “O’ Kinimbá.” Here, the enthusiastic student listeners were learning not just how to sing but how to be a singer, how to carry the audience along phrase by phrase.

with José Cáceres, piano and guitar; Camille Delaney, flute.
Opening night of the Marian Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition and Festival’s Evening Recitals. Tawes Theatre at the University of Maryland, College Park. July 18, 1999.

“The effect was electrifying...”

By Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

A Match Made in Heaven
In more than 30 years of concert reviewing, I have never heard anything quite like the concert given by soprano Carmen Balthrop and violinist Daniel Heifetz last night in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Strictly speaking, what Balthrop did with a Vivaldi concerto for two violins was a vocalise, a piece of music for voice with melody but no words. Actually, it was scat-singing; Balthrop ran through three movements of solo violin music—fast, slow and fast—with melodic but meaningless syllables popping out in springy baroque rhythms while Heifetz twined the other violin part, in its original form, around her singing and the small, skilled Heifetz Band played the orchestral parts. The effect was electrifying. This music is effective when played on a violin which does not have to stop for breath. Performed by a voice, which does, it is a lot like dancing on a tightrope.

with Daniel Heifetz, violin, José Cáceres, piano, and The Heifetz Band at the Terrace Theater of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. March 11, 1996.

“Silky... seductive... insinuating.”

By Bruce-Michael Gelbert , The New York Times

Strangers in Paradise
Carmen Balthrop disclosed a silky lyric soprano with a dusky timbred low register in the gently pulsating aria and lament of Bizet’s “Djamileh.” In “La Vie Parisienne,”—singing the wordly actress, Métella, as well as the roles of La Baronne, Pauline and Gabrielle—Balthrop, in particular, charmed with a seductive, insinuating waltz.

Performance of Bizet’s “Djamileh” and “La Vie Parisienne” with The American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, New York City. September 24, 1994.

“Balthrop’s soaring soprano...”

By Curtis Scheiber, The Columbus Dispatch

Kabuki Blues
At every moment, Butterfly’s presence, in Balthrop’s hands, foretold her impending death. Balthrop’s Butterfly, her first ever, spoke gentility and pride, as well as the romantic pathos the role demands. Balthrop’s soaring soprano sent goose pimples up and down arms, especially during her vigil at the beginning of Act II. Her performance made Butterfly’s wait a delicate dream.

Performance of Cio-Cio-San in Opera Columbus’s production of “Madama Butterfly,” conducted by Louis Salemno. Columbus, Ohio, November 24, 1992.

“...Consummate musicianship... stunningly lyric voice.”

By Heuwell Tircuit. The San Francisco Examiner

‘Porgy and Bess’—Second Time Around
Major addition to the new cast was soprano Carmen Balthrop as Bess—she who previously scored such high marks with the San Francisco Opera, Spring Opera and the Symphony. Balthrop’s ease and feeling for the flow of Bess’s role was first-class acting. This was especially impressive in her ability to oscillate between Bess the slut, Bess the doper and Bess as the crippled Porgy’s loving, yearning woman. And, as expected, she sang with consummate musicianship tied to that stunningly lyric voice. She achieved the kind of soft sheen one always hopes for Puccini’s delicate maidens (Mimi, Butterfly, and such), yet with enough power to cover a Tosca or Manon.

Performance of Bess in The Houston Opera’s production of “Porgy and Bess” for The San Francisco Opera conducted by John Demain. San Francisco, California, June 25, 1992.

“Voluptuous of voice and body...”

By Wilma Salisbury, The Plain Dealer

‘Porgy’ brims with passion
Soprano Carmen Balthrop, voluptuous of voice and body, played Bess as a sultry sexpot incapable of controlling her lust for men, liquor and “happy dust.” Her dramatic transformation from fallen woman to respectable lady was convincing. Her final hip-swaying exit on the arm of Sportin’ Life was as tragic as the death scenes earlier in the opera. Her singing of arias, which ranged in style from blues and gospel to great outpourings of romantic love, was beautifully smooth and focused.

Performance of Bess in The Houston Opera’s production of “Porgy and Bess” for The Cleveland Opera conducted by John Demain. Cleveland, Ohio, May 28, 1992.


By Mike Greenberg, San Antonio Express-News

Opera singer Balthrop combines traits for stunning performance Carmen Balthrop combines the best traits of the opera diva, the great stage actress and the nightclub entertainer in one profoundly beautiful package. In a San Antonio Festival recital on Saturday, Balthrop sang with pipes of burnished gold, a rich and lustrous voice from commanding top to insinuating bottom. Her stylistic range was astonishing. How could one woman, in the course of 90 minutes, be a raging fury in an aria by Pergolesi, a seductive cabaret chanteuse in a song by Kurt Weill, and the picture of dignified desolation in John Carter’s setting of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child?” Few opera singers match Balthrop’s stage presence.

with José Cáceres, piano, at Beethoven Hall, San Antonio Festival, Texas. June 15, 1991


Contact Carmen Balthrop


Contact Ms. Balthrop via email:

Contact Site Administrator:

Official site of soprano Carmen Balthrop. Copyright © All Rights Reserved