“Phaedra” Britten, Ed Gardner/BBCSO, Chandos, May 2011

Sarah Connolly reveals Phaedra’s stature, summoning such word-sensitivity, rhetorical flourish and classical poise that you wonder why this remarkable piece is not heard more often in the concert hall. Better still the stage: Connolly turns Racine’s heroine into the protagonist of an imaginary monodrama.
Andrew Clark, FT

..in Sarah Connolly the wonderful late cantata “Phaedra” finds a dramatically bold and interpretively distinctive champion. Warmly recorded and urgently recommended. CD of the Month
Guy Weatherall, Classical Music magazine

Sarah Connolly is tremendous in this new recording too; her diction is impeccable and her sense of dramatic involvement is enormously impressive. She is also accompanied with exceptional sensitivity, attention to detail and theatrical flair by Edward Gardner and members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. After this exceptional opening, Connolly is heard again in an orchestral version (beautifully and cleverly done by Colin Mattherws) of A Charm of Lullabies…Connolly is a warm-toned, utterly secure and touching advocate, and again she receives excellent support from Gardner and the BBC SO.
Nigel Simeone, International Record Review May 2011

HANDEL DUETS, CHANDOS/ECO/BICKET

No Handelian will want to be without this disc. If you haven’t yet succumbed to the Handel bug, prepare to be seduced. The rhythmic verve of Joshua’s and Connolly’s singing here [‘Caro! Bella!], their timbres – Joshua’s bright and pearly, Connolly’s velvety-smooth – contrasting yet blending to perfection, right concludes this ravishingly sung disc, but the carefully chosen number from English oratorios as well as Italian operas, are all highlights… Where to begin when faced with such a feast’ Both singers’ excellent diction makes the duets from Solomon, Belshazzar, and Theodora equally pleasurable and Joshua and Connolly appreciate the difference between the sensual love of Solomon and his Queen and the chaste love of Theodora and Didymus. I don’t think I have heard a lovelier account of ‘To thee, thou glorious son’ – one of Handel’s most divine inspirations, with its melancholic bassoon undertow – than this one here. The sensuous duet for Sosarme and Elmira, ‘Per la porte del tormento’ (‘Through the gates of torment’), is another expression of marital bliss…here beautifully sung…Indeed, I haven’t enjoyed a Handel vocal recital as much as this in a long time – both singers decorate their lines and employ lingering languorous rubatos with style and discretion – and, like Handel himself in his dramatic structuring, they vary the tempi and mood…
Hugh Canning, International Record Review, April 2010

DVD of Dido and Aeneas from ROH, Covent Garden 2009

And enough praise cannot be heaped on Sarah Connolly, whose Dido is the most effective I’ve heard. The role’s tessitura is indeed her absolute comfort zone: her singing is as natural as speech. Sad at the start, enchanted by her new-found love, startled and then resigned by his treachery, her performance grows and grows in stature. In a marvelously sensitive move, before “When I am laid in earth” we see blood coming from Dido’s wrists, and Belinda takes her long dress and wraps her mistress’ wounds in an attempt to stop the bleeding. The effect is stunning, but not as stunning as Connolly’s rendition of the recit and aria themselves, during which she sinks very slowly to the floor and, at the end, dies. Small embellishments dot the aria but the flow is never broken. Belinda cradles her in her arms. The chorus, dimly lit, sings its final song and with Belinda departs one at a time as the stage goes dark, leaving a light only on Dido’s dead body. These last few minutes are as powerful a time at the opera as we’re bound to see
Robert Levine, Classics Today.com

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

Connolly reprises the role of Dido, and wonderfully too: alive to the smallest textual nuance, showing great technical control in a richly ornamented line, and singing throughout with great beauty and real emotional and dramatic impact…the Lament is superb.
Keith Bennett, Early Music Review, February, 2009

Schumann “Songs of Love and Loss”

Schumann’s love songs play to the strengths of Connolly’s rich and characterful mezzo. There is much to enjoy here, from both Connolly and the illuminating accompanist Asti. Connolly’s Mary Stuart is justified, stoic and regal. Of the Liederkreis, it is perhaps her particular quality of ecstasy in Die Stille and the sheer beauty and quiet stillness of Mondnacht that impress the most. But there are many highlights among this selection of Schumann’s superb, diverse settings, from the simple yet harrowing depth of loneliness of the knight in Auf einer Burg, to the contrasting joy and fear in Im Walder and the deeply moving tenderness of the final Frauenliebe cycle.
Sarah Urwin Jones, The Times

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

A supremely elegant and emotionally involving interpretation of the musical drama, dominated by Sarah Connolly’s exquisitely sensitive and deeply felt Dido.
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph

Connolly sings Dido’s famous lament almost as if Purcell himself is appearing to us. Classic FM magazine, February 2009, Disc of the month
Andrew Mellor, Classic FM, CD of the Month

Schumann “Songs of Love and Loss”

This is a recital that defines Schumann primarily as melancholic, while the intimate restraint of Connolly’s singing frequently suggests the sad analysis of emotion from a retrospective or nostalgic viewpoint. Liederkreis is superbly done – an unnerving voyage through a soured Romantic landscape, awash with intimations of the horrors that lurk unsuspected in the corners of the psyche. Mein Schöner Stern, the curious Requiem – about Abélard and Héloise – and a fierce, declamatory performance of the Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart make up the rest of Connolly’s programme.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

This disc owes much to its Dido, Sarah Connolly. Connolly is magnificent as Dido.
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph

Schumann “Songs of Love and Loss”

Connolly has waited long for her due recognition – at least on disc – as one of the world’s most versatile mezzos and with this exceptional new Schumann recital , one can justly claim that she has ‘arrived’. She confirms her qualities as a Lieder singer with this assured programme centred on two of the most recorded of Schumann’s cycles: the great Eichendorf Liederkreis (Op 39) and Frauenliebe und Leben (Op 42), both from his annus mirabilis of songwriting, 1840. She begins however, with neglected late works: the austere and moving Poems of Mary Stuart…Connolly, in sumptuous voice, brings these songs and the two great cycles vividly to life.
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

Sarah Connolly is the leading Dido of our day and this new recording from Chandos took place as a result of the collaboration with the OAE at the instigation of Connolly herself. There is no conductor, but none is missed, and an all-star cast of baroque specialists contribute to an atmospheric period instrument recording with much to recommend it. Chief amongst the pluses, of course, is Connolly’s assumption of the role of Dido. I’ve never heard her in better voice, and she’s technically impeccable: the tessitura is perfect for her, the ornamentation is employed tastefully, and diction is clear. However, what comes across more than anything is her total psychological understanding of the part. Connolly truly etches a journey between ‘Ah! Belinda’ at the start and ‘When I am laid’ at the end; her death is the most moving catharsis of all the tensions that have come before.
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism

She really gets beneath the skin of the role (which she will play in a new production at Covent Garden), registering the pain of her abandonment and her resignation in death with searing intensity. On all counts, this is one of the must-have Didos, in superb Chandos sound.
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

Schumann “Songs of Love and Loss”

Connolly’s warm, amber mezzo is a beautiful instrument and, in tandem with the discerning Eugene Asti, she gives deeply felt performances. Connolly sings an uncommonly melancholy, introspective Frauenliebe und leben, as if the desolate ending is implicit from the outset. It is a psychologically convincing reading.
Richard Wigmore, Daily Telegraph

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

Sarah Connolly is the driving force from the start. We have a supremely wide-ranging, tragic and experienced Queen from the start, inhabiting the shadows of “Ah! Belinda” with early signs of deplorable fate. The Lament is a justly crowning event: Connolly lives it with exactly the right blend of pre-conceived nobility and gut-wrenching sadness, simply confirming it as one of the musical high-points of the 17th century.
Johnathan Freeman-Atwood, Gramophone Magazine

Sarah Connolly’s Dido is passionate, pointedly dramatic and richly ornamented,
Allan Kozinn, New York Times

Schumann “Songs of Love and Loss”

In opera, Sarah Connolly is impressively h3 and overtly passionate: in this recital with the sensitive pianist Eugene Asti, her interpretive choice is introspection. With a voice that is technically assured and capable of expressing just about any nuance, the British mezzo-soprano presents three Robert Schumann song cycles and a couple of the composer’s beloved late songs in this gorgeous recital. Connolly spins a perfect line throughout her range and applies generous portamento for some of the most liquid legato singing you are likely to hear on record. Both pianissimo singing and the length of her line are astonishing. She makes very discreet use of chest voice. Her rhythms are precise. To be fair, a Strauss or a Mahler recital from this artist might sound somewhat different. The emotional nature of Schumann’s song output recalls the composer’s many deep depressions, and his liberal tempo and mood markings set the tone. The “Mary Stuart” songs, the last set that Schumann wrote while suffering from the effects of syphilis-induced dementia, are marked exclusively langsam (slow). In the Opus 39 Liederkreis, again the marking langsam prevails, seconded by heimlich (secretive). When there is a quick tempo marking, it is qualified by ziemlich (rather) schnell. And four out of the eight songs in Frauenliebe und -leben are marked innig (inward). The latter two cycles come from 1840, the so-called “year of song” during which Schumann was inspired by his love for pianist Clara Wieck to set an improbably huge body of poetry to music. I have never heard a more subdued, inward interpretation of the Frauenliebe cycle than Connolly’s. Her reading of “Süsser Freund,” a full half-minute longer than any other I could find, perfectly captures the inner ecstasy of the woman’s feelings: “Wie so bang mein Busen, wie so wonnevoll! Wüsst ich nur mit Worten, wie ich’s sagen soll” (How my bosom is pained, how delighted! If only I knew how to say it in words). Likewise, in the Liederkreis, accompanied by Asti’s beautifully poised arpeggios, Connolly sets a quiet, ominous tone in the first song, and she barely strays from it. Even in “Waldesgespräch,” a dialogue song in which the Rhine witch Lorelei captures a young bride, Connolly is subtle in her vocal depiction of the characters. The imperious “Mary Stuart” songs are heartbreaking. The sad first song about leaving France foreshadows the cycle, again underscored by Asti’s beautiful flowing sixteenth notes. But the most haunting song on the disc is the very late one “Requiem.” The poem is a translation of one written by Heloise looking back on her lost love Abelard. Singing with perfect poise and ineffable sadness, Connolly and Asti transport the listener to a world of benediction and loss, and to the tragic world of Robert Schumann.
Drew Minter, Opera News

Throughout, Connolly’s German is impeccable and she treats the text in a subtle, non-interventionist way that reflects her obvious intelligence as an artist. The voice itself is in wonderful condition, combining a highly feminine richness and with a bright sound and well controlled vibrato. The quality of both artists is abundantly clear throughout the whole disc and Chandos’ recording captures both the bloom of Connolly’s voice and the care she takes with the texts beautifully. This is still a fine addition to Connolly’s growing discography.
Hugo Shirley, Musical Criticism

Dido and Aeneas / Chandos

There could be no better start to the Baroque year of 2009, bringing together the anniversaries of Purcell’s birth and Handel’s death, than this superb version of Purcell’s unmatched one-hour opera. This features a full-voiced, richly inflected Dido from Sarah Connolly, very much in the Janet Baker tradition. Glorious.
Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian

Dido and Aeneas (Dido) Chandos 2009 january

The leading Dido of our day, Sarah Connolly, has performed the opera in numerous settings: we reviewed her in two different presentations last year, including one at the Wigmore Hall and one, given with puppets and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This new recording from Chaconne (Chandos’ Early Music label) took place as a result of the collaboration with the OAE at the instigation of Connolly herself. There is no conductor, but none is missed, and an all-star cast of baroque specialists contribute to an atmospheric period instrument recording with much to recommend it. Chief amongst the plusses, of course, is Connolly’s assumption of the role of Dido. I’ve never heard her in better voice, and she’s technically impeccable: the tessitura is perfect for her, the ornamentation is employed tastefully, and diction is clear. However, what comes across more than anything is her total psychological understanding of the part. Connolly truly etches a journey between ‘Ah! Belinda’ at the start and ‘When I am laid’ at the end; her death is the most moving catharsis of all the tensions that have come before. The mezzo will make her long-awaited Royal Opera debut in April in this opera: don’t miss it.
Dominic McHugh, MusicalCriticism.com

Schumann Songs of Love and Loss/ Eugene Asti. Chandos 2008

Schumann’s love songs play to the strengths of Connolly’s rich and characterful mezzo. There is much to enjoy here, from both Connolly and the illuminating accompanist Asti. Connolly’s Mary Stuart is justified, stoic and regal. Of the Liederkreis, it is perhaps her particular quality of ecstasy in Die Stille and the sheer beauty and quiet stillness of Mondnacht that impress the most. But there are many highlights among this selection of Schumann’s superb, diverse settings, from the simple yet harrowing depth of loneliness of the knight in Auf einer Burg, to the contrasting joy and fear in Im Walder and the deeply moving tenderness of the final Frauenliebe cycle. Sarah Urwin Jones, The Times, 18 October 2008
Sarah Urwin Jones, The Times october 2008

Connolly has waited long for her due recognition – at least on disc – as one of the world’s most versatile mezzos and with this exceptional new Schumann recital , one can justly claim that she has ‘arrived’. She confirms her qualities as a Lieder singer with this assured programme centred on two of the most recorded of Schumann’s cycles: the great Eichendorf Liederkreis (Op 39) and Frauenliebe und Leben (Op 42), both from his annus mirabilis of songwriting, 1840. She begins however, with neglected late works: the austere and moving Poems of Mary Stuart…Connolly, in sumptuous voice, brings these songs and the two great cycles vividly to life. Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 19 October 2008
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times. October 2008

Connolly’s warm, amber mezzo is a beautiful instrument and, in tandem with the discerning Eugene Asti, she gives deeply felt performances. Connolly sings an uncommonly melancholy, introspective Frauenliebe und leben, as if the desolate ending is implicit from the outset. It is a psychologically convincing reading. Richard Wigmore, Daily Telegraph, 18 October 2008
Richard Wigmore, Telegraph, october 2008

Turnage: Twice through the heart. LPO/Alsop

Full marks to Sarah Connolly for the conviction [she] brings to the song cycle.
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine

Sarah Connolly is spell-binding as the abused wife who kills her husband in Twice Through the Heart, music full of compassion, superbly scored and melodically attractive. A striking performance…
Michael kennedy, Sunday telegrpah

Before the piece is a few bars old, Sarah Connolly – most urgent of British mezzo-sopranos – has hurtled out the work “garrotte”…Around the corner is “rolling pin” and “steak knife”…The awful clarity of Twice Through the Heart is ideal for Connolly’s dramatic flair. ..These works are vividly performed…listen with relish.
Geoff Brown, The times

Connolly, the mezzo soloist, prefers to sing rather than emote, and the result ennobles a work that surely ranks as one of Turnage’s masterpieces.
Andrew Clark. Financial Times

Well, it’s happened again–another reference-recording shake-up. This new Solomon from Daniel Reuss, the RIAS Kammerchor, and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is now the one to own, and unless you’re a collector of these things, the only one you’ll need. And that’s not to diminish the achievements of Gardiner or of the recent McGegan live production on Carus, but this performance and recording are so dynamic and vibrant, so present and powerful that you can’t help but be swept up in the sheer glory and grandeur of one of Handel’s greatest scores. Sarah Connolly, who’s already made her mark as a Handel singer, here an alto, elsewhere a mezzo, is one of the more commanding, darker-voiced Solomons on disc (the part was written for a mezzo), and she delivers the role with a confident, thoughtful, respectfully theatrical air that’s always mindful of the character while fully exploiting Handel’s abundant opportunities for purely lovely musical expression. This is one of those recordings that from the opening moments assures you that you won’t be going anywhere–it’s that good, it’s that compelling, and it’s absolutely essential.
David Vernier, Classics Today.com

A fine British cast led by mezzosoprano Sarah Connolly in the title role, with Carolyn Sampson, Susan Gritton and Mark Padmore.
Anthony Holden, The Observer, 4 November 2007

Handel: ’Solomon’ Akademie fur Alte Music Berlin/Reuss Harmonia Mundi,

Sarah Connolly is a fine Handelian, always a pleasure to listen to
Hugh Canning, International Record Review, January 2008

Sarah Connolly sings with glowing, even tone, ardour (in the love scene), and rapt inwardness in Solomon’s two nature arias.
Richard Wigmore, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, December 2007

Where Reuss scores decisively over the competition ‘ Gardiner and Paul McCresh (Archiv) ‘ is in his soloists, a Handel team it would be hard to better today. In the title role, Sarah Connolly sings with glowing tone and eloquent directness. Her rapt, wondering ‘What Though I Trace each Herb and Flow’r’ is one of several highlights’a thrilling performance of one of the most opulent masterpieces of the Baroque.
Richard Wigmore, Telegraph, 10 November 2007

Handel: ’Solomon’ Akademie fur Alte Music Berlin/Reuss Harmonia Mundi,

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly holds forth regally in the title role – her tone resplendent, her phrasing sumptuous.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 November 2007

[This recording] reveals the impressive maturity and technique of Connolly’ From Connolly’s first notes, ‘Sta nell’ Ircana’ from Alcina, we have no doubt about this voice’s considerable dramatic capabilities, and we can’t help but be impressed with both her range (free of discernible register breaks) and ease of delivery from top to bottom. By the aria’s end she’s confirmed the power of her lowest register notes and ability to fully embody and project her character’Connolly is just as convincing and her voice is as lovely in the slower arias, including ‘Mi lusingha il dolce affetto’ from Alcina (all seven minutes of it!). Her breath control is amazing and she completely enthralls with her attractive, sensible ornaments’ [‘Scherza infida’] is the highlight of the CD, Connolly’s subtle vocal shading, expressive phrasing, and vibrant tone varying from gently floating to more emphatically projected ‘ the definition of captivating.Other listeners may cite the following ‘Dopo notte’, a brisk, high-energy aria from the same opera, as the most impressive of Connolly’s performances, and it would be hard to argue in light of the singer’s command of the reams of rapid runs and wildly leaping lines while maintaining the flow and emotional intensity of this fiendishly difficult seven minutes of music. And then there’s the beloved and oft-performed ‘Verdi prati’, which Connolly renders as sensitively and with as sumptuous a tone and smoothly-spun legato as we could hope for. The final ‘Where shall I fly” from Hercules is a magnificent display of virtuoso vocalism.
David Vernier, Classics Today, October 2004

The Exquisite Hour Recital Disc: Songs by Brahms, Britten, Hahn, Haydn (Eugene Asti) Signum Classics,

A national treasure for a good many years, this recital bears witness to Connolly’s mastery of a number of strands of the mezzo repertoire, all delectably sung [and] well chosen to display the ripe bloom of Connolly’s voice.
The Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 10 February 2006

Mahler: ’Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ OCE / Herreweghe Harmonia Mundi,

the admirably alert and warm-toned Sarah Connolly
Alan Blyth, Gramophone, November 2006

Mozart ’Mass in C Minor’ & Haydn ’Scena di Bernice’ Gabrieli Consort / McCreesh DG,

The glowing mezzo Sarah Connolly sings with grace, beauty and effortless virtuosity. Connolly, unfazed by the high-lying writing of the Haydn catches all the pathos and outrage of this classical heroine, while never letting us forget [her] innate nobility.
Richard Wigmore, The Telegraph, 21 January 2006

Handel: ’Heroes and Heroines’ The Sixteen / Christophers Coro

If anyone still needs convincing that Sarah Connolly is one of the finest Handel mezzos around, ’Heroes and Heroines’ out to do it.
Erica Jeal, Opera, February 2005

Handel: ‘Giulio Cesare’ ‘ Glyndebourne Festival Opera ‘ OAE / Christie(DVD) Opus Arte,

Sarah Connolly’s masterly Cesare, a performance that reveals some new subtlety each time I see it, sung with immaculate style and authority. Try ‘Va tacito’, sung and danced, with great refinement; or the pinpoint accuracy and control of ‘Al lampo dell’ armi’ ” all of it great Handel singing. Her acting is a joy as well, with a particularly fine eye for the various degrees of irony required for the role.
Peter Reed, Opera, February 2007

The Exquisite Hour Recital Disc: Songs by Brahms, Britten, Hahn, Haydn (Eugene Asti) Signum Classics,

A hugely impressive disc, testifying to the versatility and range of a singer who has already drawn comparisons with Janet Baker. The high points include some wonderfully rapt Brahms particularly Die Mainacht, in which time seems to stand still and a very erotic group by Reynaldo Hahn. Connolly sounds gorgeous in Korngold too.
The Guardian, 10 February 2006

Handel: ’Heroes and Heroines’ The Sixteen / Christophers Coro

There are moments on this ravishing disc when Connolly stakes a substantial claim to be the Handelian of her generation.
Classical CD of the Week, The Observer, 05 December 2004

The Exquisite Hour ‘ Recital Disc: Songs by Brahms, Britten, Hahn, Haydn (Eugene Asti) Signum Classics,

Sarah Connolly presents not only an exqusite hour but a full 75 minutes of French and German song, exquisitely articulated and accompanied.Connolly woos her audience with the calling-card for any and every mezzo: Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos. And every second of its nervous and emotional life – its hopes, fears and final despair – are uncovered in Connolly’s superbly observant voice and imagination. For Brahms, Connolly and Eugene Asti capture both the tenderly elusive ardour of the folksong, and the finely nuanced legato of those shadowy songs which hover between dream and waking reality. Here, Connolly holds back the words, weighing and weighting them to free the fierce inner passion of a song like ‘Von ewiger Liebe’. Her exquisite hour is Verlaine’s and Reyanldo Hahn’s – and Connolly responds tellingly to this composer’s uniquesly sweet-scented archaism. Korngold and Weill receive a delicious sprinkling of stardust as both singer and pianist relax into cabaret mode, and every word is cherished and most poignantly projected. Connolly concludes her recital with two delightfully unpredictable encores by Ireland and Britten. Her final Tit for Tatecomes a heartfelt and dark questioning of what is, and what is not, true sportsmanship.
Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine, March 2006

Mahler: ’Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ OCE / Herreweghe Harmonia Mundi,

Connolly makes the most of her seven songs, with even, supple tone, intelligent phrasing and immaculate diction.
The Guardian, 01 September 2006

Connolly is one of our best’and her singing of [Ariodante’s] rapt lament of betrayal, Scherza infida, and her effortless dispatch of the joyful syncopations of Dopo notte show why’ This is classy Handel’
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, 14 November 2004

Handel: ’Heroes and Heroines’ The Sixteen / Christophers Coro

[Her] immaculate legato, remarkable breath control, even scale and wide tonal range combine to present her with the full armoury needed for the varied challenges here The spotlight is on Connolly, who charts the emotional journeys [of each character’s repertoire] with a psychological perception scrupulously drawn from Handel’s notes. She’s in command of each and every one of them, and like all the greatest artists she makes this music her own. This is top-of-the-range Handel singing.
George Hall, BBC Music Magazine, December 2004 Editor’s Choice of Choral & Song Recording

Sarah Connolly is an exemplary Handel singer ’Scherza infida’ is an addictive mixture of vocal elegance and poignant desolation, and ’Mi lusingha’ is sung with a beautiful simplicity that lacks for nothing in drama or passion. In contrast, the extravagant coloratura in ’Dopo notte’ and the robust ’Sta nell’ Ircana’ capture the virtuoso thrills of heroic joy In Dejanira’s ’Where shall I fly ’, Connolly reminds us that taste and subtlety have an important place even in Handel’s tormented and emotionally unstable creation. She avoids contrived intensity and allows the quality of the vocal writing to speak for itself.
David Vickers, Gramophone, November 2004 Editor’s Top 10 Discs of the Month

The Exquisite Hour Recital Disc: Songs by Brahms, Britten, Hahn, Haydn (Eugene Asti) Signum Classics,

Fresh from her recent triumphs at Glyndebourne , ENO and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, one of our most refined mezzos gives us an eclectic recital recorded live at St John’s, Smith Square. From Haydn and Brahms to Korngold and Reynaldo Hahn, Connolly’s innate musicianship combines with her warm, lustrous tone and immaculate diction to offer new insights into familiar works and a few welcome discoveries. Connolly’s meticulous attention to detail also adds new lustre to songs by Kurt Weill, John Ireland and Benjamin Britten which complete a programme as revelatory as it is enchanting.
The Observer, 12 February 2005

This recital displays several aspects of the mezzo’s artistry, from a noble account of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos to two songs from Weill’s One Touch of Venus. In between come seven Brahms lieder, including a radiant ’Von ewiger Liebe’; five songs by Hahn (’L’heure exquise’ is alone worth the price of the disc) and four by Korngold in which Connolly’s lovely singing reaches to the sensuous core.
The Telegraph, 22 January 2006

Connolly makes full use of her considerable dynamic range throughout this classy recital, recorded live at St John’s, Smith Square, London, October. Her atmospheric mezzo is well suited to heartache, and her subtle lamentations and cries of anguish clearly define the stricken heroine in Haydn’s cantata Ariadne. The ensuing seven songs by Brahms are beautifully paced with her Feldeinsamkeit of particular note, along with the wistful Du unten im Tale and the tender Die Mainacht. The poignant pieces by Reynaldo Hahn and Erich Wolfgang Korngold are also sensitively sung, with Eugene Asti’s piano devoting particular attention to their restive harmonies.
David Rose, The Times, 04 February 2006

Bridge Orchestral Songs Chandos,

[’The Days are Cold’, ’Mantle of Blue’, ’Day after Day’ and ’Speak to Me, My Love’] are sung beautifully by Sarah Connolly.
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, Proms Edition 2005

Handel: ‘Heroes and Heroines’ The Sixteen/ Christophers /Coro 2004

This is the new Handel recording by the British mezzo Sarah Connolly, with the Symphony of Harmony and Invention and their conductor Harry Christophers on his own Coro label.  It’s simply an outstanding disc from start to finish. The disc features two of Connolly’s best-known trouser roles – Ruggiero in Alcina and the title role of Ariodante  – with two less familiar female roles, from Solomon and Hercules.  At the heart of the disc lies the long despairing aria from Act 2 of Ariodante, ‘Scherza infida’: Sarah Connolly as Handel’s Ariodante, driven to the edge of death by his lover’s perceived infidelity; 12 gloriously intense minutes of divine music.  And if the strings of the Symphony of Harmony and Invention could perhaps be a little more fluid, that bassoon is spot on. Connolly’s sense of line is impeccable, and on a purely musical level she’s never less than a pleasure to listen to.  Yet this an immensely satisfying performance dramatically as well – her diction, in English and Italian, is consistently clear and vivid, and though this disc shows her as only four characters, she really gets inside each of them. Perhaps nowhere is this better tested than in her closing number. It’s not all misery and madness on this new Handel recital disc.  I’ll leave you with another aria from Ariodante, this time taken from towards the end of the opera, with doubts passed, the sun shining, and Connolly making it all sound joyously, brilliantly easy.
BBC Radio 3 review

Mendelssohn – Songs and Duets Vol. Hyperion,

Impressive ’Entsagung’, which on paper looks like Mendelssohn in pious, Ancient-and-Modern mode, has a passionate urgency in Connolly’s performance.
Richard Wigmore, BBC Music Magazine, March 2004

BBC Voices – Blood Red Carnations: Songs by Arnold Schoenberg

Sarah Connolly much f ted at English National Opera makes much of these all-too-rarely encountered late-Romantic songs.
James Jolly, Gramophone, January 2003

Elgar: ’Sea Pictures’ / ’The Music Makers’ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Wright

…raptly sung by Connolly…she is deeply poetic in ’Sea Slumber-Song’, airily whimsical and touching in ’Where corals Lie’ and dramatic in ’The Swimmer’.
The Telegraph, 19 November 2006

BBC Voices – Blood Red Carnations: Songs by Arnold Schoenberg

So mesmerising in [her] crisp performance one yearns for the follow-up release.
Tarik O’Regan, The Observer, 13 October 2002

Connolly’s musical mastery of this difficult material enable her to take a tender and lyrical approach to the piece her careful attention to detail and nuance
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News, March 2003

Elgar: ’Sea Pictures’ / ’The Music Makers’ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Wright

She responds to the texts with imagination, freshness and urgency. Connolly expresses the full range of colour and emotion implicit in the songs. She highlights the gently rocking rythms of the tender ’Sea-Slumber song’; and is airy and light in ’Where corals lie’, but makes the listeners awere of the dark undertow of the music the poet is being lured beneath the waves to oblivion. In the final song, ’The Swimmer’, she surfs effortlessly above the mighty orchestral surge.
Emma Baker, Classic FM Magazine (Disc of the Month), January 2007

Singing with glorious radience, security and richness of tone; her delivery of the final line of ’The Music Makers’ ( And a singer who sings no more ) is deeply affecting. Connolly also steps up to the mark in ’Sea Pictures’. Hers is a gripping, intelligent display, combining keen poetic and dramatic instinct with clarity of diction, all technical challenges effortlessly surmounted (her climatic top A in ’The Swimmer’ is thrilling). Connolly’s resplendent and comminicative ’Sea Pictures’ demands to be heard.
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, December 2006

…rendered with exquisite taste by the dark mezzo of Sarah Connolly, especially lyrical in ’Where Corals Lie’.
Anthony Holden, The Observer, 12 November 2006

BBC Voices – Blood Red Carnations: Songs by Arnold Schoenberg

Atonal otherworldliness beautifully performed
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 03 November 2002

Elgar: ’Sea Pictures’ / ’The Music Makers’ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Wright

Gramophone Nomination December 2007 Best Classical Vocal Performance
Gramophone Nomination December 2007

In the song cycle Sea Pictures, nobody has come nearer than Connolly to equalling Baker. …she rises majestically to the emotional climax of Sabbath Morning at Sea, expressing a sort of patriotic ecstasy.
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 05 November 2006

BBC Voices – Blood Red Carnations: Songs by Arnold Schoenberg

Sarah Connolly copes superbly with all [the music’s] demands, the extremes of dynamics and of register.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 25 October 2002