As Signora Nacarelli in The Light in the Piazza (Patrick Street Productions)
"... strong singing ... especially Heather Pawsey when, as the matriarch, she's finally allowed to briefly unleash a gorgeous operatic power."
A Breakfast For Barbarians (Aventa Ensemble)
"Soprano Heather Pawsey coped superbly with a difficult solo part, a part full of treacherous intervals, with no tonal assistance from the accompaniment, which frequently pitted the soloist against the full ensemble seemingly doing their collective best to overwhelm her - an attempt doomed to failure by Pawsey's powerful voice."
"Three poems by Gwendolyn MacEwen converge (and carry) Mayo's A Breakfast for Barbarians for 15-piece mixed ensemble, soprano, and narrator: one poem is spoken (Skulls and Drums); one is sung (the title poem); one is wordless (The Death Agony of the Butterfly) but hardly mute, for this poem is the orchestra's. Subjects converge as well: Appetites insatiable for music, for art, for words turned into art. I liked the sense that the poems were being squeezed out of the music, the occasional smear of Berg in the ensemble, and the juxtaposition of hyperbolic vocal line (soprano Heather Pawsey) with the potent, clear, soft-shoe narration (Christopher Butterfield)."
The First Woman (world premiere, Vancouver International Song Institute)
"Leslie Uyeda's amibitious The First Woman (with words by Lorna Crozier) received a striking premiere by soprano Heather Pawsey and VISI artistic director Rena Sharon."
On This Planet (Aventa)
"The only other singing role in the work is that of Mother Earth, sung most tenderly by Heather Pawsey..."
Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax)
"Soprano Heather Pawsey sang R. Murray Schafer's Aria of the Princess (from his opera The Princess of the Stars), a haunting song with vowels - principally ah, ee, and oh, and sometimes i - but without words. Its challenge for the singer is its wide-ranging leaps, long moaning lines, and virtuosic twists and turns delivered at top speed, all over the vocal compass, tones flitting about like a cloud of lightning bugs. Pawsey created magic with this extraordinary vocalise, her voice alternating agility with power and a gloriously pure sense of pitch."
"After singing an extremely taxing, hour-long set of songs by seven composers in seven very different styles of art-song writing in Scotia Festival's Music Room on Tuesday, soprano Heather Pawsey - aided by flutist Patricia Creighton and pianist Guy Few - kicked up her heels and launched herself full-tilt into A Tea Symphony, or The Perils of Clara, a kitsch opera in 9 drinks by Canadian composer Gabriel Charpentier.
Histrionically, Pawsey pulled off one of the most difficult feats of stage craft for an actor: how to ham outrageously without actually being a ham actor, letting the irony only peek through so that the audience can enjoy ham and drama equally.
One of 10 projected miniature operas collectively titled Clara 91, in A Tea Symphony Clara consumes a tray of nine drinks as she slides from elegant suavity almost onto the floor. She has a cello with a small bar in it, and a bow with flowers at both ends, and she makes appallingly smug puns on bow and beau, then makes drunken passes at the cello with certain danger to her person, the instrument and Creighton, who sits nearby imploring Few at the piano to do something as Clara sloshes her way through the drinks.
Pawsey has to sing some rather difficult music throughout this bum-actor marathon. With impressive skill and effortless technique, she brought the whole thing off in a tour-de-force of song and send-up.
The recital began with late 19th century lieder, Une Flûte Invisible by Saint-Saëns, with Pawsey soaring expressively over the soft piano accompaniment and lyrical flute counter-melodies. The flute became really invisible in John Beckwith's setting of Miriam Waddington's A Man and His Flute for which there is no actual flute part. The style here is severely modern with a Hindemith-like texture of restless quartal harmony.
Then a cantata by Alesssandro Scarlatti (Solitudine avvenne, apriche colli notte), with some truly sensitive accompaniment by Creighton; a vocalise by Murray Adaskin (A Simple Tune Without Words); André Previn's eclectic, post-modern setting of a long text by Isak Dinesen about the sadness of two giraffes being hauled out of Africa to an urban zoo; a relatively lush setting of four classic poems by Nancy Telfer (To Dream Again); and the aria Kuyas, sung by Louis Riel's wife to her infant as she prepares a meal in Harry Somers's 1967 opera Louis Riel.
Pawsey sang them all with the kind of no-holds-barred commitment by which a firstclass artist rivets an audience's attention. Her stylistic versatility, the flexibility of her voice, its clarity, range and power made each of these dramatically contrasted songs a world of its own."
"The program began with the overture and opening scene of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, featuring soprano Heather Pawsey as Susanna and bass Robert Pomakov as Figaro. Sheer glory. Their interaction and vocal elegance made me wish for Albus Dumbledore's wand to whisk the orchestra into the pit; fill the stage with scenery, chorus and opera singers; and get on with the entire four acts of Figaro, building on such a marvellous start. Pawsey returned to sing Non, monsieur mon mari from Poulenc's comic Les Mamelles de Tiresias, investing her aria with lively nuances of tone and gesture."
Elixir of Love (Burnaby Lyric Opera)
"As the gun-toting Adina, Heather Pawsey made full use of her arsenal of vocal and acting talents. Pawsey's voice is in its prime, and she has the control to portray the full range of emotions".
"Adina, played with enthusiasm by Heather Pawsey, is suitably coy when the occasion calls for it, but at all times keeps her eye on her Cupid's target - the very bashful Nemorino. Her clear and superbly strong soprano voice did much to keep the production moving along at a good pace".
"Adina was played by Heather Pawsey, and throughout the performance, I found myself drawn into her character ...... Pawsey's performance (had) hit the mark. Her twittering and condescending laughter at Nemorino's desperate pleas were convincingly callous".
Elixir of Love (Opera Viva)
"Heather Pawsey ... tossing off intricate figurations while maintaining a ravishingly beautiful tone".
"Equally wonderful was the characterisation and vocal artistry of the female lead, Heather Pawsey, who gave depth and musicality to the rather vapid role of Adina ... a rich coloratura, with a wide range of colour and nuance."
Pirates of Penzance (Opera Viva)
"Heather Pawsey, in the role of Mabel, sings a display of vocal fireworks worth the price of admission alone. When Pawsey lets it fly, the sound is enough to make the hairs on your arms stand on end."
"Heather Pawsey, as Frederic's true love, is a gem. Her slim figure and resplendent soprano voice make her the perfect ingenue. She moved gracefully through all her choreography, and her acting let us believe that she was really head-over-heels for Frederic."
The Music Man (Opera Viva)
"In sharp contrast was the ultra-high soprano of Heather Pawsey as librarian and love interest Marian. Even the crash of a set during her first solo didn't detract from the magic of her voice."
A Night in Old Vienna (Vancouver Island Symphony)
"Soprano Heather Pawsey was right at home in old Vienna. Her stage presence and rich, colourful voice gave new life to what were really popular hits of the time."
Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition
"... considerable talents and impressive musical range ... passionate, fiery, sensuous, mischievous... Pawsey has a strong theatrical presence."
Britten-Weill Festival (Aldeburgh, England)
"Heather Pawsey's voice was, in a way, too good for 'Lucy', when the aria is sung this securely ..."
© 2017 Heather Pawsey. All rights reserved. All head shots by Nicholas Seiflow.