Reviews/Critical acclaim


Brünnhilde, Die Walkûre, (Scottish Opera)

“ This epic cycle has made a star out of soprano Elizabeth Byrne who has grown both vocally and dramatically into the role of Brünnhilde with electrifying results. She never fails to create a frisson of excitement whenever she appears on stage - a wily tense heroine whose power is understated but never in doubt.”

Bill Jamieson and Susan Nickalls. THE SCOTSMAN

“...the cataclysmic climax of Elizabeth Byrne’s show-stopping Brünnhilde..”

“But it was the climactic reappearance of Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde that reenergized Sanders(Siegfried).

Kenneth Walton. THE SCOTSMAN

“..Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde bringing full luster to the closing scene..”

Conrad Wilson. THE SCOTSMAN

“...Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde is astonishing as she grows to inhabit every corner of the role.”

“Elizabeth Byrne’s magnificent Brünnhilde, strong, pliant and vocally shapely, delivers a speech of the purest most superb scorn to the gods...”

Elizabeth Byrne is an immensely generous -with voice and emotion - Brünnhilde, giving such an unstinting performance..”

“..Brünnhilde (Elizabeth Byrne) awakes in radiant glory.”

“...Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde burst into action full of eagerness to please and learn and a deepening sense of tragedy...”

Robert Thicknesse. THE TIMES

“...Elizabeth Byrne’s riveting Brünnhilde.”

“As Brünnhilde, Elizabeth Byrne’s touchingly awkward tomboy persona again works well.”

Anna Picard THE TIMES

“Elizabeth Byrne’s ...Brünnhilde actually gained strength to carry the final moments with touching dignity.”


“...we find performances of genius. Elizabeth Byrne’s Brûnnhilde is impassioned, tireless and finally overwhelming in the Immolation scene.”

“As Brünnhilde Elizabeth Byrne faces him(Wotan) with passionate stroppiness.”

“Elizabeth Byrne grows increasingly passionate as she charts Brünnhilde’s transformation from frigid Valkyrie to complex human being.”


“But the star of the show must be Elizabeth Byrne, a stunning Brünnhilde, transformed from the happily fed cat at the end of Siegfried to the vengeful and furious character who must sacrifice her own life.”

Christopher Lambton THE SUNDAY HERALD

“Brünnhilde, in the person of Elizabeth Byrne, was lithe, plucky, refreshingly young and vocally tireless, a wonderful performance.’

Conrad Wilson THE HERALD

“The only enormous things about her (Elizabeth Byrne) are the power of her perfectly focused voice and the career she’s going to have.”


“The real triumph of the cycle is Elizabeth Byrne’s emergence as a great Brünnhilde...she has the focus, engagement and control to follow the part credibly to its terrible end...Elizabeth Byrne, as Brünnhilde emerges as a significant artist... she rose to heights of burnished tone, her terrible commitment gripping the heart.”


“Elizabeth Byrne’s sympathetic Brünnhilde, no horn or helmet in sight, is lithe in body and voice, dramatically responsive and wholly engaged with those she has unwittingly betrayed.”

“Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde was emotionally and vocally lacerating.”


“Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde is magnificent and will get greater still.”


“Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde rose thrillingly and accurately to the challenges of Act 2, capping that in Act 3 with a noble account of the Immolation.”

Rupert Christiansen THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 2003

“Elizabeth Byrne’s Brünnhilde sustains its intensity to the very end... ecstatic, dignified and often very moving.”

Michael Kennedy THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 2003

“Byrne has developed in the most thrilling way since she first sang the part two years ago. Nothing now is tentative: she know she can sing the whole role without stinting, and her stage presence is striking.”

Michael Tanner THE SPECTATOR 2003

“Elizabeth Byrne’s brave Brünnhilde commands the stage...”

“...Elizabeth Byrne bestriding the saga as a thoroughly imposing Brünnhilde, sharing a deserved standing ovation with Best (Wotan).”

Anthony Holden THE OBSERVER REVIEW 2003

“Ms Byrne has a voice of flame and accuracy, the voice of a young person keenly in tune with herself, quick and 100 percent in her soft emotional responses. She also had vitality in her stage presence.”

Paul Griffiths THE NEW YORK TIMES 2001

“Elizabeth Byrne, who stepped in at a late stage amid rumours of all sorts of controversy, is a tomboyish Brünnhilde, not a big-guns soprano but very much in the Hildegard Behrens mould, compliment enough in my book. Her tenderness in the Farewell with Wotan and in the scene with her eight sisters as they try to protect her, was tearfully moving.”

Michael Kennedy THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 2001

All reviews for The Ring Cycle cover a period from 2001-2003.


Gutrune. Götterdämmrung. (The Lyric Opera of Chicago)

“... just as Elizabeth Byrne sang with an outstanding top and technique the role of Gutrune: she (Miss Byrne) had already sung a complete set of performances as Floria Tosca.”


“Alan Held (Gunther)and Elizabeth Byrne (Gutrune) also created living people, not just characters through vocal means”

“The Gibichung’s Gunther and Gutrune, Alan Held and Elizabeth Byrne were characterfully sung and acted.”

John von Rhein CHICAGO TRIBUNE 1996

Ortlinde, Die Walküre. (The Metropolitan Opera)

“...though there is bright promise in the voice of Elizabeth Byrne.”


Brünnhilde, Die Walküre. Austin Lyric Opera

“Elizabeth Byrne was a Brünnhilde of rare youthfulness and spunk, her singing crystalline and brilliant at full voice and suffused with warmth in intimate moments.”

Mike Greenberg SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS 2001

Leonore, Fidelio, Scottish Opera, Glasgow

“Elizabeth Byrne as Leonore is immense, singing with tremendous power and sensitivity throughout.”

Frank Carroll SUNDAY HERALD 2005

“Byrne delivers a towering performance, formidable as she flings herself between the dagger of murderous governor Don Pizarro and husband Florestan...”


‘Elizabeth Byrne’s Leonore is valiantly sung and physically plausible in male disguise.”

Rupert Christiansen DAILY TELEGRAPH 2005

“As Leonore/Fidelio, Elizabeth Byrne, a one-time Brünnhilde for Scottish Opera gave an intensely committed performance backed up by some pretty stellar singing...”

Georgia Brown MAIL ON SUNDAY 2005

“...Elizabeth Byrne’s Leonore was longing and earnest...”

Kenneth Walton THE SCOTSMAN 2005

“...Leonore, disguised as the boy Fidelio (sung by the wonderful Elizabeth Byrne...

Senta, Der Fliegende Höllander (Boston Symphony Hall)

“British-American soprano Elizabeth Byrne stepped in to sing the demanding role of Senta without any rehearsal with the orchestra. She displayed remarkable composure and delivered a solid, plucky, professional performance under supremely testing circumstances.

“Much of the time she sounded agreeably like the reliable German sopranos of the ‘50’s featured in most of the early LP recordings of the opera. She had some lovely moments, especially when singing quietly. She has an attractive presence...”

Richard Dyer THE BOSTON GLOBE 2005

Senta, Der Fliegende Höllander. (Austin Lyric Opera)

“There was not a weak point in the cast...”

“...the lovely young Senta was so driven to redeem the doomed captain, but in her obsessive intensity, Elizabeth Byrne left no doubt that she was, and in that she certainly held one’s attention...”


“Byrne’s bright gloss and slightly metallic edge...her singing was always pleasureable..”

Mike Greenberg SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS 2004

Salome, Salome. (Glimmerglass Opera)

“Elizabeth Byrne sings convincingly in the title role.”

Bernard Holland THE NEW YORK TIMES 2000

“Soprano Elizabeth Byrne portrayed a vocally feminine introspective princess, which belied the volcanic and pathological eroticism of the troubled teenager, hell-bent for the head of the Baptist. Strauss asked much of Salome, setting the demanding vocal line over thick orchestration punctuated with percussive intrusions. Byrne struck the balance between big, vocal sound and crumbling teenager.”

Peter Haley TIMES UNION 2000
“Any singer who attempts the role of Salome has to come equipped with the charm of Lolita, the will of Xena and the voice of Brünnhilde; plus she has to dance. Elizabeth Byrne did as good a job of covering all the bases as one can expect to see in the theater. She has a voice that can soar above the tumult of Straussian orchestration and still sound lyrical. She can act sexy, but she doesn't always do it, especially in the presence of Narraboth. She makes effective use of an icy pale tone as she feigns indifference to Herod’s pleas for her to eat, drink and dance. Her “Dance of the Seven Veils’ was carried off very ingeniously.”

Mark G. Simon THE ITHACA TIMES 2000

“Byrne’s angry outbursts each time she was rejected were equally scorching and she was also very effective in the macabre scene at the end of the opera, now obviously deranged, she fondles and kisses the prophet’s severed head.”


“At Glimmerglass, the British soprano Elizabeth Byrne convincingly suggests Salome’s change from a petulant princess to an erotically obsessed woman. Byrne’s strong bright voice is powerful but still youthful enough to be convincing, and she seldom showed signs of wear and wobbling in this killer of a part...Byrne and the orchestra rise to the occasion.”


“Elizabeth Byrne as Salome is up to the challenge. Her voice is large, capable of Straussian ‘crescendi’ and either lovely or harsh as the moment demands. Musically and visually persuasive, she becomes completely caught up in the sensuous and macabre elements of her character. Although her final scene is not for the faint of heart it is the most powerful. Byrne owns Salome.”

JoElyn Wakefield-Wright UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH 2000

Kostelniçka, Jenufa (Glimmerglass Opera)

“But I felt , as I often do, admiration for so much that Kanyova’s (Jenufa) generation of singers does. And this time I felt something more - a paternal pride in what Kanyova, her Kostelniçka (Elizabeth Byrne, in an indelible performance, looking like a daguerreotype of a face from Mount Rushmore)... pulled out of thin air.

“The Kostelniçka of Elizabeth Byrne hit her stride in the sustained outpourings of Acts 2 and 3.”

William R. Braun OPERA NEWS 2006

Ines de Castro. Blanca. (Scottish Opera and Edinburgh Festival)

“There’s a moment of dramatic catharsis in the occurs in the second act and features a heart-rending scene - - and a stupendous performance from Elizabeth Byrne as Blanca, the barren wife of Pedro, Crown Prince of Portugal. Blanca pours out her is a scene of horrifying intensity, powered by some of Macmillan’s most scorchingly intense music. And from that moment on, the opera takes on a human dimension....”

Micahel Tumelty THE HERALD

“ It is Pedro who will insist the scene moves forward, he and Blanca, his spurned wife, a role Elizabeth Byrne will sing with increasing impressive dignity ...”


“...but the best performances were those by Elizabeth Byrne as Pedro’s wife, Blanca. She has a gruesome aria which brought the best music from Macmillan. Stomach churning stuff, but how we all listened.


“Elizabeth Byrne sings like an angel in the role of Blanca.”


“In her tour de force aria, Elizabeth Byrne had the audience captivated and horrified by her magnificently sung, terrifying account of marital rape, torture and miscarriage. Undoubtedly the highlight each night.”

Kevin Gallagher THE SUNDAY EXPRESS 1996




The Stepdaughter. Six Characters in search of an Author. (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

“The driving force in the drama is Elizabeth Byrne’s deeply felt realization of the Stepdaughter.”


‘There were impressive performances as well from Elizabeth Byrne as the sensuous Stepdaughter.”


“Elizabeth Byrne, who has sung with English National and Scottish Operas brought the right emotional wildness and gleam to the Stepdaughter.”

Andrew Porter THE NEW YORKER 1990

Abigail Williams. The Crucible. (Tulsa Opera)

“Elizabeth Byrne, as the chief accuser (and Proctor’s former mistress) Abigail certainly had the voice for the role - her duet with James Maddalena (John Proctor) at the start of Act 2 demonstrated her excellent vocal’s not an exaggeration to say this is one of the strongest casts Tulsa Opera has assembled in years.”


“Elizabeth Byrne’s Abigail had a powerful presence and voice”.


Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw. (Edmonton Opera)

‘Elizabeth Byrne played a strikingly beautiful Miss Jessel and her dramatic soprano raised goosepimples in the Colloquy with her former lover/tormentor.”


‘Elizabeth Byrne and David Hamilton as the ghosts deliver perfectly chilling performances.”


“The ghostly Miss Jessel as sung by Elizabeth Byrne was as dark and fatally seductive in physical appearance as in vocal color.”


Fricka, Das Rheingold (Indianapolis Opera)

“Indianapolis Opera’s first venture into Wagner, in a joint production with The Indianapolis Symphony plunged heartfelt into an extraordinarily inventive production...The performances were also stunning...the lady goddesses were a contrast with Elizabeth Byrne, rotund of voice as a dignified Fricka....”

Charles H. Parsons OPERA NEWS 2009

The Mother/Witch Hansel and Gretel. (Indianapolis Opera)

“Elizabeth Byrne’s portrayal of the Witch was delightful. The British-born, Chicago based dramatic soprano took an earthy, alluring approach - - as a dotty, old eccentric, not a scary specter.”


Tosca, (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

“Byrne, who was singing the role for the first time is a lirico spinto of quality - smooth and steady, powerful enough to suggest Tosca’s emotional turmoil, flexible enough where soft pathos is required (a lovely ‘Vissid’arte’).....


“She acquitted herself admirably Saturday night, bringing a clear, powerful soprano voice to the opera’s title-role. Her singing was strong enough and even throughout its entire range, and she had no trouble matching the top decibels that co-star Kristjan Johannsson as Cavaradossi hurled in his opening aria. She sang the Act 2 prayer ‘Vissi d’arte’ with natural eloquence, shaping its deceptively simple melodies into an intimate communication between a pious woman and her Lord.”

Wynne Delacoma CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 1993



Tosca, (Opera Festival of New Jersey)

“Elizabeth Byrne as Tosca, uses her powerful ans shapely soprano voice to dispaly thr ramifications of jealousy....On opening night, the audience’s enthusiastic response to Byrne’s ‘Vissi d’arte’ aria in Act 2 momentarily stopped the stage action.”

Elaine Strauss MUSIC REVIEW

“Any production of Tosca stands or falls on the performance of the singer in the title-role. Elizabeth Byrne was just about ideal in this one, tall. beautiful, with a lovely, expressive voice. She movingly conveyed the torment of the singer caught between her love for the painter-patriot Cavaradossi and the unwelcome attentions of the evil chief of police Scarpia. Byrne was equally convincing portraying Tosca’s fiery jealousy when she suspects her lover has been having trysts with he model for the painting of the Madonna on which he is working in the Church of Saint Andrea delle Valle. Byrne sang Tosca’s big showpiece, ‘Vissi d’arte’, in exciting fashion.

Donald Delany THE TIMES

“Tosca, who is portrayed with engaging largesse by Elizabeth Byrne in this production at McCarter Theater. Byrne has a big voice and good stage presence. Her silent focus before starting ‘Vissi d’arte’ was memorable.


“Elizabeth Byrne - as Floria Tosca, the woman at the center of the melee - is the reason this production triumphs. It is impossible to take your eyes off her. She is not the tigress that Callas made of this role but rather a high-strung, nervous yet commanding woman. Her every move intensifies an electrifying vocal performance. With remarkable strength and distinctive color, Byrne envelops every word with incisiveness and every musical phrase with tone. In her aria ‘Vissi d’arte’, Byrne appears to search for her words, giving spontaneity to this intrusive aria and making it part of the dramatic whole more effectively than I have heard before. Her performance captures the essential style of verismo in the tradition of the great singers of old, such as Magda Olivero, but with the youthful energy and vocal ease of a young star. With a Tosca like this, nothing else in the production matters.”



Tosca, (Edmonton Opera)

“British-born Elizabeth Byrne certainly has the chops to sing this role and make it, in Director Kelly Robinson’s words, ‘as big as life’... Byrne’s ‘Vissi d’arte’ brought the house to a hush.”


“Byrne...entered strongly, and her creamy soprano voice was a delight. She was at her best in Act 2 with Scarpia, and after she kills him, her trembling hands were the stuff of great acting. She sang her great aria ’Vissi d’arte’ with appealing simplicity and directness.”


‘...any opera named after one role hinges on the singer’s ability to carry it. And Elizabeth Byrne’s Floria Tosca was simply awe-inspiring and not just because of her voice, which was huge and dramatic as befits any role Maria Callas was renowned for. The fact that Byrne has played Tosca 49 times before was evident in the way she was able to take her knowledge of the role and infuse it with some character development.”

David Gronnestad VUE WEEKLY 2000

Tosca (Opera Omaha)

“Byrne captured Tosca’s flamboyance and ever-variable emotions; communicating both the character’s defiant strength and her less evident vulnerability, which was richly displayed in a moving version of her delicate second-act aria.”

Kyle Macmillan MORNING WORLD HERALD 2000

Tosca, (Baltimore Opera)

“Elizabeth Byrne did not disappoint. She is a young singer, well known now, who should become even better known. The voice is full and attractive; she can sing powerfully and softly and adjusts with ease between the two; and she acts well enough to make her time on stage linger in the memory as particular moments, rather than as merely generic ones. She has the kind of stature that commands the eye, and her ’Vissi d’arte’, sung with lovely tone and honest feeling, made it easy to understand why Cavaradossi is in love with her.”

Stephen Wigler THE SUN 1996
Tosca, (Calgary Opera)

“A true spinto soprano in tone, character and weight of voice, Byrne is clearly a natural for the role and delivers the big moments in the famous second-act with gripping intensity and power. The famous ‘Vissi d’arte’ was...genuinely moving and the emotional highlight it was meant to be.”

Kenneth Delong CALGARY HERALD 1997
Tosca, (Minnesota Opera)

“...what Byrne did create was not only believable but showed the progression in Tosca from diva to jealous lover to heroic defier of tyranny. And unlike many sopranos who turn ‘Vissi d’arte’ into a mere vocal statement, Byrne gave the number ample emotion, showing us a woman at her breaking point. Her singing throughout was well-produced and beautifully focused.”

Michael Anthony STAR TRIBUNE

“Elizabeth Byrne, who sang the title-role, is a Wagnerian as well as a Puccini soprano. Physically and vocally, she is imposing, a true diva. her voice has a core of iron, which she can bend to her will. She came off haughty and bossy in her first scene with her lover Cavaradossi , but in the second act confrontation with Scarpia, she showed deep tenderness alongside unstoppable resolve.”

Michael Fleming PIONEER PRESS

“Soprano Elizabeth Byrne rises to Scarpia’s challenge in Act 2, vocally as well as theatrically. Byrne, who has sung with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has aa strong. somewhat dark voice, and she’s at her best in ‘Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore.”


Tosca. (Manitoba Opera)

“Elizabeth Byrne also made her MO debut. As Tosca, Byrne’s wealth of voice and intelligent usage revealed the impassioned vulnerability of her role, if not always with ideal toughness and pride in the early going. A Tosca not necessarily diva-born, yet convincing in its power to move and reveal the often unrevealed innocence of the part.”

James Manishen WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 1999


“Elizabeth Byrne opened the 27th. season of Manitoba Opera with a Tosca the likes of whom has never before been seen on this prairie. Strong as the wind at Portage and Main, dangerous and sensuous as the rising Red River, her long trip to the parapet was like our season’s change from the hot summer to deep, dark winter: always compelling, frequently surprising and ultimately triumphant. Byrne is an artist from England whose Tosca is northern in temperament, terse and economical. The layers come off slowly and reluctantly. Her remarkable, formidable voice is used purposefully. But the core, when finally exposed is absolutely universal.”

John Becker OPERA CANADA 2000

Tosca. (The Israel Philharmonic)

“The English soprano, Elizabeth Byrne as Tosca, brought the house down in her highly impressive final scene....”

Ury Eppstein THE JERUSALEM POST 1995

Tosca, (Battle Creek Symphony)

“a dramatic soprano is necessary, but the legendary ’Vissi d’arte’ in the second act requires sheer lyric beauty. Byrne gave us both: she gripped us with powerful drama and made us fall in love with her in her aria...”


Lady Macbeth, Macbeth (Il Teatro di Pisa)

“The greatest satisfaction of the evening came from Elizabeth Byrne, whose secure voice cut through the orchestra.”


“...the formidable portrayal of soprano Elizabeth Byrne , who took on the role of Lady Macbeth.”

“..but the real revelation was found in the English soprano Elizabeth Byrne who in taking on the most difficult role of Lady Macbeth offered us a rich portrayal, full of dramatic accents, but also with supple emotional tones and strong vibrant expressivity.’


Aïda, (Portland Opera)

“...but the instrumental beauty of Elizabeth Byrne’s well-sung Aïda...From the second act duet between Byrne and Irina Mishura , the production hit its stride. The English-born Byrne proves a powerful singer in her debut with the Portland Opera, a sterling soprano with a big voice.”


“Elizabeth Byrne singing her first complete Aïda, has a strong, sinewy soprano...Byrne is an expressive physical actress whose intense, neurotic Aïda is more anguished slave than proud princess.”

Patricia Cornell THE OREGONIAN 1999



Soprano Soloist. Zemlinsky: Lyric Symphony (American Symphony Orchestra)

“Both soloists - Elizabeth Byrne, soprano, and John Hancock, baritone - sang Zemlinsky’s chromatic settings by Rabindranath Tagore with a captivating intensity.”

Allan Kozinn THE NEW YORK TIMES 2004

Soprano Soloist, Shostakovitch:Symphony No. 14 (National Arts Centre Orchestra)

“...soprano Elizabeth Byrne projected her voice in an adequate and clear manner...”
Jean-Jacques Van Vlassalaer LE DROIT

“Soprano Elizabeth Byrne and bass Gary Relyea were more than adequate...”

Richard Todd THE OTTAWA CITIZEN 2005

A Taste of Opera, (Buffalo Philharmonic)

“ the Act 1 love duet from Bohème Byrne’s well focused soprano soared expressively in her answering aria and blended beautifully with Carlos Scibelli in the duet. Byrne’s voice supplied plenty of power and ‘reach’ in the classic aria ‘Vissi d’arte’.

Herman Trotter THE BUFFALO NEWS 1995

English Northern Philharmonia. (Buxton Opera House)

“with megastar Dame Josephine Barstow’s pulling out of Saturday’s concert, English soprano Elizabeth Byrne, now American-based, proved an inspired choice of deputy. She may lack a little of Barstow’s transfixing stage presence but she shares much of her emotional intensity and showed terrific power and dramatic flair in Agathe’s aria “Leise,leise” from Weber’s opera Der Freischütz.
Again in ‘Abscheulicher’ from Fidelio, she thoroughly lived the part with a masterful reading, warm-heartedly received and in Beethoven’s ‘Ah! Perfido’. a sort of Fidelio forerunner, her voice effortlessly filled the theatre but also positively demanded attention in the quieter sections by the depth of commitment to the role. It was a tour de force Dame Josephine would have been quite happy with herself.”