Florentine Opera’s 85th Anniversary Gala

“Quagliata brought a focused, riveting sound and tremendous theatrical sense and presence to “Amour, viens aider ma faiblesse,” from Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalilah” and music from Bizet’s “Carmen.” 

Elaine Schmidt — Journal Sentinal

“Another imported guest, mezzo Elise Quagliata, had those gripping seductive lower tones familiar in mezzo roles like Carmen. Her selections and performance relied on that appeal.”

Dominique Paul Noth — Urban Milwaukee

Flight – Des Moines Metro Opera

Elise Quagliata was her remarkably versatile self as the Minskwoman…”

Mark Thomas Ketterson — Opera News

“The superlative mezzo Elise Quagliata was an enigmatic and powerful Minskwoman, i.e. a passenger supposed to be bound for Minsk. Ms. Quagliata’s character is in the late stages of pregnancy, and her hormonal swings are the cause for lyric outbursts, recriminations, and finally resignation. In her major scena, Elise poured out beautifully judged fiery, arching phrases that captured the heart and ravished the ear. Her richly-colored mezzo was always powerful and persuasive.”

 James Sohre – Opera Today

“The Minskwoman, sung by Elise Quagliata, has some of the most beautiful and conflicted music of the opera. She cannot bring herself to get on the plane to start her new life and tells her husband to leave without her. Her second act aria was one of the musical highlights of the opera, and Quagliata brought a depth and richness to the vocal lines even as she extracted a plethora of baby garments from her bag. This woman wants to return to the freedom and selfishness of her past, but she is on the cusp of motherhood which threatens her sense of identity.”

Meghan Klinkenborg - Schmopera

Out of Darkness: Two Remain – Atlanta Opera

“Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata sang a warm and thick Zosia.  Her voice boomed in the house, making me wish that we could have heard more of her.”


Maria de Buenos Aires – Des Moines Metro Opera

“[Maria] was distinguished by a blazing performance of the title role from mezzo Elise Quagliata, who threw herself into the sensuous character with striking commitment.”

Mark Thomas Ketterson – Opera News

“From her first appearance the stunningly attractive Elise Quagliata owned the title role. The part mostly lies in the low register, where Ms. Quagliata’s searing chest voice made a powerful effect. … as the evening went on, Elise quickly relaxed the delivery, finding increasingly more legato that showed off her poised tone to perfection in a wide range of demanding emotional states. Dramatically and musically, she does not so much perform the part as inhabit it. A remarkable star turn.”

James Sohre – Opera Today


 A Little Night Music – Des Moines Metro Opera

“The versatile Quagliata threatened to purloin the evening with her deliciously caustic Charlotte…”

Mark Thomas Ketterson – Opera News 

“Fresh from a triumphant star turn the night before as Maria de Buenos Aires, damn if Elise Quagliata didn’t score another knockout performance with her acerbic, self-effacing Countess Charlotte. Ms. Quagliata not only made the long-suffering wife all too human, but she delivered every one of her scripted comedic zingers with laser accuracy. Moreover, Elise sang the part with a vibrant, plush mezzo that was richly sympathetic.

James Sohre – Opera Today

“Elise Quagliata just about stole the show as the wry, long-suffering Charlotte.”

 John Von Rhein – Chicago Tribune


Hopper's Wife - New York City Opera

"As the title character, Ms. Quagliata rightly stole the show, her vocally and physically nuanced portrayal vividly conveying the evolution of the character from betrayed wife to back-stabbing Hollywood journalist."

Vivian Schweitzer - The New York Times

"Mezzo Elise Quagliata had the title role in the piece, in a totally go-for-broke performance. The role is a showcase for a high-energy singing actor and she excelled at both sides, bringing out the ugliness and comedy of the piece with her wonderfully earthy voice. (It was no surprise to read that she's a well-traveled Carmen.)"

Richard Sasanow - Broadway World

"But the evening belonged to Elise Quagliata's Mrs. Hopper. Her vibrant energy stood in sharp contrast to Edward's stolid obsessiveness, and she wore her '30s gowns and flamboyant hats with panache. Her breathless monologues were each a tour de force, and her dancerly movement added to her character's vitality."

Susan Brodie - Classical Voice America

Carmen - Utah Opera

“Elise Quagliata sang Carmen with passion and fervor—every ounce an imposing femme fatale.  Quagliata’s dusky mezzo, dramatic acumen and pulchritude commanded attention.”

Robert Coleman – Opera News

"Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata sings the title role in this production, combining a fierce charisma with vocal finesse. She commanded the stage with apparent effortlessness on Saturday, and her acting and dancing skills were on par with her singing."

Catherine Reese Newton - The Salt Lake Tribune


Doubt - Union Avenue Opera

"Elise Quagliata sings Sister James, and she captures our hearts. This innocent is caught in the conflict between her superiors, and Ms. Quagliata makes her moral torment heart-breaking."

Steve Callahan - Broadway World

"Equally impressive is UAO veteran Elise Quagliata as the conflicted Sister James. She's a talented singer and seems equally comfortable with both the standard repertoire and newer works. As she did in UAO's Dead Man Walking back in 2011, Ms. Quagliata demonstrates that her clear and fluid mezzo voice comes paired with solid acting skills."

Chuck Lavazzi - KDHX

“UAO favorite Elise Quagliata brought her well-produced mezzo and formidable dramatic skills to the role of Sister James, whose happy innocence is battered into cynicism by opera’s end.”

Sarah Bryan Miller - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dead Man Walking - Des Moines Metro Opera

"...Elise Quagliata contributed an excellent performance as the compassionate nun. Her interpretation was passionate yet sung with exceptional technical finesse: she maintained a rounded vocal quality throughout an impressive dynamic range."

Mark Thomas Ketterson - Opera News

"Composer Jake Heggie has made the pivotal role of Sister Helen Prejean a huge 'sing.' It ranges from simple, floated folk tunes, to urgent conversational exchanges, to pointed wisecracks, to punishing emotional outbursts, to stinging dramatic force required at both extremes of the range. Librettist Terence McNally has compounded the challenge by scripting a torturous emotional journey that requires elements of extreme restraint, steady growth to understanding, and utter abandon to a raw transformation and spiritual bonding. In Elise Quagliata, the creators may have found their most powerful Helen yet.

Her luminous voice made every moment count, with a powerful, tireless mezzo displaying a rich, amiable tone of unbelievable stamina. Ms. Quagliata could hurl out climax after climax, one topping the other for searing intensity, then just as easily she could turn on a dime and scale back to a haunting whisper. The palette of vocal color Elise brought to the drama was staggering, from the sunlit joy of the opening scene to the final unaccompanied lines, mere wisps laced with unconditional love after Joe's execution. This was great vocalism with limp, effortless delivery that was always deployed in committed service to the character. Truly memorable."

James Sohre - Opera Today

"As Sister Helen, the New York mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata is forthright, a can-do gal in a plain skirt suit and sensible shoes. But her heartfelt singing reveals much deeper qualities within – vulnerability, fear, guilt and almost dizzying bouts of doubt."

Michael Morain - Des Moines Register

Eugene Onegin – Des Moines Metro Opera

"Elise Quagliata fielded an adorable Olga who moved with a dancer’s grace and deftly essayed the requisite low notes."                                                                

Mark Thomas Ketterson – Opera News

"Mezzo Elise Quagliata, who debuted here in 2005 in “The Tales of Hoffman,” sang Tatyana’s lively sister Olga with freshness and a pretty gleam in her voice." 
 Bruce Carr - Des Moines Register

Sweeney Todd – Pensacola Opera

"Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata (Mrs. Lovett) is hilarious and beautifully twisted in her rendering “The Worst Pies in London.” 

Andy Metzger – Pensacola News Journal

The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing – American Lyric Theater

 “The stand out of the night was Elise Quagliata who played Joan Clark. Quagliata possesses a deep and rich mezzo-soprano who carries vibrancy and energy through each phrase. Her love proclamation for Turing towards the end of the reading was smart and convincing. Indeed, the duet that melted from her proclamation into Estabrooks uneasy restraint was the most powerful drama in the composition.”



Die Walküre - Union Avenue Opera

"Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata is a superb singing actress as well. Her Fricka is an astute lawyer in goddess's clothing, wielding her rich voice with intelligent delivery, to great effect."

Sarah Bryan Miller - Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

"What’s certain is the wide array of beautifully articulated voices in this production. Elise Quagliata’s mezzo-soprano soars as the angered Fricka..."

Mark Bretz - Ladue News

"Still, this reduced "Walküre" packs a considerable punch, thanks largely to some heavy-duty Girl Power in the cast. Amber Smoke (Sieglinde), Elise Quagliata (Fricka), and Alexandra LoBianco (Brünnhilde) are all outstanding, with powerful voices and well-defined characters. Ms. Quagliata is the same powerful presence she was in "Rheingold."

Chuck Lavazzi - KDHX

"Vocal honors in this production must go to Alexandra LoBianco and Elise Quagliata...Quagliata finds the humanity in Fricka's indignation and brings remarkable drama to narrative passages that could seem dry otherwise..."

Gerry Kowarsky - HEC-TV


Little Women – Pensacola Opera

“Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata performs [Jo] for Pensacola Opera. I remember the fantastic performance Quagliata gave us when she sang the title role in "Carmen" for Pensacola Opera in 2006. Her work as Jo might be even stronger…Much more is demanded of Jo than any other character and Quagliata gives us a vocal tour de force of amazing power, beauty, and dexterity… Like everything else she does on stage, Quagliata is brilliant.”

Andy Metzger - Pensacola News Journal


The Deepest Desire – Merkin Hall, NYC

“The program also included Mr. Heggie’s song cycle “The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love,” for mezzo-soprano, flute and piano (2002), which uses texts by Sister Helen Prejean…Elise Quagliata sang the works with a rich, expressive voice and passionate delivery.”

Vivian Schweitzer - The New York Times


Guilio Cesare – Florida Grand Opera

Cornelia was sung by Elise Quagliata, who displayed a mezzo with a healthy lower extension.”

 Robert Carreras – Opera News

“As Cornelia, Elise Quagliata was a graceful presence, displaying a rich mezzo voice and singing movingly in her lugubrious arias.”

Lawrence A. Johnson - The Miami Herald


Carmen – Pensacola Opera

“The sultry Elise Quagliata is one of the finest Carmens I’ve ever seen—and remember, the role has been sung by the likes of Denyce Graves and Julia Migenes-Johnson, who set a high standard indeed.  Quagliata certainly hearted up the stage on Sunday, and what this stunning mezzo-soprano lacked in power she made up in tone and vocal dexterity.  Her body language was extraordinary; this Carmen was in control long before her famous “Habanera”. 

Thomas Harrison - Mobile Register

 “…after watching her command the rehearsal hall for three-plus hours as the central figure in Bizet’s magnificent opera, I would argue that Quagliata has more than just a little Carmen in her.  In fact, she left me feeling as if I had just seen the role performed—really performed—for the very first time…Quagliata is simply riveting.”

Andy Metzger - Pensacola News Journal

“The New York City native oozes a raw sensuality that, at times, seems like she's going to spontaneously combust.  The girl is on fire.”

Sam Baltrusis - Independent News


photos: Cat Lundgren