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In a Evening of Opera Excerpts at the St. Amand de Vergt Festival, France
La soirée opéra les a enchantés: Le festival de musique classique a bien débuté. La soirée opéra a connu un franc success grâce à un public de connoisseurs et des interprètes de grande qualité. La soprano Megan Weston et le baryton-basse Robert Osborne, en interprétant Mozart, Verdi et autres Bernstein, Donizetti et Gershwin, ont fait vibrer le publics, les murs et les voûtes de l’église par la puissance, le timbre et l’ampleur de leur voix.

An enchanting evening of opera: The festival of classical music began well. The evening of opera was a tremendous hit thanks to an audience of connoisseurs and interpreters of great quality. The soprano Megan Weston and bass-baritone Robert Osborne, in interpreting Mozart and Verdi as well as Bernstein, Donizetti and Gershwin, excited the audience and caused the walls and the vaults of the church to vibrate with the power, the timbre and the amplitude of their voices.
- Sud-Ouest

In Dean Drummond's microtonal opera, Café Buffé
Waiter's woes become avant-garde opera
Throughout "Cafe Buffe" -- which had its world premiere in a concert performance Thursday at Montclair State University's Alexander Kasser Theater, part of the Peak Performances series there -- absurdities relating to how we spend our time, interact with one another and eat make up the story of a waiter and his customers at a modern cafe, restaurant and bar.
Played by Newband -- a microtonal ensemble in residence at MSU -- Drummond's music was dense, enveloping and at times overwhelming as it resonated from the composer's 31-tones-per-octave zoomoozophone and Harry Partch's 43-tones-per-octave diamond marimba, as well as a full orchestra of other traditional, electronic and composer-invented instruments and amplified singers.
The performers' accomplishments were uniformly impressive. Newband played with vigor and nuance as well as a sure command of these varied styles under conductor Paul Hostetter. He and Drummond deserve ample credit for engineering this complex performance.
But baritone Robert Osborne stole the show as Giles, truly turning his computer woes into an earth-shattering event hilarious to witness. 
- The Star-Ledger 

In the Bernstein 70! Birthday Gala: Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood
Bernstein has always brought young American artists into prominence. Therefore, many musicians he had introduced recently were on hand - including bass Robert Osborne, tenor Jerry Hadley and soprano Dawn Upshaw.
- San Diego Union

There was a generous portion of concert music ... including one of the most moving moments from “Songfest” touchingly performed by bass Robert Osborne and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
- New York Newsday

When Leonard Bernstein turned 70 years old last week, the world of music turned out to celebrate. With Beverly Sills as host, a weekend of music began with an all-star concert. Leading, playing or singing music by Mr. Bernstein...were the likes of Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav Rostropovich and Robert Osborne.
- New York Times

Bernstein’s own music was at the center of the program - including a terrific performance of the Quintet from “West Side Story” featuring a couple of Tanglewood alumni. One of these, Robert Osborne, joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Michael Tilson Thomas to perform Bernstein’s beautiful setting of Walt Whitman’s confessional poem, “To What You Said.”
- Boston Globe

The troops included Betty Comden, Dawn Upshaw, John Williams, Frederica von Stade, Victor Borge, and Larry Kert. Planeloads.... Robert Osborne, with Yo-Yo Ma as cellist, repeated the Whitman song from “Songfest”
- Village Voice 

In Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall
Solid choices were made for the solo quartet: with the impressive Robert Osborne, whose rolling bass and accurate great leaps invigorated the Tuba Mirum, a true standout.
- Chorus Magazine 

In Peter Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for a Mad King
“A Singer Who Goes All the Way"Robert Osborne ... gave a thrilling performance both vocally and dramatically. The work’s emotional highpoint - when the King grabs the violinist’s instrument, waves it around during one of his rants and smashes it on the stage - was enacted with unreserved forcefulness.
- New York Times

Eight Songs presents the occasionally humorous yet ultimately tragic account of George’s tribulations while psychotic. Playing the King is bass Robert Osborne, who captivated the audience. While being called upon to whine and wheeze, smash things and sing in a most distorted manner, he remained true to the pathos at the heart of the tale. Brilliantly performed.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune

Eight Songs is a 20th C. touchstone. The performance by the Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble equaled the cherished performance by Julius Eastman. Bass-baritone Robert Osborne should record his embodiment of the mad King George.
- La Folia Online Music Review

The star of the show was Robert Osborne, who sang, mimed, acted and virtually became the insane King George. His performance drew cheers from the audience.
- New Music Connoisseur

Au cours des huit chansons, Robert Osborne joue de sa voix et de ses inflexions. Il la casse, le désaccorde, tantôt trop basse, puis plus aiguë, éraillée. Le déraillement de l’instrument physique se met au diapason du psychique.
- France Amérique

Songs of John Alden Carpenter (Albany Records: Troy 388)
By the time of the great emergence of the recording industry in the 1930’s, John Alden Carpenter’s exquisite songs, which had enjoyed such widespread acclaim in the 1910’s and 1920’s, had begun to lose favor. Even to this day, very few of these songs, most of which date from the early 1910’s, have found their way into the recording studio. All the more reason, then, to welcome this historic recording by Robert Osborne and Dennis Helmrich of nearly all of Carpenter’s mature songs. This includes some, mostly from Carpenter’s later years, that the composer never even published. (Only someone as unsparingly scrupulous as Carpenter would think twice about bringing out the likes of “Spring Joys,” “Midnight Nan” or “The Hermit Crab.”)

Carpenter’s choice of texts - from Wilde and Yeats to Tagore and Li Po, from Langston Hughes and James Agee to a few minor poets now forgotten, but still contemporaries of quality - reveals an astonishing sensitivity toward new poetic trends. (It helped that he lived in the Chicago of Harriet Moore’s Poetry and Margaret Anderson’s Little Review.) Complementing this refined literary sensibility one finds a highly sophisticated command of harmony and counterpoint, though the music always serves, never overwhelms the poetic idea, somewhat in the tradition of Debussy, whose songs clearly made a deep impression.

For all their delicacy, many of Carpenter’s songs show a pronounced and rather melancholy preoccupation with loneliness and death, but faced with extraordinary calm and restraint. Even the love songs and humorous songs have a certain wistfulness, a bittersweet quality that is pure Carpenter. Congratulations to Robert Osborne and Dennis Helmrich for helping to make them newly meaningful and accessible.
- American music scholar Howard Pollack

I am thrilled to discover this great music. Osborne’s singing is beautiful. The tone of the voice records very well. And in the Verlaine and Havet settings the French is very good indeed. Osborne does the accents d’insistence which naturally makes the whole difference. The legato line is seamless. Osborne is a creator of moods and one does not get tired as we go on listening to so much music of the same composer. Helmrich’s playing is wonderful, the sound so round and painted and full of colors. The partnership is very effective, and Helmrich’s support is powerful without being obvious. I admire Helmrich’s range of dynamics and rubato as well as the variety of moods.
- Pierre Vallet, Metropolitan Opera

The songs of John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951) reflect the man: elegant and sophisticated. Touches of Brahms, Faure and Rachmaninov are on display, plus considerable original invention and solid craftsmanship. As those names suggest, the mood is generally mellow, ranging from calm acceptance to the occasional passionate outburst. The music is conservative late-Romanticism tinted with an American modernism not unlike that of the younger Samuel Barber.

Osborne and Helmrich have selected 31 songs. Their idea was “to mine the gold” rather than present a survey: The composer’s first songs date from 1894; these were written from 1908 to 1935. Osborne’s bass-baritone is warm and rich at the bottom, thinning a bit at the upper end; he does best with calm, relaxed songs that are almost spoken, but he can produce full tone when needed. Every word is clearly enunciated, and he has a fine feeling for the texts; his French is clean and clear. Singer and pianist worked through Carpenter’s songs together from the beginning, and theirs is a sensitive collaboration. There have been multiple recordings of a few Carpenter songs going back to the 78-rpm era, but this is the first extended sample on records, for which we should be most grateful.
- Fanfare Magazine

Songs of Henry Cowell (Albany Records: Troy 240)
I would single out Songs of Henry Cowell as one of the five most anticipated highlights of the coming season.
- Michael Tilson Thomas
New York Times Arts and Leisure New Season Preview

... a fine contribution to the Cowell discography, and one that teaches us a lot about him and his music. I admire very much the range of expression, and voice-characterization thereof, on the disc. The music is, for the most part, not “Cowellian” in the way most listeners may imagine it ought to be. The smarter among them, though, may welcome this new vision -- an honest one!
- American music scholar H. Wiley Hitchcock

...evokes his marvelous personality in a way that is almost uncanny. The selection of songs, their ordering into a coherent progression, and the emotionally committed and technically adept realization of them makes this CD a uniquely evocative journey through Cowell’s musical mind.
- Cowell scholar Michael Hicks

The performers sing well. Robert Osborne’s focused, smoothly produced bass-baritone makes a strong impression. The interpretations are quite conservative, both vocally and instrumentally, which helps project the texts clearly. Recorded sound is clean and clear, with the voice always to the fore. Gratitude for this issue.
- Fanfare Magazine

…nobody knows this music, but it’s extraordinary.
- New York Times

Although Henry Cowell selflessly published music by and promoted other composers, especially Charles Ives, he often failed to do the same with his own music preserved. Similarly, his innovations - tone clusters, expanded ideas on harmony, prepared piano, electronic instruments, adaptations of Asian and Middle Eastern music - excited and influenced others but did not necessarily lead to his own renown or wide performance of his music. His music has been little played since his death in 1965; his 20 symphonies and more than 800 instrumental works await revival. This album of 29 songs is drawn from the 180 he wrote, and remind listeners of his strength as a composer and his prominent place in the flow of 20th century American song. For a composer still thought of as a non-traditional bomb thrower, his songs are finely imagined, lyrical and shaped to illuminate the texts. They condense emotion, buoy the words and lodge in the memory because of their richness. Singers Robert Osborne and Mary Ann Hart pay careful attention to texts throughout. Pianist Jeanne Golan matches enthusiasm with craft to explore the wonderful details of the music.
- Philadelphia Inquirer 

In Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto
The singers formed a spirited, vocally agile ensemble. Best was Robert Osborne as Count Robinson, his big, smooth baritone and detailed comic acting raising the temperature whenever he walked onstage.
- Opera News

Robert Osborne, as the Count, gave an exemplary performance, vocally and dramatically.
- New York Times

One who was willing to step out and overact, an important element in these concoctions, was Robert Osborne as the Count. His is also one of the few singers audible in the larger ensemble numbers.
- Berkshire Eagle

…a suave Cary Grant of a Count.New York NativeRobert Osborne’s Count is excellently acted and sung.
- Park East 

In Bernstein’s Songfest conducted by Mr. Bernstein: performances in London, Moscow, Neumunster and Eutin, Germany and at the Tanglewood Festival
His hand-picked young American singers were successful, with bass Robert Osborne being especially fine.
- The Musical Times: London
The Walt Whitman number was nobly delivered on this occasion by the American bass Robert Osborne.
- London Independent

A very American sextet of gleaming voices, including Robert Osborne, made the audience swing with Bernstein’s tingly portrait of America..
- Hamburg: Die Welt

Bass Robert Osborne was dignified, straight-forward and eloquent in the Whitman setting and droll in Gertrude Stein’s “Storyette,” a lilting duet…..
- Boston Globe

In the New York premiere of Lee Hyla’s Wilson’s Ivory-Bill
The text for Lee Hyla’s entrancing and witty “Wilson’s Ivory-bill,” for baritone, piano and, on tape, a scratchy field recording of the weird hoots and squawks of an ivory-billed woodpecker, was sung with clear diction and robust sound by the bass-baritone Robert Osborne.
- New York Times

The concert featured the composer/musician collective counter)induction which played the sometimes very challenging music seamlessly and expressively. The text was cantored bravely and sure by bass-baritone Robert Osborne.

Innova recording of Partch’s Eleven Intrusions, Partch’s Dark Brother and Drummond’s Congressional Record
After releasing the prize-winning and essential Enclosure series on Harry Partch, the label Innova continued to document the work of this most interesting figure in American contemporary music and of his followers. Dean Drummond, one of his disciples, created the ensemble Newband in 1977, three years after Partch’s death, to continue exploring microtonality. In these recordings from 1997 and 1999, Newband perform works by both composers. “Eleven Intrusions” is a suite of short “speech music” by Partch. Poems by Ella Young, Willard Motley, George Leite, and Ungaretti are half-spoken/half-sung over music that would fit the mold of art song if it weren’t for the microtonal instruments and the composer’s unique sound world. Not among the man’s best music, it resembles “Ten Li Po Lyrics,” “Barstow,” and “Dark Brother,” the second Partch work of this CD. Drummond’s “Congressional Record” pursue a similar musical vision and make use of the master’s instruments (the chromelodeon, the kithara, etc.), along with his own zoomoozophone, keeping the focus on polyrhythms, just intonation, and speech singing. Worth a special note is “Congressional Record,” a satirical piece based on excerpts from the United States Congressional Records that elevates together a speech by Jesse Helms in favor of abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts, the bill that came from it, Kenneth Star’s famous Independent Counsel Report about President Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions, and a speech on the Plumbing Standards Improvement Act. The level of political satire is strongly reminiscent of “Porn Wars” and “Welcome to the United States,” two works by Frank Zappa. Bass baritone Robert Osborne sings all pieces with brio, but his performance in the last one is simply irresistible.
- François Couture, All Music Guide

Collaborators and microtonal pioneers Harry Partch and Dean Drummond have produced a body of work that is far ahead of its time. Newband tackles two Partch movements and a pair of Drummond works. As if that were not enough, most of these movements incorporate poetry -- noted opera master Robert Osborne sings the words. The instruments mesh perfectly with the vocals. Partch’s “Eleven Intrusions” is a series of short bursts while “Dark Brother” is, as the title suggests, more somber and bridling. The music is forceful and invigorating.
- Michael J. Ryan, Boston Herald

This stunning new recording is performed by members of Newband primarily on the original Partch collection of hand-made instruments, notable for their sculptural
and acoustic beauty. The music integrates declaimed poetry (masterfully performed by Robert Osborne) with colorful instrumental accompaniment.
- Innova Website

In Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach
Evocative reading of Dover Beach by Robert Osborne, baritone, and the Manhattan String Quartet.
- New York Times

In Giuseppe Sarti’s I Due Litiganti…
in the narrative aria “Quando saprai chi sono,” Robert Osborne had listeners attending to all he said.New YorkerRobert Osborne came off best among the seven-member cast.
- New York Times 

In Bach’s St. John Passion with the New England Bach Festival
Robert Osborne sang Peter and Pilate with firm, emphatic resonance.
- New York Times

In Victoria Bond’s Mrs. Satan
The sturdy Robert Osborne was excellent as the poor James Blood, the man with a “heart like a walnut” who didn’t realize what he was getting into by marrying Woodhull.
- Easthampton Music Review

One thing, however, was definitely in the opera's favor — the warm, beautiful, deeply committed performance of bass-baritone ROBERT OSBORNE, who proved that first-class singing can help raise the temperature of an evening such as this one..
- Opera News

In Newport Classics recording of Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé
Robert Osborne brings strength and a fully fleshed characterization to King Mark, whose influence hovers over the entire piece.
- Editor’s Choice: Opera News

In Richard Wilson’s Aethelred the Unready
The performance was given before an audience that included American music’s current Grand Old Man, Elliott Carter, whose smile at Aethelred’s (Robert Osborne) final soliloquy, “I’ve spared the world so much travail,” was particularly sweet. At one point, Osborne sings a lovely old-English folk song whose medieval-flavored harmony is presented as a halo of sustained vibraphone chords.
- Wall Street Journal 

In Marc Blitzstein’s Sacco and Vanzetti
From the first note to the last, I trembled at Robert Osborne’s rich basso as the District Attorney Katzmann.
- Nissley Letter

In the Boston premiere of David Leisner’s song cycle To Sleep
Baritone Robert Osborne – he of excellent diction and tone – was a delight in “Sonnet” (based on Elizabeth Bishop), with the esteemed Warren Jones at the keyboard.
- American Record Guide

To Sleep is based on three Elizabeth Bishop poems, which were sturdily sung by bass-baritone Robert Osborne.
- Boston Globe 

In Marc Blitzstein’s Regina
Robert Osborne brought a warm and sonorous bass-baritone to the role of Regina’s husband, Horace Giddens.
- New York Times

I liked Robert Osborne’s quietly understated Horace.
- New York Magazine 

In Donizetti’s Don Pasquale
Robert Osborne sang Don Pasquale in a luscious bass. His delivery was so tender that it almost inspired wrath against anxious Ernesto.
- Burlington VT Free Press 

In Harry Partch’s Oedipus
Robert Osborne, as Tiresias, was able to convey the special qualities of Partchian incantation, which often seems to imitate the sick drone of someone on illicit substances.
- New York Times 

In Tom Cipullo’s Landscape with Figures
A fully engaged performance.
- New York Times 

In David Soldier’s Naked Revolution
The cast is full of gifted performers – among them the tall, grandly comic basso Robert Osborne.
- Village Voice 

In Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Santa Fe Opera
Robert Osborne made an unscheduled, effective debut as the Speaker.New MexicanRobert Osborne evidenced a healthy, promising voice.
- Santa Fe Reporter 

In a Schubert Song Recital at Boston’s Lyric Stage
A Sense of impeccable drama exists in bass-baritone Robert Osborne, especially in his performance of the dramatic “Erlkönig” (Earl King). It was a startling piece in more than one way. It is not enough to merely stand rooted in one spot and deliver the lines; one has to act them. Osbome did this quite well. I was initially apprehensive of him performing both parts of the “Erlkönig,” having previously heard the piece sung with a baritone and a boy soprano, but Osborne’s range is so astounding he easily made the necessary distinctions in tonal phrasing.
- Peter Bates 

In an all-Leo Sowerby song recital
Osborne’s voice projected a particularly American optimism and was especially well suited to the heroic, and often stoic, quality of the American folk songs … Polished.
- Louisville KY Courier-Journal 

In the Michael Tilson Thomas 50th Birthday Gala with the New World Symphony
Songbirds Maureen McGovern, Marilyn Caskey, David Garrison and Robert Osborne belted out fat tunes, à la Las Vegas, in MTT’s honor.
- Miami Herald 

In the song recital “Process of Elimination”
“Process of Elimination” consisted of songs of assassination selected by Osborne, who performed with wit and panache. Leiber and Stoler’s “Tango” has the audience laughing a lot. Bolcom’s “Song of Black Max” is downright strange but good. Sondheim was represented by “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” which Osborne performed with a proper chill.
- New Music Connoisseur 

In a song recital of works by Ives, Blitzstein and Bond
In “Prepare!” - an aria from Victoria Bond’s Travels - Osborne persuasively portrayed a slick preacher beguiling his followers into emptying their pockets in order to save souls. The Ives included Osborne’s vivid “General William Booth Enters into Heaven,” graphic in its depiction of the misery witnessed by the founder of the Salvation Army, and a colorful cowboy ballad “Charlie Rutlage.” The singer’s Blitzstein numbers were “Jimmie’s got a goil,” slangy and expansive, “No For An Answer,” proud and passionate, and “The New Suit” at once wistful and joyous and reflecting not only an adolescent desire for a new suit with “a zipperfly” in lieu of buttons, but also sexual awakening.
- New York Native 

In the song recital “New England Voices”
This recital was as much a demonstration of how to give an historically-themed program without boring an audience as it was about excellent music-making. Osborne never patronized the compositions. He complemented his marvelous voice with an absolutely clear diction and a full involvement in each text.
- Worcester Phoenix

But whatever the song, Osborne was an excellent ambassador for the selection, drawing out good qualities in each piece and conveying them with plenty of emphasis. Osborne has a clear, rich and reliable singing voice.
- Worcester Telegram Gazette 

In Schoenberg’s Serenade
Robert Osborne drops in during the central movement to sing a quarrelsome setting of a Petrarch sonnet. His performance was engrossing, full of character.
- Boston Globe 

In Bach’s solo cantata Ich habe genug
Robert Osborne proved both his superb command of diction and his ability to move the audience with a balance of cool restraint and impassioned lyricism. The poignant flourishes of the oboe were outstanding as they blended with Osborne’s dramatic declaration of spiritual peace … In the recitative sections, the cello and harpsichord provided a rich foundation to the singer’s heartfelt longing for release from the world.
Yale Daily News 

In Bach’s cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden
Osborne excelled in his aria … he has excellent diction and a full, penetrating voice.
- New Haven Register 

In the Boston premiere of Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony
The performance was as moving and disturbing as the music is thanks to the singing of Robert Osborne... Osborne has a very beautiful bass-baritone voice, and he sings with a wonderful, open candor of expression.
- Boston Globe

In the American premiere of Shostakovich’s Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin
A whimsical sadism was evident in the late settings of the Captain Lebyadkin verses from Dostoevsky’s The Possessed. Here the musical language was dry, bitter, compressed. It was idiomatically rendered in a risk-taking, sonorous “black” bass voice by Robert Osborne.
- Boston Globe 

In the New York premiere of Shostakovich’s Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin
“Captain” is in Command
Surprising that 20 years after Dmitry Shostakovich’s death, New Yorkers should be hearing a work of his for the first time. But such was the case at a stimulating chamber music/vocal concert at the Kaye Playhouse when bass-baritone Robert Osborne presented “Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin,” a bumptious, brawny, sardonic song cycle composed, just a year before Shostakovich died, on segments from Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Devils.” The captain in questions is a drunk and a buffoon, and the Russian text lurches with heavy vowels and leering phrases – all of which Osborne projected with swagger and spirit.

Osborne also contributed another premiere of sorts, his own edition restoring Shakespeare’s English text to “Ten Songs of the Fool from ‘King Lear’,” Shostakovich’s 1941 incidental music for a Leningrad production of the play. The songs are quirky, epigrammatic, and touched with dry wit, and Osborne’s dramatic delivery and sonorous baritone served them well.
- New York Post

In the Rodgers & Hammerstein revue: Some Enchanted Evening
The most outstanding performance was given by Robert Osborne. His deep voice truly did justice to the popular tunes. Osborne, a tall, dark and dashing character, demonstrated his vocal talent and range in “Soliloquy” from Carousel.
- Lock Haven Express 

In Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Robert Osborne (Curly) kicks off the show in grand style. His powerful and rich voice is perfectly suited to Rodgers’ melodies.
- Lock Haven Express

In Bob Merrill’s Carnival
The male lead Paul, played by Robert Osborne, has the rich, deep voice called for in the part of the bitter, disable war veteran.
- Lock Haven Express

The Wayward (Harry Partch) with Newband on Wergo
The Wayward is a collection of four Partch pieces performed by singers Stephen Kalm and Robert Osborne with Drummond’s Newband. The sound is novel, though not as alien as you might expect from an instrumental line-up that includes chromelodeon, diamond marimba, spoils of war, cloud chamber bowls and kithara. Partch the man was more “difficult” than the music. What you hear are a series of traveling tales set to music, concluding with the epic U.S. Highball, a 25-minute “transcontinental hobo trip” of the Depression era, a kind of microtonal O Brother Where Art Thou? The vocal parts are delivered briskly by Stephen Kalm and Robert Osborne, in a manner that’s closer to off-Broadway music theatre than the avant-garde.
- John L. Waters, The Guardian

“The Wayward” wurde bis zum Jahr 1967 mehrfach überarbeitet, neue Instrumente kamen hinzu. Eng verbunden mit dem Namen Harry Partch ist Newband, ein von Dean Drummond gegründetes Ensemble, das nicht nur das Original-Instrumentarium von Harry Partch betreut, sondern auch seine großen Werke zum Leben erweckt.
- Wergo Website

"La vrai star, c'est Robert Osborne. Il est effectivement un concertiste prestigieux: il s'est produit au Carnegie Hall à New York, au Royal Albert Hall à Londres ou au Gran Teatro de La Havane, sous la baguette de grands chefs tels que Léonard Bernstein."
- Sud Ouest