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Ellen Hargis (Soprano)
From the Press

Performance Reviews

Vancouver Early Music Festival:
“Audience members were treated to a generous helping of Hargis' russet-toned voice and convincing portrayal of Dido's fury and despair. A gorgeously subdued cadence lingered at the end, like the taste of a deliciously herbed sauce.”
The Georgia Strait - August 21, 2003

Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Festival Vancouver:
“The over-all vocal standard is remarkably high and just as remarkably consistent. Roles filled by Ellen Hargis as Nero's wronged queen Ottavia… are no less stunning.”
Vancouver Sun - August 7, 2003

“Ellen Hargis lends the empress Ottavia an amusing, full-throated mix of dignity and vitriol.”
Vancouver Sun - August 10, 2003

“Ellen Hargis projected just the right combination of dignity and desperation as the cast-off Ottavia.”
The Georgia Strait - August 14, 2003

Recital with
Paul O'Dette, Chamber Music in Historic Sites, Santa Barbara:
“The success of the endeavor was resounding because of the artists' inspired handiwork. Musically, the program was impressive. Hargis cuts through the ancient character of the music with an assured tone and ever-lucid approach to the material.”
Santa Barbara News Press - April 8, 2003

Performing with the Newberry Consort, Chicago:
“Soprano Ellen Hargis, sailed sweetly through the florid parts of Sarah and the Angel.”
Chicago Tribune - March 15, 2003

“Newberry's vocal cast was nearly ideal, from the tonal purity of soprano Ellen Hargis as the angry Sarah.”
Chicago Sun Times - March 18, 2003

New York recital with Paul O'Dette, Music Before 1800:
“Ms. Hargis' voice is attractive and nicely supported. She did a fine job of shaping and conveying the spirit of these pieces. Mr. O'Dette was in good form as well, both in the energy and elegance of his accompaniments and in his solo turns.”
New York Times - January 23, 2003

Soloist with Seattle Baroque:
“Fortunately, Ellen Hargis was imported for the cantata. She possesses a long, supple line and beauty of tone to make
Handel's Italianate work sing freely and has the technical ability to swim easily through the passagework the composer poured into the piece."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - October 28, 2002

“Hargis sang with a stunning palette of color, deployed with wondrous control and a keen dramatic sense.”
Seattle Weekly - October 30, 2002

Recital with Imbi Tarum, Tallinn, Estonia:
“We had a chance to hear a very special concert, very much enjoyed from beginning to end. American soprano Ellen Hargis' performance was extremely beautiful due to its clarity and restraint, her vocal technique and balanced theatricality. Song lyrics which told of the pains of love, received in this concert a very personal interpretation. With delicate melodic lines and perfect intonation, everything was bright and mellifluous.”
SIRP - September 6, 2002

Soprano soloist,
American Bach Soloists, Berkeley Festival:
“Ellen Hargis, the soprano, was cool, elegant, near-immaculate technically.”
SF Classical Voice (, June 11, 2002

With Paul O'Dette and Kings Noyse, Tropical Baroque Festival, Miami:
“O'Dette provided exceptional accompaniment for the meltingly pure voice of soprano Ellen Hargis. In keeping with the style of the music, Hargis is sparing in her use of vibrato and allows listeners to luxuriate in her sound while keeping her dynamics carefully in check.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel - March 6, 2002

Music of the Baroque, Chicago Jane Glover, conductor:
“Hargis was equally assertive, her pure soprano rising easily above the orchestra, but also complementing the ensemble's bright sheen. She was in top form, racing easily up and down Mozart's fiendishly difficult ornaments as though they were a dazzling, crystalline staircase.”
Chicago Sun-Times – February 23, 2002

Galatea in
Handel's Acis & Galatea, Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh:
“In what will probably turn out to be one of the more important musical performances of the season, the Renaissance and Baroque Society presented a stunning performance, an overwhelmingly gratifying evening. The role of Galatea was exquisitely sung by Ellen Hargis, and hers was by far the most beautiful voice on the stage. It was full and strong, and her mini-cadenza near the end of the aria was breathtaking.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - October 8, 2001

“This concert needed to be a hit. And it was. Three of the most successful local organizations joined together with soloists, including Ellen Hargis, to produce
Handel's pastoral oratorio, 'Acis and Galatea.' It was an overwhelmingly gratifying evening. We can only hope for much more of this type of coming together.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – December 2001

Soprano soloist, The Newberry Consort, Chicago:
“Hargis brought her usual pure, rounded tone and elegantly expressive musicianship to the program. Countertenor Drew Minter matched Hargis' beautiful tone and emotional intensity.”
Chicago Sun Times - September 30, 2001

Recital, Vancouver Early Music Festival:
“Hargis, always a delight, sang with a fresh enjoyment of the music as though no centuries had intervened between creation and recreation, her tone radiant, her projection unforced and her embellishments agile and pure. Ottavia’s bitter , wounded expressions were sung with a plangency that cut to the heart of the music.”
Vancouver Sun – July 31, 2001

“Acclaimed American soprano Ellen Hargis sang with enough conviction to put psychotherapists out of business. The unaffected purity of her voice was supported by La Cetra. Hargis’ ornamentations unfurled like a shiny new leaf, unerring in pitch. She instinctively delivered trills, turns and tremolos with a seductive casualness.”
Georgia Straight – August 2-9, 2001

Aeglé in Lully’s Thesée, Boston Early Music Festival and Tanglewood Festival:
“Ellen Hargis sings and moves gracefully as the ingenue Aeglé.”
Boston Globe - June 14, 2001

Recital, San Diego State University:
“This is a vocal instrument of exceptional loveliness. Furthermore Hargis' vocal agility is first rate; her powers of expression are intense and varied; she understands the texts she sings and brings out their poetic and dramatic meanings with great effectiveness. There are in fact, few singers of early music better at this kind of thing than Ellen Hargis.”
San Diego Reader - June 7, 2001

Seattle Baroque Orchestra:
“No less superb a performance, by Hargis with the orchestra, was that of Handel's 'Salve Regina.' Over and over, Hargis, a consummate musician and wonderful singer, entered on a quite unexpected note, leading the music in a different direction with thrilling harmonies and exciting chromaticisms. The glorious whole was close to perfect.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer - May 14, 2001

Dafne / Proserpina in Peri’s Euridice, Long Beach Opera:
“The best singers included Ellen Hargis (who personified Tragedy in the prologue as well as Dafne and the underworld goddess Proserpina).”
Los Angeles Times - October 9, 2000

“Only Ellen Hargis was truly superb, in an incandescently soft and gentle way.” - October 2000

Festival Vancouver performances of Monteverdi's Orfeo and Vespers:
“How movingly and ethereally Hargis sang.”
Vancouver Sun - August 8, 2000

Performing with Paul O'Dette and Case Western Reserve University:
“Everything sounded like a little gem as performed by Hargis and O'Dette, who worked together with a kind of nuanced, natural teamwork that highlighted the best qualities of the music. The soprano savored the delicious texts, wrapping her radiant voice around the words, pointing out expressive details, soaring easily in florid passages and ornamenting with tasteful generosity.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer - July 1, 2000

Music of Kapsberger, Berkeley Festival
“Hargis is living proof that stylistic insight and major artistry are not mutually exclusive. In "Mentre vaga Angioletta’ (to cite but one of several n), the soprano phrased with exquisite attention to the emotional import of the verse, rounding cadences with velvety elegance.”
San Francisco Examiner - June 7, 2000

Music of Kapsberger, Faneuil Hall, Boston:
"Ellen Hargis sang with wonderful vehemence and vivid declamation."
Boston Globe - May 22, 2000

Soloist with The New York Collegium, Gustav Leonhardt, conductor:
“Ellen Hargis was an excellent soprano soloist who should have been kept busier. On the words ‘Sie Weinet des Nachts’ she alternated full voice and echoing half-voice with remarkable fluidity and control, and sang everywhere with robust yet lovely tone.”
New York Times - April 17, 2000

Recital with Paul O'Dette, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University:
"Hargis revels in human side of early music. Wonderful. More people need to know of her. Hargis can pretty much do with her voice what
Simon Standage does with his violin. And that's an awful lot. "
Boston Globe - November 13, 1999

Recital with Paul O’Dette, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland:
“Soprano Ellen Hargis' lustrous voice has the clarity and ring of fine crystal. [She] has affinity for language and a remarkable ability to get inside a song. For the French airs de cour, Hargis turned into a spellbinding baroque chanteuse. In songs by Jacopo Peri, Hargis unleashed her vocal virtuosity to evoke larger-than-life characters. [she] opened her voice like a 17th-century Roman diva. Her performance was brilliant.”
The Plain Dealer - October 25, 1999

Vancouver Early Music Festival:
“In her superb performances, Hargis sang every note and uttered every word of the texts with silvery precision. Hargis, singing like an angel, was an event that inspired the audience to respond with the roaring kind of approval usually heard and observed only at rock shows.”
The Georgia Straight - July 22-29, 1999

Handel’s Messiah, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra;
“Soprano Ellen Hargis was a treasure, going straight to the heart of the music. When Handel asked for a virtuoso display, she provided it; when he wanted a simple declamation, she did not gild the lily.”
Pioneer Press - December 18, 1998


Recording Reviews

Seaven Teares, Recording of John Dowland with Paul O’Dette and Kings Noyse:
"Ravishingly sung by Ellen Hargis, a full-throated singer with an attractive vibrato, whose plaintive
articulateness is beautifully fit for this music. She is accompanied by the lutenist Paul O'Dette, who is perfection itself."
Fanfare, November/December 2002

“That joy is heard in the delicate ways in which harmonies and melodies are folded into each other, creating subtle dissonances that prick the ears and psyche. It can be heard in the aching - but alluring - vocal lines of soprano Ellen Hargis.” - April 23, 2002

“Hargis sings with elegance and expression; particularly attractive is "Flow my teares,"
BN.Com - May 2002

“Very well sung--by Ellen Hargis; her cool, clear voice, almost without vibrato, is well suited to this material, and she is as expressive as the music allows.”
Audiophile Audition, June 2002

Il Zazzerino Music of Jacopo Peri, Harmonia Mundi HMU 907234:
“A masterly interpretation by the soprano Ellen Hargis. Ms Hargis has complete mastery of the vocal instrument, which she can control at will, thanks to outstanding technique and perfect intonation which allow her to move freely between the most varied moods required by the music. Sophisticated vocal techniques of the 17th century are used by Ms Hargis with mastery and wonderful results, highlighting the innovative content and the moving beauty of these long-neglected pages. A beautiful disc, absolutely worth buying.”
CD Classica - March 2000

“The expansive voice of Ellen Hargis and her luscious tone quality confer on these monodies of Jacapo Peri an immediate seduction.”
Le Monde de la Musique – January 2000

“Soprano Ellen Hargis has absorbed completely the spirit of these varied pieces, the only constant being the passion and stunning clarity with which each is rendered. Her voice is ideal for this music – pure, resonant and deeply moving. The throbbing lament of ‘Uccidimi, dolore,’ for example, is as full of pathos as ‘Bellissima regina’ is of urgency and desire. More academic in nature are Hargis’ poised, well-crafted renderings of two ardent Petrarch sonnets. Her tone is clean and warm, her dynamic range seamless, her diction and command of Italian impeccable.”
Opera News - February 2000

“The secret to the performance of all this music lies in the ability to consistently articulate and color the text. This Ellen Hargis achieves to triumphant and spellbinding effect teasing out the words of the lighter songs while investing the lament with a passion and power that hit the listener in the pit of the stomach. Her final ‘io moro’ is invested with a hollow emptiness that haunts the mind long after the last note has faded away. There is much else to praise. One might cite Hargis’ ability to characterize vividly the mood if each of the six verses of a log strophic song, or even establish the mood of a whole song from its opening word. This is a stunning achievement that surpasses anything I’ve heard from her before. A magnificent achievement that at a single stroke elevates Peri to the status of a major composer. As such it demands a place in both specialist and general collections.”
Fanfare - January / February 2000

“Hargis sound is bewitchingly sweet and clear, and she is a virtuoso at several kinds of ornamentation.”
Boston Globe - January 20, 2000

“Ellen Hargis sings with wonderfully controlled passion. The voice is pure yet characterful, and she adorns her sound with a carefully moderated vibrato. There's a fine control of dynamic and phrase. She also weighs the lighter strophic settings like the opening 'Hor che gli augelli' to perfection.” (Four stars)
BBC Music Magazine - December 1999

“Ellen Hargis' soprano is balm for the battered ear. Here are musical nymphs and shepherds; here is the sensuous volatility of Michaelangelo as poet in Se tu parti da me. And here, too, is the ice and the fire of Petrarch, clashing eloquently in Lasso ch'i'ardo and tremulous with tears in Tutto 'l dì piango.”
The London Times - December 11, 1999

“This is a fine recording...Soprano Ellen Hargis' clear, flexible voice is perfectly suited to this style; her ornamentation confirms her sure knowledge of period performance. Her sensitive delivery of the all-important text is ably demonstrated. All told, an impressive recording.”
Early Music America - Winter 1999-2000

Adonis in Torrejon y Velasco’s La Purpura de la Rosa:
“All the singers are good, particular praise being due to Ellen Hargis in the demanding part of Adonis.”
Gramophone - July 1999

Bonporti Motets, Dorian Discovery Records:
“Ellen Hargis is in lovely voice, demonstrating her darkly radiant sound and ample vocal skill for all to hear."
Continuo - December 1998

“A stroke of genius: the motets are a remarkable discovery, and the performance by Ellen Hargis leaves nothing to be desired. Hargis treats text and music with unequalled sensitivity.”
Klassik Heute - October 1998

“Ellen Hargis is a proven hand in this repertoire, and she brings her brilliant technique to each selection, providing a primer in bel canto. Essential listening.”
Early Music America - Summer 1998

“Hargis sounds like she is singing each high-flying line from the heart. Baroque fans will find this an unexpected gem.”
Classical Choice - March 30, 1998

Handel, Tra le fiamme, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Wild Boar BLBR 9604:
“Hargis sings radiantly in the cantatas, from the joyous brilliance of the title work, ‘Tra le fiamme,’ to the deeply poignant ‘Ah! che pur troppo e vero.’ Hargis' soprano is simply ravishing in its flutelike liquidity and tonal purity, while her musicianship is impeccable.”
Chicago Tribune (John von Rhein) - April 16, 2000

“Hargis is a stylish and eloquent singer.”
Seattle Times - April 16, 1998

“Ellen Hacontributes her usual vibrancy and inimitable vivacity to the four vocal works.”
American Record Guide – March/April 1997

“The singing by the estimable Ellen Hargis is a delight.”
Early Music - February 1998

“Ellen Hargis delivers the text with brightness and fervour, highly effective in Jubilent aethera and deeply affecting in the splendid setting of In te, Domine, speravi.”

Back to Short Biography

Source: Donald E. Osborne, California Artists Management (November 2003)
Contributed by
Donald E. Osborne (May 2004)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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