MEROLA GRAND FINALE | AUGUST 19, 2017

© Kristen Loken

© Kristen Loken

"In the midst of so much young talent and promise, there was also mature, accomplished artistry as Samantha Hankey became Richard Strauss’s Composer — voice and presence — in an affecting performance. With Jana McIntyre as Zerbinetta, this was a gripping Prelude to Ariadne auf Naxos. This came just days after Hankey also conquered in the title role in the Merola Program’s Cenerentola."
-Janos Greenberg, San Francisco Classical Voice

"There was mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey’s exquisite turn as the Composer in Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” a performance that fused expressive complexity with an abundance of rich chest voice and soaring high notes."
-Joshua Kosman, SF Gate

"But in this 2017 Merola Grand Finale it took second place to the next offering, which featured soprano Jana McIntyre as Zerbinetta and mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey as the Composer in “Sie hält ihn für den Todesgott” from Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. I can’t say enough about the outstanding vocalism displayed here by McIntyre and Hankey. McIntyre’s soprano was limpid and ardent, and Hankey’s mezzo was dusky at one moment and brightly radiant at other moments. The musical interchange between McIntyre and Hankey was full of intelligence and passion. These two singers will surely go far in their careers!"
-James Roy MacBean, The Berkeley Daily Planet


© Kristen Loken

© Kristen Loken

La Cenerentola | August 3 & 5, 2017
 

"It is this Cinderella figure whose goodness radiates through the opera and Merola scored a triumph by casting Samantha Hankey...whose temperament and technique seem ideal for this assignment. The voice is lushly distinctive in the lower register, and as the finale confirmed, fluent and expansive in coloratura forays."
-Allan Ulrich, Opera News

"Pride of place, however, goes to mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey for her interpretation of the role of Angelina, aka Cenerentola. When we first meet Angelina, she sits by the fire in her kitchen and sings to herself a wispy little song, “Una volta c’éra un re”/”Once upon a time there was a king.”  Singing quietly, and low in the mezzo register, Hankey’s voice does not immediately impress. But, oh my, when she moves up the register and lets loose her voice, Samantha Hankey reveals glorious tone, impressive high notes, and superb vocal technique. Her coloratura is a thing of beauty! Moreover, Hankey is a fine actress, one who dramatically portrays the goodness, innocence and graciousness of her Cinderella character. Samantha Hankey is definitely a singer to watch!...Vocally, of course, Rossini’s La Cenerentola is full of florid coloratura passages, especially for Angelina; and her high-flying aria “Naqui all’affano” toward the opera’s end was gorgeous indeed."
-James Roy MacBean, The Berkeley Daily Planet

"The level of vocal artistry on display was high throughout, to be sure. But there was something about the tale itself — with its themes of abandonment, redemption and love intermixed with exuberant buffoonery — that the cast seemed particularly ready to respond to. It came through in the dark-hued, confident performance of mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey in the title role (yes, her name is Angelina, but the “cinders” nickname works the same in Italian as it does in English)...That, and true love, which in Rossinian terms means matching cascades of coloratura fireworks. Hankey supplied those in a formidable closing account of “Nacqui all’affanno” — Rossini makes us wait until evening’s end before the prima donna can wow us."
-Joshua Kosman, SF Gate

"Samantha Hankey, so impressive as Diana and Giove-in-Diana in Juilliard’s recent run of Cavalli’s La Calisto, was the perfect Cenerentola. From her doleful opening ballad tune, “Una volta c’era un re” to the sparkling scales and high Bs (and a lovely staccato high c-sharp) of the final “Non più mesta,” Hankey’s smoothly etched runs and luscious embellishments, along with her dramatic poise, were arresting."
-Judith Malafronte, Parterre Box

"As the power couple of the story, tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro (Ramiro) and mezzo Samantha Hankey (Cindy) had a lovely chemistry, partially staged as awkward goofiness. His voice is super sweet, in a canonical tenor way; hers took a bit of time to warm up, being slightly withdrawn at first, but expanding as it went along to conclude in a explosion of bel canto, with warm tones and fiendish agility in her final Nacqui all'affanno."
-Cedric, SFist

"contrasting well with mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey's dusky sound. Hankey has a fabulous physicality... she moves in an elastic and adorable way that made the cloying title role much more sympathetic."
-Charlise Tiee, The Opera Tattler


The dallas opera guild competition | april 29, 2017


"During the Finals Round this evening, Ms. Hankey dazzled the audience with renditions of "Parto, parto" from Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito and "D'amour l'ardente flamme" from La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz."
-
Broadway World News Desk

"Next, we heard Samantha Hankey, a fine mezzo-soprano, sing “Parto, parto" from La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart. She was elegantly decked out in a blue gown that bared her arms, but it was perfectly within bounds for a concert appearance. Her voice is fairly even throughout the full range, including her chest voice... Her concept of Mozartian style was different that we usually hear, but she came alive in the cabaletta. ... Her second selection was “D'amour l'ardente flamme" from La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz. This turned out to be an excellent piece for her. Maestro Villaume gave her the perfect setup with the fairly long introduction, but she started a little faster. This is perfectly acceptable if the singer has paced the aria at that tempo. She was always in character, even in the tutti passages. At the end, she slowly hugged herself for comfort—a very nice touch. "
-Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones


Katya Kabanova | April 21, 23, & 25, 2017

© Hiroyuki Ito

© Hiroyuki Ito

"Among these tormented townsfolk Janacek includes two young people who openly embrace their romantic feelings: Kudrjas (the ardent tenor Sam Levine), a self-educated clerk, and Varvara (the beguiling mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey), Katya’s only confidante."
-Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times

"Samantha Hankey, recently the company's phenomenal Agrippina, excelled at Varvara's totally different challenges."
-
David Shengold, Opera News

"The free-spirited Varvara, Káťa’s confidante, was interpreted by mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, whose lovely, luminous voice will definitely allow her to tackle meatier roles down the road."
-Edward Sava-Segal, Bach Track

"The gifted Samantha Hankey, a recent winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, was delightful as Varvara but also firm in chiding Tichon for his treatment of Katya."
-George Loomis, Musical America

"Del resto del elenco hay que destacar sin duda la excelente Bárbara de la mezzo-soprano americana Samatha Hankey, que dio a su personaje toda la ingenuidad y la efusividad de una adolescente enamorada, y también a su novio en la ficción, el Kudriash tierno y cariñoso del tenor Sam Levine."
-Pedro J. Lapeña Rey, Codalario

"As Varvara, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey was a vivid and enlivening presence and sang with her customary gorgeous tone. Inwardly, we cheered when she and Kudrjas made plans to escape the oppressive environment and leave for Moscow."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di meche

"Samantha Hankey was a vivacious Varvara."
-Paul Pelkonen, Super Conductor


Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals concert | March 19, 2017

© Marty Sohl, The Metropolitan Opera

© Marty Sohl, The Metropolitan Opera

"Richard Tucker grant winner Samantha Hankey sang a well-received “Parto, parto,” but also moved us with beautiful Russian diction in her portrayal as Joan of Arc in “Da, chas nastal”, from “The Maid of Orleans.
- James Monroe Števko, Opera Wire

"I appreciated Samantha Hankey’s mellow mezzo-soprano"
- Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"The other female standout was Samantha Hankey, equally gripping in deeply affecting accounts of “Parto, parto,” from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Joan’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans. One admired not only the handsomeness of Hankey’s rich mezzo but also its power, a resource she drew on only selectively to heighten expression."
-George Loomis, Musical America


AGRIPPINA | FEBRUARY 11, 18, 20, & 22, 2017

© Hiroyuki Ito

© Hiroyuki Ito

"Two singers gave completely persuasive performances-American mezzo Samantha Hankey and Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński. Hankey zipped through Agrippina's punishing music with beautiful tone, immaculate prosody and queenly authority" 
-F. Paul Driscoll, Opera News

"Samantha Hankey sang Agrippina in a lustrous, commanding mezzo­soprano and clearly relished implementing all the entanglements her character dreams up"
-George Loomis, Musical America

"Agrippina, wife of the emperor Claudius (sung by the excellent lyric coloratura [mezzo] soprano Samantha Hankey)"
-Richard Sasanow, Broadway World

"In the title role, originally written for the soprano voice, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey was completely convincing as the grasping Empress, always devising convoluted schemes to dispatch her many enemies whilst convincing them that she was on their side. The vocal demands are many but Ms. Hankey produced gorgeous tones and showed no evidence of fatigue or strain. Her many facial expressions and gestures revealed her character--resolute, conniving, and power mad."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche

"Particularly impressive highlights were [mezzo] soprano Samantha Hankey (as Agrippina) and the countertenor Jakub Jozef Orlinski (as Ottone). Ms. Hankey reigned over the entire production grounding it in some semblance of seriousness. She embodied a fiercely scheming, power-hungry woman who is unstoppable in her aspiration of situating her son Nerone on the throne. Vocally, she was impressive, particularly in Pensieri, voi mi tormentate."
-Lei & Lui, Allegri con Fuoco

"The young cast was dramatically alert and engaged. The vocal standouts were Samantha Hankey, powerful and accurate in the title role and a fabulous vocal actress; "
-David Shengold, Gay City News


Juilliard Songfest: Songs of Richard Strauss | December 8, 2016

© Michael DiVito

© Michael DiVito

"That Strauss loved sopranos is not news; indeed he had a fruitful marriage with one!  But just hear the three sopranos and singular mezzo-soprano who brought these songs to vivid and meaningful life! ...Strauss included plenty of roles for mezzo-sopranos in his operas and we hope we will be hearing Samantha Hankey performing them in the near future. The timbre is just right.  Just thinking that the artists we heard tonight would comprise a perfect cast for Der Rosenkavalier (one of our favorite operas)."Waldseligkeit"is a wonderful paean to nature and Ms. Hankey's voice expanded in a rapturous climax at the end. In "Lob des Leidens"she evinced the beauties to be found in sorrow. Our favorite, however, was "Einerlei" which speaks to the irony of diversity coming from sameness."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche


THE GERDA LISSNER LIEDER/ART SONG WINNERS CONCERT | November 4, 2016

"Samantha Hankey used her haunting mezzo to capture the essence of Franz Liszt in “Der Du von dem Himmel bist.” Her dark hued, even and powerful voice with its well placed and paced vowels indicated that her training at Juilliard paid big dividends for her!"
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Discovery


THE LICIA ALBANESE-PUCCINI FOUNDATION WINNERS CONCERT | October 23, 2016

"More exotic fare followed with the popular duet “Sous le dome epais” from Delibe’s Lakme. Soprano Amber Daniel and mezzo Samantha Hankey blended as one, their voices rising and falling and fading from the ear as if produced by a golden harp."
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Discovery

"Soprano Amber Daniel and mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey (the only mezzo on the program) sang the familiar duet “Sous le dôme épais” from Lakmé. The impressive part of their performance was that neither held back and we heard a glorious richness of consequent overtones that filled Rose Theater with sound. They must have worked together diligently to make this duet their own."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche


© Nathan Haller

© Nathan Haller

Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Liederabend | August 5, 2016

"Warm und bis ins letzte Detail ausgefeilt der Vortrag der Goethe-Gedichte von Samantha Hankey."
-Author MSC, Onetz


Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Gala | June 21, 2016

IMA-Orchestergala-210716-0127.jpg

“...oder die Carmen-Arie, gesungen von Samantha Hankey vollends erblühen.”  
-Andreas Meixner, Mittelbayerische
 

"Schön, verführerisch und leidenschaftlich, so gefällt die "Carmen", wie Samantha Hankey sie zeichnet."
-Author MSC, Onetz

 


The Gerda Lissner Foundation Winner's Concert | May 1, 2016

"Rossini's other mezzo heroine Rosina in "Il barbiere di Siviglia" is not so modest; she is as spunky as a 19th c. girl could be, and Samantha Hankey used her personality and her smoky sound to fine effect. The embellishments to the line were quite wonderful."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche

"Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Barber of Seville was given fresh insights by Samantha Hankey whose dark creamy mezzo caressed the ear. Ms. Hankey’s flawless diction, flashy cadenzas, coloratura embellishments exemplified the Rossinian style."
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Discovery 


La Calisto | February 17, 19, & 21, 2016

© Rosalie O'Conner

© Rosalie O'Conner

"Also impressive was his Diana, Samantha Hankey, the most ingenious and economical actor in the cohort of ten singers. A square-shouldered beauty with a maple-flavored mezzo, Hankey was able to indicate with admirable subtlety when she was meant to be the “real” Diana and when she was meant to be the god Giove disguised as Diana. Hankey attacked her “angry” music without sounding harsh or forced and was a lusciously pliant partner in her love scene (as Diana) with Endimione, as well as in her coupling (as Giove in Diana) with the toothsome Calisto of Angela Vallone. 
- F. Paul Driscoll, Opera News

"Samantha Hankey was terrific as Diana. For the sake of credibility, Cavalli had the same singer portray Diana both in her own right and as the disguised Giove, and Hankey was strong in both capacities, not least in a scene when the disguised Giove berates Giunone."
- George Loomis, Musical America

"In a clever bit of stage business, Giove transforms himself into Diana and the exceptional mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey completely convinced us by means of vocal coloring and masculinized body movement. The two women had a tender duet before entering a cave to exchange chaste kisses (which led to much more). When the real Diana appears her voice and gestures are very different and there is no doubt that she is the real thing. When Calisto refers to their makeout session, Diana is outraged by the inference and tosses Calisto out of the virginal sisterhood." 
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche


"Mezzo Samantha Hankey impressed with her ability to differentiate dramatically between her dual roles of Diana and Giove-as-Diana as well as for her burnished, mellow sound..."
-Richard Sasanow, Broadway World 

"Samantha Hankey amazed with a commanding stage presence and with her ability to persuasively differentiate Diana as lover from the severe Diana who is horrified by Calisto's confession of love."
-Thomas May, MEMETERIA


"The afternoon was dominated by a tour-de-force performance by Samantha Hankey as both Diana and Giove transformed into Diana...Hankey, whose Marcellina threatened to steal last spring’s Nozze di Figaro at Juilliard, again revealed a secure, lustrous mezzo which reveled both in Diana’s hesitant dawning love for Endimione and in the disguised Giove’s lusty seduction. She also deftly differentiated the two contrasting personae: the proud, erect goddess of the moon and the brusque, slouching serial seducer distinctly uncomfortable as a woman. One hopes that Juilliard will soon showcase Hankey is a mainstage production... Jakub Józef Orlinski revealed a mellow countertenor (and great guns) as the astral-obsessed shepherd Endimione, and he blended most enchantingly with Hankey in their sensuous “Dolcissimi baci.”"
-Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box


"As Diana and the randy Giove-impersonating-Diana, Samantha Hankey had the largest part and handled it with dramatic smarts and vocal aplomb."
-
David Shengold, Gay City News


"Mezzo-soprano Hankey, doubling as Giove-as-Diana and Diana the huntress herself, handily differentiated her twin assignments by bringing an edge and swagger, when portraying Giove, that was largely absent when she played Diana—except when she told off Calisto, as a “puta scemata” (stupid whore), and unwanted suitor Pane/Pan (Matthew Swensen) and his satyr band, for assaulting her beloved shepherd Endimione/Endymion (Jakub Józef Orlinski).
-Bruce-Michael Gelbert, [Q] on Stage 


Opera Index Gala | January 16, 2016

"Samantha Hankey regaled us with “Allez, laissez-moi seul” from Cendrillon by Massenet. Ms. Hankey is the caretaker of a warm and luscious mezzo and captured the French style. Her sound caresses and comforts and her vocal palette offers flowing tones and many colors."
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Discovery


Liederabend | October 15, 2015

"The final set on the program comprised a quartet of songs from Gustav Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, songs of which we never tire. Hearing them sung by mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, well remembered from last year, was a special treat...All this was beautifully conveyed by Ms. Hankey accompanied so well by Adam Rothenberg. The two of them captured the painful irony of "Das irdische Leben" in which the mother's stalling leads to her child's death by starvation, a dreadful commentary on the life of the poor. The final selection "Wer hat die Liedlein erdacht" allowed Ms. Hankey space for some impressive melismatic embellishment. It was a fine performance..."
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche


Così fan tutte | August 18, 20, & 22, 2015

© Joseph Chee

© Joseph Chee

"As her sister, Dorabella, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey used supple tone that could raise the intensity level when needed. Duets with Dyachek were keenly balanced and beautiful, and her romantic temptation for Guglielmo felt real." 
- Harvey Steiman, The Aspen Times 


Le nozze di Figaro  April 24, 26, & 28, 2015

© Ken Howard

© Ken Howard

"Samantha Hankey, in one of the production’s few worthy choices, played Marcellina as an stylish matron rather than the usual harridan, making her eventual embrace of her newly found son all the more plausible."
-Fred Cohn, Opera News

"More surprising is the ambivalent affection between Marcellina, superbly sung and acted by undergraduate (!) mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey and Bartolo, impressively performed by bass Önay Köse. His Bartolo was not detestable but rather likeable. He too is a victim of his epoch and his grudge against the Count is understandable ("La vendetta"). This pair of performers made it believable that they had once had an intimate relationship. Perhaps he still cares for her or perhaps he is making the best of the situation when he agrees to marry her. On her part, she is a bit seductive toward him, perhaps to gain his support or perhaps she really cares for him."  
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche

"The supporting cast featured Miles Mykkanen, mincing, sharp-tongued and very funny as the intrigue-obsessed Don Basilio. Önay Köse's grumpy Dr. Bartolo and mezzo Samantha Hankey as Marcellina were marvelous in the recognition sextet.  "
-Paul J. Pelkonen, Super-Conductor

"...but the show was nearly stolen by the opulently vigorous Marcellina of Samantha Hankey. Unlike the squawking of aging former Cherubinos we’ve been subjected to in recent years at the Met, she sang the role with a rich full mezzo and pithy flair. Observing the bad old habit of cutting Marcellina’s aria was regrettable as I suspect Hankey would have killed in it."
-Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box

"Samantha Hankey made Marcellina anything but matronly and unappealing; her lovely singing was among the afternoon’s highlights."
-David Shengold, Gay City News 


Eugene Onegin  |  February 19, 21, & 23  2014

©Richard Termine

©Richard Termine

"Madame Larina and Nanny Filipyevna were combined into one character, portrayed by the excellent mezzo Samantha Hankey" 
-Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche


Juilliard Songfest  |  December 3, 2013

"...the serious, penetrating mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey..." 
-Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times