photo: Susan Wilson

Sanford Sylvan

"Its most striking quality is sheer beauty, emerging in sudden flashes in rich,
dark low notes or the majesty of full high fortes."

New York Times


(Updated December 2006 - Please discard any previous versions)

From Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin and the Passions of J.S. Bach to the operas of John Adams, American baritone Sanford Sylvan displays a remarkable range of vocal expression and communicative power. On the concert stage and in recordings, his radiantly pure, lyric tone, clarity of diction and profound understanding of both words and music speak directly and intimately to his audience.

Deeply committed to the art of the vocal recital, Mr. Sylvan and his long-time collaborator, pianist David Breitman, have performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, in major venues in London, New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Their recitals and recordings have earned exceptional praise from critics and audiences, including three Grammy nominations for Best Classical Vocal Performance.

In the realm of opera, Mr. Sylvan is an acclaimed Mozartean. His portrayals of Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte have been seen internationally, including PBS "Great Performances." He has been much acclaimed for the role of Leoprello in Don Giovanni, which he sang for his Glyndebourne Festival debut 1994 and with New York City Opera where he has since become a regular performer in such operas as The Magic Flute, Ariodante, The Rape of Lucretia and most recently Handel's Semele. Sanford Sylvan has become closely associated with the productions of renowned directors: Peter Sellars in works of John Adams, Mozart and Stravinsky; Robert Wilson in Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts as well as Sir Peter Hall and Andrei Serban. He has developed longstanding relationships with major composers who have written for him: John Adams' Nixon In China (Chou En-Lai), the title role of The Death of Klinghoffer and The Wound Dresser; and numerous works of John Harbison. He was in the US premiere of The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, the world premiere of Philip Glass' The Juniper Tree, and sang Sir Michael Tippett's The Ice Break at the BBC Proms, recorded for Virgin Classics. In March 2004 he sang his first Wotan in Wagner's Die Walküre; a Christopher Alden condensed production with New York's Eos Orchestra. 2004 also brought the premiere of the film of John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer in which he portrays the title role. The film received much acclaim and numerous internaitonal awards including a Grammy nomination. In summer 2005 he made an acclaimed Gilmmerglass Opera debut as Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte.

Sanford Sylvan has performed with many of the leading orchestras of the world including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Royal Concertgebouworkest, London Symphony, BBC Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, Academy of Ancient Music, Melbourne Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) Symphony. He has collaborated with such conductors as Simon Rattle, James Levine, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Herbert Blomstedt, Christopher Hogwood, Kent Nagano, Helmuth Rilling, Bruno Weil , Roger Norrington, and Edo De Waart, among many others. The Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned Steven Stucky's American Muse for him, the premiere conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen. Again with Maestro Salonen and the LA Philharmonic, he sang Haydn's Creation for the first week of subscription concerts in their new Walt Disney Concert Hall in fall 2004. Recent performances include Schoenberg's Moses und Aron with the Boston Symphony under James Levine and Handel's Messiah with the Pittsburgh Symphony. In spring 2007 he will sing the world premiere of Christopher Rouse's Reqiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, which will be recorded for Telarc.

Sylvan's festival appearances have included the Edinburgh, Tanglewood, Vienna, Holland, Schleswig-Holstein and Ojai,.. He has longstanding relationships with the Carmel Bach Festival and the New England Bach Festival where he performs annually. In 2003, he made his debut with the Oregon Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling, where he returned this summer. As a chamber musician he has performed, toured and recorded with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music from Marlboro, , the Sarasa Chamber Music Ensemble, Ensemble Sequentia, Emmanuel Music and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players with whom he recorded John Harbison's Words from Paterson.

Sanford Sylvan's recordings are known throughout the world and appear on the Nonesuch, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Musicmasters, Bridge, Koch, Virgin Classics, New World and CRI labels. A Grammy and Emmy Award winner for his role in John Adams' Nixon In China, he has received Grammy nominations for his recording with David Breitman, L'Horizon Chimérique which features chanson of Gabriel Fauré, Beloved That Pilgrimage, a program of American songs with music by Barber, Copland and Chanler, and for John Adams' The Wound Dresser. A new recording of Bach with the Sarasa Ensemble was released in spring 2006.

Discography / Press Comments / Opera Repertoire / Orchestra Repertoire
David Breitman bio
High resolution photos

European Representation:
Andrew Rosner, Allied Artists
42 Montpelier Square, London SW7 1JZ, England
tel: 011 44 171 589 6243 / fax: 011 44 171 581 5269


David Breitman, pianist - Sanford Sylvan, baritone
(photo: Jon Chomitz)

Press Comments - Opera and Orchestra appearances:

Bach and Mozart the Carmel Bach Festival, Bruno Weil, conductor:
"The concert gave the audience the first tastes of the thrilling solo voice of returning baritone Sanford Sylvan."
Monterey Herald - July 18

"The outstanding soloists, whose voices created colorful word pictures, included Sanford Sylvan, baritone."
Monterey Herald - July 19

"Weil showed the connection between "Symphony No. 41 and the concert aria 'Un bacio di mano' sung with jovial elegance by baritone Sanford Sylvan. More baritone splendor came from Sylvan in the humorous and popular aria 'Non piu andrai.' The evening closed with a sensational set from 'Figaro with Sylvan, tenor Alan Bennett and Russell."
Monterey Herald - July 20, 2006

"Among the recital series highlights were the opportunities to hear Sylvan sing."
Monterey Herald - August  3.

Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem and Haydn's Missa in tempore belli, Vermont Symphony:
"Baritone Sanford Sylvan sang the 'Qui tollis' with simplicity and heart-wrenching expressiveness. This was a grand performance. And it was responded to by the audience, first with respectful silence, then an enthusiastic standing ovation."
Montpellier Times Argus - March 14. 2006

Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Glimmerglass Opera:
"Vocally, the men are dynamite. As for veteran Sylvan, he is smooth as silk, and his interpretation and voice coloration are about the best in the business."
Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 8, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan is a baritone as noted internationally for his acting as for his singing, and he brings a gleeful malice to the mastermind behind the scheme, Alfonso, that gives the evening its invigorating dose of pessimistic misogyny."
The Record, August 14, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan dominates the cast as an Alfonso of exquisite refinement."
Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times (London), July 28, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan is an unusually wise and delectable Don Alfonso."
New Yorker, July 25, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan plays the wily old trickster Don Alfonso to the hilt."
Dallas News - July 23, 2005

"Don Alfonso, masterfully sung by baritone Sanford Sylvan, spends much of his time lurkng in corners wiyth w mein of scientific detachment, shrewdly watching his experiment in human behavior unfold."
The Journal, July 14, 2005

"Alfonso (the excellent Sanford Sylvan) displays a Figaro-like resourcefulness in his pursuit to bring the women down."
Oneida Dispatch, July 14,, 2005

"Holding the plot strings and grounding the ensemble was bass Sanford Sylvan as Don Alfonso; he showed exceptional understanding of this role's every move and every note." - Ithaca Times, July 6, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan as Don Alfonso is a superb actor who uses his deep baritone voice and crisp diction to perfection."
Syracuse Post-Standard, July 2, 2005

"The character of Aofonso is something of an operatic Rod Serling. Played by the marvelous baritone Sanford Sylvan, Alfonso wears a slightly malevolennt grin as he invites the audiences to observe this study of human behavior."
Albany Times Union, July 2. 2005

"The singers were all in great voice, led by internationally knoq baritone Sanford Sylvan, who had the role of Alfonso comfortably in hand."
Schenectady Daily Gazette, July 2, 2005

 Haydn's Harmoniemesse, San Francisco Symphony, Paul McCreesh, conductor:
"Sylvan projected vibrantly and sounded touchingly at home."
San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan took the bottom line, singing with his familiar, distinctive timbre and his customarily meticulous diction."
SF Classical Voice, May 10, 2005

Carl Cunningham's reminiscences on Houston Grand Opera's 1st 50 years:
"Opera's musical, visual, and dramatic goal of enchanting the listener or bringing a message that speaks deeply to the human condition was more rarely achieved in the world premieres. It happened in the wonderment of Chou En-Lai's closing aria (sung by Sanford Sylvan) in Nixon in China."
Playbill May 1, 2005

Manalo in Handel's Samson Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan, conductor:
"The finest showing came from baritone Sanford Sylvan whose noble, lugubrious singing as the bereaved Manalo melted the heart."
San Francisco Chronicle - February 19, 2005

"Sanford Sylvan was a movingly eloquent Manoa in Thursday night's performance." - February 21, 2005

Luciano Berio's Stanze (US premiere), Pittsburgh Symphony, David Robertson, conductor:
"The overall sound of the piece is so strong, especially the rich voice of Sylvan. Stanza came off with precision and passion."
Pittsburgh Post Gazette &endash; October 9, 2004

"Its often beautiful vocal line - sung with artistry by Sylvan."
Pittsburgh Tribune &endash; October 9, 2004

Soloist, Carmel Bach Festival., Bruno Weil, conductor
"Among the vocal soloists, baritone Sanford Sylvan with uncommon musicianship and artistic authority."
Metro Santa Cruz - August 4, 2004

"Baritone Sanford Sylvan is a reason all by himself to travel from afar to this festival, for his consistently extraordinary artistry."
Monterey Herald - July 20, 2004

Bach B Minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion, Oregon Bach Festival:

"The vocal soloists touched perfection more often than not. Sanford Sylvan bestowed a fine lyric quality upon his solos, particularly the 'Quoniam tu solus sanctus'."
Eugene Register-Guard - July 8, 2004

"Sanford Sylvan's powerful and elegant bass-baritone voice was also capable of finesse."
Eugene - Register-Guard - June 27, 2004

Lori Laitman's "Come to me in Dreams" Cleveland Opera
"Sanford Sylvan's luxurious baritone and dramatic sincerity illuminate the survivor's journey."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - June 10, 2004

 Bach St. Matthew Passion, Washington Bach Consort:
"Baritone Sanford Sylvan gave the final aria a gripping eloquence."
Washington Post - May 11, 2004

Mendelssohn Elijah, Choral Society of Durham:
"The stars were out in force and all in proper alignment too, for Mendelssohn's Elijah. Baldwin Auditorium was packed and a glance at the list of performers reveals why this was so. The great American baritone Sanford Sylvan returned for his second appearance and did more than just sing the title role &emdash; from his very first notes, he embodied the role, never once letting up. There were incredible delights and artistic revelations. The exchanges involving Sylvan and the choir were literally hair-raising - one could hardly have expected better diction and projection or more precise and responsive dynamics. The audience responded immediately and with enthusiasm that is rare in Durham and the applause lasted many minutes. Elijah was on the boards elsewhere in NC the same weekend. Durham was the place to be - 'cause Charlotte didn't have Sylvan!"
Classical Voice North Carolina - May 5

 Bach St. Matthew Passion, Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival:
"Baritone Sanford Sylvan articulated texts with exceptional clarity."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - April 26, 2005

Wotan in Wagner's The Valkyries, Eos Orchestra
"Sanford Sylvan sang Wotan with a richness of verbal and musical subtlety that put artistry to work. This gifted lieder interpreter reached the expressive core of the music, overriding the distractions of Alden's cross-cultural grab bag."
Opera News - June 2004

"It's to Sanford Sylvan's credit that his vocalization of Wotan's music was eloquent here."
New York Magazine - April 12

"Sanford Sylvan, lyrical yet marvellously incisive, dominated the proceedings asWotan."
Financial Times - March 22, 2004 / also Opera - May 2004

"Character explorations built so effectively that when you reached the great music of the final scene - and add to that the cast's one great singer, the ever-interesting Sanford Sylvan as Wotan - all elements galvanized. It was mesmerizing."
Philadelphia Inquirer - March 20, 2004

"Sanford Sylvan as Wotan delivered a quietly commanding performance: sensitive text delivery, expressive physicality, and elegant singing. His great Act II monologue displayed his immense storytelling capabilities, and the final scene with Bruennhilde was as moving an account of the final duet as one could imagine. How can the broad, larger-than-life characterizations of Jane Eaglen and James Morris compete with the intimacy of insightful performances such as these?"
Wagner Society - March 19, 2004

Bach Cantata "Ich Habe Genug,"Sarasa Ensemble:
"Sylvan sang with his usual musical insight, command of technique (breath, legato, coloratura) and responsiveness to text; his voice positively bloomed in the small room. The intensity of the overall experience was comparable to that of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's singing of this work on a recent CD."
Boston Globe - February 3, 2004

Haydn's Creation, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa Paka Salonen, conductor
"Haydn's extravagantly upbeat and inventive music made it difficult not to look around every time the commanding and amiable baritone Sanford Sylvan sang his 'It is good' and agree. Sylvan has such a complete vocal presence that he transcends acoustics. He sounded marvelous in Disney, but then he also sounded marvelous in the Chandler Pavilion."
Los Angeles Times - November 2, 2003

Voltaire / Dr. Pangloss in Bernstein's Candide, Opera Boston
"Sanford Sylvan doubled as Voltaire and Dr. Panglos, his creamy baritone, likewise his formidable dramatic presence. Sylvan doesn't act like an opera singer acts, a high compliment."
Opera - May 2004
"Sanford Sylvan brought solid tone and commanding diction to the dual role of Voltaire and Dr. Pangloss, who believes that this is the best of all possible worlds; Sylvan maintained the character's sweetness and dignity."
Boston Globe - November 10, 2003

Premiere of Charles Fussell's High Bridge, Mendelssohn Club, Philadelphia:
" Sylvan brought to his part rich sounds in a variety of colors."
Phildalephia Inquirer - October 27, 2003

Brahms Requiem, Oregon Bach Festival, Helmuth Rilling, conductor:
"Sylvan was a wonder. He lent even the most ringing phrases the hushed intimacy of a Lied."
Oregon Register-Guard - July , 2003

Bach St. Matthew Passion, Carmel Bach Festival:
"The great American baritone Sanford Sylvan proved a wonder. In his beautiful arioso, he was the voice of compassion."
Los Angeles Times - July 23, 2003

"The knockout scene was Sylvan's. Not only is he one of the great singers of our time, but a comedic actor of magnificent superficiality, just what the part calls for."
San Francisco Classical Voice - July 29, 2003

Aaron Kernis' Garden of Light, Minnesota Orchestra:
"Sylvan shone in the astronautical scene leading into 'Is There a Place'?"
St. Paul Pioneer Press - September 20, 2002

Kreizberg led a stirring performance highlighted by superb solo singing from Sanford Sylvan."
Minneapolis Star Tribune - September 8, 2002

BBC Proms, London, with Sinfonia 21:
"The most gripping was baritone Sanford Sylvan's performance of Abraham and Isaac. Sylvan's unsentimental declamation of Stravinsky's cantor-like melismas is what has stayed with me. His singing is devastatingly powerful and, in terms of its ability to persuade, antithetical to the anonymous gloss of Levine."
The Independent - September 8, 2002

"The performance of the week for me was that of the American baritone Sanford Sylvan. In one of Stravinsky's most willfully austere scores, Sylvan's immaculate command of the fiendish Hebrew text drove on the superb players of Sinfonia 21 as compellingly as their conductor. Ditto the Crumb. The result was a powerful an affecting soundscape."
The Observer - Aug. 9, 2002

"Sung by baritone Sanford Sylvan with lyrical fluidity and a feeling for the score's craggy severity."
The Times - September 4, 2002

"Sylvan delivered the Hebrew text with maximal authority." The Guardian -
September 4, 2002

"Sanford Sylvan achieved more expressivity than might have been expected. Sinfonia 21 caught the unbuttoned exuberance of the piece, as they and Sylvan did of Crumb's 'Songs, Drones and Refains.' Great theatre, superbly realised."
Evening Standard - September 3, 2002

Mozart/Handel Messiah, Carmel Bach Festival:
"Sanford Sylvan is obviously the star with the black-strap sound he makes, almost pure basso in 'Messiah's arias, and the intensity he pours into the text."
San Francisco Examiner - July 19, 2002

John Adams' Wound Dresser, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Anne Manson:
"The primary musical interest lay with the local premiere of 'The Wound-Dresser.' It is a piece of sad, fragile beauty, with gorgeous string lines that curl around the solo vocal part, resisting tonic resolution. Horror and pity are transmuted into elegy. The wonderful baritone Sanford Sylvan, created the role. The eloquence of his performance owed partly to his strong, true baritone - does any American singer have better English diction? - partly to his profound identification with the poet's sympathy and longing."
Chicago Tribune - May 25, 2002

Bach's St. John Passion, Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival, Berea, OH:
"Sanford Sylvan was commanding. He is an artist whose vocal magnificence and interpretive depth make everything sound special."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - April 22, 2002

Handel's Saul, Emmanuel Music, Boston:
"Saturday night's performance was a milestone; you could not hear a better performance of a work by Handel anywhere in the world today. Sanford Sylvan took the title role, singing with royal dignity even in fury, creating a superb vocal and dramatic characterization that didn't stop even when he wasn't singing; one of his greatest moments came in the expression on his face when Saul accepted his doom, along with responsibility for his own role in it."
Boston Globe (Richard Dyer) - April 15, 2002

'The one immeasurable gain was baritone Sanford Sylvan as Saul. In dignity, in power, in his subtlety, and in the sheer magnificence of his voice, Sylvan must now be the greatest interpreter of this role ever. He was the burning center of this very great work."
Boston Phoenix - April 18-25, 2002

ShostakovichSymphony No. 13 (Babi Yar), Kansas City Symphony:
Headline: "Remarkable war-themed concert will linger in memory."
"The symphony's rendering of Shostakovich's symphony was made convincing by the finely crafted solo performance of baritone Sanford Sylvan, whose Russian was crisp, rounded and attuned to the vividly expressive poetry. Adams' "The Wound-Dresser," rounded out the program. Baritone Sylvan imbued the work with eloquence." Kansas City Star - April 8, 2002

Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, BBC Symphony, Leonard Slatkin, conductor:
"Klinghoffer himself - a most powerful performance by the role's creator, Sanford Sylvan. His confrontation with the 'good' hijacker struck genuine operatic sparks."
The Times (London) - January 21, 2002

Prince in Harrison's Rapunzel, Cabrillo Music Festival:
"To everybody's good fortune, the festival engaged for the king Sanford Sylvan, fresh from his triumphs at this summer's Carmel Bach Festival. This distinguished baritone's elegantly phrased recitative -- every word counted -- and consummately musical treatment made the score sound extremely important."
San Francisco Chronicle - August 14, 2001

Mendelssohn Elijah, Carmel Bach Festival:
"Weil's translucent leadership and the extraordinary contribution of American baritone Sanford Sylvan in the title role marked this "Elijah" as a highlight of the conductor's 10-year tenure. It was Sylvan who prompted this project; his supple baritone and matchless projection of texts elevated this performance even beyond his sterling work in Carmel during the past six years; call it a career landmark."
San Francisco Chronicle - July 20, 2001

"Sanford Sylvan, embodying Elijah, carried the story with a commanding presence in a prodigious and stirring performance."
Monterey Herald &endash; July 19, 2001

"He was particularly fortunate in having the world-class baritone Sanford Sylvan, whose warmly resonant voice, commanding presence, well integrated dramatic understanding, mature musicianship and superb diction carried out the main focus of the oratorio. Sylvan's vocalism was refined and dignified. His heartfelt 'Lord God of Abraham' was gently yet vibrantly projected. The phrasing was artfully molded and full of feeling. 'It is enough' was delivered quietly as it passed through many thoughtful moods in heart touching fashion."
Carmel Pine Cone &endash; July 27. 2001

Bach St. Matthew Passion, Carmel Bach Festival:
"Sylvan sang the arias bringing poetic eloquence to these jewels."
Monterey Herald &endash; July 18, 2001

Stravinsky Abraham & Isaac, Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles and New York City:
"The highlight was an amazing performance of 'Abraham and Isaac,' a pungent 12-tone setting of the biblical story, here sung poignantly and with the intensity of an Old Testament prophet by Sanford Sylvan, who performed the formidable work from memory."
New York Times - March 20, 2001

"Sanford Sylvan sang the 12-minute work from memory with a rabbinical intensity that alone would have made this performance impressive and gripping. But he brought something more to it. In his focus on word and feeling, he showed an Abraham so overwhelmed by the experience of nearly slaughtering his son Isaac that he returns to Beersheba transformed. Having been in the presence of the Lord, he now confronts the feeling of no longer belonging among his own people, of being an exile in his own land. It was as though, through complicated and difficult music, we could understand Stravinsky's own struggle with identity, belief and nationality. Here, where we least expected it, Sylvan revealed what it is that gives Stravinsky his enduring power over us. Sylvan's struggle with faith seemed to resonate in the hall."
Los Angeles Times - March 14, 2001

Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar). Symphony Hall, Boston:
"Above all, there was Sanford Sylvan He sang with awesome force, intense concentration and involvement, and a tonal quality that was infinitely responsive to words and feeling - as he sang of Anne Frank, his voice became as transparent as the image in the text; warmth suffused his tone as he sang of the strength of Russian women. He was terrifying as he expressed the pervasive power of fear, and amusing, then noble, as he sang of Galileo, his rivals, and the responsibility of faith and endeavor."
Boston Globe - Nov. 24, 2001

Bach St. John Passion, BBC Proms, London:
"Sanford Sylvan, the suave American bariton
e wa simported into Ivor Bolton's firmly European St. John Passion. Just when it was really needed, during the Crucifixion, he hit home with feeling."
The Times (London) August 25, 2000

Bach St. John Passion, Carmel Bach Festival:
"Only baritone Sanford Sylvan achieved anything like the requisite emotional depth, lending an air of passionate urgency to ``Eilt, eilt'' and lavishing his rich, alluring tone on 'Mein teurer Heiland'.''
San Francisco Chronicle - July 25

"Sylvan provided the emotional impact of 'betrachte, meine Seel,' invested with remarkable intensity."
San Francisco Examiner - July 17

Copland Old American Songs Detroit Symphony:
"Copland's charming song settings were sung with impeccable diction and panache by baritone Sanford Sylvan."
Detroit Free Press - May 22, 2000

Bach St. Matthew Passion, Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival:
"Sanford Sylvan had vocal resources to spare. His tone was luxuriant, his German diction exemplary." Cleveland Plain Dealer - April 17, 2000

Vores World Wheel, Cantata Singers, Boston:
"Sanford Sylvan delivers text with unmatched eloquence and zeal."
Boston Globe &endash; January 25, 2000

"The Sublime Sylvan."
Boston Herald &endash; January 22, 2000

Steven Stucky, American Muse (premiere), Los Angeles Philharmonic:
"Stucky's settings are lyrically pure, a highlighting of poetic line and meter, and Sanford Sylvan's singing was amazing. Not a single word was missed; indeed it was as if this powerful, direct and hugely communicative baritone were delivering every word into the audience's lap as a loving gift.:
Los Angeles Times - November 1, 1999

King of Scotland in Handel's Ariodante, New York City Opera:
"As the King, he projected piquant poignancy: this reached a peak in his Act II lament, a captivating outpouring of quiet grief."
Opera News &endash; February 2000

"Sanford Sylvan as the King of Scotland, singing ardently."
NY Times, September 28, 1999

"His warm baritone made his character's good intentions and feeling come through."
Wall Street Journal, September 29, 1999

"Sylvan gives a melancholic but august performance as the King of Scotland."
New Jersey Star Ledger - October 2, 1999

"The fine baritone Sanford Sylvan gave the king a certain sad majesty."
New York Newsday - September 28, 1999

Bach Christmas Oratorio, Pergolesi La Serva Padrona, Carmel Bach Festival:
"Sanford Sylvan lavished his hugely resonant, ultra-sweet baritone on his assignment to great effect."
San Francisco Chronicle - July 20, 1999

"For the past four years, Sanford Sylvan has been one of the festival's secret weapons. The American baritone possesses the rare talent for transmuting everything, into important material. Sylvan's handling of Lo Schiavo's English translation approached perfection, with every tongue-twisting phrase of Uberto's tirades delivered to the delighted audience. As might be expected of a major Mozartian, Sylvan gauged his effects and projection to the size of the house."
San Francisco Examiner - July 26, 1999

Stravinsky Abraham & Isaac, Netherlands Opera:
"Sanford Sylvan traverses this piece with uncommonly melodious singing."
NRC Handelsblad &endash; June 16, 1999

"Abraham & Isaac with the glorious Sanford Sylvan in the lead role."
Het Parool &endash; June 18, 1999

"The appeared the extraordinarily fine baritone, Sanford Sylvan, who performed his extremely difficult solo in this sacred ballet."
Haagsche Courant &endash; June 15, 1999

Mozart Requiem, Tafelmusik, Bruno Weill, conductor
"The admirable vocal quartet was anchored by baritone Sanford Sylvan. He is a naturally expressive singer and an experienced Mozart stylist; he was the unforgettable Figaro in Peter Sellars's controversial modern-dress Le Nozze di Figaro. His timbre seemed the most human sound one had ever heard."
The Globe and Mail, Toronto - February 15, 1999

Adams, selections from The Death of Klinghoffer, London Symphony Orchestra
"Sanford Sylvan sang the Aria of the Falling Body with moving conviction."
The Times - November 3, 1998

"The Klinghoffer scenes had dramatic force as delivered by Sanford Sylvan."
Financial Times - November 5, 1998

Bach Cantata: Ich Habe Genug (BWV 82), Carmel Bach Festival
"Ich habe genug found Sylvan drawing out the dark rapture of the desire for death in phrases of extraordinary serenity and beauty. Rarely has Sylvan's lustrous tone sounded at once so present and so otherworldly."
San Francisco Chronicle - July 27, 1998

"Sylvan's bow at the festival signaled a new generation of vocal sophistication. He long ago earned the right to sing "Ich habe Genug"here, and this infinitely tender soliloquy wanted nothing in eloquence. Sylvan's innate feeling for legato and his bracing open vowels are balm for the soul. The second movement must rank with the finest moments of the festival in recent years."
San Francisco Examiner - July 20, 1998.

Bach Cantata: Ich Habe Genug (BWV 82), Australian Chamber Orchestra:
"As the blossoming popularity of opera would seem to confirm, there is something quite magical about a fine voice - and voices don't come much finer than Sanford Sylvan's. The baritone made a brief appearance on the Sydney concert scene. But it was enough to leave you feeling like a drug addict craving the next fix. This is surely the finest lyric baritone we have heard here since Olaf Baer. The voice is wonderfully smooth and balanced right across the range, and the texture is so rich it could almost be felt. Like all Bach, it does require a very secure technique, and in particular, a seamless legato, and Sylvan delivered all this to perfection. Only one question remains. Is anyone doing anything about getting Sylvan back to do a full recital (Schubert preferably) in, say, the Town Hall? Please? Pretty please?" - The Australian - April 24, 1998

Bach Weihnachtsoratorium, Academy of Ancient Music at the Munich Philharmonic:
"Hogwood's solo quartet included the fascinating bass, Sanford Sylvan."
Munich Merkur - December 24, 1997

St. Ignatius in Thompson's Four Saints in Three Acts, various locations: "Only Sanford Sylvan as Saint Ignatius really enjoyed himself, putting eloquence into every vocal and physical gesture."
New York Magazine - August 19. 1996

"Vocally, the evening belonged to Sanford Sylvan, a consummate artist whose gorgeous authoritative delivery of words and music made one believe in the transcendent spirituality inherent in all the silliness."
Wall Street Journal - February 1, 1996

"Sylvan projects Stein's words and Thompson's music with a true joie de vivre."
Time Magazine - February 12, 1996

"I am being influenced in this judgment by Sanford Sylvan's marvelous vocal demeanor throughout the opera as someone dazed but beautiful."
New Yorker - February 12, 1996


  Press Comments - Vocal Recitals

Recital with David Breitman at Montclair State University:
"Baritone Sanford Sylvan has been such a versatile performer in his career, from avant-garde opera to lieder and back again, that the specificity and technical integrity of his all-American song recital at Montclair State University on Wednesday came as no surprise. Sylvan sounded in fine voice. His is a smooth and velvety baritone with remarkably even tone from top to bottom. This program showed off the baritone's impressive ability to make language into a sensual experience. He and Breitman are a dynamic duo. Breitman kept the piano acerbic and dry, often given just the barest outlines of harmonic or rhythmic patterns to support Sylvan. Sylvan is a master of diction, an expert in balancing both the momentum of phrase and the pulse within key words. He seems to love the click-click rhythm of consonants and vowels, which he organizes more intelligently than many other singers. From Harbison's 'Flashes and Illuminations,' a 1994 cycle written for Sylvan and Breitman, Sylvan extracted warmth and poignancy, lingering over a lover's phrase. This would have to be called the most imaginative, persistently forward-looking vocal recital this state has seen in years. It could have been an academic exercise, but Sylvan and Breitman crafted a delicate, occasionally icy, yet intricate evening, one that the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy."
New Jersey Star Ledger - October 22, 2005

Schubert Winterreise, Chamber Music in Historic Sites, Los Angeles
"Sanford Sylvan had the wisdom to let Schubert's songs draw the audience's tears on their own. His singing was remarkably straightforward and admirably vivid, strongly seconded by David Breitman's piano. By the time his singing had filled in that chill final picture, the wind-chill factor in the handsome precincts of the Doheny Mansion had sunk out of sight. Brrr, as in brrravo."
LA Weekly - January 30 - Febraury 5, 2004

Recital, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
Headline: "Song cycle voiced by masterful storyteller"
"Adventurous programming isn't always the hallmark of vocal recitals. But when baritone Sanford Sylvan and pianist David Breitman take to the stage, there is every likelihood that something unusual and extraordinary is going to occur. Such was the case when these musicians opened the 125th season of Oberlin College's Artist Recital Series with a concert that was as far from hackneyed as one could imagine. The evening contained only two works, Both were revelatory experiences. What Martin has achieved musically in these 'scenes from childhood' is quite remarkable. Employing a host of American idioms, including gospel and jazz, he embraces the poems' atmospheres and feelings in tellingly animated, probing and expressive gestures. Martin couldn't have tapped a more ideal team to perform his songs. Sylvan's beautifully textured baritone, elegant phrasing and crystal-clear enunciation catapulted the fearsome and charming aspects of the songs to our ears like arrows hitting the bull's-eye. The vocal part sings and speaks, screams and whispers. Sylvan was masterful storyteller and extensive cast of characters. The piano part is equally challenging, full of honky-tonk spunk and lyrical murmurings. Breitman vibrantly set forth every subtle and dramatic nuance, as if he were a symphony orchestra of one."
Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 15, 2003

Schubert's Winterreise, Orange County Performing Arts Center:
Headline: "Sylvan inhabits the emotions of Winterreise"
"Sylvan has supplied vivid characterizations in stagings of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas and in roles written for him by John Adams. And that's exactly what he did in 'Winterreise' He has a strong lyric instrument that can range from gentle introspection to declamatory anger. He can spin out a long line or break it for dramatic effect. He makes grace note turns sound effortless. He followed the feelings in the texts and made them his own. Sylvan captured all these emotions in detail."
Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2003

Beethoven An die ferne Geliebte, 92nd Street Y in New York City:
"Mr. Sylvan is a rare vocal artist able to use his voice like an instrument, blending work and note into a unified and exact musical expression. One wished they would do the whole thing again as soon as they had finished."
New York Times - April 4, 2003

Schubert Winterreise, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY:
"His performance was surely one of the most eagerly anticipated vocal events of the season. Sylvan's prominence in the vocal world is easy to understand. His voice is toffee-smooth, beautifully settled in its deep baritone range yet steady in all registers and spectacularly versatile. He's endowed with the most remarkable focus and breath support. Technical razzle-dazzle aside, Sylvan is above all a sensitive interpreter who know how to play with words, color the voice and vary the sound. In no small way, Sylvan and Breitman provided Rochester with an artistically satisfying and spiritually enriching evening. On the eve of war, that's exactly what everybody needed."
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - March 19, 2003

Recital, Modlin Center for the Arts, Richmond, VA
"Sanford Sylvanis a good deal more versatile than many art-singers. Sylvan and his accompanist David Breitman tinted the songs in a remarkable variety of hues and explored emotional turbulence with unusual range and subtlety of expression. The singer and pianist communicated with such emotional authenticity and at such depth that language was no barrier to understanding."
Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch - February 20, 2003

Recital, Emmanuel Music, Boston, M
A"Breitman and Sylvan have always brought out the best in each other. Sylvan's combination of literary, musical, and vocal gifts is unusual, and the inward interplay of solo voice and other voices in the piano part was marvelous. Breitman played up a storm, and Sylvan took on the characters with gusto. His performance was a fabulous display of musicianship, characterization, and sheer singing."
Boston Globe - January 7, 2003

Recital, Vocal Arts Society, Washington, DC:
"A fabulous recital by baritone Sanford Sylvan. Martin has written what seems a masterpiece -- a song cycle that lets the poems spew forth naked childhood experience, but wraps that experience in music of unforgettable purity and savage intensity. Sylvan exhausted himself and the audience in a sweeping performance that delivered every subtlety, every declamation, every sad, ironic twist of words and music. Pianist Breitman showered the hall with sonic shards of broken glass, with skittering, asymmetric rhythmic projectiles, with stabbing repeated notes laden with pain, with gospel and honky-tonk piano that did not so much suggest experience as embody it."
Washington Post - February 2, 2002

Schubert Winterreise, Corpus Christi Church, New York City:
"A more instinctive singer like Sylvan searches out the governing mood of a song or a cycle and channels it in an almost trancelike fashion. This approach seems more reflective of the spontaneity of Schubert. Sylvan's rending of 'Winterreise' was very austere, with the velvety smoothness of his baritone supplemented by passages of conversational roughness. Breitman, accompanying him on a tangy fortepiano, stripped away all vestiges of sentimental melancholy and underlined the striding rhythm. At a few scattered, unpredictable climaxes, Sylvan hit tones of Wagnerian grandeur, showing Schubert's wintertime walker as something more than a pitiable person on the verge of death. His traveler begins by ranging against the world. I have never heard 'Winterreise' taken quite so fearlessly for what it really is &endash; a document of insanity."
New Yorker &endash; December 10, 2001

"Beauty isn't a word that always applies to a baritone voice: strong, powerful or resonant is a more expected accolade. But while all of these words could be used to describe Sanford Sylvan's voice, its most striking quality is sheer beauty, emerging in sudden flashes in rich, dark low notes or the majesty of full high fortes. In Mr. Sylvan's performance of Schubert's 'Winterreise,' the voice's nuanced shimmer, with its golden depths, seemed to mirror the veneer of the fortepiano behind him. Mr. Sylvan sang with a fuller, more emphatic sound than some singers use for lieder. He drew on a full palette of dynamic and emotional expression, from soft falsettos to full operatic fortissimos that gave a spine-chilling climax to 'Die Krähe.' 'Winterreise' is not an easy journey, and Mr. Sylvan had mapped every step, his diction and his expression deliberately calibrated to make the experience rich."
New York Times - November 27, 2001

Bach Cantata No. 82 "Ich habe genug," Sarasa Ensemble, Boston:
"The concert brought that most eloquent of singers Sanford Sylvan. Certainly the emotional heart of the evening came in Sylvan's performance. Sylvan's voice offered passionate and sonorous comfort. No one colors text the way Sylvan does.".
Boston Globe &endash; November 6, 2001

Metropolitan Museum of Art with the Aulos Ensemble:
"He was consistently relaxed, intimate, caressing. Mr. Sylvan expressed the joys of Christmas as gentle ones, tender and reassuring, his voice like a warm, calming stroke over the ruffled mind."
New York Times - Dec. 23, 2000

Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall:
"The baritone Sanford Sylvan came to Weill Recital Hall recently with a new work by another American, the Cuban-born Jorge Martin. "The Glass Hammer: Scenes From Childhood Kept Against Forgetting." Mr. Sylvan's performance was a shattering tour de force. Mr. Martin's music had tensile strength, declamatory sweep and often poignant lyricism. At a time when so many song composers are placating audiences, Mr. Martin's ambitious and challenging cycle stands out."
New York Times - June 11, 2000

"Sanford Sylvan is one of the most engaging of singers, partly because his voice is so light and natural. Hence the youthfulness of his vocal personality, and the innocence remembered within a more mature soul. One can understand why Martín's cycle 'Glass Hammer' appealed to him, for it presents an adult character recalling a fraught boyhood. Mr. Sylvan's investment of himself in these scenes was remarkable. The Ravel offered the singer most: beautiful and expressive lines, which he freshly sang, and a knowing tone he made delightfully comic. David Breitman, at the piano, was also excellent here: precise, imaginative, sensitive to his partner and highly effective on his own account."
New York Times - May 11, 2000

With the Boston Museum Trio at the Museum of Fine Arts:
"Sylvan's silvery voice floats like a halo over MFA audience"
"Whenever Sanford Sylvan sings, it's a special occasion. But those occasions have become rarer in Boston over the years. The baritone has been increasingly busy in opera and concert around the world. So yesterday afternoon it was a special occasion indeed when Sylvan joined the Boston Museum Trio at the Museum of Fine Arts. In the Rameau, the baritone plays the roles of the two rival gods, depicted with all the musical finery of the French Baroque that Rameau could muster. It suited Sylvan, who is vocal elegance personified, perfectly. So, of course, did the Bach. In `Come, sweet Cross,'' Laura Jeppesen's marvelous viola da gamba accompaniment ideally complemented the suave Sylvan, who sang as if with a halo around his voice. Indeed, sometimes it seems like there's nothing, from Bach to John Adams that Sylvan doesn't excel. His unique voice can sound either crystal clear or luxuriously rich - sometimes, incongruously, both at the same time. Add a clean, forward projection, impeccable diction in any language and a profound sense of how each word and note relate - and you have an exceptional artist."
Boston Herald - November 22, 1999

American Music Recital, South Bay Center for the Arts, Torrance, CA
"Sylvan is a treasurable singer; he unapologetically makes beautiful and varied sounds, colors words and utilizes a broad dynamic range to expressive ends. Hearing him is a pleasure; understanding him is a joy." Los Angeles Times - November 23, 1998

American Music Recital, CAL Performances, Berkeley, CA
"The performances themselves could hardly have been improved upon. Sylvan's warm, resonant baritone is one of the glories of the recital world,and he was is especially fine vocal form on Sunday, singing fluently and with expressive power. Breitmans' playing, too, managedto be at once crisp and emotionally inviting."
San Francisco Chronicle - November 24, 1998

"Sylvan remains a superb communicator, not merely of word values but of emotional inflections; interpretation always precedes performance. And he projects meaning with an instrument that can be stentorian at one moment and warmly comforting at the next. Sylvan sings in glorious American English. The "Hermit Songs" reaffirmed their lofty status, especially in Sylvan's ravishing elucidation of "The Monk and His Cat" and the refined dynamics of "St. Ita's Vision."
San Francisco Examiner - November 23, 1998

Schubert Winterreise, various locations:
"Baritone Sanford Sylvan and pianist David Breitman brought their lives to bear on the songs, finding in the cycle the stuff of emotional devastation. Sylvan used his firm, dark baritone to articulate the text clearly. He applied shadings and colors to words to unify the emotion of single poems, to stress inner references and even interior rhymes. It was a mark of the care with which he presented them that an echo of the wind and snow of the fifth song emerged in the 22nd song. From such details emerged the craggy whole. Breitman clarified the ironies in the piano's role, just as Sylvan enlarged the emotions of the text. Their reading developed momentum, never losing the level of intensity &endash; and lyrical power."
Philadelphia Inquirer &endash; April 3, 1998

"Sylvan's wonderful 'Winterreise'

The art of the song-singer requires an uncommon range of resources - the gifts of voice and musical ability, and the hard-won attainment of technique, diction in several languages, literary and musical insight, and human understanding. The first-class recitalist is therefore probably the rarest species of performing artist. We are lucky because last night we heard Sanford Sylvan, who over the last decade and a half has grown into America's finest Lieder singer.
Sylvan is not the most famous - Thomas Hampson is - but the difference between these two gifted artists is not just a matter of voice, personality and hair.
Hampson is a performer who puts things over with intelligence and flair. Sylvan has arrived at
interiorizing everything he sings

so that it emerges as a completely personal expression that he shares with us. His performance with his careerlong collaborative pianist David Breitman, was an extraordinary achievement because he had made this interior psychological drama so completely his own.
Breitman's clean, sensitive, intelligent, unexaggerated playing seemed to represent a state of normalcy in which Sylvan's alienated singer could not participate. In the first song Sylvan constantly pulled ahead. That they were not together was not carelessness or nerves; it was the point.
Although Sylvan indulged in no gestures and dramatized specifics only by letting his eyes follow
the circling crow in 'Die Kraehe,' his singing could afford to be flamboyant because it was so

centered in real, living things. Much of the singing was beautiful in a basic bel canto sense - the phrases were long-breathed, the dynamics masterfully controlled, the spin of legato immaculate - but most of it was beautiful in a far larger sense: It was expressive of states of soul. Sylvan's vocal colors came not from the words but from what the words mean. One thought of the way Russian singers perform Moussorgsky's 'Song and Dances of Death.'
In a few privileged moments, Sylvan let us hear the pure impersonal voice of the Russian holy simpleton, or a Shakespearean fool, but in all of his fully human voices, he told the whole truth."
November 22, 1997
Richard Dyer, Music Editor
Boston Globe

"Top 10 Classical Music Events of '97 - Sanford Sylvan: at the Carmel Bach Festival, the great American baritone sang with heartbreaking grace."
San Francisco Chronicle - December 28, 1997

"He is a literate singer who thinks deeply about what words mean. Although his voice is warm and vibrant, with a clear, tenorish top and a robust, bassolike bottom, he never simply produces attractive sounds, however expressive. Every nuance of his artistry is used to make words and images vital, as his communicative performance of Schubert's great work made clear. For all its expressivity, Mr. Sylvan's interpretation of this haunting cycle was always refined and musicianly.
New York Times - April 15, 1997

Die schöne Müllerin, various locations:
"Sanford Sylvan gave a dramatic, impeccable performance of 'Die schöne Müllerin.' His diction was wonderfully clear without being fussy. Sylvan's sweet baritone served him well in the hopefulness of the opening songs. His strength made 'Eifersucht und Stolz' fearsome. Even more impressive were the dignity of 'Trockne Blumen' and the poignancy of the song cycle's conclusion."
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - May 5, 1997

"Baritone Sanford Sylvan and fortepianist David Breitman emphasized the narrative urgency to splendid effect. The recital was a tribute to Schubert, whose 200th birthday is inspiring an avalanche of concerts. No one can argue, especially when probing artists such as Sylvan and Breitman are in earshot. Sylvan claims the intellectual and musical gifts to energize Schubert's minidrama. And what a voice - a baritone of intense beauty, richness and fluency from top to bottom. With such an instrument at his command, Sylvan immersed himself in the cycle, stressing the work's dramatic proportions and setting aside intimacy for bold, colorful declamation. Throughout the cycle he gave Muller's texts delineation and animated the emotions through telling inflections.
Cleveland Plain Dealer - March 8, 1997

"If Sylvan is great on record, he is even better live. He showed riveting dramatic flair. His voice was extraordinarily full and fluent. Effortlessly, Sylvan brought across the flirting of the miller girl, the shyness of the boy. With flawless grace, he sustained lyrical melodies. Sylvan put his own stamp on these songs by singing them with strength. No 'Schöne Müllerin' enthusiast could ask for more.
Buffalo News - September 28, 1996

Emanuel Music, Boston:
"For sweetness and clarity, for immediacy of communication and openhearted singing, Sylvan commands attention. The baritone presented a program that deftly illuminated his appealing artistry. Sylvan savored the words and with the lightest of touch tinted the music with flecks of color. How wonderfully the texts rolled off his tongue; he has just the right timbre for this music.
Boston Globe - April 1996

Press Comments - On Record and on Film:

Bach Cantatas with Dominique Labelle and the Sarasa Ensemble:
"In many ways, this is Sylvan's shining hour, for his performance of 'Ich habe genug' si the strongest of the three. Yet both singers perform masterfully in the final cantata."
Early Music America - Winter 2006

"Labelle and Sylvan are prominent and experienced Bach singers, and both perform with their customary beautiful tone, scrupulous musicianship, and verbal communicativeness."
Boston Globe - May 12, 2006

Figaro in the reissue of Peter Sellar's production of Le Nozze di Figaro on DVD:
"Sanford Sylvan, a fabulous Figaro, sets the tone for the funniest version of the first two acts you are ever likely to see."
Dallas Morning News, September 7, 2005

Klinghoffer in John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, Blast Films, Channel 4 Television:
"Sanford Sylvan should have received an Oscar nomination for his courageous portrayal of the murder victim Leon Klinghoffer."
New York Times, April 24, 2005

"The cast seems to be absolutely caught up in the performances they give. There are exceptional contributions from Sanford Sylvan as Leon Klinghoffer."
Opera - August 2004

"Much of this is brilliant, and Woolcock gets performances out of her singing cast that redefine the possibilities of operatic acting. Baritone Sanford Sylvan is magnificent as the loving, terrified, essentially decent Klinghoffer, and his singing of the posthumous underwater aria is touched by rare spiritual grace."
Boston Globe, February 8, 2004

"Nerve-tingling urgency is added by the use of handheld cameras, with Sanford Sylvan (Klinghoffer) and Christopher Maltman (the captain) outstanding among a large cast who can all, for once, act as well as they can sing. This stunning realisation of a brave and very moving work deserves to win every award going."
London Observer - May 18, 2003

"The camera reveals the sweet dignity of Sanford Sylvan's Klinghoffer with greater poignancy than I remembered from the staged production, The music emerges not as a soundtrack, but as the characters' thoughts and actions, never more effectively than in the sequence of Klinghoffer's drowning, during which Mr. Sylvan sings a serenely beautiful aria, which begins "May the Lord God / And his creation / Be magnified / In dissolution," while his corpse descends with eerie majesty to the bottom of the sea."
New York Observer - May 28, 2003

"Sylvan, who created the role in the original production, and Howard, give stellar dramatic performances. Sylvan sings with transcendental lyricism."
Los Angeles Times - April 19, 2003

Jorge Martin's The Glass Hammer, Koch International Records:
"The Glass Hammer is the most perfect match of word and music in an art song cycle of this length that I know by any American composer--ever! Furthermore, Sylvan and Breitman seem a perfect match to perform it. Breitman's piano virtuosity is stunning but never takes center stage. He lines and underlines and moves forward and characterizes the baritone's words, but the words are where the story, journey and action are. Sylvan, meanwhile, shapes his phrases through jazzy syncopations, gospel-like harmonies, declamations, and falsetto leaps, as if what his voices performs is as effortless as a well practiced recitation of poems that he loves. Not having seen Sylvan and Breitman perform this work in the recital hall, I can only imagine the focused attention they must draw. Disembodied from a set of CD speakers, Sylvan's voice registers the diverse facets of Hudgins' developing persona in the poems from child to adolescent to backward-reflecting adult. Anyone reading this who admires good writing, good music, good singing and good playing--and who looks for listening experiences that can absorb attention and reward it fully--and repeatedly--cannot go wrong in seeking out this recording."
Eclectica Magazine - January /February 2002

"Sanford Sylvan is a wonderful singer. Throughout, he faces the gaucheries of the text unembarassed and fully in the moment. He brings great vocal variety to his delivery, and his diction remain as always impeccable. This is a great singer giving his all."
Fanfare &endash; November / December 2001

"This is a truly remarkable recording, one of the most enjoyable I've ever reviewed. The program is sung with elan by renowned baritone Sanford Sylvan and played with authority by pianist David Breitman."
American Record Guide &endash; November 2001

"Sanford Sylvan gives a masterful performance - complex, deeply felt and spilling over with humanity. Breitman plays the difficult piano parts superbly. In the last song composer and performers achieve a lyricism that flower fully at the end . It provides closure in a musically and spiritually satisfying way."
Opera News - November 2001.

Fauré, L'horizon chimérique, Nonesuch Records:
"It is enough to listen to this recitals' first song - so difficult to render evocatively - to recognize an exceptional interpreter: great vocal bearing, accuracy and feeling. His concern for nuance and line are much to be admired. The warmth and charm of his timbre, the intuition in his phrasing are remarkable. Full of fervor, La Bonne Chanson offers a kind of melancholy totally lacking in Wolfgang Holzmair's recent version. The goods delivered by this beautiful recording are unquestionable and put Sanford Sylvan at the top of all contemporary Fauréans."
Diapason - February 1997

"Once again, a foreign singer happily surprises us with his understanding of the language and style of a French musician's songs. We can find in him the spirit, the warmth, the honesty required by those songs. The nuances are shown perfectly and the singer's legato is impeccable."
Le Monde de la Musique - February 1997

"His is a light, unusually high baritone, that, once experienced, engraves itself in memory; if you've heard Chou En-lai's soliloquy at the end of Adams' Nixon in China, you know how haunting Sylvan's voice can be. Sylvan thrives in intimate settings, like these turn-of-the-century arts songs. Fauré's songs are masterpieces of atmospheric understatement, and Sylvan's luminous tone and refined sensibility are so exquisite as to verge on the unearthly."
Out Magazine - September 1996

"La Bonne Chanson and other songs have found an exceptional interpreter. Let us not speak about Sylvan's generous and warm tone; rather, let us linger over his shimmering musicality. He quietly captures the Fauré songs and allows them to fly away into the nostalgic wind of intact memory."
Telerama - February 26, 1997

Schubert Die schöne Müllerin, Nonesuch Records:
"Sylvan has said that he has a long association with this cycle; that is obvious from his probing, inquisitive performance, full of perceptive thought about the work."
Gramophone - March 1993

European Representation:
Andrew Rosner, Allied Artists
42 Montpelier square, London SW7 1JZ, England
tel: 011 44 171 589 6243 / fax: 011 44 171 581 5269


David Breitman

Mr. Sylvan's collaborator since 1979, David Breitman enjoys an active career performing on the modern piano and fortepiano. Recent and forthcoming performances include the Dvorak piano quintet as guest of the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Mozart and Beethoven wind quintets with members of Tafelmusik, as well as lectures and masterclasses at schools of music across the United States and Canada. Other engagements in recent seasons have included the Tulsa Philharmonic (a performance of two concertos in a re-creation of Mozart's 1784 benefit concert), Orchestra New England, and annual solo recitals for CBC Radio in Montreal.

In addition to his growing discography with Sanford Sylvan for Elektra/Nonesuch (the fourth, devoted to music by Fauré, released in 1996), Breitman has recorded the complete Mozart violin-piano sonatas with Jean François Rivest, a 4-CD set on the Amberola label and Chopin's music for piano and cello with Kim Scholes for Titanic Records. As part of a seven-fortepianist team led by Malcolm Bilson, he participated in the first-ever complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle on original instruments. This series, presented by Merkin Hall in New York City, was subsequently recorded for CLAVES in 1997. The cycle was repeated recently at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence.

A native of Montreal, Mr. Breitman did his undergraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. H holds a Masters in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory and a doctorate in Historical Performance Practice from Cornell University. He currently teaches at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he is also Director of the Historical Performance Program.


Praise for David Breitman, pianist:

Martin's The Glass Hammer, Koch International Records:
" Breitman plays the difficult piano parts superbly. In the last song composer and performers achieve a lyricism that flower fully at the end . It provides closure in a musically and spiritually satisfying way."
Opera News - November 2001.

Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York:

"Breitman, at the piano, was also excellent here: precise, imaginative, sensitive to his partner and highly effective on his own account." New York Times, May 11, 2000

Beethoven Piano Sonatas with Malcolm Bilson - Claves Records:
"Of the other performers I was especially impressed by Breitman. Breitman's thoughtful reading of op. 110 is one of the finest I know, expressive at every tempo but nowhere more so than in the adagio sections of the last movement, where the small rests are audible, but barely so - an effect that is virtually impossible on a modern piano; and the tempo adjustments in the final fugue, at bars 168 and 172-74, have rarely been so convincingly achieved. Breitman's performance of op. 2, no. 3 is also outstanding, with a superclean finger technique and interesting pedal ideas in the first movement, and great sweep and dexterity in the trio section of the scherzo."
Fanfare - Jan/Feb 1998
complete review

"He brought a great variety of touch, a rich range of colorings, honest supple pianism, and intellectual clarity to his work."
New York Times - April 15, 1997

"Fortunately Breitman is an artist, imaginative and disciplined."
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - May 5, 1997

"The vibrancy and poignancy of Sylvan's singing were matched in musical terms by Breitman, whose attention to Schubert's atmospheric settings was keen, eventful and surpassingly sensitive."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - March 8, 1997

"Breitman accompanied him with agility. He had begin the concert with Schubert's 'Drei Klavierstücke' in which he had displayed his awe-inspiring taste and technique, and he brought the same adept delicacy to 'Schöne Müllerin.' He must be used to the fortepiano, because he knows how to make it sing."
Buffalo News - September 28, 1996

"Breitman played splendidly throughout, proving an equal partner to Sylvan;s subtle musicianship."
Boston Globe - April 1996

"David Breitman was a forceful and more independent voice at the piano when he accompanied baritone Sanford Sylvan."
Financial Times (London) - February 2,. 1995

"The spell Sylvan wove with five selections from The AIDS Quilt Songbook also infused his Fauré, Schumann, Ravel and Brahms - performances made all the more absorbing by David Breitman's shapely accompaniment."
New York Magazine - October 17, 1994


Sanford Sylvan


The Death of Klinghoffer, Kent Nagano, conductor
Lyon Opera Orchestra

Nonesuch 79281


Nixon In China, Edo De Waart, conductor
the Orchestra of St. Luke's

Nonesuch 79177


The Wound Dresser, John Adams, conductor
the Orchestra of St. Luke's

Nonesuch 79218-2

The AIDS Quilt Songbook, David Breitman, piano

Harmonia Mundi 907602


Magnificat in D, Cantata 140, Blanche Honegger
Moyse, conductor, Orchestra of St. Luke's

Musicmasters 7059

Beloved, That Pilgrimage, David Breitman, piano
songs by Chanler, Barber, Copland

Nonesuch 79259-2


Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death
Speculum Musicae

Bridge BCD 9028


L'Horizon chimérique, David Breitman, piano
and the Lydian String Quartet

Nonesuch 79371-2


Specimen Days, Being Music, Cantata Singers and the Lydian String Quartet

Koch International KIC 7338


The Flight Into Egypt, David Hoose, conductor
The Cantata Singers and Ensemble

New World 80395


Words from Paterson, Gilbert Kalish, piano
Boston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players

Nonesuch 79189


Vocal Versions, Alan Feinburg, piano

Decca 466841-2

Kernis, A.

Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky
J. Fleezanis, D. Druckman, R. Helps

CRI 635

Martin, J.

The Glass Hammer, David Breitman, piano

Koch International 3-7519-2H1

Music from Aquitanian Monasteries, with Sequentia

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77320


Die schöne Müllerin, David Breitman, piano

Nonesuch 79293-2


Mostly About Love

Northeastern (Koch) 250


The Ice Break, David Atherton, conductor
London Sinfonietta

Virgin Classics 7 91448-2

York, W.

Native Songs

New World 80439

Available on Laser Disc / Video


Cosi fan tutte, Craig Smith, conductor
Vienna Symphony Orchestra

London/Decca 071-513


Le nozze di Figaro, Craig Smith, conductor
Vienna Symphony Orchestra

London/Decca 071-512


Sanford Sylvan
Opera Repertoire


The Death of Klinghoffer


Nixon in China

Chou En-Lai


Les Troyens

Choroebus / Narbal


Pelléas et Mélisande




The King





St. François d'Assise

St. Francis





Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria



Cosi fan tutte

Don Alfonso

Don Giovanni


Le nozze di Figaro


Die Zauberflöte

Papageno / Sprecher


Dido and Aeneas



La Cenerentola


Strauss, J.

Die Fledermaus



The Rake's Progress

Nick Shadow



Wolfram von Eschenbach


Sanford Sylvan
Orchestra Repertoire

Solo baritone with orchestra:


Wound Dresser


Das Lied von der Erde



Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann


Le Bal masque

Chansons Gailliardes


Don Quichote á Dulcinée

Deux mélodies Hébraic


Abraham & Isaac

Concert repertoire with orchestra:



Christmas Oratorio


Mass in B Minor

St. Matthew Passion

St. John Passion


L'Enfance du Christ

La Damnation du Faust


Sacred Service


Ein Deutsches Requiem


War Requiem




Stabat Mater


Dream of Gerontius

Sea Pictures





Oratorios and Operas


The Creation

The Seasons



When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd



St. Paul







Symphony No. 14


Requiem Canticle



A Child of our Time

Vaughan Williams

Five Mystical Songs

Dona Nobis Pacem

Sea Symphony

Donald E. Osborne
564 Market Street, Suite 420
San Francisco, CA 94104-5412
Phone: 415/362-2787
Fax: 415/362-2838

Susan Endrizzi
1213 W. California Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941-3417
Phone: 415/888-2787
Fax: 415-888-2788

Chamber Music
Early Music
Vocal Music
World Music

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