Reviews

Nixon in China, San Francisco Opera                                                    

"Mao's three secretaries, Ginger Costa-Jackson, Buffy Baggott, and Nicole Birkland, were wonderful in their rendition of Adams's score, conveying a physical and aural sense of claustrophobia and adoration around the Chairman."

- Marina Romani, AP

"Ginger Costa-Jackson, Buffy Baggott and Nicole Birkland showed apt unsmiling efficiency as well as strong voices as the echoing chorus of Mao’s secretaries. "

- Lawrence A Johnson, Classical Review

Ariadne auf Naxos, West Edge Opera

"The cast was first-rate, beginning with mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott's superlative turn as the Composer. Baggott's local performances have been reliable treasures for years now, in both traditional and new repertoire, but I don't think I've ever heard her sing with such finely controlled urgency, such tonal brilliance or such theatrical flair. The fact that the Composer sings only during the prologue has rarely come as such a disappointment."

– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

 Where Angels Fear to Tread, San Jose Opera

"There were eloquent contributions too from Buffy Baggott as the housekeeper Perfetta... as well as Baggott’s talented dog Franny, whose vocal participation in the Act 1 finale came as a wondrous surprise."

-- SF Chronicle, Joshua Kosman

"...mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott, a radiant presence, as Perfetta, Gino's governess... There is even a barking dog that joins in the sextet finale to the opening act: her name is Frances (Franny) Baggott."

-- SJ Mercury News,  Richard Scheinin

"One of the most popular attendees at the reception? Franny, the little dog who absolutely stole the end of the first act with her perfectly-timed "singing" and arrived to the party fashionably late accompanied by owner Buffy Baggott, a mezzo-soprano also in the show. Hancock told me the dog hit her cue at every rehearsal, and even longtime Opera San Jose patron David W. Packard stopped by to say hello to the pooch."

-- SJ Mercury News, Sal Pizarro

"Yet in their addition of one particular character to the chaos, Lanz Weiser and Brunyate rushed in where Mozart and Da Ponte never dared to tread — a singing dog.

Seriously. With the arrival of an Italian prima donna on the scene (played with Musetta-like exaggeration by soprano Jennie Litster), an endless parade of luggage was hauled in, including a basket containing a tiny, pink-collared mutt. When the ensemble reached its climax, the dog actually joined in, repeatedly howling two distinct pitches about a third apart that seemed to be in tune with the singers. The moment was hilarious, adorable, and awe-inspiring all at once."

-- SFCV,  Joe Cadagin

Maddalena (Rigoletto)

In the role of the seductress Maddalena, mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott gave a sizzling account of the role, which only appears in the last act. It's not a large one, but Baggott gave her Maddalena a sense of sexual gravitas, and the effect was a curious three dimensionality."

– Eduard Ortiz, Sacramento Bee

Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos)

"The cast was first-rate, beginning with mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott's superlative turn as the Composer. Baggott's local performances have been reliable treasures for years now, in both traditional and new repertoire, but I don't think I've ever heard her sing with such finely controlled urgency, such tonal brilliance or such theatrical flair. The fact that the Composer sings only during the prologue has rarely come as such a disappointment."  

-- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

"The versatile mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott inhabited the role of the passionately committed Composer, with soaring voice and musicality abetted by her equally accomplished acting ability."  

-- Cheryl North, San Jose Mercury News 

"Buffy Baggott, as the Composer, filled the role with youthful passion; in a nod to modern-day reality, she plays a woman, not a man. Her aria “Ich sehe jetzt alles” (I see everything with newly opened eyes) was radiant."  

-- Michael Zwiebach, San Francisco Classical Voice

Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro)

“Equally noteworthy is Buffy Baggott who takes on one of opera's most famous trouser roles, Cherubino. She combines a liquid smooth mezzo-soprano with an accomplished acting ability. Her second-act canzona "Voi che sapete che cosa e amor" was a memorable delight.”

– Gregg Geary,   Special to the Star-Bulletin

Desiree Armfeldt (A Little Night Music)

“Send in the Clowns is a great song in the hands of many artists, but you haven't really experienced it until you've heard and seen it in its theatrical context. Buffy Baggott, as Desiree Armfeldt, a diva on the wrong side of 40, was spellbinding in Sondheim's ballad of regret.”

– John Fleming   St. Petersburg Times

Soloist (In Eleanor’s Words)

“Garrop’s excerpts are set to both speech and song, and the fairly complex piano accompaniment must be intended to suggest the wide world toward which Mrs. Roosevelt’s gaze was always admirably turned. Her humor and the pleasure she took in people of high and low estate are reflected in Garrop’s text settings, thrillingly sung by mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott.”

– Jay Harvey, Indianapolis Star

“Mezzo Buffy Baggott does an excellent job bringing these texts to life, making the most of the musical moods found in this cycle.”

– David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare

“Buffy Baggott is a fine mezzo, and she brings out the sense of defeat inherent in the words.

– Colin Clarke, Fanfare

“...it would be difficult to imagine a more affectingly sung performance than that by mezzo Buffy Baggott.”

– David Hurwitz, Classics Today

Carmen (The Carmen Fixation)

“Wednesday's performance at the El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater boasted a charismatic powerhouse in the title role - mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott, singing with flair and vigor... Her Carmen was both erotic and stagy, sung simultaneously as an expression of the character's free-spirited fervor and as a calculated display.”

– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“Buffy Baggott as a blonde chanteuse use-‘em-and-lose-‘em Carmen fills the role with attitude and panache, and makes it very believable that you could fall in love with her and still want to kill her.  She modulates her voice to that of a torch singer in many songs, but still hits the impressive high notes.  She has a killer act with a bull-whip, teases us with her habanera and throws her heart into “En vain pour éviter" about inescapable Fate.”

– John McMullen, Oakland Theater Examiner

“Above all and almost alone, there is Buffy Baggott's superb, self-assured Carmen, with a great big velvety voice, passion galore, sultry as all get-out, and even the expert use of a bullwhip. It sounds as if it might have been too much, but the great thing about Baggott is that she is the complete package, every part in proportion, nothing excessive. Simply, she is Carmen...Here's an idea for another "different" Carmen production: how about a one-woman show, with Baggott?”

– Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice

Concert: Passion and Stillness

“...four Liszt songs were sung in a grand operatic manner by mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott to remind us of the essential influence Liszt had on Wagner... There was also power aplenty in Baggott’s attack on “Mignon’s Song,” “The King of Thule” and two “Wanderer’s Night Songs.” The Chicago mezzo was a Valkyrie in Los Angeles Opera’s “Ring” Cycle last year, and she belted impressively once again in Santa Monica. She meant every word of text to wow...”

– Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed

“Mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott and pianist-collaborator Armen Guzelimian proved a magical combination in these songs, with youthful bloom (Baggott) supported by experienced mastery (Guzelimian). A California native who has made a name for herself in Chicago and Santa Fe, and was one of the Valkyries in LA Opera's Ring, Baggott possesses a fresh, creamy mezzo with interpretive resources to spare.”

– Rodney Punt, Huffington Post

More collected reviews

CARMEN

Manitoba Opera "...the principals of this cast performed with remarkable panache. In the title role, Buffy Baggott proved to be a wonderfully engaging example of a new generation of opera singers for whom the ability to act well is not just a career-enhancing accessory to a great voice but all of a piece with the art of opera. Her Carmen metaphorically smoked, wearing a bright yellow dress and bare feet on an orange stage. There was a punk swagger in the way she walked, jazz in the way she talked, and in the nuance of her melody, there was a lot of jab and tickle."

---Opera Canada

"Buffy Baggott's inhabitation of the role is thorough, her acting variously decadent, dangerous and petulant. Her voice is compelling, especially in the her fury at Don Jose's choice of duty over love, and in the final scene, when she wearily gives over to the fateful inevitability of his murderous jealousy"

---Robert Enright, The Globe and Mail

"Mezzo Soprano Buffy Baggott aggressively poses her way through the role, forcing her Marlene Dietrich persona into the darkest side of the seductress. Her Habanera siren song was powerful and fluent and her confident mezzo shaped and phrased each line with purpose"
---Andrew Thompson, Winnipeg Free Press

Spokane Opera

“Spokane Opera came up with a stunning Carmen in mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott. She sounded great, and Baggott's Carmen was just what tradition led us to expect -- a beautiful, torridly seductive, fiercely combative Gypsy.”
----Travis Rivers Spokesman-Review

Arizona Opera

“Buffy Baggott, who played the title role, proved nothing less than sensational. Strikingly gorgeous, with the stealthy carriage of an animal stalking its kill, the lanky mezzos' portrayal of the gypsy femme fatal shot a smoldering heat to the back of the balcony. Vocally, she proved incredibly complete, with power and supple sensuality at every point in the range. Rarely have Carmen's beloved arias been so masterfully rendered. But it was her dramatic power as much as Baggott's vocal fluency that made this Carmen the pivotal role it always should be. She made us understand why Don Jose is irresistibly drawn to her, why he would forsake his family and place in the army for a chance to love this lithe siren.”
---Daniel Buckley, The Tucson Citizen

“Baggott's voice is the real thing: voluptuous, powerful, teasing and extremely dangerous. She dares every man in her path to fall in lust with her and develops a character who is Cleopatra spiced with nearly every role Dietrich ever played. Baggott's delivery of Carmen's famous Habanera alone is worth the price of admission.”
---Jennifer Lee Carrell, Arizona Daily Star

“Lithe, good looking Buffy Baggott, who sang the title role, has a large, high mezzo voice that commands the listeners immediate attention. Her sexy Habanera and inviting Seguidilla made Don Jose's obsession with her seem quite believable. Baggott's singing was absolutely solid.”
---Maria Nockin, Classical Singer Magazine

Pamiro Opera
“Mezzo-Soprano Buffy Baggott, singing the role of Carmen was consistently excellent. Employing a wide variety of vocal timbres with great effectiveness, she proved to be an intense and unusually complex Carmen. Baggott's voice revealed the unique combination of sensuality and steel that makes Carmen unique. “
---Terence O Grady, Green Bay Press-Gazette News

Grant Park

“Don't be fooled by the name Buffy Baggott, whose alliteration conjures up images of cheerleaders rather than opera singers. This mezzo-soprano has the operatic goods, and she used them to fine effect as Bizet's treacherous Carmen.”
---Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

“Buffy Baggott, looking like a 1920s vamp in her clinging black gown, made the role of Carmen excitingly her own, wrapping the two arias around her smoky, seductive mezzo-soprano as easily as she ensnared the hapless Don Jose. Baggott's Carmen is a marvel.”
---John von Rhein Chicago Tribune,

Ellen Ermaine (Chrysalis)

Berkeley Opera 

“Most of all, the production benefits from superb performances by its two stars, a casting coup so striking that it almost seems unimaginable for the piece to be done by anyone else… As Ellen, mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott is a phenomenon of vocal and dramatic intensity. She prowls the corporate boardroom with the ferocity of a lioness, as though daring the shareholders to stand up to her. But her scenes of emotional dissolution are no less virtuosic, and graced by singing of terrific expressiveness… The blend of the two women's voices in that final duet was only the crowning glory of a vocally sumptuous evening.”
---Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Cronicle

“Dramatic mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott was thoroughly theatrical in her Jobian ordeals of decline and fall for the title role, with an attractive voice…”
---Paul Hertelendy, artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music

“The singers’ excellence extends to their acting, Baggott driven yet more and more haunted as executive Ellen, and Breckenridge pert and insouciant, more kid sister than evil twin.”
---Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet

“…Mezzo soprano Buffy Baggott is magnetic as she shifts from pantherlike striding to desperate crawling in a single marketing pitch…”
---Sam Hurwitt, East Bay Express

“…splendid vocal and stage performances by Buffy Baggott (Ellen) and Marnie Breckenridge (Nelle)…”
---Janos Gereben, SF Classical Voice



Nicklausse (Les Contes d'Hoffman)

Portland Opera 

"...The evening's stunners are, appropriately, the Muse and the Villain. Statuesque mezzo soprano Buffy Baggott, as Hoffmann's muse and in her pants role disguise as Hoffmann's pal Niklausse, offers velvety sheen and rich, throaty volume; even better, she's a fabulous actress, able to telegraph her character's moods and motivations to the back of the house, with a glance as much as with her voice. Baggott's partner in bringing live-wire energy to the stage.”
---Grant Menzies, Willamette Week

"Buffy Baggott made a vivid Muse, moving swiftly around the stage while shadowing Hoffmann in his follies. She played both protector and prodder, filling her vocal lines with color. There was a wonderful power and gleam in her lower register, and yet she opened up generously for high notes. Her duet with Armstrong in the famous barcarole was another high point."
---David Stabler, The Oregonian

Maddalena (Rigoletto)

Canadian Opera Company 

“The American mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott was similarly convincing as his conniving sister. Baggott's contribution to the celebrated last-act quartet, with the Duke, Rigoletto and Gilda, was fully on a level with that of the three principals, making it the other musical high point of the evening."
---KEN WINTERS, Special to The Globe and Mail

“…mezzo Buffy Baggott was properly lusty and worldly wise as the vamp Maddalena..."
---Herman Trotter The Buffalo News "

Opera Grand Rapids 

“...Buffy Baggott is a lustier than usual Maddalena who can cut through an orchestra."
---Paula Citron Classical 96.3 FM, Opera Grand Rapids

“...The wantonness that was missing in the opening scene came in the final act from mezzo soprano Buffy Baggott, a sultry standout as Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena. She was a pleasant fourth voice on the famous quartet as the Duke chased her around the inn in a finely choreographed scene.”
---Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press

Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd)

Arizona Opera 

“This production profits from two masterful leads. Baritone Stephen Powell as Sweeney is compelling in all his modes: sympathetic, bereft, bloodthirsty, hate-filled and unforgiving. The actor-singer draws us into his character's life with every nuance, whether we like it or not. He also takes the powerful soliloquy, Epiphany, to an unsurpassable height of expressivity. Buffy Baggott is captivating as Mrs. Lovett, the baker of meat pies who comes up with a good use for all those bodies the barber drops with his razor, as cheerful in her repellent ambitions as Sweeney is morose in his. The role boasts one wonderful, comic solo that Baggott dispenses with glee, but it's the way she has of swinging through every duet or ensemble in perfect character that makes her performance stellar.”
---Kenneth LaFave, The Arizona Republic

“The glory comes in the form of the voices in this production. There were some powerful performances that drove this tale of a murderous barber. Buffy Baggott, who had some of the most difficult songs as Mrs. Lovett, was a little slow getting into the role. But mid-way through the first act she snapped into her rhythm, and by the end of the that act, when she and Powell sang the darkly funny "Little Priest," she had the role nailed.”

Spokane Opera

“Best Actress," Musical Buffy Baggott, Sweeney Todd, Spokane Opera

… Baggott is an operatic mezzo-soprano, but in this role she demonstrates world class talent as an actress and comedienne. She's brassy, tender, and deliciously vulgar as Mrs. Lovett, who bakes some very unusual pies.”
---Jim Kershner, Spokesman Review

“The first thing he did right was cast Buffy Baggott, a mezzo soprano out of Chicago, for the role of Mrs. Lovett. Baggott is not the Angela Lansbury type --- she is much younger and sexier --- but I can't imagine anybody doing this role any better. Baggott is that rare creature: an operatic soprano who is also a natural actress and comedienne. She has an outstanding voice which she puts to good use here, but what really makes this role work are her acting skills. She plays Mrs. Lovett as tough, brassy, funny, loud and completely devoted to her beloved Mr. Todd. She can be bustling around the stage barking orders one minute, lavishing adoring words on Mr. Todd the next and hauling a corpse to the meat grinder the next.”
---Jim Kershner, Spokesman Review

Charlotte (Werther)

Festival Opera 

“The depth of his loss was made even clearer by the brilliant company debut of Buffy Baggott as the alluring Charlotte. A charismatic and skillful mezzo- soprano out of Chicago, Baggott brought a wealth of vocal color and interpretive ardor to the role. Singing with a blend of throaty vigor and piercing clarity, she made Charlotte's magnetism register in purely vocal terms. And in her great Act 3 solo, as she finally comes to understand the depth of her love for Werther, Baggott made the dilemma tell with almost frightening directness.”
--- Joshua Kosman San Francisco Chronicle

“The final act belonged to Charlotte, played by Buffy Baggott, a rising mezzo-soprano with the Chicago Lyric Opera. Baggott's voice, like Charlotte's feelings, remained carefully guarded, until Act III, when it suddenly emerged to astonishing effect. As she read and reflected upon Werther's letters, realizing that she loves him in spite of herself, her voice filled the room with warm, glorious sound.”
---Heather Hadlock, San Francisco Classical Voice

Other Opera & Concert:


Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Canadian Opera Company 
“Standouts in the shorter roles were…Buffy Baggott, who as Sonyetka manages to look tarty even in drab gulag garb.”
---Michael Johnson, Classical Music Network

“Buffy Baggott delighted as Sonyetka.”
---Leonard Turnevicius, Online Musical Review

West Side Story, Grant Park Music Festival 
The delectable Buffy Baggott was all sizzle and sass in Anita's "America." ..was also accompanied by excellent soloists, ... mezzo Buffy Baggott's sexy and sardonic Anita. All three of these soloists knew how to tap into their classical training and experience while still making the results sound like Broadway and not La Scala.
---Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun Times

Candide, Chicago Cultural Center 
"The evenings primary vocal strengths came from the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists .... Mugging and flouncing outrageously as the derriere challenged Old Lady, Buffy Baggott led a hilariously over the top rendition of "I am easily assimilated.”
---John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas, Fulcrum Point
“(Baggott)sang with rich tone and idiomatic Latin fire. Baggott delivered her curse on love in Polo with flashing-eyed anger and intensity. It was a terrific performance--- think about crashing the Lyric's student matinee performances next year to hear her Carmen.”
---Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Arias and Barcarolles, Concertante di Chicago
“She (Baggott) has a sultry, agile voice and riveting stage presence, and like many of her contemporaries in opera she’s mediagenic (that is, she looks good and can act).”
---Ted Shen, Chicago Reader Critics Choice

“Mezzo soprano Buffy Baggott has an agile, huskily seductive voice that should soon ripen for a major career.”
---Ted Shen, Chicago Tribune

The Beautiful Helen of Troy, Light Opera Works
“In her incarnation of Helen as blond bombshell, Buffy Baggott possessed the requisite long-legged glamour and stylishly blended the comedic and vocal elements. Baggott's rich, agile mezzo-soprano and clarion top notes were a pleasure to hear.”
----Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Of Thee I Sing, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
“The Lyric's Buffy Baggott oozed Southern-fried seductiveness as the Paula Jones of the Hoover era, Diana Devereaux; her rich, operatically trained mezzo-soprano soared even when her body mike failed."
---John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

Faust, Hawaii Opera Theater
"The three leads were ably supported... Buffy Baggott returned to HOT as Siebel, another of the trouser roles she does well..."
---Ruth Bingham, Hawaii Star

Rising Stars Concert, Lyric Opera Chicago
“Besides having the best name, Buffy Baggott possesses a smoky mezzo timbre, which made her strong top notes in Ah, quel giorno from Rossini's Semiramide all the more notable.”
---Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Tribune