Reviews

As Magda Sorel in The Consul w/ Florida Grand Opera

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson sang a great Magda, always well balanced in all the registers, going from emotional to violent with great ease and musical conviction. Her ‘To this we’ve come,’ received thunderous applause. "

Opera News

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson (already having given a spectacular turn in last season’s Tosca) performed a remarkable Magda, carrying the role from frightened and relatively naïve young mother and wife to embittered fighter and defeated victim of the political process. Her evolution as singer and performer in the role did much to highlight the Pulitzer Prize-winning music. "

Miami Times

"From top to bottom, the FGO cast is close to perfect. Magda Sorel demands a singing actress with extraordinary musical and dramatic gifts. Kara Shay Thomson is riveting, completely commanding the stage in every scene. Voicing her pleas in a radiant soprano with a laser-like edge at the top, Thomson was the embodiment of a compassionate woman caught in a web of heartless regulation. Appropriately, her Act II aria ‘To This We’ve Come’ was the high point of the evening, a heartrending outpouring of emotion and harbinger of the tragedy to come. "

South Florida Classical Review

As Magda Sorel in The Consul w/ Florida Grand Opera

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson, who starred in FGO’s Tosca last year, wrung every ounce of passion from proletariat everywoman Magda. Her second-act closing aria more than earned the extended ovation from the opening crowd as Magda pled to see the consul and then exploded in a denunciation of the heartless machine. "

Florida Theater Onstage

"It is hard to imagine The Consul being mounted without a cast able to scale these dangerous heights. Florida Grand Opera secured the giant vocal and dramatic talents of Kara Shay Thomson. Magda has not a pleasant moment, yet Thomson demonstrates solid dignity right up to her horrifying end. The voice soars, her diction is spot on, the character is completely explored. "

ConcertoNet.com

As Leonore in Fidelio w/ Sarasota Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson gave an elegant performance as Leonore in Fidelio ... a welcome foray into Beethoven’s only opera. Thomson, known for her Tosca with Sarasota and other regional companies, was a galvanizing vocal presence right from 'Komm, Hoffnung,' spontaneous and powerful in her Act I aria to faithful married love. "

Opera News

"Kara Shay Thomson ... managed the difficult music’s every detail impressively, with shining spinto tone for dead-on high notes but also the requisite agility. Moreover, her commitment and deep feeling shaped the whole opera, as they must for a successful Leonore. "

Gay City News

"Kara Shay Thomson is an inspired actress, and brought committed characterization to the faithful Leonora.... she brought undeniable excitement to the climax of the dungeon scene and sang with passion, dedication and technical security throughout. "

South Florida Classical Review

As Leonore in Fidelio w/ Kentucky Opera

"The role of Leonore calls for a truly courageous and engaging performance. There’s no fluttering around in gorgeous costumes, reclining in romantic poses, or lovely shoe-gazing melancholy to hide behind here. Soprano Kara Shay Thomson is the main reason that this production succeeds so well. Her handling of the character delivers the compassionate heart without sacrificing the strength and bravery of Leonore’s actions. And, of course, there’s the singing. In the aria, ‘Komm, Hoffnung, Lass den Letzten Stern,’ Thomson was spectacular. The song describes the intensity of her horror at Pizarro’s plan, but also the hope that sustains her as she tries to save her husband. Thomson’s plush voice fills the room, rich, nuanced, fully in control of each phrase and delicate note. She was brilliant throughout. "

Louisville.com

"Ms. Kara Shay Thomson. She gets better and better with every time I hear her lush and enticing voice. Her Leonore/Fidelio is no exception. From Leonore‘s Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern (Come, hope let the last star) dreaming and praying for her husband, to Fidelio’s Wie kalt ist es in diesem unterirdischen Gewölbe! (How cold it is down here!), Ms. Thomson shows fantastic range and versatility. Not to mention, a huge nod to the make-up artists and costumers that had the task of making the lovely Ms. Thomson less womanly. "

Arts-Louisville

As Leonore in Fidelio w/ Kentucky Opera

"Her [Leonore's] transformation is internal, and as she gathers the courage to face all of the horrors she might encounter inside the prison, that fortitude comes out in Thomson's clear, strong soprano in the aria 'Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?' "

WFPL Radio

As Sieglinde in Die Valküre w/ Dayton Opera

"Best of all were the singers, sopranos Kara Shay Thomson and Jennifer Cherest and tenor Ric Furman. Cherest possesses a beautiful but lighter voice, while Thomson and Furman seemed eminently capable of walking off the stage into a production of Wagner's 'Ring' at any time. "

Music in Cincinnati

As Vanessa in Vanessa w/ Sarasota Opera

"What stood out for me this season was a rare revival of an opera that won Samuel Barber the Pulitzer Prize in 1958, the Metropolitan Opera-premiered Vanessa, part of Sarasota Opera's recently inaugurated American Classics series, with Kara Shay Thomson a powerful interpreter of the title role. "

Toronto Star

"Kara Shay Thomson embodied Vanessa with her regal decorum and impressive instrument, tuned to perfection."

Opera Now

"Kara Shay Thomson possesses the imposing voice and regal dignity required for the long-suffering Vanessa, whose life is restored with the appearance of Anatol, the younger. "

South Florida Classical Review

"The principal singers in this production are superb, espcially Kara Shay Thomson as Vanessa."

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

As The Woman in Erwartung w/ New York City Opera

"From the first phrases sung by Kara Shay Thomson, a compelling American soprano with a plush, vibrant, powerful voice, you do not know whether to pity or fear her...She was marvelous. "

The New York Times

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson, in the standout performance of the evening, gave a warm-toned and powerful account of this dynamic and often angular score"

MusicalAmerica.com

"The wandering soprano, Kara Shay Thomson in her City Opera debut, sang beautifully ranging from anxiety to full erotic feeling. Another soprano who sang this piece recently in New York retired for years to a nunnery to prepare. Whatever Thomson’s methods, her luscious performance captures Schoenberg’s musical comment on women whose character resembles Natalie Portman’s in Black Swan."

BerkshireFineArts.com

As The Woman in Erwartung w/ New York City Opera

"For "Erwartung," a kind of fever dream of a woman stumbling over the body of her dead lover in a forest, the rich-voiced soprano Kara Shay Thomson ably navigates the expressionistic outbursts and crooning irregularities of the vocal line..."

The Wall Street Journal

"Following a striking entr’acte scored by video artist Jennifer Steinkamp, formidable soprano Kara Shay Thomson gave a performance of Schoenberg’s Erwartung that was flush with imagery and dramatic heft and light on the chewier notoriety that 12-tone music has gained."

WQXR.com

"By means of transition, the burkas came back into view, this time revealing soprano Kara Shay Thomson in a white fin-de-siecle dress along with a half dozen identically dressed dancers. In Erwartung, these doppelgangers became an effective metaphor for conflicting facets of the heroine’s psyche, one moment crouching over the prostate body of her lover in fascination, the next recoiling in horror. Thomson sang the part with great emotional commitment and displayed a luscious warm sound that she was able to produce evenly across the range – a requirement for a part so full of jagged jumps."

theclassicalreview.com

As The Woman in Erwartung w/ New York City Opera

"Ms. Thomson's performance was that of a promising dramatic soprano, navigating her big voice through the tricky, and often exposed passages of the half-hour work."

thenetworkedblogs.com

As Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana w/ Sarasota Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson was a clarion and strong voiced Santuzza. Ms. Thomson possesses a rich, powerful and flexible dramatic soprano with a soaring top and burnished bottom and was able to negotiate the passions of Voi lo sapete with stunning impact. Whether in passionate and heated duet with the annoyed former lover Turiddu or the furious vengeful wronged husband Alfio, her voice flooded the theatre with torrents of evenly produced and dramatically flawless sound."

The Italian Tribune

"Kara Shay Thomson, playing the outcast Santuzza in Cav, really soared as the woman spurned by Turiddu. From her arioso of betrayal, Voi lo sapete, to the rage of her duet with the cuckold Alfio, Thomson was spellbinding, her body quivering with passion."

tampabay.com

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Utah Opera

"Thomson’s voice was beautiful — full of power throughout, and with a range that blossomed in the highest notes."

Utah Review

"Soprano Kara Shay Thomson is a natural as the diva Floria Tosca. Her voice possesses thrilling power, and she has the dramatic skill to make this insecure, impetuous and ultimately intrepid heroine believable and sympathetic."

Salt Lake Tribune

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Florida Grand Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson’s soprano is so plush and sensuous that it must have taken some real restraint to deliver a performance of Tosca’s aria Vissi d'arte that was so focused and on the money. But she did, singing in a chaste manner, with feathery high notes, sensitive phrasing and climactic notes that rang through the hall without overpowering the delicacy of the aria. Thomson let loose the richness of her voice in her Act 1 love scene with Cavaradossi, with fervent, ringing high notes. In her scene with Scarpia she was entirely convincing in her wails of pain at Cavaradossi’s torture."

Miami Herald

"Kara Shay Thomson’s liquid soprano confidently conquered a role she has done at least four times before. She was impeccable in her famed arias pouring out emotional agony such as Vissi d'arte (I have lived for art…) when Scarpia tells her that only her submission to his lust will save her lover’s life. But she was also convincing in her displays of coquettish playfulness and foolish jealousy in the first act and her deluded hope in the third."

Florida Theater Onstage

"Thomson has a sizeable voice with a lovely command of nuance, especially in regard to color and dynamics. While some sopranos choose to underscore this heroine’s melodramatic qualities, Thomson emphasized Tosca’s vulnerability."

Opera News

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Altanta Opera

"Making her debut with Atlanta Opera in the title role, Kara Shay Thomson has presence. She commandeers the stage, her luscious soprano ringing throughout Cobb Energy Center. While Thomson delivers the typical neediness and jealousy of Tosca, she balances the drama with superior expression and subtlety, especially with her hands. Her clever flips of the wrist … capture the emotion as much as her singing."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"American soprano Kara Shay Thomson (as Tosca) has a large, bright, liquid voice with nice intonation.... She’s riveting to watch, and truly fearsome in the scene where she murders Scarpia. The voice always delivered for the big moments: Her Vissi d'arte aria alone was worth the price of admission."

Arts Atlanta

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Pensacola Opera

"Thomson and Vania … move us with their powerful vocals, but equally so with their skills in portraying the poignant drama of lovers being torn apart by dark forces."

Pensacola News Journal

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Portland Opera

"Kara Shay Thomson … soars in the title role."

Oregon Arts Watch

"Thomson sings Tosca beautifully, with a honeyed and full-bodied tone, and when the drama gets deep she’s hellzapoppin. Don’t cross Tosca. She’s tough"

Oregon Arts Watch

"In the title role, Kara Shay Thomson was vocally bright and secure throughout."

The Oregonian

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Opera New Jersey

"But the evening clearly belongs to Kara Shay Thomson, as Tosca. She seems poised on the edge of greatness and the audience realizes that in her arias. Her second act Vissi d'arte brought one of the longest, sustained ovations, with roars of 'brava', I've heard in years."

Centraljersey.com

As Floria Tosca in Tosca w/ Sarasota Opera

"Vissi d'arte began as a plaintive, quiet act of desperation and grew to an ardent, fervent plea that was both luminous and luxurious in sound. In fact, there wasn't a moment in the evening when Thomson came even close to over-singing or pushing. Her enormous voice resonated throughout the house, yet she never abused her abilities and, by passionate restraint, was able to build a character who was, in every sense, a Great Woman."

The Longboat Observer

"Kara Shay Thomson, whose rich voice captured the conflicting aspects of her character. When sparring and resisting the evil Baron Scarpia, masterfully created by baritone Grant Youngblood, she was at her best. Praying in anguish, Tosca sings Vissi d'arte seeking guidance to save Cavaradossi by succumbing to Scarpia's lust. It was breathtaking. We could feel the heart breaking as she sank to her knees while perfectly controlling a tender decrescendo. The tension and chemistry between the two as Scarpio manipulated her was remarkably captivating."

Sarasota Herald Tribune

"Kara Shay Thomson made a spectacular company debut as the tempestuous title diva. The American soprano has a big, bright instrument, gleaming on top and was fearless in her singing, as when she relates to her lover her murder of Scarpia. Yet she also brings delicacy to the role, with a magnificent, deeply felt Vissi d'arte. Thomson is a terrific actress as well, embodying the mercurial Tosca’s jealousy and mood-swings in Act 1 and her shocked horror at the final scene."

South Florida Classical Review

As Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro w/ Utah Festival Opera

"And speaking of love, patrons will absolutely love Kara Shay Thomson, playing the Countess. Thomson reaches the audience on her first note and never wavers on her grip. Even her softest notes - usually mournful longings for past love - carry easily to every anxious ear in the theater. Directors could have turned off the supertitles and just let the Countess carry the audience away.

The enthusiastic response given to Thomson, making her UFO debut, reinforces that she was the diamond-like find of the night."

The Utah Statesman

"The strong female voice here belongs to Thomson, whose countess' arias are breathtaking. She shows great sadness and frustration one moment, then cunning the next. As the plot becomes more complicated, the countess becomes even more enjoyable to watch and to hear."

The Herald Journal

"Kara Shay Thomson, who sang the part of Countess Almaviva, deserves special note for her standout singing..."

Deseret Morning News

As Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro w/ Toledo Opera

"Thomas Barrett was a powerful Almaviva, and rich-voiced Kara Shay Thomson seemed to have found more than her share of her husband's psychological harshness"

The Toledo Blade

"Kara Shay Thomson (Countess) promisingly fielded darkly pretty looks and a plush lyric soprano."

Opera, London UK

As Zemphira in Aleko w/ the Cincinnati May Festival

"In the role of Zemfira, the gypsy who spurns her old lover, Aleko, soprano Kara Shay Thomson was the most exciting debut of the season. She projected an alluring presence and a luxuriant lyric voice that remained smooth all the way to her powerhouse top notes. Her love duet with the Young Gypsy ... was one of the opera's high points."

The Cincinnati Enquirer