Don Giovanni, Garsington Festival, Summer 2019
Paul Whelan as the Commendatore beckoned Don Giovanni to Hell with well-sustained and darkly grave singing, as trombones and timpani brought the opera to a terrifying close.
Maureen Idowu, Henley Standard, June 15 2019
The opera’s opening minutes are virtuosic, brilliant and breathtaking, but their impact is not sustained once the Commendatore (Paul Whelan, nicely controlled) has breathed his last.
Mark Valencia, Bachtrack, June 9 2019
Bartered Bride, Garsington Festival, Summer 2019
The secondary roles are all impeccably performed, with a special word of praise for Paul Whelan’s stiff and unbending Tobias Mícha, Garsington Opera’s season opener sees the festival at the top of its game
George Hall, The Stage, May 30, 2019
Mozart Requiem, CSO, Christchurch town hall, August 31, 2019
Paul Whelan’s physical and musical prescence is compelling and his deep sound projected perfectly. Patrick Shepard, CHCH Press Sept 2 2019
But the ‘outer’ voices (soprano and bass) gave us something extra. Bass, Paul Whelan, called on his extensive experience in opera to bring a real sense of dramatic story-telling to his singing. Again, nothing was overdone, but the authority he brought to the expressive contrasts of his part was impressively defined. From a sense of awe in the Tuba Mirum, not quite matched by Jared Holt’s more gentlemanly response in Mors Stupebit, to an inspiring sense of faith in the Benedictus, everything in Paul Whelan’s performance was delivered with sonorous tone and considerable feeling.
Tony Ryan, Radio New Zealand Sept 2, 2019
ANTHROPOCENE, Stuart Macrae, Scottish Opera, (World Premiere)
“However the singing by the male singers was very good; both dramatic and expressive the dark bass voice of Paul Whelan’s Captain Ross was powerfully commanding”
Gregor Tassie, Seen and Heard Jan 27 2019
“But the cast, incisively conducted by Stuart Stratford, are exemplary. There’s talent to burn here…or Paul Whelan’s ominous Captain Ross, the earthy bass anchor to France’s shooting-star soprano.”
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk Feb 8 2019
“The cast is a defining strength…The towering Paul Whelan and Anthony Gregory exude mysterious undercurrents in their roles as Captain Ross and the short-lived Vasco..”
Ken Walton, The Scotsman Jan 28 2019
“from Paul Whelan’s rich bass-baritone, to Jennifer France’s soaring soprano – vocalise to start fresh from the ice but remarkably quickly learning English – the singing was also impressive..”
Nick Breckenfield, Classical source Feb 09 2019
The entire cast, including Sarah Champion, Paul Whelan and Anthony Gregory, performed their distinctive music with well-integrated expertise, cogently conducted by Stuart Stratford.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian Feb 3 2019
In a strongly sung ensemble with clear diction, Le Broc’s confident tenor shone as Harry King, as did Paul Whelan’s Ross more measured, abrupt phrases, while Jennifer France’s Ice was sky-high, ethereal and mysterious, a stunning tour de force.
David Smythe, Bachtrack Jan 28 2019
“The rich resonant bass of Paul Whelan as Ross spoke strongly of the down-to-earth seafarer, yet not without the superstitions traditionally associated with this calling.”
Mark Aspen, Feb 8 2019
New Orleans Opera, Turandot, 2018
“As Calaf’s father, the deposed king Timur, Paul Whelan’s sonorous bass ably reflected his plight as a once-mighty monarch who has been reduced to beggar status.”
Dean Shapiro, New Orleans advocate, Sept 29, 2018
Jacksonville Symphony, Gotterdammerung scenes, (Hagen) 2018
“Bass-baritone Paul Whelan deftly colored his lines with rich darkness and foreboding intensity.”
Tomothy Tuller, Florida Times, June 2, 2018
Carnegie Hall, Mozart Requiem, 2018, Cecilia chorus, Mark Shapiro
“Paul Whelan as the bass embodied the tragedy of the Requiem with earnest devotion.”
Timothy T. Diovanni, Boston Musical Intelligencer, May 14, 2018
The London Song Festival, Russian Revolution Centenary Concert, 2017 Nigel Foster, Ilona Domnich
“Paul Whelan’s charismatic orotund bass practically made my fillings rattle. His vibrant tone and rich palate of vocal colour was mesmerising. A riveting storyteller, in Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death he was at once intensely menacing then passionate, earnest, unctuous, even languorous”
Anthony Evans, PlanetHugill.com Dec 8 2017
“Ilona Domnich sang like a nightingale and Paul Whelan like black oil seeping into the hall.” ……”Ilona Domnich, outstanding lyric soprano and Paul Whelan, bass- baritone virtuoso were accompanied by Nigel Foster on piano – world class singers/pianist.”…….”Four very talented stars with impressive backgrounds entertained a swept away audience.”….”the brilliant Paul Whelan”
Audience reviews. Dec, 2017
Eugene Onegin, Lyric Opera of Kansas City 2017, Tomer Zvulun, Ari Pelto
“New Zealand-born bass-baritone Paul Whelan, who made his Lyric Opera debut with his first Prince Gremin, was notable for his sure-footed technique and comfortable embrace of the character.”
Kyle MacMillan, Opera News USA, October 4,2017
“Smith towers over most of the cast until he encounters Paul Whelan as Prince Gremin. Whelan’s height and lovely bass-baritone voice felt like an extra twist of the knife for Onegin. Tatyana has replaced him so completely.”
Marie Warner, Perform Ink Kansas City, October 2, 2017
“What threw Act III for a loop was Paul Whelan’s Prince Gremin: He was such an appealing figure that his famous “Lyubvi vse vozrastï” aria, sung with a gorgeously inflected basso, made us feel that Tatyana had made quite a good choice. Instead of the dumpy dotard that Gremin is often made out to be, Paul was not just the tallest but perhaps the most appealing man onstage, and arguably the best actor. Even though Tatyana was indeed “settling,” she didn’t marry just for fame-and-fortune after all: Gremin is a decent guy, and actually not that bad-looking!”
Paul Horsley, KC independent, October 2, 2017
“Outside of the principal quartet, the cast is filled with marvelous vocal talents. Paul Whelan, bass, demonstrates that one can appear in a single scene and still steal the show. His aria as Prince Gremin (“All men surrender to Love’s power”) is sweet and tender, while his bass notes are strong and resonant.”
Anthony Rogers, KCMetropolis.org, October 1, 2017
Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Monteverdi, The Grange Festival, UK, 2017, Michael Chance, Tim Supple.
“Whelan, Stannard and Bowen are all superb”
Tim Ashley, The Times, June 8 2017
“ Paul Whelan‘s saturnine Antinoo did sterling work”
Mark Valencia. What’s on stage, June 8 2017
“There’s strong work from her three deplorable suitors – most notably a vocally resplendent Antinoo from Paul Whelan, who like one or two other cast members collects three roles over the course of the evening.”
George Hall, The Stage, June 8 2017
“The other principal god, Nettuno, he of the black wetsuit and harpoons, is the very imposing and impressive figure of the tall bass singer, Paul Whelan. Whelan also plays Tempo and Antinoo, the suitor, and is able to extend easily into the baritone range without losing any of the rich fullness of his voice.”
Mark Aspen, June 18, 2017
“Those gods were finely sung, too, especially Paul Whelan’s magisterial Tempo”
Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH June 25, 2017
“One can only admire the steadfastness with which the singers – other stand-out performances include those by Paul Whelan and Gwilym Bowen – put up with the directorial silliness, and stick to their last.”
Michael Church, The Independent, June 12, 2017
“and the excellent bass-baritone of Paul Whelan particularly notable in the multiple roles of Time, Neptune and the leading suitor Antinous.”
MarkRonan.com, June 8, 2017
“Paul Whelan, in several roles, displays a smooth, good-sounding bass”
David Karlin, Bachtrack, June 8, 2017
“Paul Whelan makes a powerful impression, though perhaps more so in his other roles as Time and Neptune.”
Curtis Rogers, Classical source, June 7, 2017
Turandot, Bard Music Festival, 2016. Cond. Leon Botstein
“Other wonderful turns were given by silver-voiced soprano Cecilia Violetta López (devastating as the doomed slave girl Liù); bass-baritone Paul Whelan as the blind king Timur…”
Charles Geyer, La Scena Musicale, August 19 2016
Hamlet, Opera Gothenburg, Stephen Langridge, Henrik Shaeffer. April 9, 2016
“King Claudius (Paul Whelan) gave a convincing portrait of a two-faced politician; the setting of his Act 1 speech looked like the acceptance speech of a US presidential candidate, complete with a beaming First Lady-to-be. Outwardly charming and statesmanlike, he was privately more brutal and depraved, as shown in the Act 2 duet with Gertrude. Mr Whelan’s vocal delivery heightened this contrast, with the smooth, rounded sound of Act 1 giving way to a crueller, angrier bass in the Act 2 duet.”
~Niklas Smith, Scene and Heard International 20/04/2016
“Vocal splendour also from Paul Whelan as Claudius.”
“King Claudius is interpreted by Paul Whelan, bass baritone. This interpretation also feels very convincing and his dark voice reaches all corners of the room.”
~ P4 Sveriges Radio
“All roles large and small are well cast (—) King Claudius, Paul Whelan, also demonstrates the authority and temperament of a regent.”
St Matthew Passion, Bach Choir, Florilegium, David Hill, Royal Festival Hall, March 20 2016
“Bass Paul Whelan stood in for an indisposed Matthew Best as Christ. Tall and bearded, he is an imposing presence on the stage, and his voice is suitably commanding.”
~Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk, March 22, 2016
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Grand Theatre de Geneve,
Paul Whelan.. wonderfully sonorous
~Klaus Kalchschmid, Klassikinfo.de November 21, 2015
Magic Flute, Hawaii Opera Theatre
Paul Whelan (Sarastro) physically dominates every scene he appears in, towering over the other members of the cast like a giant. Whelan’s size suggests that Sarastro is a god-like creature rather than a mortal, and that the mystical organization he heads has otherworldly origins.
~John Berger, Honolulu Pulse (October 13, 2015)
I Puritani, Victorian Opera
New Zealand Bass Paul Whelan as Sir Giorgio had a commanding presence. He delivered us a multi-faceted statesman – assured and confident at the same time as tender and loving to Elvira. His voice is rich and sonorous with great power; his character assertive and secure.
~Gregory Pritchard, Concertonet.com (July 2015)
Excellent singing also from Paul Whelan as Elvira’s kindly uncle, Sir Giorgio…
~Michael Shmith, The Sydney Morning Herald (3 July 2015)
The other men were admirable too, especially Paul Whelan (Giorgio Valton), an immensely tall young New Zealander who recently sang the role for the first time with the Boston Lyric Opera. His long Act One duet with Elvira and the aria ‘Cinta di fiori’, which precedes her Act Two mad scene, were highlights of the evening.
~Peter Rose, Australian Book Review (6 July 2015)
Solid support was provided by baritone and bass Nathan Lay and Paul Whelan, ….“Cinta di fiori” was lovingly done with the repeated ascending and descending intervals carefully placed.
~Simon Holden, Bachtrack.com (4 July 2015)
As Elvira’s warm and fair-minded uncle, Sir Giorgio Valton (not much sense of a rigid Cromwellian Puritan there), Paul Whelan gave a resonant account of his arias and ensembles. His character drives much of the political element of the opera, but is really more important in providing an occasion for wonderful music. His duets with Elvira’s other suitor, the jealous Sir Ricardo (Nathan Lay) and his brother, Lord Gualtiero (Jeremy Kleeman) were splendidly sung by all three.
~Heather Levistone, Classic Melbourne, (7 July 2015)
As Elvira’s uncle Sir Giorgio Valton, bass-baritone Paul Whelan’s experience in the role showed, portraying a compassionate and trusted mediating force with exemplary diction and a fireside-warmth of tone.
~Opera Chaser (4 July 2015)
Jeremy Kleeman and Paul Whelan offered strong vocal characterisations as the Governor-General and his brother.
~Peter Burch, The Australian (6 July 2015)
Other standout performances came from Nathan Lay as the Puritan Sir Riccardo and Paul Whelan as Elvira’s uncle Sir Giorgio. Lay’s rich lower register complemented Whelan’s warm tone remarkably well, especially in the second act.
~Michael Hammelmann, Cutcommon.com (July 2015)
Paul Whelan’s Titurel, sung from high above the orchestra near the organ, was especially powerful.
~David Karlin, Bachtrack
The soloists were outstanding, every one an experienced, totally assured Wagner singer and the drama was fiercely etched…
~Andrew Clements, The Guardian
Paul Whelan was a sonorous Titurel.
~Alexander Campbell, Classical Source
The Flying Dutchman, Hawaii Opera Theater
Bass-baritone Paul Whelan (Daland, Senta’s father)… in (his) HOT debut, delivered (a) fine performance as well.
~Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Pulse
I Puritani, Boston Lyric Opera
His voluminous bass-baritone was expressively sympathetic in their scenes together.
~Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review
Whelan’s instrument was remarkably clear throughout its range; he provided, both aurally and visually, a sweet, powerful and awkward opposition to Coburn’s natural grace. His giddy excitement at her happiness balanced his sorrow at her madness.
~Joseph E. Morgan, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Paul Whelan is a commanding presence as Sir George Walton, Elvira’s sympathetic uncle, stalwart in his “Liberty Duet” with Richard.
~Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe
Luckily bass-baritone Paul Whelan (another rising star) was given a bit more rein as Elvira’s commanding uncle, and used it to full advantage; with Cook’s help he made the opera’s famous “Liberty Duet” sternly rousing.
~Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review
Bass Paul Whelan, singing the role of her uncle and supporter Giorgio, sang with force and intelligence as well, his voice pushed to equally demanding extremes. His aria “Cinta di fiori,” at a pivotal moment in act two, had real passion.
~Keith Powers, Milford Daily News
Macbeth, Opera North
Paul Whelan is a stalwart and focused Banquo.
~Hilary Finch, The Times
The minor parts are strongly cast, headed by Paul Whelan’s authoritative Banquo.
~Ron Simpson, What’s on Stage
Paul Whelan’s rich baritone and his attention to fine details turn his Banquo into a major presence.
~Richard Wilcocks, Bachtrack
Paul Whelan’s tall, charismatic Banquo… comes into his own during his supernatural second coming, nonchalantly discarding his jacket, shirt and waistcoat in front of a terrified Macbeth.
~Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
Paul Whelan as Banquo and Jung Soo Yun as Macduff, added huge depth of feeling to their characters with their glorious voices
~Richard Trindler, Yorkshire times
The tall and imposing figure of New Zealand bass Paul Whelan in his Opera North debut creates a richly sonorous Banquo in his opening duet with Macbeth and really comes into his own as the Ghost of Banquo.
Excellent singing is showcased throughout. Bela Perencz is an imposing Macbeth with a stunning voice that soars across the theatre and he is equally matched by Paul Whelan as Banquo.
Paul Whelan sings Banquo with a rich baritone voice.
~Gavin Englebrecht, The Northern Echo
This ambitious and imaginative production is blessed with two powerful leads […] and notable performances from Paul Whelan.
~Paul Hindle, Nottingham Post
The Rake’s Progress, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Paul Whelan mediated charm with chill as Nick Shadow, the smoothest of villains. He was seductively watchable, enticing the hapless Tom to ignominy and death.
~William Dart, NZ Herald
Wagner Concert, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
…the befuddlement of a sensationally headstrong, young King Mark (baritone Paul Whelan, whose wondrous tone resounds from top to bottom of his register).
~Roderick Dunnett, The Arts Desk