"Contralto Gwendolyn Brown’s powerful voice was inspiring and uplifting.”
M. L. Rantala, Lakefront Outlook, Chicago, IL
“To hear Gwendolyn Brown is to experience that primal thrill which comes in the presence of a singer whose fusion of soul with a vast, resonant instrument is total.”
Kitty Montgomery, Saugerties Post Star
Contralto Gwendolyn Brown’s operatic performances of traditional, 20th century, and even the avant guard has earned her consistent critical acclaim. In the Spring of 2012, Ms. Brown’s performances of the lead role Marie Laveau in the newly written opera “Crescent City” by Anne LaBaron for Los Angeles’ new opera company The Industry (Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director) hailed her “deep contralto” and performance as “a transfixing force of nature” (Mark Swed, LA Times). Brown played LaVeau, “with a rich, beautiful tone that galvanized attention throughout” (Out West Arts).
Critical acclaim of Ms. Brown’s signature role of Maria in “Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” has made her one of the most sought after and renowned artists to perform the role. Her recent performances with the Seattle Opera and Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in 2011 as well as performances with Washington National Opera, New Orleans Opera, and abroad in Germany, Amsterdam, and Burssels were given high praise. Ms. Brown "was a Maria with an ample voice to match her vivid personality" (Tim Smith, Opera News). Ms. Brown “performed the Earth Mother role of Maria with dramatic power and vocal depth.” (Willard Spiegelman, Opera News). "As Maria, the town busybody, Gwendolyn Brown steals the show – a no-nonsense mama whose flips from rich alto to deep Southern back talk have both stage and audience in thrall." (Rosemary Ponnekanti, Tacoma News Tribune).
Ms. Brown has also received critical acclaim for her work in concert and symphonic works. "Her dusky voice inhabited the music so completely, we were spellbound" (The Oregonian). Ms. Brown’s "stirring, solo voice can rise above the crowd and harness audience attention” (Andrew Beck, Hartford Arts Examiner). As one critic states, her singing is simply "Stunning" (Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun Times). Other performed work in her operatic repertoire includes the roles of Baba The Medium, Fricka Das Rheingold, Kabanicha Katya Kabanova and Filippyevna “Eugene Onegin.”
For the 2012 season, Ms. Brown’s schedule includes “Showboat,” for Lyric Opera of Chicago as understudy of the role of Queenie; the title role of Marie LaVeau in “Crescent City” for Los Angeles’ new opera company The Industry; and a concert performance of “Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” as Maria for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Gwendolyn Brown obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Fisk University (Nashville, TN), and pursued the Master’s degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Memphis (Memphis, TN). Her young artist development included the Des Moines Metro Opera Young Artist Program and The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ms. Brown currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. Her credits includes performed for many of the top opera companies and symphonies in the United States and overseas in Germany, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam and Brussels.
Ms. Brown's awards include Regional Winner with the Metropolitan Opera Council in Memphis; Finalist with the Metropolitan Opera Council for the Central Region in Chicago; Finalist for the Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition Study Grants, Semi-Finalist for the New York Oratorio Society Solo Auditions and third place winner for the National Opera Association.
Gwendolyn Brown Contralto’s tracks