Vocalist - Mezzo-Soprano
Acclaim
Virginia Opera's gloomy, surprisingly moving 'Sweeney Todd'

“As Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney’s live-in love of convenience and eventual co-conspirator, mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella looked and acted the part of this worn but still feisty survivor whose romantic subterfuge leads her on an inevitable path to an earthly hell. Ms. Pancella’s robust, earthy mezzo worked well with Mr. Powell’s baritone when they sang together while it proved equally affecting during her solo opportunities.”

Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News
'Sweeney Todd' at Virginia Opera Company

“[Sweeney’s] … twisted leading lady and partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, is given an equally tremendous treatment by Phyllis Pancella, the highly industrious pie-maker (of ‘The Worst Pies in London’) who nurses a stubborn affection for her murderous tenant. Both Mr. Powell [Sweeney] and Ms. Pancella avoid the trap of caricature, instead singing their parts with a grounded humanity that belies their unthinkable acts, as in the Act One ending ‘A Little Priest.’”

Michael Poandl, DC Metro
Va. Opera's 'Sweeney Todd' rides on operatic voices, despite miking

“He [Stephen Powell as Sweeney] was joined by the Mrs. Lovett of Phyllis Pancella, another singer better known for Bach than Broadway but who seemed here to the manner born.”

Anne Midgette, Washington Post
“Other standouts include Phyllis Pancella, who nailed the sometimes challenging vocalizations written into the role of Mrs. Gibbs.”
Kyle MacMillan, Opera News
Central City Opera's 'Our Town' emotional, understated
“Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella is warm and ingratiating as Mrs. Gibbs, and is given a soaring role in the Act III afterlife/funeral scene.”
Kelly Dean Hansen, Boulder Daily Camera
Boston Lyric Opera's "Così fan tutte"
“Phyllis Pancella’s put-upon Despina is funny when she pours sand out of her shoe and funnier still when essaying a variety of outrageous accents in disguise as a doctor and a notary.”
Jeffrey Gantz, Boston Globe
Cosi Fan Tutte
“As his [Don Alfonso’s] accomplice, the acerbic maid Despina, Phyllis Pancella was equally wonderful.”
Ed Tapper, Edge Boston
Fine Cast explores the dark shadows in Boston Lyric's "Così fan tutte"
“Boston Lyric has again assembled an excellent ensemble cast. Phyllis Pancella’s Despina and Sir Thomas Allen’s Don Alfonso round out the ensemble in the parts of older cynics who collaborate to wreak havoc on the four lovers. There is something eerie in the sheer mastery of Pancella and Allen’s performances. Perhaps the roles are less taxing, but the ease of their performances seem to be another victory over the idealism of the four lovers. Pancella was particularly good in the comic elements, coloring her fine soprano to suit each of Despina’s guises, which included a German doctor and a vaguely Bostonian lawyer.”
Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review
Glover Makes "Messiah" Special
“Pancella owned the most beautiful voice of the four, dark and smoldering, but without heaviness, as she demonstrated in her aria ‘But who may abide.’ She and [Arianna] Zukerman conjured peace itself in their duo aria ‘He shall feed his flock.’”
Mary Ellyn Hutton, Music in Cincinnati
Glover's 'Messiah' fresh, inspiring
“Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella's arias were dignified and deeply felt.”
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Brings Us Bach
"Phyllis Pancella, stepping into the alto roles at the last minute, was a revelation. Her voice is strikingly rich and eloquent up and down the range, and particularly revealing in the lower registers. The yearning, questioning, lines of Bach were delivered with a full-bodied beauty."
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts
Brahms' Alto Rhapsody - Berkshire Choral Festival
"Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella ... did stellar work throughout the evening."
Michael J. Moran, In the Spotlight
With Glover sidelined, Music of the Baroque still delivers worthy Purcell
"The opera's main singers-Szabo as Dido ... and Pancella as the Sorceress-were superb, paying as much attention to the opera's dramatic requirements as to shaping beautiful sounds. Szabo's mezzo was strong and ringing, with a dusky edge in the low register and golden highlights near the top. Dobb's bright, flexible soprano was a girlish foil to Szabo's more womanly sound. Muller brought both gravity and real torment to Aeneas' music while Pancella fairly brimmed with gleeful malice as she plotted to separate the lovers."
Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Classical Review
"Mezzo Pancella demonstrated her stage savvy right away, employing sinuous gestures and seductive glances in Carmen's 'Habanera,' later confirming her vocal range in the exuberant young male composer's aria from Richard Strauss' 'Ariadne auf Naxos.'" Read More...
Roy C. Dicks, News & Observor (NC)
Mozart's Requiem - Music of the Baroque
"This movement showcased the quartet well all around, beautifully heralded by Phyllis Pancella's earthy, pungent mezzo in the opening measures and graced by a perfectly calibrated trill from tenor Scott Ramsay that rivaled the soprano's."
Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News
Handel Crosses the Channel (Music of the Baroque)
"The Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne opened with remarkable long-note descending strings under mezzo-soprano recitative and trumpet solo, elemental tone-painting that dramatically depicted the rising of the sun. Handel's flair for theatrics was on full display, and the ensemble relished in the evocative music. The rest of the nine-movement piece was a mostly joyous celebration of Queen Anne's birth, featuring the spot-on continuously fluttering melismas of soprano Christine Brandes and mezzo Phyllis Pancella."
Jesse McQuarters, Chicago Classical Music
Music of the Baroque offers a Handel choral program fit for a king
"The opening is an evocative antiphonal canon between alto and trumpet meant to aurally portray a sunrise that sets the title verse rapturously with lingering lines punctuated with ornate trills. Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella painted the text wonderfully and trumpeter Barbara Butler responded with matching mood and timbre."
Dennis Polkow, Chicago Classical Review
Music of the Baroque's 'Requiem' both fierce and tender
"Zukerman's and Pancella's voices blended so well that they could have been sisters, and set in contrast to the robust Ramsay and the powerful Morscheck tenor, they created a musical chiarascuro, light and dark in lovely combination.

"Again in the 'Benedictus' the four voices braided together, one after the other, to create a dynamic whole with hosannas echoed by the majestic chorus. It was a stirring and deeply satisfying performance."

Dorothy Andries, Pioneer Press (IL)
Glover leads MOB in a fervent, stylish Mozart Requiem
"The fine singing of the vocal quartet - soprano Arianna Zukerman, mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, tenor Scott Ramsay and bass-baritone Stephen Morscheck - lent a sense of heartsease to Glover's conception."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Life and Exhaltation in Mozart's Requiem
"Soloists Arianna Zukerman (soprano), Phyllis Pancella (mezzo-soprano), Scott Ramsay (tenor), and Stephen Morscheck (bass-baritone) brought an equally masterful command of the delicate texture. Ramsay's ringing tenor and Zukerman's silky soprano blended evenly with their lower counterparts."
Elliot Mandel, Chicago Classical Music
Music of the Baroque delivers an impassioned Mozart Requiem
“Phyllis Pancella’s rich, even mezzo conveyed the consolatory nature of the Recordare and the clear plaintive tenor of Scott Ramsay made an impact as well."
Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Rinaldo, Central City Opera
"Pancella [Rinaldo] commands a personal, expressive sound, and shirked none of the fierce musical challenges: she is an artist of inspiring onstage honesty."
David Shengold, Opera News
Closing down Central City: 'Rinaldo'
"Pancella was at her prime in 'Or la tromba', matching her vocal acrobatics and embellishments with the four equally impressive trumpets."
Charles Downey, Ionarts
Central City Cintillates
"I am even more in awe of the artistry of Phyllis Pancella ..."
David Sckolnik, Colorado Springs Gazette
A spellbinding staging of "Rinaldo"

"But it is the women who dominate this production, starting with mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, who offers a compelling, nuanced portrayal of the title character, managing to invest him with a convincing air of masculinity.

"This multidimensional singer was at her best in the climatic aria of Act 1, powerfully conveying Rinaldo's dual emotions, as he achingly pours out his despair over the loss of Almirena and then defiantly vows revenge."

Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post
St. Matthew Passion Unveiled
"Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, with a rich, warm sound, was particularly good in 'Ah, now is my Jesus gone!' ('Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin')."
Linnea Leonard Kickasola, The Curator
"That superb artist Phyllis Pancella grounded the evening as a compelling, multifaceted Lucretia -- not neglecting, as some do, her inherent sensuality. She looked well, crafting a portrayal rich in detail of movement, glance, and utterance. In the intimate acoustic, her richly colored mezzo's lower register could be appreciated."
Read More...
David Shengold, Gay City News
"As expected, the clear standout in this strong cast is mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, who sculpts a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of Lucretia, both as the upbeat wife longing for her husband to return from war and the decimated, near-mad woman after the rape.

The moments after the crime could hardly be more convincing, as she slides across the floor and wraps herself into a fetal ball. Then, and in the scene following, this clear, straightforward singer makes haunting use of her forceful lower register." Read More...
Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post
"In Phyllis Pancella's engrossing, richly sung performance, Lucretia's virtue remains a source of strength even as she recognises that suicide is her only option." Read More...
George Loomis, Financial Times (UK)
"Phyllis Pancella's Lucretia is a three-dimensional woman of purity, devotion, strength and, tragically, idealism - sung with a richly colored mezzo that seemed to grow in scope and focus as the opera proceeded."
Read More...
Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News
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