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Otello' review: Tenor David Gustafson in command

By Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle

There's scarcely any point in tackling this piece without a tenor who is up to the daunting demands of the title role. David Gustafson, in a strong company debut, turned out to be just the singer the production needed, deploying plenty of vocal power in the service of a characterization both noble and pitiably tormented.

He proclaimed his command of the part right from the opening measures, unleashing his brief cry of triumph after the Venetians' naval victory with ringing, precisely placed top notes and ardent phrasing… with stirring and often heroic singing throughout the second and third acts (played without a break).


Read the Otello review in Splash Magazine
Otello Review – West Bay Opera does Moor with Less
By Philip Hodge

otello review

Otello (David Gustafson)

David Gustafson has an equally impressive résumé and was entirely  convincing as Otello.  He is no stranger to WBO, having previously appeared as Calàf in Turandot and as Radames in Aida, so I expected a great performance and I was not disappointed. He brought out the Moor’s tender side in the earlier love duet.  In Act II Scene 1 Iago cleverly plays on the paranoid jealousy which, along with his tendency to jump to conclusions, constitutes Otello’s “fatal flaw” of a tragic hero. Gustafson captures all of this in his acting, and his tenor voice is a perfect fit with Skinner‘s booming bass.
otello review 2

Otello (David Gustafson) and Iago (Philip Skinner) vow vengeance against Desdemona and Casio
Read the Otello Review in the San Jose Mercury News
Two companies collaborate on robust Verdi’s ‘Otello’
By Georgia Rowe

Tenor David Gustafson was a vigorous Otello — firm and muscular-sounding in his “Exsultate,” elegant in “Già nella notte” and magnificent in the “Si, pel ciel” duet with his lieutenant, Iago.

"David Gustafson's ever-secure Radamès, almost as strong in volume, grew in vocal beauty as the evening progressed. Softening his voice in the final tomb scene to produce tones of surprising warmth, Gustafson was the strongest and best-equipped dramatic tenor I've heard in a Bay Area regional opera production."


Tenor David Gustafson was amazing as Radames, his booming voice maybe even a little bit too big for the intimate Lucie Stern Theater.

Gustafson's lyric-to-beefy tenor was a joy

“Tenor David Gustafson as Prince Calaf led the way with audacious tone and an imposing stage presence. That the princess would give in to him was hardly in question. “

Continue reading on Examiner.com Ardent Music Thaws Turandot's Heart at West Bay Opera - San Jose classical music | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/classical-music-in-san-jose/ardent-music-thaws-turandot-s-heart-at-west-bay-opera

“David Gustafson, as Prince Calaf, has a big voice, he is also a heldentenor-in-the-making, and yet he was satisfied just singing beautifully, instead of joining the "look at me how loud I can be" school…. Gustafson's impressive presence — combined with his voice and mastery of the music — will make him a star.”

Tosca: LOV Production Offers Riveting Theater

While the three principals were equally matched in vocal ability and commanding stage presence, the show stopper of the evening was David Gustafson, who got a resounding applause after his big number in the third act, "E lucevan le stele."  The role of Cavaradossi calls for a lyric tenor, a not-so-heavy voice with strong high notes.  Gustafson has a large voice with deep, robust resonance in the lower register and full-bodied tones in the upper register.

The Independent Thursday March 15, 2012

Act 2


Act 3


Alexandra LoBianco (Turandot) and David Gustafson (Calaf)
Photos by Steve DiBartolomeo