"Schumann's Dichterliebe receives a palette of new hues in [Patrick] Jordan's arrangement, which replaces the piano with string quartet, double bass and, most subtly, guitar. The baritone part is unchanged, and Brett Polegato invests the texts with tonal beauty and eloquence in collaboration with his expressive colleagues."
Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine, March 2015
"And the Tafelmusik soloists were brilliant as well. Bass-baritone Brett Polegato gave the most rousing performance of "The Trumpet Shall Sound" that I've ever heard."
Robert Harris, The Globe & Mail, December 20, 2014
"The cast [of Silent Night], comprised of a who's who of Canadian talent, rose magnificently to the challenge of singing and acting this new opera, with not a weak link.
In pure vocal terms, however, there was no one equal to Brett Polegato's perfectly sung Lieutenant Audebert."
Kenneth DeLong, The Calgary Herald, November 8, 2014
"It's hard to pinpoint the most moving event in Saturday night's "Speight Celebration Concert," as fans said goodbye to the stellar 31-year tenure of Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins.
It would be hard to find two better-matched and mellifluous singers than tenor William Burden and baritone Brett Polegato, who sang the gorgeous "Au fond du temple saint" duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.
... and Polegato's lovely, honeyed aria from Korngold's Die Tote Stadt."
Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, August 10, 2014
"The bright, ringing tenor of Andrea Carè in the title role complemented the darker but surpassingly lyrical baritone of Brett Polegato as Rodrigo. They were magnificent together as a best-buddies-until-death duo, and both were vocally unassailable, with Polegato offering perhaps his best performance in his 20-plus-year history with [Vancouver Opera]."
Robert Jordan, Opera Canada, Summer 2014
"But what the first act lacked visually, it made up for vocally. Italian tenor Andrea Carè sung the role of Don Carlo brilliantly and was well-matched by Canadian baritone Brett Polegato, whose portrayal of Rodrigo was one of the finest things I've heard from the Vancouver Opera in recent memory. When he died at the end of Act III, I was genuinely sad that we wouldn't hear any more singing from Rodrigo for the evening.
If I had to pick one favourite moment in Don Carlo, it would be the duet between Rodrigo and Don Carlo in Act I. It was so beautiful. I can't find words to describe it.
Grand opera really is something to experience. In the case of this production, go for the men - between Don Carlo, Rodrigo and The Grand Inquisitor, you will not be disappointed."
Janna Crown, The Vancouver Observer, May 10, 2014
"But that's appropriate in contrast to his best buddy, Rodrigo, to whom Canadian baritone Brett Polegato brings energy and confidence in one of his most impressive [Vancouver Opera] outings yet. Compare the political fire he shows in the first act, standing up for the people of Flanders to the king, with the wounded restraint he displays in his good-bye aria near the end. He and [Andrea] Carè are a lovely vocal match as well, pairing beautifully in their famous friendship duet."
Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight, May 5, 2014
"Baritone Brett Polegato's Dr. Malatesta, styled as a cigar-toting Buffalo Bill with sidekick Hop Sing (Alan Wong), machinated the plot like a master puppeteer. His robust opening aria, "Bella siccome un angelo" was matched only by his rapid-fire delivery of "Aspetta, aspetta, cara sposina," performed with a spluttering [Peter] Strummer."
Holly Harris, Opera Canada, Spring 2014
"Baritone Brett Polegato's Ford was no cuckolded stock figure, but a man who is truly devastated by the idea that his wife may be betraying him. His Act II, "È sogno o realtà?" was both touching and powerful in true Shakespearean style. Polegato was terrifically funny, too."
Robin J. Miller, Opera Canada, Winter 2013
"It was a luxury to have a singer of the calibre of Brett Polegato as the Pirate King - rather like bringing a BMW to a summer picnic - and as one could expect, he made everything that is possible from the role, his voice commanding and of excellent quality, and the comic element strong and perfectly in character."
Kenneth DeLong, The Calgary Herald, August 23, 2013
"Susan Gritton and Brett Polegato as Tatyana and Onegin, both made a strong case for casting the roles with mature singers, each brought intelligence and experience to the role completely transcending the apparent limitations of age differences to their characters.
Brett Polegato was stiff and self-absorbed without being grim as Onegin. Sometimes, singers forget that the character is supposed to be charismatic and attractive. There was no danger of that here, you could sense Onegin's attraction. Polegato and Gritton created a strong and believable chemistry and the scene at the end of act 1 where Onegin gives the letter back to Tatyana was unbearable in its intensity.
When Gritton reappeared in act 3, it was hard to believe it was the same person, so convincingly did Gritton's outward display mirror Tatyana's inward transformation. And her anguish in the final confrontation with Onegin was finely drawn, with Polegato superbly desperate. Sometimes this scene can appear to come from a different opera, with the two singers so much more dramatically mature, but here Gritton and Polegato ensured that their characters had followed a clear arc of development and the scene was a highly satisfying conclusion."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, June 11, 2013
"In his initial rejection of Tatyana, Onegin is not portrayed as the cold, caddish figure of tradition. As he explains, he is hardly made for family life or wedded bliss. Onegin's preferences have been hinted at - or more - before, of course. But, as portrayed here by Brett Polegato, the character has rare depth. Polegato's warm, supple baritone makes this a complete characterisation."
John Allison, The Telegraph, June 7, 2013
"I am here to tell you that Bizet's "gorgeous tunes" and baritone Brett Polegato are a match made in heaven.
Quite simply Polegato was magnificent in his role as chief pearl fisher Zurga in so many ways it is hard to know where to begin.
So let's start at the beginning with The Duet.
Paired with a much smaller voice than his own - the sweet, beautifully clear tenor of Edgar Ernesto Ramirez as Zurga's bosom buddy the hunter Nadir - Polegato was superb. He balanced, blended and bound the two voices together in a masterful realization of French style and musical ethos. It was one of the most satisfying "Au fond du temples" to ever hit my ear.
And much more than that. If one had shrugged into one's overcoat and hit the night air and the road for home you'd have missed much wonderful singing, acting and story-telling by Polegato and company.
Polegato managed to sustain belief and conviction in even this flawed drama until the very end with a performance that was simply riveting."
Hugh Fraser, Musical Toronto, March 11, 2013
"Certainly [Opera Hamilton]'s Pearl Fishers cast had all the bases covered. One of Canada's best baritones, Brett Polegato, turned in an extremely fine performance as Zurga. Polegato had it all, from the tenderness of "Ô Nadir tendre ami" to the momentary ferocity fuelled by jealous love in his Act 3 duet with Léïla."
Leonard Turnevicious, The Hamilton Spectator, March 11, 2013
"Aside from the Sunday version of tenor Barbera, there were two other performers who alone would make your attendance worthwhile: baritone Brett Polegato (from Toronto) and conductor Giacomo Sagripanti, making his U.S. debut (from Giulianova, Italy). These two gentlemen delivered everything I could wish for in ideal Rossini singing and conducting. Polegato is an incredibly talented singer in every style, having wowed us here in modern repertory (Henry in The End of the Affair), 18th century (Orestes in Iphigenia in Tauris), and verismo (Sharpless in Madama Butterfly) operas. His coloratura was a model of how to make vocal calisthenics accurate, very easily heard, and expressive of infectious humor, all the while maintaining tonal beauty and ease. Truly an amazing artist!"
Rod Parke, Seattle Gay News, January 18, 2013
"Tonight was a joy, and a fitting ending to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's War and Peace Festival, as the CPO brought to a close two weeks of extraordinary concerts with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
[Schubert's Ave Maria] was followed by John Adams' cantata The Wound Dresser (1988), composed in honour of his father, who died of Alzheimer's disease, and inspired in large part by his mother's tending to his father's illness.
Using Walt Whitman's Civil War texts, the work details a medic's walk through a hospital ward of critically wounded men after a bloody battle.
Set for baritone solo and orchestra, the work consists of many of Adams' trademark features: angular melodic lines, which were easily navigated by audience favourite Brett Polegato, accompanied by soft, elegant strings, making use of ostinati and stasis chords.
The highlight of the piece comes when the protagonist declares that he dresses the wounds impassively, but his thoughts belie his diffident exterior, and the orchestra exclaims his anguish at seeing so much gore. Polegato carried this off to brilliant ends, much as he did the entire work, and this was followed gently by a lovely flute solo.
At last, we came to the evening's highlight, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Polegato gave a beautiful account of the recitative with flawless German, and the soloists Dominique Labelle (soprano), Meg Bragle (mezzo-soprano), and Benjamin Butterfield were all in fine form."
Stephan Bonfield, The Calgary Herald, November 17, 2012
"[The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra gave a] ... terrific concert on Sunday evening at Carnegie Hall, where Robert Spano, the ensemble's music director, conducted vividly hued interpretations of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast.
... Mr. Spano also led a compelling rendition of the Walton piece; tightly wrought, immaculate performances by the orchestra and chorus meshed into an exciting whole. The baritone Brett Polegato rendered the dramatic elements even more arresting with his powerful, richly hued solos."
Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, October 29, 2012
"The final piece was William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast.
It is such a wonderful occurrence when a great orchestra meets a great chorus with a great soloist. And that is exactly what happened when our baritone soloist Brett Polegato took the stage. He sang with such full, rich, depth of tone from top to bottom, and recanted the text with great drama. His interpretation of the text made the stories jump from page to reality. Mr. Polegato, simply put, was a musical poet, and had colors akin to Sir Thomas Allen."
Jake Johansen, The Examiner, October 27, 2012
"Polegato deserves special mention for the conviction he brought to the demanding role of Elijah, who has to summon hope, courage, anger, despair and, finally, peaceful acceptance of his fate as an underappreciated messenger of God's will. The singer found myriad ways to colour each aria a little differently, adding further shades of meaning to the already beautiful music."
John Terauds, The Toronto Star, July 14, 2012
"Canadian baritone Brett Polegato [as Sharpless] impressed us with his ample, rich voice, including easy tops and fine legato. He acted well the stressful situation of the great letter scene, which is for me the best moment in the opera. He was also a handsome figure and easily commanded the stage."
Rod Parke, Seattle Gay News, May 11, 2012
"Brett Polegato's Kurwenal was a real treat, too, his robust diatonic music always a breath of fresh air after the swooning chromaticism of the lovers."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, March 4, 2012
"The bigger surprise was the Kurwenal of Brett Polegato, whose lyric baritone carried magnificently and who had considerable presence."
Rian Evans, Classical Source, March 5, 2012
"In terms of performance, the production could hardly be better, the virtually all-Canadian cast coming up trumps in every respect. Brett Polegato goes from triumph to triumph, and I have never heard him so completely successful as in his very human and vocally superb rendition of Starbuck. The ovation for him at the end was spontaneous and entirely deserved."
Kenneth Delong, The Calgary Herald, January 30, 2012
"Up against Ahab's narcissism is Starbuck, the chief officer and a man of God. Baritone Brett Polegato hid in the shadow of neither Captain Ahab nor Heppner. Polegato's aria at the end of Act One, the most traditional Puccini-like aria in the score, was uplifting. In Act Two, as Starbuck looks at Ahab asleep and wrestles with the temptation to shoot him dead, Polegato placed Heggie's work into the long operatic tradition of agony well sung."
William Rankin, The Globe & Mail, January 30, 2012
"The quartet of singers was among the best of recent years, most notably Brett Polegato, who really got into his singing of The Trumpet Shall Sound, making it one of the evening's major highlights. Polegato brings an operatic amplitude to the part. Interpretively, this was the best performance I've heard of this part in many years."
Kenneth Delong, The Calgary Herald, December 10, 2011
"As the bird catcher Papageno, Brett Polegato stole the show whenever he was onstage with his comic timing and engaging vocal character."
Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 29, 2011
"Papageno was Canadian baritone and excellent comedian Brett Polegato. He had all the best lines and two of the greatest arias in the opera. His cleverness, singing and acting were delightful."
Burt Saidel, The Oakwood Register, July 29, 2011
"Brett Polegato's Dandini, revelling in the brief opportunity to be his boss's boss, is a clever valet who beats any Figaro I've seen, Rossini's or Mozart's."
Robert Cushman, The National Post, May 9, 2011
"Toronto baritone Brett Polegato - in the plum role of Dandini, the prince's valet - markedly raised the energy level on stage with his sharp shtick, but there's only so much one person can do in a comedy."
John Terauds, The Toronto Star, April 25, 2011
"Brett Polegato commanded every scene he entered as the pretend-prince Dandini, relishing his phony authority and wielding a baritone [of] richness."
Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail, April 25, 2011
"As the prince's valet [Dandini], Polegato walks a fine line, milking the maximum comedy from his role, while never upstaging the quite believable romance developing between the masterful Brownlee and the delightfully pragmatic DeShong."
John Coulbourn, The Toronto Sun, April 30, 2011
"Polegato’s stunning achievements were his virtuoso solo at Et ascendit in coelum and his gorgeous articulate account, with oboe John Abberger and bassoon Teresi, of his aria Et in Spiritum sanctum."
Ken Winters, The Globe & Mail, February 14, 2011
"Baritone Brett Polegato ... is at the peak of his vocal prime.
Besides conveying the emotional message behind his arias, which include rafter-shakers "Thus saith the Lord" and "The Trumpet Shall Sound," Polegato brought immense technical control to Wednesday night.
Most basses and baritones who sing these Messiah solos muddle and bump as they scurry up and down the scales - not so Polegato, who didn't miss a note."
John Terauds, The Toronto Star, December 16, 2010
"Baritone Brett Polegato was top-notch as the Count, displaying seigneurial command, but also a lick of lasciviousness and dash of danger. His tone in "Vedrò mentre io sospiro" was round and full, including a well-placed high F sharp."
Leonard Turnevicius, The Hamilton Spectator, October 22, 2010
"Brett Polegato sang Lescaut, Manon's cousin who, initially charged with delivering her to her convent, later becomes an ally to the lovers as they muddle their way in and out of each other's lives. Polegato presented a nicely layered rendition of the role and his strong, dark voice was ideally suited to it."
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, May 28, 2010
"Ralph Vaughan Williams' "A Sea Symphony," his Symphony No. 1, is a mighty undertaking: It calls for two soloists, a big orchestra and massive chorus.
Baritone Brett Polegato is an elegant singer, with a gorgeous voice, superb diction and a clear understanding of the texts."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 9, 2010
"Even if this production is not to every-one's taste, the singing will be. Calgary Opera has assembled a cast that represents the cream of contemporary Canadian opera singers. Everyone is excellently cast in his/ her role and sings with complete vocal command.
Brett Polegato [as Don Giovanni] confirmed his position as one of Canada's leading baritones, most especially in anything relating to musical intelligence. His tuning was spot on throughout, and the scene containing the serenade was a standout."
Kenneth Delong, The Calgary Herald, April 27, 2010
"Brett Polegato played Sharpless as a man for whom diplomacy is both a profession and a curse. This fine baritone's understated expression of his qualms about Pinkerton's marriage was so carefully paced that his belated show of impatience with the big lug felt like a deliverance."
Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail, September 30, 2009
"There is also superb work from baritone Brett Polegato as the American consul Sharpless, who lends not only a powerful voice but a strong sense of humanity and compassion as well to the role of a good man caught in the middle of a mess he didn't create."
John Coulbourn, The Toronto Sun, October 1, 2009
"There’s more sympathy and a strong presence in Brett Polegato’s Sharpless, the American consul who warns Pinkerton not to toy with his young bride’s affections."
Jom Kaplan, NOW Magazine, October 2, 2009
"Winterreise is a compilation of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller which, to use a pop-psych metaphor, amount to going through all seven stages of grief in 80 minutes. The singer has to shape difficult music, shuffle emotions and convey a clean dramatic arc all at the same time, making this a touchstone of the serious artist.
Polegato, with [Stephen] Rall's elegant help, more than met the challenge."
John Terrauds, The Toronto Star, March 26, 2009
"Baritone Brett Polegato was in fabulous voice and plumbed the full operatic possibilities in his dramatic arias [in Handel's Messiah]."
John Terrauds, The Toronto Star, December 18, 2008
"Polegato was a different story... [H]is interpretations had far more natural vitality and power. Wolf's "Gesange des Harfners" was a fine essay in the dark shadows of the human heart, and Robert Schumann's eight-song "Liederkreis Op. 24," although not quite as involving, showed that Polegato is an artist to be reckoned with."
Stephen Brookes, Washington Post, December 4, 2008
"The Onegin in particular was magnificently sung and acted by Brett Polegato, a baritone of star quality by any international standard."
Bernard Jacobson, Opera, March 2009
"Vocally, baritone Brett Polegato was a fabulous Onegin, incapable of a musical false step. Everything we need to know about Onegin was there to be heard: the elegance, the anger, the seductive power and callousness."
Elissa Poole, The Globe & Mail, November 24, 2008
"The emotionally real performances also make this production feel modern. Baritone Brett Polegato’s Onegin is the consummate cool customer, dashing and remote, a man who refuses to kiss the ladies’ hands and spurns the young Tatyana for professing her love so openly to him. It’s a testament to Polegato’s range that when he finally meets Tatyana again, he’s a mess-burying his face in her lap and crying out in agony when she accuses him of desiring her because she’s joined high society. He’s a cad and a misfit, but you can’t help feeling for him in the end."
Janet Smith, Georgia Straight, November 24, 2008
"Baritone Brett Polegato surpassed all expectations in the title role. Here was a Don Giovanni who was unquestionably the star of this Mozartean operatic domain. Slim and elegant in stylish black leather, Polegato both sang and acted his role to a fare-thee-well, projecting the Don as an indefatigable and ruthless predator, and at the same time as a man of fatal charm to his serial feminine victims.
His singing lay at the very centre of his characterization, so perfectly did it convey the dramatic sense of his actions, from the effervescent, hormonally driven call for wine, Finch' han dal vino, to the delicate, honeyed canzonetta Deh, vieni alla finestra, by which he entices Donna Elvira's pretty serving maid to the balcony window, to the innumerable adroitly inflected recitatives in which he insinuates himself into the affections of one woman after another, or cuts off her means of escape by cleverly banishing her protectors
He was superb."
Ken Winters, The Globe & Mail, October 7, 2008
"Funnily enough, Polegato's performance was this production's best asset. He transcended these directorial attempts to annul his character. Polegato's acting was breathtaking as an imploding antihero, slipping into a boozy delirium, maudlin and reflective one moment, sinister and threatening the next. It was as if the Don's corrupted masculinity was poisoning him, which worked with the overall direction because his exaggerated manhood, which is the crux of the actual story's conflict, had been dismantled with nothing else to fill the vacuum.
Vocally, Polegato had the most volume among the cast, the most fluid and confident delivery. His steadily rising intensity throughout the show seemed to lift everything up."
John Keillor, National Post, October 7, 2008
"Brett Polegato casts aside the familiar portrayal of the character as a loveable rake. His Giovanni is moody, sullen and prone to violence. He shows that Giovanni’s life of constant conquest is also a life of constant repetition that has lost its excitement. Nothing goes right for Giovanni now, as the libretto notes, and [director Robin] Guarino views his actions as self-destructive. Polegato’s good looks, his burnished baritone and his ability to communicate complex states of mind make him ideal in this role."
Christopher Hoile, Eye Weekly, October 6, 2008
"Brett Polegato made an intelligently thought-out, deliberately dislikeable Don, low on charm, high on aggressiveness and handsomely sung."
William Littler, Opera Canada, December/January 2008/2009
"Toronto-based baritone Brett Polegato spends nearly the whole 2 1/2 hours onstage in the title role in this production, which begins at the very end so that the opera can be presented in flashback. Miraculously, the singer manages to keep Onegin fresh, despite the character being presented as a perpetually tortured Romantic soul, right down to trying to tug out his long, wavy locks.
This is the first time Polegato has sung the role of Onegin, yet he fully inhabits the character and made beautiful work of Tchaikovsky's long, long melodic lines. This is a spectacular piece of work from a terrifically accomplished singer."
John Terauds , The Toronto Star, April 3, 2008
"Polegato looks and sounds every inch the doomed romantic hero, and his transformation from world-weary snob to impassioned lover is believable and moving."
Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine, April 10, 2008
"Wadsworth and Wedow had a fine cast of principals, who delivered passionate performances of the utmost commitment.
Brett Polegato was equally successful in projecting the furious guilt that tears Oreste apart mentally. His voice is big and brilliant, but he handles it with great finesse. In the aria ‘Le calme rentre dans mon Coeur,’ he managed to suggest a man whistling in the dark. The vocal chiaroscuro displayed in scenes with his sister and his beloved friend Pylade was always under intelligent control."
John F. Hulcoop, OPERA NEWS, January, 2008
"Baritone Polegato captured precisely the mood of everything he sang, whether Ivor Gurney's adroit setting of The Scribe, or Howells's magisterial one of King David, or Robin Holloway's exacting one of Fare Well. He also sang the three miniature songs from the U.S. composer Theodore Chanler's Eight Epitaphs to perfection"
Ken Winters, The Globe & Mail, January 15, 2008
"The "Songs of A Wayfarer" also explore Mahler's emotional state, this time, however, as seen through the eyes of a jilted lover. Brett Polegato is this weekend's soloist. The Canadian baritone gave a wonderfully heartrending and impassioned interpretation of the four songs. His lyrical, seamless singing captured the eloquence, passion, remorse and, finally, the resignation of Mahler's state of being."
Edward Reichel, Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City),
November 3, 2007
"Full of glorious and moving music, "Iphigenia" still is not an easy opera to bring to life... Fortunately, this production has a charmed cast of brilliant singing actors... Her brother Orestes is sung by Brett Polegato, in a performance so beautifully drawn that it's hard to imagine it being bettered anywhere."
Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, October 14, 2007
"Brett Polegato's Orestes has already ruined two night's sleep and I suspect that my recollection of it will chase Somnus for many more nights to come. Forget about the fact that he had all the notes and that his phrasing was simply exquisite; his portrayal of a man made mad by the cruelty of the Gods was nothing less than searing."
Ivan Katz, Huffington Post, October 24, 2007
"Brett Polegato, as the frenzied Orestes, tortured by the Furies who pursue him for the killing of his mother, sang the larger-than-life character in a larger-than-life way. He was persuasive in a part easy to caricature."
R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
October 14, 2007
"The music and story are pure melodrama and require strong voices as well as tremendous energy from the soloists. In this largely Canadian cast, only baritone Brett Polegato achieved that mix of vocal power and passion in the role of Valentin, Marguerite's brother."
John Terauds, Toronto Star, February 2, 2007
"Along with Pomeroy's fine Faust, Ontario baritone Brett Polegato's Valentin offered the production's best singing. He conveyed Valentin's implacable, prudish intolerance of his sister Marguérite's fall from grace with crushing authority."
Ken Winters, The Globe & Mail, February 3, 2007
"Yet, Brett Polegato outshines them all as Marguerite's avenging brother Valentin. The rich, heroic sound of his voice and the passion of his acting are absolutely riveting."
Eye Weekly, February 8, 2007
"... [The director’s] take on the opera was tremendously benefited by the presence of Brett Polegato as Dandini, clearly the most remarkable of the many fine individual performances in this production. I think it would be hard to find a better realization of Dandini anywhere, whether in Polegato's elegant singing, secure on both the top and bottom part of the voice, or in the dramatic characterization, which was one of the most brilliant I have seen at the Jubilee [Auditorium]."
Kenneth DeLong, The Calgary Herald, November 20, 2006
"...baritone Brett Polegato nearly stole the show with a strong and characterful performance of Figaro's cocky Largo al factotum, from Rossini's Barber of Seville."
Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail, Thursday, June 15, 2006
"The other protagonists all prove to be excellent singers, with a special mention to baritone Brett Polegato (Fritz) whose Puccini-esque aria is a moment of pure joy."
Jacques Schmitt, Res Musica, April 16, 2006
(Die Tote Stadt, Geneva)
"As Don Giovanni, baritone Brett Polegato cannot help but charm musically, for his is a serious and seductive voice."
Elissa Poole, The Globe & Mail, March 7, 2006
"Baritone Brett Polegato, vampire-like in a black plait and pale makeup, stresses the dark side of Don Giovanni, trading machismo for rat cunning. Polegato's voice is this Don's key to seduction: no self-respecting romantic could resist his technique, his passion, his chameleon ability to echo the quarry's own musical style."
Louise Phillips, The Vancouver Courier, March 8, 2006
"Guglielmo, on the other hand, finds in Brett Polegato an interpreter who does him justice. His voice – sonorous, sweet, full of colour, and perfectly placed – moves easily throughout the entire range of the role. Next to Ferrando, he appears like the rooster ... and plays the game of the masquerade with off-handed confidence until, his phoenix having become a crow, he confesses to being totally in love and, overcoming his useless rage, is ready to admit the bitter truth."
Maurice Salles, Forum Opéra, January 31, 2006
"The Guglielmo of Brett Polegato is cut from the same cloth: happily smug and conquering, he embodies with great scenic ease this naïve self-confident youth who thinks himself a free agent. And his solid vocalism squashes the weaknesses of his comrade."
Laurant Marty, Res Musica, January 27, 2006
"Baritone Brett Polegato expresses himself with sincerity and, above all, dominates his arias."
Anne-Marie Chouchan, La Dépêche du Midi, January 24, 2006
"Baritone Brett Polegato creates an impressive Guglielmo."
N.T., La Tribune, January 27, 2006
"Baritone Brett Polegato (Guglielmo) and bass Carlos Chausson (Don Alfonso) are perfectly in osmosis with their roles, both vocally and scenically."
Janine Boyé, La Gazette du Midi, January 30, 2006
"Even the Cleveland Orchestra probably would concur that the choristers, as well as director of choruses Robert Porco and two exceptional guest soloists, are the stars of this week's subscription program.
In his Cleveland Orchestra debut, Brett Polegato brought smooth nobility to the baritone solos [of the Fauré Requiem].
In Vaughan Williams' ecstatic "Five Mystical Songs," it was Polegato's turn to show his expressive stuff. The score abounds in lyrical and dramatic statements, many influenced by British folk traditions, and Polegato applied his suave baritone vibrantly to the songs' emotional needs."
Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland),
Saturday, November 19, 2005
"Last night, Polegato sang with great, touching simplicity 'For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead.' "
John Terauds, Toronto Star, Thursday, November 10, 2005
"Both soloists were excellent...Polegato was steady and dignified in each of his solos: Reconciliation, to Whitman's words ("My enemy ... a man divine as myself is dead"); The Angel of Death, from a speech of John Bright; and especially in the final section, O man greatly beloved, to words adapted from the Old Testament."
Ken Winters, The Globe & Mail, Saturday, November 12, 2005
"Brett Polegato brings a valiant poignancy to the part of Sarah's cuckolded husband"
- Seattle Opera's production of 'The End of the Affair'
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, October 20, 2005
"Polegato's sterling voice was pure delight, supple with dark colours and now firm bass ballast as well. His arias luxuriated in their resonance."
Geoff Chapman, The Globe & Mail, December 17, 2004
"However, kudos are due the vocal soloists at either end of the register - soprano Patricia Rozario and baritone Brett Polegato - who overcame the often muddy acoustics with their powerful voices. Polegato, in particular, was awe-inspiring and a delight to the ears from his first "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts" to his final rapid ascent up the scale on "The trumpet shall sound."
Rob Hubbard, St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 09, 2004
"Wall and Polegato made impressive advocates for Massenet. Two of the most important vocal talents produced in this country in recent years (although neither, sad to say, appears much in Toronto), they had all their music memorized, which freed them to concentrate on its dramatic as well as its musical projection.
As for Polegato, it would be hard to imagine a firmer-voiced, more impressive Athanaël. Lucky Massenet."
William Littler, The Globe & Mail, December 02, 2004
" Canadian Brett Polegato shows great musical and dramatic ability as Frère Léon. He has the difficult task of being the first & the last soloist to sing, and he is totally convincing as this fragile figure of a young brother both fascinated and frightened by what he sees and lives. He had already offered a strong and attractive Pelléas at the Paris Opera, and showed once more he belongs to the leading group of today's young baritones."
Gérard Mannoni, Opera Canada Magazine, Winter 2004
" But the real pearl in Monday night's production ... was baritone Brett Polegato, singing the role of Zurga ... He went against the grain with his sympathetic interpretation of Zurga, an authority figure with a mean streak on paper, but love interest manqué here. Certainly, Polegato has authority: The voice rings with it, commands it. But we can't help warming to him either, to the eloquent diction, subtle indications of character, and, hard to explain, a quality of realness that says: 'This matters.' So it does."
Elissa Poole, The Globe & Mail, August 04, 2004
"If Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet had been sitting in the Glenn Gould Studio last night, her Fitzwilliam Darcy would have been Brett Polegato, the dashing baritone in white tie and tails on stage.
He showed all the poise, patience, wisdom and inner strength of the hero in Pride And Prejudice and showed himself the match for any other vocal suitor that has graced Toronto's stages this season.
The buzz around Polegato started as soon as the city first heard his voice about a decade ago and, now, the globetrotting 30-something came back to show that he has matured into one of the finest baritones around.
Even though his repertoire includes symphonic and operatic work, Polegato was here for an art song program organized by the Aldeburgh Connection. In a varied program of intricate and dramatically varied music, the singer displayed a versatile voice which is rare in its ability to produce the deep, rich walnut timbre of the bass-baritone, while also carrying a lilting, lyrical grace in the upper registers."
John Terauds, The Globe & Mail, May 13, 2004
" Brett Polegato ... [has] been garnering considerable attention with various recordings and appearances (including Mr. Polegato's New York recital debut at Weill Hall last season). And [he] showed that [he] deserve[s] the attention. Mr. Polegato ... sang with considerable intelligence and nuance, and brought an ideal blend of dignity and good looks to the role [of the Count]."
Anne Midgette, The New York Times, March 16, 2004
"While it's an ensemble effort, with a medley of voices well tuned to the lyrical bel canto style, the show owes its dash and panache to baritone Brett Polegato, soprano Tracy Dahl and conductor Leslie Uyeda.
What a team. Polegato homed in on the comedy with the aplomb of a voracious varmint tunnelling through a carrot patch. Polegato's strength and subtlety in his legato phrasing and beautiful tone confirm him as a mature artist."
Louise Phillips, The Vancouver Courier, November 26, 2003
" Brett Polegato's warm, smooth baritone and unfailingly communicative phrasing proved ideal for this music [Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony]. This artist should be back soon; how about for Mahler?"
Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, March 22, 2003
" Polegato strikes a winning balance of dignified artistry and engaging directness."
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News, January 2003
"Brett Polegato's singing is warm, richly textured, and expressive - substantially more engaging than John Carol on the EMI [recording]."
Andrew Quint, FANFARE Magazine, Nov / Dec, 2002
"The discovery of the evening was certainly Brett Polegato's sensitive and well-shaped baritone as Pelleas."
Jens M.Fischer, Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 2002
"Brett Polegato performed the role of Pelleas with poetical brightness and transparency."
Julia Waldstein, TZ München, March 2002
"Baritone Brett Polegato, full of fire, integrity and diction that lit up everything he touched, recitatives no less than arias. Depth, sparkle and power -Polegato's voice has it all. And when he sings the words 'we shall be changed,' you can believe it."
Elissa Poole, The Globe & Mail, December 14, 1998
"To Polegato, who was making his shockingly belated Canadian Opera debut, fell the honor of opening the program. It was the kind of crisp, confident, bravura performance that said, in effect, here I am at the peak of my vocal powers and a better barber you won't find this side of the Andelusian Peninsula."
William Littler, The Toronto Star, August 26, 1998
"Polegato sang Kilpinen's Songs of Death with understanding and elegance. He has a bright, well-placed voice and excellent diction - when he became genuinely involved in the music, these qualities allowed him to communicate with exceptional force."
John Lehr, The Toronto Star, February 13, 1998
"It is easy to see why opera companies want him. The more sound Polegato has behind him, the more he blossoms. He has firm, bright, evangelical fortes, a milk-and-honey middle range of extraordinary warmth, and an impressive range of emotional colour."
Elissa Poole, The Globe & Mail, February 14, 1998
"Brett Polegato, who has appeared with the New York City Opera and other companies, seems poised for a successful career. He has a burnished, well-focused baritone voice."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times,
November 15, 1995