R e v i e w s
Venus / Tannhäuser (Pariser Fassung), Opera Australia, 17 and 20 May 2023
"Top-notch international singers, including German tenor Stefan Vinke in the title role, are joined by very talented locals who are, in at least one case, undeniably world-class...The long, loving look in close proximity between Anna-Louise Cole’s Venus and Vinke’s Tannhäuser got the concert off to an exciting start. Cole (who will interpret Brünnhilde opposite Vinke’s Siegfried in the Brisbane Ring in December) once again shows she is an Australian singer who will surely go far. Her sumptuous soprano, always so strong and clear even in the stratospheric upper register, steals the show in Act I. It’s a pity Venus hardly appears thereafter."
Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine, 18 May 2023: https://limelightmagazine.com.au/reviews/tannhauser-opera-australia/
"I was immediately struck by the angelic voice of soprano Anna-Louise Cole, who seemed to elevate so effortlessly."
Alex First, The Blurb, 18 May 2023: https://theblurb.com.au/wp/tannhauser-in-concert-hamer-hall-music-theatre-review/
"Shimmering in dark midnight blue, Cole gives Vinke’s Heinrich every reason to be tempted to continue to indulge, her delightful vocal performance making excellent use of her supple, creamy soprano. The final scene brings a welcome , albeit all too brief, return from Cole, completing a captivating performance."
Simon Parris, Man in Chair, 20 May 2023: https://simonparrismaninchair.com/2023/05/18/opera-australia-tannhauser-in-concert-review/
"The Venus of Anna-Louise Cole and Elisabeth of Amber Wagner (pron. Waggner, and no relation) were stand-out performances. Cole brought the same full-blooded and fearless attack to Venus as she did to her magnificent Chrysothemis in Victorian Opera’s concert performance of Elektra last year. This augurs well for Cole’s first Brünnhilde in one of the Opera Australia Rings in Brisbane later this year (she will also sing Sieglinde in the first two cycles)."
Michael Shmith, Australian Book Review, 18 May 2023: https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/arts-update/101-arts-update/10286-tannaeuser-wagner-s-medieval-mash-up-by-michael-shmith
"Appearing in glittering midnight blue, outstanding Australian soprano Anna-Louise Cole gave a performance overflowing with colour, depth and expressive perfection as Venus. Vocally free-flowing and dynamic, Cole was ever-pleasing to hear and watch. And it seemed a long wait for her short but punchy Act 3 return after such a highlight she bestowed on Act 1."
Paul Selar, Australian Arts Review, 18 May 2023: https://artsreview.com.au/tannhauser-in-concert-2/
"We kicked off with a radiant performance from Anna-Louise Cole who played Venus. Her glittery dress was the perfect complement to her sultry and tempting characterisation, begging audiences to question why Tannhauser would ever dare to leave her."
Jessica Flynn, Theatre Travels, 19 May 2023: https://www.theatretravels.org/post/review-tannh%C3%A4user-in-concert-at-hamer-hall
"The soloists, I hesitate to call them “the cast”, were also outstanding...Venus was sung by rising local star Anna-Louise Cole and it was another excellent performance. She is to sing Brünnhilde in the Ring in Brisbane later this year, and I am very much looking forward to hearing her again there."
Jim Breen, Classic Melbourne, 18 May 2023: https://classicmelbourne.com.au/opera-australia-tannhauser-in-concert/
”But the world of live entertainment has been full of every kind of music. There was Opera Australia’s concert performance of Wagner’s Tannhäuser that caught the drama of Wagner’s dialectic between a sanctified and pure love and its besotted sensual opposite without any encumbering scenery and also highlighted two magnificent vocal performances – one from Amber Wagner as Elizabeth and the other from Anna-Louise Cole as Venus.
Peter Craven, The Spectator, 3 June 2023: https://www.spectator.com.au/2023/06/a-campy-and-colourful-role/
Lady Macbeth / Macbeth, Opera Queensland & Queensland Symphony Orchestra, 9 and 11 March 2023
"Cole made a marvellous role debut as Lady Macbeth, her powerful, luscious dramatic soprano tackling the highs and lows of this steely character with aplomb.
She managed the Act 1 duet extremely well, eliciting real terror in the muted half tone required, as well as singing full out with some thrilling top notes that hit the back wall of the Concert Hall with ease.
Her Act II aria, “La luce langue”, showed an equally determined persona, but with creamy, expressive phrasing. The Brindisi that follows during the banquet scene showed a strong but welcome contrast in style.
Her pièce de resistance, however, was in her final aria during the sleep walking scene, one of the most challenging Verdi arias for the female voice, encompassing a huge vocal range from high soprano to dark contralto. Cole gave us some beautiful ethereal coloratura, alongside deep, throaty contralto notes that were astonishingly well managed and ravishingly sung."
Suzannah Conway, Limelight, 10 March 2023: https://limelightmagazine.com.au/reviews/macbeth-opera-queensland/
"Soprano Anna-Louise Cole is Lady Macbeth and she kinds of steals the show at times because let’s face it, Lady Macbeth is one of the most dramatic and memorable characters in literature and theatre..."
Phil Brown, Courier Mail, 13 March 2023: https://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/qweekend/three-hours-of-opera-and-no-sex-but-plenty-of-death/news-story/3b9a2c4e8121db9205592411aaf8bfa4
"Anna-Louise Cole commands the fullness of my attention as Lady Macbeth. Her vocal ability, acting prowess, and the sheer magnitude of her stage presence meant she swallowed up all the air in QPAC’s concert hall and made it hers. The rest of the company all give wonderful vocal performances, and their acting possesses a level of electricity, but Cole is the true stand out here when looking at the performances holistically ... [including] the intensity and texture of Cole’s acting."
Tristan Niemi, Nothing Ever Happens In Brisbane, 15 March 2023:
Chrysothemis / Elektra, Victorian Opera, 14 September 2022
"Just as compelling was the exemplary Chrysothemis of Anna-Louise Cole, in a fearless, white-heat performance that made so much more of this often underrated character. Cole, who sings Brünnhilde in Opera Australia’s Ring next year in Brisbane, is well on the way to tackling Chrysothemis’ elder sister."
Michael Shmith, Australian Book Review, 19 September 2022:
“Next to this shining star, the rest of the cast could easily have paled, but they showed how good Australia’s operatic talent is. […] Leading the locals was Anna-Louise Cole, whose Chrysothemis is a refreshing counterpoint to the brooding Elektra. Her bright, agile soprano consistently impressed, but that high note in the final duet with Foster was jaw-dropping.”
Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine, 15 September 2022:
“Very much holding their own in the company of this English vocal powerhouse, were Australians Deborah Humble as Klytemnestra, Anna-Louise Cole as Elektra’s much gentler sister Chrysothemis, and Derek Welton as Orest. […]
Anna-Louise Cole’s angelic appearance suited the role of the sister who longed for a normal life of husband and children. Her passionate singing featured the vocal amplitude of her colleagues, her final ringing top note simply astonishing in its power.”
Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne, 16 September 2022:
“Not alone in performance stature, Foster was surrounded by luxury Australian casting. Soprano Anna-Louise Cole’s star trajectory gathered further strength with a penetrating, radiant and affectingly characterised performance as Elektra’s conflicted sister, Chrysothemis, her final duet with Foster as they praise their brother’s actions in Hörst du denn nicht? (Don’t you hear?), a thrilling and cementing display of her world-class qualities.”
Paul Selar, Australian Arts Review, 15 September 2022:
Turandot, Opera Australia, 9 February 2022
"On 9 February, Australian soprano Anna-Louise Cole stepped into the role of Turandot. It was her role debut as Puccini’s icy princess who would prefer to see her suitors killed than let a man marry her – and what a night it was!"
"From the moment Cole appeared and sang her first aria, In questa reggia, through to her Act 3 duet with Calàf, Del primo pianto, and her final declaration of love, it was clear this was an exciting debut by a hugely talented young dramatic soprano.
Cole has a glorious, lush voice with rich depth and warmth. Her top notes are thrilling, but she is impressive across her entire register. In Turandot’s opening aria she captures the princess’s chilly imperiousness but allows hints of emotion to colour her singing as she describes the rape of her ancestress, which has hardened her heart. This foreshadows Turandot’s infamous about-turn at the end of the opera when a kiss from Calàf melts her.
Cole has vocal power and clean, clear intonation but she also has an innate sense of drama so she brings emotional nuance and variation to her singing, and is convincing in her acting, exuding a strong stage presence.
Despite the character being haughty and cold for most of the opera, Cole still generates warmth and manages to make Turandot’s sudden love for Calàf feel as believable as it can be."
"The Opera Australia Chorus is exceptional, raising hairs on the neck with their stunning choral work, while Renato Palumbo does a fine job conducting the Opera Australia Orchestra.
But this particular night belonged to Anna-Louise Cole. Given that her performance will only grow, it was an exciting to witness a rising young singer staking her claim on Puccini’s frosty princess."
Jo Litson, Limelight magazine, 14 February 2021:
"Something momentous happened on the opera stage this week.
It was the debut in a major role, in Sydney, on the stage of the Opera House, of soprano Anna-Louise Cole, who sang the role of Turandot in Opera Australia’s eponymous production.
It was a tremendously poised performance from this young artist, who impressed with her deep musical sensitivity, dramatic talent and mastery of her precociously powerful voice. Her voice has laser-like focus but loses none of its beauty either in solo or when it rises like a shaft of light above the ensemble, chorus and orchestra..."
"Cole was to have made her debut in Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Brisbane for Opera Australia, now twice deferred. Brisbane’s loss was Sydney’s gain. Apart from a few small recitals, it is Sydney’s audiences who have now had first dibs at experiencing Cole. Like many opera tragics, I have a few productions of Turandot to add to my trophy cabinet along with their leading ladies who include Leona Mitchell and Jennifer Wilson, Nina Stemme in Munich, Lise Lindstrom at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and again in Sydney and Amber Wagner. Anna-Louise Cole is right up there with them and I have little doubt that her horizons right now stretch very far indeed."
"Technically superb and maintaining her stamina to the end, Cole’s portrayal of the disdainful and misandrous princess began with vengeful shards of ice, flying through the air in angles of chromatic tension in the opening bars of In questa reggia. We glimpse the soft side as she turns to the tale of her ancestor Princess Lou-Ling before the implacable façade quickly returns, lest she be seen as weakening. This glimpse prepares us for a credible change of heart when Turandot is finally able to acknowledge her feelings for Prince Calaf, albeit at a high cost."
"Anna-Louise Cole is a charismatic presence on stage with a thrilling voice. Her star is one to watch. Catch it before it slips into another galaxy."
Shamistha de Soysa, Sounds Like Sydney, 16 February 2021:
Aïda, Opera Australia, September 2017
“Signalling what should be more big roles to come, soprano Anna-Louise Cole is exquisite in the title role as Aida…, depicting her with an affecting multi-dimensional spirit that captures everything from the gently feminine to the defiant and coercive.”
“Cole sings with highly attractive vocal richness, expression and poise while exhibiting an easy comfort across a broad range to elevate the demands on every account.”
“If there was just one moment to keep close in Cole’s performance, it would be the burning tenderness brought to Act 3’s Qui Radamès verra ... O patria mia / “Oh, my dear country!”, in which Aida waits for Radamès outside the Temple of Isis on the eve of his wedding to Amneris, daughter of the King of Egypt. The crowd acknowledged it enthusiastically.”
“In fact, Act 3’s entirety is a riveting and emotion-charged highlight both in direction and delivery, centring around Aida’s cornered heart that faces loyalty to her father Amonasro and love for Radamès.”
Paul Selar, The Opera Chaser, 1 October 2017:
Thaïs, Opera Australia, July 2017
“Anna-Louise Cole and Anna Yun’s liquid mocking laughter at Athanael in the first act was delightful and richly deserved…”
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2017
“Anna-Louise Cole and Anna Yun were wonderful in the thankless roles of Thaïs’ fellow courtesans…”
Deen Hamaker, Sounds Like Sydney, July 2017
The Melbourne Ring, Opera Australia, November – December 2016
“The local cast provided, among others, splendid Rhinemaidens, Valkyries and Norns (note the name Anna-Louise Cole, an exceptional young soprano)…”
Deborah Jones, Opera magazine UK, February 2017
“As the three Norns, Tania Ferris, Jacqueline Dark and Anna-Louise Cole sewed up an ominous start with nurturing vocal care with Cole’s gleaming soprano projecting superbly in particular…
Paul Selar, Herald Sun, 29 November 2016 (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts/review-gotterdammerung-is-a-fitting-finale-to-richard-wagners-epic-16hour-ring-cycle/news-story/7883cd3f4aeae4dcf0795f3d65a2b0a1)
“Tania Ferris, Jacqueline Dark and Anna-Louise Cole begin the evening’s musical splendour with gentle, sweet singing as the Norns gossip away their workday…Emerging soprano Cole portends a promising future, delivering luscious golden tones.”
Simon Parris, Man in Chair, 29 November 2016 (https://simonparrismaninchair.com/2016/11/29/opera-australia-gotterdammerung-review-melbourne-ring-cycle-2016/)
“The Norns are nearly as successful… Anna-Louise Cole reveals a Wagnerian soprano to be reckoned with as Third Norn”
Clive Paget, Limelight, 29 November 2016 (http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/live-reviews/review-gotterdammerung-opera-australia#sthash.COfeOvgd.dpuf)
“Amidst a war-weary looking press of humanity trudging on the revolving stage Neil Armfield had fallen heroes laid low then Valkyries descend from trapezes to collect them. Of the eight Valkyries it is difficult to single out any for special mention since they all sang well and acted with fiery conviction. It was, however, particularly exciting to hear the next generation of Australian singers make such a favourable impression; Anna-Louise Cole for one is definitely a new talent to watch further.”
Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne, 3 December 2016 (http://www.classicmelbourne.com.au/reviews/ring-die-walkure/)
Tosca – Sydney Independent Opera / Opera Van Diemensland, September 2015
“Anna-Louise Cole’s beautiful soprano voice brings vibrant anguish to this cunningly staged production of Puccini’s story about love, jealousy, gloating lust and violent retribution. The theatre resonates with the carefully controlled notes that ring of her obvious passion for her art and her wide training and experience. From her very first aria, where jealousy fights against love and devotion, to the desolate grief of the finale, Cole gives a thrilling performance.”
Carol Wimmer, Stage Whispers, 9 October 2015 (http://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/tosca-5)
“Cole sang Vissi’ d’arte with poise and elegance, and she is no doubt a talented singer with a large voice which was possibly too large for the Independent Theatre with its extremely resonant acoustic … overall this was a very good performance.”
Eliza Eggler, Australian Stage, 15 October 2015 (http://www.australianstage.com.au/201510157484/reviews/sydney/tosca-%7C-opera-van-diemensland-sydney-independent-opera.html)