Listening to McMasters sing sent shivers up and down reclined spines. What a voice! And what expression McMasters can conjure is in itself a miracle. She's modest and earnest, and obviously hard working. Singers have to be able to draw their listeners into a dramatic scene in moments, and she does this with brilliance.
THE RECORD -- KITCHENER, ONTARIO
American soprano Christine McMasters has been singing for as long as she can remember. Since making her professional debut with conductor John Nelson and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, she has enjoyed a multifaceted international career performing in North and South America, Asia and Europe.
Although Ms. McMasters is primarily a singer of opera, oratorio and recital repertoire, she also enjoys occasional forays into jazz and musical theater. Examples of her versatility include the role of Violetta in La traviata with the Kiev National Opera (for which she received Ukraine's Golden Fortune Medal), Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Russian opera arias with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra in Moscow, a jazz concert with pianist Makoto Ozone at the Sony Open Golf Tournament in Hawaii, and a four-week run of the musical revue Vienna to Broadway with Between Friends Music Theatre in Ontario, Canada.
On the operatic stage, Ms. McMasters has been equally successful as an actress and singer. In praise of her portrayals of such roles as Mimi and Musetta in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Micaëla in Carmen, press reviewers have described her as having "gorgeous sonority," "awesome skill," "great musical sensitivity," and acting ability which is "consistently poignant" and "moving."
She also has sung extensively in concert and oratorio, having appeared as featured soloist with such orchestras as the Moscow Radio Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Osaka Century Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Edmonton Symphony and Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela...to name only a few.
Conductors have included Julius Rudel, John Nelson, Eiji Oue, Fiora Contino, Grzegorz Nowak, Richard Kapp, Mykhailo Dutchak, Chosei Komatsu and Grant Cooper.
In recitals and chamber music programs, she has collaborated with the Bolshoi Theatre Sextet and Canadian Chamber Ensemble; pianists Barry Snyder, Maxim Philippov, Jamie Parker, Leslie De'Ath and Makoto Ozone; double-bassist Gary Karr, harpist Mariko Anraku, trumpeter Guy Few, clarinetist James Campbell...and many others.
In 1992, at the invitation of the United Nations Association of Russia, Ms. McMasters made her Moscow debut singing Tchaikovsky arias with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra in an opera gala concert in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses for an audience of more than 5,000. She was the first American to sing with that orchestra after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her performance was praised by the orchestra's concertmaster as being "in the finest tradition of the Bolshoi Theatre." Soon after, she was engaged by the Bolshoi Theatre Sextet to perform with them in concert in the Bolshoi Theatre's Beethoven Hall. Christine McMasters has since returned to Russia to appear with the Moscow Radio (Tchaikovsky) Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and in recital at Moscow State University. European engagements have taken her also to Poland, Ukraine, England, Denmark and Germany.
Ms. McMasters first sang in Tokyo in 1996, with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Casals Hall, and she has since sung with many of the major Japanese orchestras. She has presented numerous recitals in Japan, has participated in eight chamber music tours there and, for three consecutive summers, performed and taught at the Takefu International Music Festival as an artist-in-residence.
For eleven years Christine McMasters lived in Canada, where she performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Festival of the Sound, Between Friends Music Theatre, Canadian Chamber Ensemble and throughout Canada on the CBC Radio network. Her CD with American pianist Barry Snyder was recorded in CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. It features a program of art songs in Russian, German, French, Japanese and English.
For a decade, she was a voice professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Teaching activity also has included master classes in China, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan and the United States, and lecture recitals in Japan and Russia.
In addition, she produced and costumed Madama Butterfly in 2005, for the National Opera Company (Compañía Lírica Nacional) of Costa Rica, which presented nine performances at the National Theater in San José to sold-out audiences and rave reviews. In recognition of her work on that production, she was named Artist of the Year by Costa Rica’s La República newspaper.
Following a performing career that spanned four decades, Christine McMasters has returned to her love of teaching. She recently moved to southeastern Connecticut, where she teaches singing in her home voice studio.
Not only did Christine McMasters render the role of Violetta with gorgeous sonority, but her acting was consistently poignant. Hers was less the "fallen woman" and more the "lady of the camellias." It was a memorable performance.
ARTS INSIGHT -- INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
Soprano Christine McMasters has a finely focused lyric voice in which lies a surprising reserve of power that she uses judiciously. She employs enough tremolo to add color and warmth without ever clouding her intonation...
Entering the world of bel canto opera, she sang two connected scenes from Bellini's "La Sonnambula," the voice taking on a firm, columnar timbre and revealing unsuspected reach and breadth.
She ended the recital with a Tchaikovsky group, exhibiting fine diction in a somewhat awkward language and an arching, stratospheric line that showed us new dimension right at the close.
THE BUFFALO NEWS -- BUFFALO, NEW YORK