Aida, Cambridge Philharmonic

John Gilroy, Cambridge Independent (Dec 10, 2019

Both a premonition of the emotional forces at work in the plot, and a foretaste of the standard of vocal delivery that would typify Cambridge Phil’s presentation came early in the first act with Radamès’ famous aria ‘Celeste Aida’. American tenor, Michael Wade Lee’s expression of his love for Aida (soprano Linda Richardson) shook the hall with the impressive power of its unconfined passion.

Aida, Cambridge Philharmonic

Mike Levy, The Cambridge Critique (Dec 8, 2019)

The soloists were astonishingly wonderful. The tenor Michael Wade Lee shone as Radames, the ancient Egyptian military leader...
Singing from memory, [Michael] oozed charisma and was easily able to match the sheer decibel power of the augmented band with its fabulous brass section.

Aschaffenburg Philharmonie, with Camilla Nylund

Doris Huhn, MainEcho (April 23, 2018)

Goosebump Moments...
In the finale of the Opera Gala, Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin took centre stage. Whilst Camilla Nylund once again shone in the role of Elsa ‘Einsam in trüben Tagen’, Michael Wade Lee impressed us in the title role with ‘In fernem Land, unnahbar euren Schritten’.

Il Tabarro, Bard Music Festival

Michael Miller, New York Arts

Michael Wade Lee, as Luigi, convincingly balanced his character’s weariness and dependence on drink with romantic lyricism.

La Traviata, Boston Lyric Opera

Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review (October 10, 2014)

Michael Wade Lee, also making his BLO debut... brought a clean, forward tone that bloomed in the upper register, as well as stylishly elegant phrasing. He was best in moments that played to these bel canto strengths, such as the second act opener, “De’ miei bollenti spiriti,” and particularly the last act duet, “Parigi, o cara,” which was truly a moment of tender calm.

Tosca, Lyric Opera Productions

From the start, Michael Wade Lee proved to be a thoroughly convincing Mario Cavaradossi. He combined the ability to sing powerfully, carrying well over the orchestra at their loudest, with great tenderness. His rendition of the celebrated aria “E lucevan le stelle” was a profound, emotional outpouring and – if for no other reason – it was worth going to the opera just to hear him sing this. It was not love alone which motivates the character of Cavaradossi, but his radical political affiliations, and in these too, Lee sang with ringing conviction. Moreover, he demonstrated a fine thespian trait as he strove to convince Tosca of his love in Act I and died convincingly in Act III.
Andrew Larkin, (May 18, 2014)

US tenor Michael Wade Lee is particularly satisfying as the aristocratic Cavaradossi. His voice retains its securely well-rounded and heroic stance throughout the evening and his final ‘E lucevan le stelle’ aria is also sensitively appealing. This refined quality continues into the opera’s final duet between the ill-fated lovers.
Pat O'Kelly, Irish Independent (May 18, 2014)

Stiffelio, Theater Krefeld / Mönchengladbach

Michael Wade Lee equips the title role with a strong tenor, who shows no signs of fatigue and attaches the high notes cleanly without forcing it. Even theatrically, [he] credibly sets the internal struggle between his feelings and his responsibility as a preacher.
Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin (September 28, 2013)

Then we heard a tenor!
Michael Wade Lee is the prototype of an almost non-existent vocal genre, that of the Italian spinto tenor, one who can sing Radames in Aida, Cavaradossi in Tosca, even Andrea Chenier (Which I would like to hear from him and see again).
Unfortunately, Verdi declined to write a proper aria for the tenor. If he had known Lee, he would have certainly written such. He can let his voice shine forth, it is a delight, but also sing wonderfully aided piano, which is not common in this subject.
Herbert Rommerskirchen, BürgerZeitung Monchengladbach (September 29, 2013)

Michael Wade Lee as Stiffelio, with charisma and power, proves just in the long and difficult game, in the many high notes as a worthy...
Miriam Rosenbohm, (September 29, 2013)

[the opera] succeeds because Michael Wade Lee, with his bronze tenor, outshined his musical reading of the adulterous woman in the Gospel episode, really singing in pianissimo...
Andreas Falentin, Theater Pur (September 29, 2013)

Michael Wade Lee is a tenor-on-fire, with elan and luster threw all obstacles out of the way of danger, even in the quite unpleasent height designed by Verdi.
Tungsten Goertz, (September 29, 2013)

Tenor's roles take him across the globe

Deborah Martin

Interview in the San Antonio Express News

Carmen, Opera Theatre Productions

Terence Blain, Irish Theatre Magazine (May 16, 2013)

Lee’s is...a depiction that grows steadily in stature as the evening progresses, rising to considerable levels of intensity in the fatal confrontation with Carmen at the opera’s conclusion.
Lee has a ringing tenor, and sings José excellently. His 'Flower Song' is beautifully thought through as a piece of self-revealing theatre;

Otello, Opera North

[Michael] Wade Lee has an attractive velvety spinto tenor...
Geoffrey Mogridge, Opera Britannia (January 18, 2013)

[Michael Wade Lee] gives Cassio a real presence for once.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (January 17, 2013)

Michael Wade Lee’s happy-go-lucky Cassio produces some ingratiating tone...
Martin Dreyer, The Press (January 18, 2013)

...the sweet-voiced Cassio of Michael Lee Wade produced many of the most vocally accomplished moments of the evening.
Sam Wigglesworth, (January 21, 2013)

Michael Wade Lee's Cassio was also spot-on in his wearing of his heart on his sleeve, giving an open, unguarded and enthusiastic performance.
Keris Nine, OperaJournal (March 11, 2013)

Aida, Annapolis Opera

As Radames, tenor Michael Wade Lee again proved an Annapolis favorite...[he] delivered an ardent and tender "Celeste Aida" with ringing high notes of power and beauty..."
Mary Johnson, The Baltimore Sun (Nov. 1, 2012)

"Great Performance...Romeo And Juliette"

Mary Johnson, The Baltimore Sun (May 23, 2012)

...making an astonishing debut...As Romeo, Lee started strong, perfectly capturing the impulsive romantic rushing into his destiny. Young, athletic, and handsome, Lee ideally fit the Romeo role, and captivated us completely with his balcony arias "Ah, leve-toi soleil" and "O nuit divine" filled with ardor that conveyed both tenderness and passion.
The highlight was the final duet, requiring both singers to deliver passion, pathos and drama in superb singing that demanded vocal stamina, complete with ringing high notes.

Interview witH Michael Wade Lee

Read the Larry Kellum interview of American Tenor Michael Wade Lee

Les Contes D'Hoffmann, Connecticut Lyric Opera

...the evening ultimately still belonged to Michael Wade Lee in the title role. Looking and acting the part of the tormented poet to perfection, he poured out so much honey, cream and satin into the theater that this should, and could, be one of his greatest accomplishments to date, and end up becoming a signature role for this rising tenor star.
Larry Kellum, New Britain City Journal (November 6, 2011)

Lee was a perfect vocal fit for the French fare... with a ringing clarity, and projected the right doses of ardor and despair.
Milton moore, The Day (November 15, 2011)

Il Trovatore, Lyric Opera Productions

Tenor Michael Wade Lee is a convincing Manrico - ...his stalwart tone is ardently impressive.
Pat O'Kelly, Irish Independent (October 17, 2011)

As Manrico, tenor Michael Wade Lee was in all respects to the manner born, and made his Act III aria (the celebrated Di quella pira ) a fiery focal point of the drama...
Andrew Johnstone, Irish Times, (October 21, 2011)

L'Elisir D'Amore, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Lee is hardly a novice but the packed second night audience clearly warmed to him as the lovelorn Nemorino and were generous in their appreciation of the understudy's excellent performance...
A particularly tender rendering of the opera's most famous aria Una Furtiva Lagrima clearly impressed the assembled ranks...
Chris Francis, Mid-Sussex Times, June 16, 2011

...the Glyndebourne debut of another exciting young American tenor, Michael Wade Lee.
Lee radiated easy charm. His voice is a spot-on bel canto tenor: focused, pure and light-timbred, rising to powerful and open-throated top notes;..."Una furtiva lagrima"...soon worked its magic.
Jessica Duchen, The Independent (June 14, 2011)

Michael Wade Lee...proved to be outstanding and fully deserved the ovation he received after his aria, Una Furtive Lagrima and at the curtain.
Barrie Jerram, The Argus (July 13, 2011)

Die Zauberflöte, Connecticut Lyric Opera

[With a] buttery, creamy sound... Tamino, tenor Michael Wade Lee,... brought matinee idol good looks to the part.
Larry Kellum, Town Times (November 19, 2010)

Describing Mr. Lee as superb would not be overstating his talent. His voice was clear and powerful and easily filled the entire theater. Mr. Lee’s portrayal was believable and his acting was never over the top. He clearly is very talented and has the potential to sing in the world’s great opera houses.
Chris Browner, (November 27, 2010)

a terrific singing interpretation... A strong, virile voice with steel and easily able to fill the 1,200(?) seat Garde with his voice... His tenor is fine with pure tone, agility, dynamic range and steel behind it. A convincing Tamino on Friday night... He is someone to watch.
Mike Hetsko, Opera-L (December 3, 2010)

Cavalleria Rusticana, Kentucky Opera

...his singing tonight had both the power and the youth that made him a near perfect Turiddu. His serenade was appropriately lyrical; his treatment of Santuzza had the virility you expect but none of the barking that usually accompanies this kind of role. His final aria was beautifully vocalized...
Jesus Rivera, (September 24, 2010)

Michael Wade Lee's oily Turiddu asserted his own brand of utter confidence, even as his character betrayed Santuzza...
Andrew Adler, Courier-Journal (September 25, 2010)

Rigoletto, San Antonio Opera

David Hendricks, Express-News (June 20, 2010)

Tenor Michael Wade Lee, as the duke of Mantua, executed the role of the despicable villain to the hilt. The story wouldn't work without the duke's shameless attitude toward women. Yet, Lee effortlessly tossed off, wonderfully, what may be opera's most famous aria, “La donna è mobile,” without making it sound like a cliché.

Midland Symphony

Roger Bryant, Midland Daily News (November 9, 2009)

The warmest audience response was for guest soloist Michael Wade Lee, a tenor whose powerful and pleasing voice is accompanied by a winning personality. Rather than simply coming out in a tuxedo and singing, he was dressed for each of his arias in a different semi-costume and he put real feeling into each one. All three (arias) were very good, but perhaps most compelling was “Vesti la giubba” from Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci,” the famous aria in which the clown Canio talks himself into performing despite his heartbreak. Lee beautifully conveyed the pain of the character...

Madama Butterfly, Musica Viva, Hong Kong

Peter Gordon, South China Morning Post (January 12, 2009)

Lo King-man's recent production of Madame Butterfly was everything I think opera should be. Tenor Michael Wade Lee as the glamorous-yet-feckless American naval lieutenant Pinkerton was an import; but, again, he was what one hopes to hear in a performance of this kind: a young, personable singer who might just be going places.

Carmen, San Antonio Opera

Jennifer Roolf Laster, Express-News (September 28, 2008)

...tenor Michael Wade Lee's voice was velvet — a warm, brown velvet for snuggling. His reading of Don José's “La fleur que tu m'avais jetée” was smooth and showed impressive warmth. ...the best moments of this production were between(Carmen -Audrey) Babcock and Lee, whose interplay turned the spectacle of the opera into an Ibsen-like domestic drama that was thrillingly intimate.

Shcherbachov, American Symphony Orchestra

Steve Smith, New York Times (January 28, 2008)

Michael Wade Lee...sang with attractive tone and stamina in the final movement, a lurid Dantean fantasy...

L'Elisir D'Amore

Marty Clear, St Petersburg Times (December 30, 2007)

The lead performers - Kathy Pyeatt as Adina, Michael Wade Lee as Nemorino, Richard Cassell as the huckster and Wade Thomas Belcore, Nemorino's rival - all wield wondrous voices and handle demanding roles facilely.

Carmen, Chautauqua Opera

Michael Wade Lee is that rarity among operatic tenors, a really good-looking, virile, well-built and gifted thespian with a wide-ranging voice to match. [in the last act] his despair, Lee continued to pour forth exciting high notes unstintingly.
Clair W. Van Ausdall, The Chautauquan Daily (July 23, 2007)

[Carmen] has a great foil in Michael Wade Lee, who plays Don José. Low-key at the start, Lee grows in presence and vocal power until, at the opera’s end, he steals the show. The aria in the last act when he declares his love for Carmen was the most moving moment of the night. His high notes were clear and ardent.
Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News (July 22, 2007)

Michael Wade Lee had a robust and unforced top register which made his Don José a standout.
Robert W. Plyler, The Post Journal (July 18, 2007)

Carmen, Greek National Opera

Maria Softsi, Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2007

A superb spectacle...excellent soloists...I adored the interpreting temperament...of Michael Wade Lee as Don José

Rigoletto, Connecticut Lyric Opera

Lee Howard, The Day (November 20, 2005)

The lustful Duke, played by tenor Michael Lee, [is] a cad of the first rank. So it seemed appropriate that Lee gave the Duke an impulsive edge, emphasizing his highly charged emotional state through his ardent musical phrasing. His demeanor was that of a penned-up bull, yet his singing couldn't have been lovelier, especially in the show-stopping “La donna e mobile!”

The Rape of Lucretia, Merola Opera

The best singing came from the two choruses, mediating smoothly between the roles as remote observer and engaged near participants in the drama. … strong was tenor Michael Wade Lee, who combined heroism and honeyed tenderness in equal measure.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle (July 20, 2004)

Most impressive in the cast was Michael Wade Lee, in the role of the Male Chorus, with an oratorio-sized, well-articulated tenor voice, of clarity and remarkable color. The young Texan has outstanding diction, a natural, "speaking" manner of singing, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively through voice and acting.
Janos Gereben OPERA-L(July 17, 2004)

The Mikado, Nashville Opera

Leo Sochocki, Nashville City Paper (January 30, 2001)

Michael Wade Lee, tenor, as Nanki-Poo is…suited to the task. His character is the romantic lead, and most of the show’s focus and plot revolve around him. He lives up to these demands admirably. His is, as it should be, the strongest voice in the ensemble. And the real treat in Lee’s performance is his acting ability. Simply put, unlike an older school of opera, acting is no longer considered secondary in vocal performance education, and Mr. Lee proved himself to be a fine actor as well as singer. Each of his solos was beautifully executed with a keen eye to character and timing.

Wozzeck, Indiana Opera Theater

Peter Jacobi, Bloomington Herald (October 26, 1999)

Michael Lee’s tenor grabbed hold of all those Bergian high notes that leap from the score, this as he dramatically developed the part of the slimy Captain.


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