Press

“The other [reason to see Opera Philadelphia’s The Elixir of Love] is Sarah Shafer, a young soprano whose Adina was a revelation of a particular kind.”

“…with the right kind of musical interpretation, bel canto bliss takes hold, and the music (though still limited) takes flight. You could hear it happening all night in the voice and characterization of Shafer. Local audiences have tracked the soprano making use of every last bit of mentorship the city has to offer – from her Curtis Institute days, Astral Artists dates, a fruitful partnership in lieder with pianist Richard Goode, and a guiding hand from vocal veteran Benita Valente. If there were any doubt that her gift for intimacy could fill a 2,900-seat opera house, Shafer easily settled the question. She has a beautifully crystalline sound, perfectly true intonation, glowing warmth, and a total presence that (if not huge or showy) hews in meaningful ways to text. Adina is an inconsistent personality, making a somewhat unexplained journey from fickle and superficial to sincere. Shafer explains it in what her voice does. There was no end of pleasure in hearing the way she perfectly tracked the pitch and color or her instrumental doubles in the orchestra pit.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 2016

“Tonal beauty certainly is Sarah Shafer’s calling card, especially in the upper register, where her Adina has many exquisitely lovely phrases.”

Philadelphia Magazine, April 2016

“As Adina Sarah Shafer was a delight. With just the right vocal weight and tone for the role—she charmed the audience with her opening aria about the story of Tristan and Isotta (Isolde), and had them in the palm of her hand with “Prendi, per me sei libero.” A well handled “Prendi” always makes this hardened cynic shed a tear, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed.

Huffington Post, May 2016

“Shafer wasted no time in making the role her own, bringing copious amounts of vocal power, lyricism and dramatic urgency to the assignment. To date, she’s been a dazzling presence in the world premieres of Nolan Gasser’s “Secret Garden” and Marco Tutino’s “La Ciociara” — isn’t it time she got the star vehicle she deserves?”

San Francisco Gate, October 2015

“As Pamina, Sarah Shafer was equally up to the task with her lucid voice and expressive stage presence. ”

San Francisco Examiner,  October 2015

“…soprano Sarah Shafer, a feisty, vocally powerful Pamina…”

Huffington Post,  October 2015

“The most accomplished overall performance was of the most ambitious cantata – Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut – with Shafer giving one of her better performances in these early years of her post-Curtis Institute career. She seemed to inhabit the penitent world of the cantata with the kind of elegant simplicity that opened doors for the audience to discover the piece’s meaning for themselves. The church setting allowed one to enjoy her not on any distant, elevated stage but almost at eye level with the audience. At times, I was sure she was singing to me. I’m sure others felt the same way.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2015

“Perhaps the evening’s most exciting contribution came from soprano Sarah Shafer as Rosetta, in a performance marked by gleaming, powerful vocalism and a probing dramatic intelligence. Shafer’s company debut two years ago in the world premiere of Nolan Gasser’s “The Secret Garden” marked her as an artist to watch, but this was an achievement of an entirely new order.”

San Francisco Gate, June 2015

“Sarah Shafer deployed a large, refulgent soprano to often radiant effect as Rosetta.”

Opera News, June 2015

“Soprano Sarah Shafer was a pure-voiced Rosetta.”

Wall Street Journal , June 2015

The most impressive of [pianist Richard Goode’s] collaborators was the young soprano Sarah Shafer, who sang a total of thirteen well-selected lieder over the course of the recital….Her connection to and understanding of the material were such that her interpretations came through in strong, powerful performances. In the first of Brahms’s “Jung Lieder,” she showed gorgeous flow and wide-eyed excitement, followed by calm, tender reflection in “Lerchengesang.” Shafer’s finest work came in her Schumann selections—the “Intermezzo” from Liederkreis was perhaps the strongest display of her poetic sense, her subtle phrasing coming as naturally as breath. “Der Sandmann” was an opportunity for her to display the variety in her voice, changing color and character on a dime, seamlessly switching between registers, and singing with playful relish.

New York Classical Review, February 2015