Reviews

For Paul’s stage directing reviews, please visit paulhoughtalingdirector.com

Dulcamara, L’ELISIR D’AMORE

Opera Birmingham, March 2017

“Paul Houghtaling was an impossible-to-ignore Dulcamara.  Stealing the night, along with the villager’s cash, he gave more depth to the character than one could expect . . . His voice was commanding and communicative, his patter articulate, and his chemistry with leading lady Alicia Gianni enchanting. ‘Udite, udite, o rustici’ was a tour de force.”

—Edward Forstman, Arts Birmingham (2017)

Soloist, CHRISTMAS ORATORIO (Bach)

St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, December 2007 and 2010

“Paul Houghtaling supported his strong bass-baritone with an appealing interpretive sensibility.”

—Allan Kozinn, The New York Times (2010)

“And despite my partiality for tenors, the bass-baritone, a gentleman named Paul Houghtaling, impressed mightily, if only to wonder where he kept that voice in such a relatively slender frame!”

—Livejournal.com (2007)

Sir Joseph Porter, H.M.S. PINAFORE

Nashville Opera

“There are many notable performances, first and foremost bass-baritone Paul Houghtaling who makes a hilarious entrance, twirling his umbrella like a drum major. Houghtaling is a short, wiry stage presence — he moves like a cat, and he’s a consummate showman. He’s also a standout in the marvelously incessant trio ‘Never Mind the Why and Wherefore.'”

—Martin Brady, Nashville Scene

“The cast mined H.M.S. Pinafore for every comic possibility — none more than bass-baritone Paul Houghtaling as the effete, overweening Sir Joseph Porter. He delighted the audience with his impressive umbrella twirling, and the crowd stayed with him throughout the evening.”

—Jonathan Marx, The Tennessean

THE SCHOOLMASTER by Telemann

THE SCHOOLMASTER by Telemann

Soloist and Stage Director, THE SCHOOLMASTER (DER SCHULMEISTER)

Anchorage Opera “Second Stage” series

“Paul Houghtaling translated [and directed] The Schoolmaster and starred as its title character…a flamboyant, cocktail swilling, self-important music instructor…amusing class roster…the artists responded with some truly inspired performances. Houghtaling played the vocal gymnast, deftly negotiating the extensive ornamentation, simultaneously poking fun at and celebrating the elaborate style.”

—Sarah Henning, Anchorage Daily News

Nanni, L’INFEDELTA DELUSA (Haydn)

Bard Music Festival/American Symphony Orchestra

“Paul Houghtaling revealed a striking and flexible baritone.”

—Barrymore Scherer, Opera News

The Monk, LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME

Peter Maxwell Davies, Dinosaur Annex, Boston

“Paul Houghtaling has personality and a splendid voice.”

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

Soloist, FIRST BOOK OF AYRES FOR THE LUTE (Dowland)

My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort

“Paul Houghtaling gave a thrilling account of ‘His Golden Locks’ toward the end of the program, at once noble and expressive.”

—Paul Griffiths, The New York Times

THE MIKADO

THE MIKADO

Ko-Ko, THE MIKADO

Lake George Opera

“To put in bluntly, I went cuckoo for Ko-Ko, and that’s no puff….Houghtaling sang the role with sharp diction and ample tone, and his antic acting included a kaleidoscope of well-timed double takes, a flight up the proscenium arch and even a stint when he twirled his executioner’s sword with the precision and style of a Dallas cheerleader. It was a total, integrated performance — part Harold Lloyd, part patter-singer extraordinaire, all scintillating.”

—Doug de Lisle, The Record, Troy, NY

“Houghtaling maneuvered about the stage like a sinuous elf, investing his movements and lines with whatever comic aside he could imagine … the capacity audience loved every moment. He still showed he could sing with melting simplicity as in ‘Tit-Willow.'”

—Geraldine Freedman, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY

“[Houghtaling’s] gift for physical comedy is prodigious, and by using his own version of the G&S patter-singer voice, he was second to none in putting the music across.”

—James Hennerty, The Times Union, Albany, NY

Ko-Ko, THE MIKADO

Anchorage Opera

“There were three performances that really stole the show: Ko-Ko, played so dramatically fussy by Paul Houghtaling…[the show] keeps the audience thoroughly engaged, from the introduction of Ko-Ko, with his drum major-like ax spinning….”

—Katie Stine, Anchorage Daily News

“But the darling of the evening was clearly baritone Paul Houghtaling, whose antics as Ko-Ko reached their zenith in Act. II. Houghtaling is familiar to Anchorage audiences from past productions, but has never had quite such a flamboyant role with which to display his many talents, including axe juggling.”

—Kristina Church, The Anchorage Press

THE MAGIC FLUTE with Faith Esham

THE MAGIC FLUTE with Faith Esham

Papageno, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE

Teatro Lirico d’Europa, Abilene Opera, Rimrock Opera

“The cast offered two remarkable performances. Paul Houghtaling was a marvelous Papageno and Lisa Ericksen a sensitive, desirable Pamina. Nothing gave the audience as much pleasure as these two singers.”

La Nouvelle Républic, Le Mans, France

“…a Papageno [Paul Houghtaling] play by play jovial and tearful, but without the excesses of bouffonerie…”

—Albin Jacquier, Tribune de Genève

“Young American baritone Paul Houghtaling created an extraordinary Papageno of comic sensitivity, naivete and tenderness, served by a superb voice and a remarkable physical agility.”

Le Provencal, Salon de Provence, France

“It is, however, the Papageno of Paul Houghtaling which we speak of most enthusiastically because this young baritone is not only a solid singer, but one who has a sense of presence, who loves Mozart and his full range of emotions, and who plays excellent comedy.”

France Ouest, Rouen

“… perfectly in harmony with the Papageno of Paul Houghtaling who remains the major element of the performance. Very at ease [on stage] and equally brilliant in the vocal part … an excellent, generous actor … very piquant.”

Journal Toulouse, France

“The nice-sized audience’s favorite was baritone Paul Houghtaling who put a unique spin on the comic character…. [his] antics as Papageno brought the impact of Mozart’s comic genius to life…”

Abilene Reporter-News

“Another standout . . . Paul Houghtaling’s Papageno. He provides the audience with merriment by using body language to convey his character’s indiscretions and charming feckless nature. He is a delight to watch and hear, with a deep, animated voice and stage presence to match.”

—Christene Meyers, Billings Gazette

Don Pasquale, DON PASQUALE

Tacoma Opera

“The wicked old man is bass-baritone Paul Houghtaling, and I’ve not seen a better singing actor. He leaves no doubt of his intention (or dementia). I enjoyed him greatly at the company’s season-opening gala last month, and the promise tendered then was delivered in spades tonight — he’s worth the price of admission by himself.”

—Theatre Puget Sound (www.tpsonline.org)

“His Pasquale was a far cry from the traditional character usually seen in this role – portly, slobbering, pathetic. Instead, he forged a character quick on his toes and his heart. He danced around the stage with clownish glee and numerous pratfalls, making the audience laugh throughout the opera.”

The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA

Rauschenberg, THE CONSTRUCTION OF BOSTON

Wheeler, Charlestown Working Theater

“Paul Houghtaling is] an intelligent singer with a secure, colorful distinctive voice and excellent diction, who also knows how to carry himself.”

—Lloyd Schwartz, The Boston Phoenix

“Paul Houghtaling’s deep baritone register conveys Rauschenberg’s solemnity with impressive richness.”

—Jules Becker, The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA

“The cast is young, talented, personable… the very talented baritone Paul Houghtaling as Rauschenberg really seems in control of his music, his character and his place in [Kenneth] Koch’s cosmos.”

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

ICH HABE GENUG, Cantata 82, Bach

BachWorks, NY

“Houghtaling possesses a dramatic presence and riveting vocal quality which moved the audience to tears . . . perfectly suited to Bach.”

—Mary Kerner, Chelsea News, NY

ST. JOHN PASSION, Bach

Bach Society of Worcester

“Paul Houghtaling’s vocal presence as Jesus was rich, dark and stoic. With remarkably few lines to sing, Houghtaling’s interpretation was deeply sensitive to Bach’s portrayal of the forbearing, heroically suffering Christ of St. John’s gospel.”

—Emily Van Hazinga, Sentinel-Enterprise, Worcester, MA

“Houghtaling’s resonant full-bodied voice was perfect for the part… blessed with precise diction…striking nobility and simplicity.”

—William A. MacPherson, The Worcester Telegram

THE MERRY WIDOW

THE MERRY WIDOW

Njegus, THE MERRY WIDOW

Longview Opera, Abilene Opera

“It’s hard to take your eyes off the comedic Houghtaling…His quirky physical reactions alone drew hearty laughs and cheers in several scenes…his expression is nearly ecstatic as he leads the can-can dancers in a grand finale performance, complete with baton twirling.”

—Robin Galiano, Longview News-Journal, Texas

“And Paul Houghtaling…threatens in Acts I and II to steal the show — much as he did two years ago as Papageno in The Magic Flute — before completing the pilfering job with a good part of Act III. Later, when baton-twirling Houghtaling joins the high-stepping Grisettes for an old fashioned can-can, you will think of Joel Grey as the emcee in Cabaret.”

—Bob Lapham, Abilene Reporter-News

Benny, THE DESERT SONG

Boston Concert Opera

“The best performance came from the comic lead, rubber-legged Paul Houghtaling as the cowardly reporter…he had tremendous verve and personality and sang better than the romantic leads.”

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

“For my money, the best work of the night was from Paul Houghtaling and Lynn Torgove in the comic roles…both have a sense of high definition, the sell-it-to-the-balcony gestures, diction and enthusiasm that is the heart of musical theater.”

—Jon Lehman, The Patriot Ledger, MA

“But the show was stolen by the hilarious antics of Benny, a wacky newspaper reporter played brilliantly by Paul Houghtaling.”

—Barry Palmer, The Union Leader, Manchester, NH

“The best performances in this production are those by Deborah Collins, Lynn Torgove and, most especially, Paul Houghtaling. Mr. Houghtaling is really delightful to watch as the impish Benny. He prances, hops, skips and mugs with such verve and energy, and he also has an excellent baritone voice.”

—Paul McMahon, The Mirror, Boston, MA

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

The Major General, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

Knoxville Opera, Anchorage Opera, Colorado Symphony

“His tour-de-force performance of the Major General’s signature number grabbed the audience from the opening note…a wonderful performance as Major General Stanley…the veteran opera star’s portrayal would be a standout in any production and his acting is as fine as his singing.”

—Doug Mason, The Knoxville News-Sentinel

“Richard Lewis (The Pirate King) and Paul Houghtaling (Major General Stanley) play their roles with obvious glee. Some of the sight gags were quite funny, such as the Major General’s drill [umbrella twirling] routine.”

—Donna Freeman, Anchorage Daily News

“Then there is the principal comic role of the Major General, done with flair by baritone Paul Houghtaling.”

—Glenn Diffin, Denver Post

Hard-Boiled Herman, ROSEMARIE

Central City Opera

“Paul Houghtaling manages to make his small frame look ludicrous in any costume and his size enables other characters to swat him around the stage — not a problem, but an asset for this show stealer.”

—Alan Young, Rocky Mountain News

HARD BOILED HERMAN

ROSEMARIE

“Yet it’s the marvelously comic Hard-Boiled Herman of baritone Paul Houghtaling that almost stops the show.”

—Wes Blomster, The Boulder Daily Camera, CO

“However, it is Paul Houghtaling as Hard Boiled Herman whose elastic body, face and voice tickle the senses and pin the laugh meter. He manages to make his small frame look ludicrous in any costume — not a problem, but an asset for this show stealer.”

—Kay Turnbaugh, Voice of Peak-to-Peak Region, CO

“Paul Houghtaling brings smart movement and clever singing to Hard Boiled Herman, another dated role he manages to make his own.”

—Alan Young, Rocky Mountain News, CO

“The campily comic figure of the wimpish Hard Boiled Herman (Paul Houghtaling) gets a chance to steal the show and almost does.”

—Jeff Bradley, Denver Post

“And there are so many stellar voices [in the season] it is impossible for me to speak of them all. So I’ll just say that Paul Houghtaling’s Hard Boiled Herman in Rosemarie and Dana Krueger’s Dame Quickly in Falstaff are worth the price of admission alone.”

—David Marlow, KGAY, National Radio Network, Denver, CO

EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING, Peter Maxwell Davies
DICHTERLIEBE, Robert Schumann

Elebash Hall, New York, NY
Show concept and direction by Paul Houghtaling

“… singers seem to growing impatient with that [standard recital] format … a growing number of them – including Simon Keenlyside … and John Kelly and Paul Houghtaling, in appropriately madcap stagings of Schumann cycles, have been livening up their acts.”

—Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

“Baritone Paul Houghtaling raised the roof with his wild performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’s ‘Eight Songs for a Mad King.’ This was paired with a staged rendition of Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’ [both works staged by Paul Houghtaling] — another example of a performer off the beaten path drawing imaginative connections between standard repertory and contemporary music.”

—David Salvage, Sequenza 21/The Contemporary Classical Music Weekly (Jan. 2005)

EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING, Peter Maxwell Davies

Graduate Center Contemporary Ensemble, New York, NY; New England Conservatory of Music, Guest Artist; Alea III Ensemble, Boston

“But the show’s closer was truly a feast fit for a king. A medal should be given to Paul Houghtaling, the mad king in a grueling, physical performance that included running into the wall and stage door, disrobing and shattering a violin to bits. Great theater? I think so actually, because he had us all entirely convinced of his madness, demonstrated by a panoply of ridiculously daring vocal techniques, and honed by what surely must be a featured piece for Houghtaling.”

—Sean Hickey, New Music Connoisseur (May 2003)

“The musical performance was expertly rendered. Houghtaling was a man possessed: racing about the stage, sitting cross-legged and blank-eyed, screaming and through it all singing forcefully, in eerie falsetto highs and chesty baritonal lows. The Davies sent you home stunned.”

—Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe

“”As a climax, the Eight Songs for a Mad King . . . worked better than a grizzled ‘60s-surviving, non-admirer of this piece might have expected. It had a baritone, Paul Houghtaling, who could and did sing (besides scream, wriggle, etc.).”

—Richard Buell, The Boston Globe

THE CHRISTMAS STORY

The Waverly Consort

“Paul Houghtaling’s rich-hued bass-baritone and commanding delivery did stand out.”

—Scott Cantrell, Kansas City Star

Cadmus/Somnus, SEMELE

Anchorage Opera

“[Paul Houghtaling] shows a keen sense of farce as an over-the-top god of sleep. The antics never seem to distract the performers from their singing, which is excellent.”

—Ken Dinitz, Anchorage Daily News

SNEDEN’S LANDING VARIATION, Virgil Thomson,

Frank O’Hara Festival at Harvard Poet’s Theatre, Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus

“Performed by baritone Paul Houghtaling, Virgil Thomson’s ‘Sneden’s Landing Variations’ was delivered with the knockout punch the composer intended.”

—Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe

IN CONCERT

IN CONCERT

AVENTURES, Ligeti

New England Conservatory of Music Contemporary Ensemble, Boston

“The great hit of the evening was Ligeti’s Aventures…the knockout singers were Laura Knoop, Bobbi Kelley and Paul Houghtaling.”

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

DETTINGEN TE DEUM, Handel

Miami Bach Society, Miami, FL

“The principal soloist of the Te Deum was baritone Paul Houghtaling who performed his solo sections with a full, rich baritone voice and with an excellent mastery of musical line and interpretation of text.”

—Raymond Barr, Coral Gables Gazette

MESSIAH, Handel

The Billings Symphony, Billings, MT

“Four accomplished soloists [including] bass-baritone Paul Houghtaling … joined the Billings Symphony Orchestra and chorale in a stirring performance…all four soloists have impressive resumes and performed flawlessly.”

—Tom Howard, Billings Gazette

 

Comments are closed.