MADAMA BUTTERFLY | Berkshire Opera Festival
Jason Slayden, as Pinkerton, reinforced his regular good looks with a gorgeous, powerful tenor, consistent in tone from top to bottom, which, underneath his clubman’s aplomb, conveyed all the passing clouds of insouciant self-indulgence, lechery, colonial arrogance, and cynical willingness to exploit local customs, which he despises, for his own ends. Pinkerton, as despicable as he is, requires not just a character singer, but a proper lead, who can carry Puccini’s seductive melodies, and Mr. Slayden was more than equal to this.
—Michael Miller, THE BERKSHIRE REVIEW FOR THE ARTS
The B.F. Pinkerton was tenor Jason Slayden, a wonderful discovery. His voice is like cut crystal–sharp at the edges, but brilliant and right on the money. He created a wonderful, romantic character on stage and was, in every way, the equal of Los’ Butterfly.
—J. Peter Bergman, THE BERKSHIRE EDGE
This is a very superior cast of national status and the two leads are truly “singing actors,” artists that can both look and sing their parts.
As to our two principals, Inna Los (Butterfly) and Jason Slayden (Pinkerton), we wonder if we have damned them with extravagant praise previously… Slayden’s striking Pinkerton persona seems so archetypal, we wondered what would happen with his opening question, “e soffitto e pareti?” In the event he handsomely delivered all the B-flats and A’s sprinkled through the whiskey scene with Sharpless and the finale of Act I. And then, after Puccini’s considerate respite in Act II, Slayden evinced a strong, stirring close in the beautiful trio “Io so che sue pene” and the segue into that plum tenor solo which Puccini added in his revisions, (after the premiere bomb at La Scala), “addio fiorito asil.”
—Tony Schemmer, THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER
ROMEO ET JULIETTE | Lyric Opera of Chicago
Tenor Jason Slayden, himself a memorable Roméo on the regional circuit, scored a striking Lyric debut with his hotheaded Tybalt.
— Mark Thomas Ketterson, OPERA NEWS
Jason Slayden made a notable Lyric debut as Tybalt, showing an ample, flexible tenor and likewise inhabiting the violent, hot-headed character.
—CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW
LA BOHEME | Virginia Opera
Jason Slayden was a knockout Rodolfo—slim, good-looking and graceful. His voice lacked absolutely nothing, effortlessly spinning out passionate high notes. His acting was as natural and easy and effective as his singing. His first act arias, Che gelida manina and O soave fanciulla, were tenderly breathtaking. He was everything one could want in a Rodolfo—and so rarely get.
— MD Ridge, WHRO.ORG
Soprano Elaine Alvarez and tenor Jason Slayden make willing suspension of disbelief easy as Mimi and Rodolfo. They share an achingly romantic chemistry early on. Their pure and effortless voices wash over the Carpenter Theatre again and again… Slayden is also a veteran in Puccini’s tenor roles, including Rodolfo elsewhere, and is to the Puccini manner born.
— Roy Proctor, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH
RIGOLETTO | Arizona Opera
Jason Slayden ‘s performance as the licentious womanizing Duke of Mantua is equally convincing. His voice is rich and flowing, and he gives a distinctive turn as a playboy-type Duke of deceit.
— Benjamin Freedman, BROADWAY WORLD REVIEWS
MARTINU DOUBLE BILL | Gotham Chamber Opera
In “Alexandre bis,” the eloquent tenor JASON SLAYDEN played Oscar’s sportiness and self-regard to the hilt (he made his first appearance on a turn-of-the-century tricycle with a big front wheel). For “Comedy on the Bridge,” he was transformed into a neurotic schoolmaster, obsessed with a nonsensical riddle and bearing a curious resemblance to Hugh Grant.
— WALL STREET JOURNAL
SLAYDEN was hilarious as the libidinous Oskar, dressed in a mid-century men’s bathing suit bedecked with a codpiece.
JASON SLAYDEN brought an attractive lyric tenor to Oscar the athlete and Ucitel, a confused intellectual stuck on the bridge with an insoluble riddle; one is not surprised to see Rodolfo or Romeo in his vita.
MESSA DA REQUIEM | Portland Symphonic Choir
Slayden supplied a heroic tenor that was remarkably expressive and supported with terrific stamina. His “Ingemisco tamquam reus” (“I groan as a guilty one”) beautifully forged power with lyricism.
— James Bash, NORTHWEST REVERB
Casting the Verdi Requiem should be just like casting a Verdi opera. Slayden is looking at a long and illustrious career moving forward. This is a voice of which Verdi would have approved: the timbre from low to high is beautifully round and smoky, in a good way.
— Bruce Browne, OREGON ARTSWATCH
LA BOHEME | Arizona Opera
Puccini’s 1896 masterpiece is flat-out gorgeous, and when it is sung with the clarity and sincerity that Arizona Opera’s cast brought to it Friday night at Symphony Hall, it is impossible to resist.
Danielle Pastin and Jason Slayden played Mimì and Rodolfo, the titular “bohemians” getting by on love and not much else in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. They woo, fight, part and reunite in a series of aching arias and duets that evoke moonlight on a still lake: a chiaroscuro of velvety blackness and crystalline luminescence coming slowly into focus, never hurried and certainly never boring.
…When the penniless poet and the demure beauty meet in a humble flat to light each other’s symbolic candles, there is nothing to move the drama forward but the conviction of the performances — and, of course, their impeccably expressive voices.
— Kerry Lengel, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
ROMEO ET JULIETTE | Des Moines Metro Opera
There was an engaging pair of protagonists in Jason Slayden and Sara Gartland, he with the requisite heroism for “Ah! Lève-toi, soleil,” while Juliette’s Act I waltz allowed the soprano’s flickering vibrato to shine prettily through the display writing.”
— Mark Thomas Ketterson, OPERA NEWS
The season also numbers a perfectly lovely Roméo et Juliette among its accomplishments. Cast from strength, lovingly conducted, and imaginatively staged in evocative sets (adapted from Kansas City Lyric Opera’s production), this was a near ideal combination that made a very strong case for Gounod’s opus.
…Matching her accomplishment was Jason Slayden’s idiomatic, coltish Roméo, characterized by glinting high notes and a beautiful tenor instrument. Mr. Slayden cut a handsome, boyish figure and paired beautifully with his love interest. His singing was imaginative and varied, his interpretive skills are wide-rangin and his top is a thing of beauty. All told, for musicality, gorgeous singing and dramatic credibility, Des Moines has fielded an impressive pair for their title roles.
— James Sohre, OPERA TODAY
LA BOHEME | Vancouver Opera
Making his VO debut as Rodolfo, a poet and dreamer, is tenor Jason Slayden, just in the very first stages of his international career. Casting Slayden is the boldest aspect of the production. … he’s a very affecting Rodolfo: he’s absolutely right for the character, and demonstrates considerable subtlety as an actor.
— David Gordon Duke, VANCOUVER SUN
[Slayden] has a gently heartfelt, note-perfect tenor . . . a beautifully calibrated [Act III] trio with Fiset and Etienne Dupuis’s Marcello, and then an emotionally wrought “Oh, Mimi” duet with Dupuis in the fourth. When he throws himself on his beloved’s deathbed in the finale, you really buy his grief; it’s not melodramatic.
The performers, and director Nancy Hermiston… have found the life that Giacomo Puccini breathed into the characters.
— Janet Smith, THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
Yesterday night marked tenor Jason Slayden’s international debut. …he has a lovely, elegant tone and is a fantastic actor. His Rodolfo was always sensitive and detailed, and his diction was particularly good. I particularly appreciated his unusually complex portrayal of the character – his Rodolfo is not just the dreamy poet, but also the fun roommate and the emotionally abusive boyfriend. As a result, the love affair seemed real, as opposed to a romanticized idea of young love. His ‘Che gelida manina’ was refreshingly realistic and conversational, and was dramatically as well as musically interesting.
Any hint of melodrama or stereotypical opera mime was gone, and instead replaced with subtle, natural interactions.
DON GIOVANNI | Wolf Trap Opera
Jason Slayden’s Ottavio has a rich and lively texture. His delivery of Ottavio’s aria is both luscious and enraptured. Ottavio is sometimes played remote, but not here as he portrays a genuinely aggressive Don brandishing his pistols and all about revenge. This is more than buckle and swash. Both Slayden and Stonikas act with their voices.
— Susan Hall, BERKSHIRE FINEARTS