Dolora Zajick


“Dolora Zajick is astonishing.  Wikipedia tells me she is sixty-two. Here is one of those mezzo voices that become more authoritative every year that passes.  Audience members were almost diving under their seats with the dark power of her incantations.  You won’t find a finer Ulrica anywhere.  Stunning.  Just what it needs to be.”

Dolora Zajick still performs the role of the fortune-teller Ulrica magnificently…
-Altamusica, 22 October 2016


“The powerhouse mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, who made her 1988 Met debut in this opera as Azucena, still owns this role, the Gypsy haunted by the horrific memory of seeing her mother burned at the stake.”
-New York Times, 27 September 2015
“It is difficult to imagine anyone other than Dolora Zajick as Azucena, as she has been projecting the part exceptionally for decades. She simply owns the role of Azucena (as well as that of Jeibaba in Rusalka) and shows no sign of wear on her marvelous deep mezzo voice. Absolutely relishing in her outsider role, she vividly brings incisive focus to the slightly off-center universe that is Il trovatore. Her ‘Stride la vampa’ carries with it an air of power and authenticity.” -Classical Source, 25 September 2015

“It seems unfair to bring up Dolora Zajick so late in this review because she was just as deserving of being discussed first. Her interpretation of Azucena is undoubtedly the best of modern times, and it just seems to get better and better with age.”
-Latin Post, 26 September 2015

“The redoubtable Dolora Zajick sang Azucena, the role of her Met debut 27 years ago. She remains as commanding as ever, but she also offered some touching singing in the final scene, when Azucena dreams of returning to the mountains with Manrico…”
-MusicalAmerica, 28 September 2015

“The Met’s reigning Azucena, Dolora Zajick, was on hand once again to inhabit the role with which she made her company debut in 1988. Nearly three decades have not softened her portrayal in the least; at sixty-three, she still brings a dark, imposing instrument to the stage, and craftily hides her malice under a world-weary façade.”
-New York Classical Review, 26 September 2015


“Dolora Zajick also returned to give a star cameo turn as Madame Ulrica the fortune-teller. Nobody does gypsies and fortune-tellers like Zajick and her husky voice can still rise to dark heights of ominous foreboding.”
-Huffington Post, 24 April 2015

“Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick was a powerful force of nature in the contralto role of Ulrica as she predicted Gustavo’s impending death,”
-Classical Source, 24 April 2015

“[Dolora Zajick] makes a formidable Ulrica, the fortune teller, wonderfully costumed here as a dowdy lady with a black purse, thick overcoat and orthopedic shoes.”
-New York Times, 24 April 2015

“And who else would sing Ulrica but Dolora Zajick? She is nearly ageless, this mezzo. Her Ulrica has long been spooky, canny, and potent. Those qualities remain (yes, including the potency). She was incisive and commanding. That she knows the part is an understatement. Sitting in the house, I had a thought about Zajick: She is famed for the Verdi roles of Ulrica, Azucena, Amneris, and Eboli. (I’m probably leaving out a few.) She is Jezibaba in Rusalka (Dvorak). But I have never been more impressed by her than I was when she was Adalgisa, the mezzo in a bel canto masterpiece, Bellini’s Norma. And, to tell you the truth, the composer meant Adalgisa to be a soprano role. Zajick had those notes, in spades.”
-New Criterion, 24 April 2015

“Dolora Zajick brought a suitably tough persona and rich chest-tones to the sleaze of the fortune-teller Ulrica.”
-Financial Times, 27 April 2015


“If anyone can animate a scene, it’s Dolora Zajick, who offered a moving and powerful accounting of her first outing as Madame de Croissy, the Old Prioress, whose flawed and very human death, questioning God and raging against her fate, is one of the opera’s emotional centers. Zajick’s voice, with a hint of metal at the back of the upper notes and cavernous expansion in the lower ones, is still a couple of sizes bigger than most people’s, and as an actress, too, she delivered the goods.”
-Washington Post, 22 February 2015

“Mother Abbess (Madame de Croissy) played magnificently by Dolora Zajick gives us the most dramatic scene in the opera. Her character faces the greatest fear – that at the end of one’s life to feel abandoned by God. Her delirious unmasking of self is both torturous and spellbinding. Zajick’s voice, acting, and sheer presence carry the audience to a higher level of emotional truth than anything in the show.”
-DC Theatre Scene, 23 February 2015


“Dolora Zajick brought her trademark powerhouse mezzo-soprano to the short, but pivotal, role of the fortune teller Madame Arvidson, a role she has not sung before in San Francisco. A company regular since her Adler Fellow days 30 years ago, she remains a vocal miracle, retaining all of her enormous power and with surprisingly little wear after decades of singing the most demanding mezzo roles.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, 5 October 2014

“As the devil-invoking fortune teller Ulrica, another famous Merola alumna (1983), Dolora Zajick, shook the rafters with one of the most powerful mezzo-soprano voices anywhere. It’s unfortunate that she appears only in one scene; it would have been good to hear more of her.”
-San Francisco Examiner, 5 October 2014

“Ulrica gets only one big scene in the opera, but mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, always a powerhouse, made the most of it.”
-San Jose Mercury News, 5 October 2014

“Madame Arvidson, or Ulrica, as her name persists from the Boston version, was sung by veteran mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, who was a strong presence in this great character role.” --Operawarhorses, 5 October 2014


“Dolora Zajick triumphed as Ortrud in the second cast, offering an intensity in her singing and keeping her volume intact in the upper register.
-Seen and Heard International, 13 April 13 2014

“… to Zajick’s phenomenal performance. Hers was the evening. She put her gigantic, versatile voice to excellent use and added a reasonable dose of Shakespearean evil to the mix. Her Ortrud was despicable, troubling and creepy. She took things up a notch when on stage. Ironically, it was as if her witchcraft, intended to create havoc, had an effect in others and made them better singers and actors. Havoc she created nevertheless. The rest is Wagnerian history.”
-BachTrack, 12 April 12 2014
“Dolora Zajick, however, was the winner of the night, offering a great intensity in her singing, showing that time has not diminished the extraordinary vocal volume in the upper range. She continues to offer high notes full of strength, volume and pitch.”
-Beckmesser, 12 April 2014

“The powerful Ortud of Dolora Zajick dominates and devours the other singers and shakes the foundations of the Real every time she opens her mouth; listening to this woman is something no fan should miss.”
-Destacados, 14 April 14 2014



“Jeibaba is an archetypal witch straight from the pages of the Brothers Grimm, and Dolora Zajick did a wonderful job in bringing the character to life.  She was vocally powerful and dramatic in the role and brought a real edge to the character, while the cast of child extras lent some humour to the proceedings in their woodland creature costumes”
-Robert Beattie,SeenandHeardInternational,February 10, 2014
“Dolora Zajick, everyone is favorite witch, is excellent as Jezibaba, her booming voice riding over the pit.”
-Wilborn Hampton, Huffington Post, January 24, 2014


“Dolora Zajick brought the gutsiness and introspection that were so effective in the company is spring performances of Verdi is "Il Trovatore" to the role of Amneris, Aida is rival in love. When Am- neris professed compassion for Aida in order to smoke out her secret romance, Zajick is butter-would-melt-in-her-mouth tone betrayed the pretense. Yet Zajick had the delicacy to reveal that Amneris, too, was smitten with the warrior Radames.”
-Steven Brown, Houston Chronicle,  October 22, 2013


“As always, supernova Zajick is absolutely mesmerizing. We can't take our eyes off her. She puts up her sails and courses through Verdi full-rigged, a splendid galleon. In one of opera is most famous arias, "Stride la vampa" ("The flames are crackling!"), she remembers her mother burned at the stake. The horror, the madness, the searing need for revenge -- it is all there in the music, and in Zajick is hypnotizing performance. Later in the castle dungeon cradling Manico is lute, she hallucinates her old homeland in the Biscayan mountains, "Ai nostri monte," with a sweet tenderness that breaks your heart.”
-D.L. Groover Mon., Houston Press, Apr. 29 2013

NY MET The Queen of Spades March 2011

“The great mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick was performing the role for the first time, and it was a treat to hear it sung with such vocal firepower, though one might have wished for a more other-worldly quality in her performance. Her Countess often seemed merely irritable when she should be frightening.”
-MIKE SILVERMAN, Associated Press March 12, 2011

“Though the countess is at the dramatic center of the opera, the role does not involve much singing. To have the powerhouse mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick in the part was luxury casting. Staying true to the character and the music Ms. Zajick reined in her voice and acted with aching vulnerability, especially in the poignant scene in which, after a ball, the countess sings herself to sleep with the strains of a romantic song from her youth.”
-ANTHONY TOMMASINI The NY Times March 13, 2011 Top of Form

“Zajick was riveting in her main scene, in the second act, in her bedroom, where she presided from a red chair, draped with a black shawl, arranged so that it looked like a spider’s web, with Zajick herself as the lethal arachnid, and the room dominated by the Countess’ youthful portrait, in a red gown, when she was hailed as ‘the Venus of Moscow.’ The mezzo went from strength to strength, singing a remembered courtly aria, “Je crains de lui parler la nuit,” from André Grétry’s “Richard Coeur-de-Lion” (Richard the Lion-Hearted, 1784), not in a cracked, senior citizen’s voice, but in the firm tone of a still major singer; reminisced about fabulous fêtes past, including the one at which she sang that solo for the King of France; impatiently ordered away the servants who buzzed about, annoying her; and silently faced Gherman, whose drawn pistol and demand to know her secret of the winning cards led to her death from fright, bringing the web down around her as she died. In the next act’s chilling coup, Zajick’s Countess, now wearing the iconic crimson gown, broke through the floor of Gherman’s barracks room, like Poe’s Madeline Usher, buried alive and clawing her way out of her coffin, but rather than crawling into his bed, as Moshinsky directed the Countess to do in earlier seasons, Zajick dropped the winning cards, one by one, onto him as he cowered on his cot. She put in one last ghostly appearance, to gloat at the gaming table, when Gherman gambled away all his winnings, the Queen of Spades, her symbol, in his hand in lieu of the promised ace.”
-Bruce-Michael Gelbert, Q on Stage

San Francisco Opera, Aida, September 2010

“Excellence was obvious when Dolora Zajick’s Amneris gripped the audience, her thrilling voice filling the War Memorial”
-The Examiner, September 13, 2010 , Janos Gereben

“Saving the day was the remarkable dramatic mezzo, Dolora Zajick. Having long graduated from the role of the offstage priestess, which she undertook here in 1984, the 58-year-old Merola graduate sang with the power, beauty, and freshness of youth. Not much of an actress, she’s ideal for a role that puts the voice first. Her astounding solo in Act 3 deserved even more bravas than it received”
-San Francisco Classic Voice, 10 September 2010, Jason Victor Serinus

“Dolora Zajick dominated the second half of the show, her Amneris was incandescent in Act IV.”
-The opera tattler, 11 September 2010

“Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick delivered a powerhouse performance as Amneris, cloaking her unstoppable dramatic fury in plush and impeccably controlled tones.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, 13  September 2010, Joshua Kosma

Raffaella Coletti