Russell Braun


The world and US premieres of Peter Eötvös’s 10th opera, “Senza Sangue”

(“Without Blood”) in concert performances at the Kölner Philharmonie and Avery Fisher Hall, respectively, with Anne-Sophie von Otter, the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert

“Mr. Braun achingly conveyed the haunted man’s panic and defensiveness.”
-New York Times, 11 May 2015

“The baritone Russell Braun portrayed the character of Tito more convincingly, with an ardent, full-bodied tone that never drew attention to the music’s technical complexities. He seemed to have assimilated the character’s desperate rage and scarred tenderness.”
-Musical America, 8 May 2015

“Russell Braun entered fully into the drama whilst delivering vocalism that illuminated the emotional states of the two characters both thru the text and thru vocal colour… Baritone Russell Braun as Pedro Cantos was von Otter/Nina''''s ideal counter-part. His sound is full-lyric with a ripe, dramatic edge when needed. He sang with vividly Italianate passion and had ample power when the declamation became more emphatic.”
-Oberon’s Grove, 9 May 2015

“...the mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and baritone Russell Braun conveyed introspective urgency.”
-Financial Times,  11 May 2015

Russell returns to the Canadian Opera Company as Don Giovanni

“Russell Braun is there to sing and act him to perfection and even though most of the time his self-indulgent debauched countenance looks as though his last name were Crowe, his voice is a million times better…At the centre of it all is Braun, playing an addict to sex and booze and self who is rapidly plunging towards hell. He throws himself into this interpretation so completely that all you can do is hold your breath during it and cheer wildly when it’s over.”
-Toronto Star, 25 January 2015

Russell Braun is brilliant in his portrayal of this exhausted Don, weaving around the stage in his undershirt for all of Act 2, the Brando of Streetcar turned into the Brando of Last Tango, drugged, defeated, but still defiant. Braun''''s realization of two of the Don''''s very few arias were beautifully portrayed – a slowed down recitative leading into the most sadly seductive La ci darem la mano I''''ve heard in a long time, and an equally sad, nostalgic, Serenade in Act 2.”
-Globe & Mail, 25 January 2015

“Russell Braun continues to captivate with the COC, a winning streak going back over several productions. The voice is sometimes delicate as in his Act II serenade, sometimes powerful, as in the finale to Act I. Everything Tcherniakov is doing with the Don seems to work for Braun, whether he’s at the centre of our focus or simply lurking in the shadows.”
-barczablog, 25 January 2015


“Russell Braun was a believably outraged Ford, bringing real fire and anger to his characterization.”
-Globe and Mail, 4 October 2014

As the jealous husband Ford, Braun is again taking on a role that can be daunting, and making much more of it than usual, especially on the dramatic side.  This is the most memorable Ford I’ve ever seen, as I found myself again fascinated by Braun’s choices.”
-Barczablog, 4 October 2014

“Russell Braun, as Ford, gave the best Verdi performance I have seen from him.  The role fits and plays well to his acting skills.  It’s no mean feat to be playing second baritone to Finley and not sounding thin by comparison.  He wasn’t.”
-Opera Ramblings, 4 October 2014

“By in large, the men dominated, led by the impassioned Ford of Russell Braun.”
-Musical Toronto, 6 October 2014


"Baritone Russell Braun is such a fine actor that he managed to establish the Duke of Nottingham as an emotional tinderbox beneath his initially innocuous exchanges with Sara and his fervent defense of Devereux. It was therefore no surprise, when Nottingham found the scarf Sara had embroidered for Devereux, that his stunned reaction should turn into the unstoppable rage that was so frightening in his Act III scene with Sara. Though he was able to chill the natural warmth of his voice, Braun added a plaintive note to Nottingham''s fiercest scenes with Sara and Devereux that expressed the depth of suffering beneath his anger."
-Opera News, 30 April 2014

"Braun, his baritone at the peak of its powers, makes Nottingham''s descent from concerned statesman to suspicious husband palpable."
-NOW Magazine, 29 April 2014

"It is always a pleasure to hear baritone Russell Braun perform. I have never seen him play a villain before and was deeply impressed by his ability to infuse his naturally sweet voice with a menacing edge."
-Mooney-on-Theatre, 27 April 2014

"Such smart design, together with the intense, highly watchable chemistry of mezzo-soprano McHardy and baritone Braun, whispers of divided loyalties and unspoken grudges within the union. The Act III scene between the two is particularly unsettling, ending in an implied filial rape made all the more visceral for Braun''s outburst of rage matched only by the intensity of his chocolatey tone; the Canadian baritone channels outrage, hurt, and an ugly kind of chauvinism that comes across as clearly in his actions as it does in his vocal lines."
-Bachtrack, 26 April 2014

"Braun also let the drama of his role empower his performance, especially in those scenes with his wife when the full extent of her betrayal seeps into his consciousness...Braun was at his best when he made you forget the vocal calisthenics involved in his performance, and forced you to concentrate on the passion within."
-Globe and Mail, 26 April 2014

"The always impeccable Russell Braun took the dangerously one-dimensional jealous ravings of the Duke of Nottingham and parlayed them into a moving portrait of a man driven mad by his suspicions…"
-Toronto Star, 26 April 2014


Britten’s War Requiem with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

 “I was completely wrecked after this performance of extraordinary acuity, meticulous pacing, tremendous balancing, and stunning understanding from everybody involved of what everybody else was doing. It was a complete entity, and gave this listener one of the greatest musical experiences of his life. I wept openly throughout the exchanges of our soldiers for the night, tenor Jeffrey Francis and baritone Russell Braun, which were sung as one and completely broke me up.”
-Glasgow Herald, 18 November 2013

“Russell Braun was also a deeply sympathetic presence, especially moving in After the blast of lightning. “
-Seen and Heard, 16 November 2013

The male duo – lyrical tenor Jeffrey Francis and soft-grained baritone Russel Braun [sic] – drew poignant humanity from Owen’s poetry.”
-The Scotsman, 16 November 2013

Vaughn Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra
“…baritone Russell Braun [was] impressive, singing with unfailing sensitivity to the meaning of the words.”
-ArtsNash, 26 October 2013

Britten’s War Requiem at the City of London Festival

“It was the first time I’ve heard the Canadian baritone Russell Braun, and it’s clear what all the fuss is about. His voice caresses and stirs, and he searched out the nuances Britten loads into the Owen poems with exceptional insight. Like Spence, he got to the heart of the music and poetry with an unforgettable mix of unmannered ease and profound modesty. Braun just got better and better, from the hushed distraction of ‘Bugles sang’ to the bleak power of ‘Be slowly lifted up’ (with Edward Gardner engineering a superbly crafted return to the ‘Dies irae’). As for ‘Strange Meeting’ – well, Britten gave both parts vocal and dramatic opportunities, which these two great singers realised with a singular, masterly intelligence.”
-Classical Source, 25 June 2013

The admirable German-born baritone Russell Braun… was equally intense in Be Slowly Lifted Up. Braun and Spence caressed the senseless pity of it all, lullabied to endless sleep by the In Paradisum of the chorus and boys'' choir. No wonder there was total silence at the end. Tears were never far away.”
-Observer, 30 June 2013

“Russell Braun’s rich, velvety baritone was an inspired choice: his “Be slowly lifted up” was forcefully dark, yet he revealed a greater intensity in the pared-back “Strange Meeting”, in which he, the German soldier, sings to Spence, the British Tommy, “I am the enemy you killed, my friend”. The decidedly more peaceful duet “Let us sleep now”/In paradisum was sung by Spence and Braun with sincere feeling, their imitative lines reflecting Britten’s stance that no side was better than another in this bloody war. The contemplative “Conclusion” was achingly beautifully sung and performed. At its end, Gardner showed that even the audience had fallen under his spell as the entire building fell into complete silence until he, after what felt like a minute, lowered his hands. It was a stirring concert, and one in which this enormously complex work seemed to be understood by all the performers alike.”
-Bachtrack, 1 July 2013

Russell Braun brought quiet solidity to the baritone part.”
-Financial Times, 26 June 2013

Troïl in Dietsch''s Le Vaisseau Fantome for Naïve Records with Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble

...through Magnus’s stratospheric lines and, saving the best to the last solo voice, Russell Braun’s Troïl is a model of style and elegance. “
-Opera Now, February 2014

“The baritone Russell Braun sang Troïl with vocal warmth, nuanced phrasing and an air of mystery.”
-New York Times review of the live performance at Versailles, May 28, 2013

Recital with violinist James Ehnes and pianist Carolyn Maule at Koerner Hall in Toronto for the Women''s Musical Club

"A dramatic, tortured performer, sensitive and heroic by turns…Braun plumbed all the emotion in [Estacio''s cycle] quite dramatic, almost operatic love songs, to texts by playwright John Murrell, Sondheimesque in places, providing a wonderful canvas for Braun''s emotional range. A version of that same range was present in Braun and Maule''s reading of Beethoven''s An die Ferne Geliebte, perhaps the first-ever linked set of songs, in which Braun displayed both the beauty of his voice and the subtlety of his interpretive skills. [In songs Shropshire songs] he focused in very deliberately on the bittersweet quality of these tales of love won, and lost; youth betrayed; ideals dissipated. His command of tone, dynamics and sound was impeccable throughout. …James Ehnes and Russell Braun left us in little doubt on Thursday afternoon about the source of their fame. They are both musicians of the first rank."
-Globe and Mail, 3 May 2013)

"What we witnessed was the work of two greats. Braun came bearing humanity and warmth - starting with his lovely burnished baritone and embroidered by his tremendous ability to wring maximum expression and an overriding sense of genuineness out of everything he sang. Braun''s rendition of the six songs in Beethoven''s An die ferne Geliebte (To a Distant Beloved) cycle was impeccable, as were his selections of different settings of poetry by A.E. Housman - some sung with violin, some with piano…this was one of the great recitals of the season."
-Musical Toronto, 2 May 2013



"[The soloists] combined with Russell Braun''s crisp and authoritative baritone to carry, quite masterfully, the variety of characters and parts that Mendelssohn meticulously wove into his score. Mr. Braun, in particular, fielding the substantial role of Elijah, proved a standout during the performance."
-Terry Ponick, Washington Times, 11 April 2012
"Elijah" is the baritone''s show, though, and special honors go to Russell Braun, in the title role, who worked hard all night. ...[H]e had all the notes, never barked and drew out each emotion with taste and skill. "Es ist genug!," with Braun duetting with principal cellist David Hardy, was wonderfully anguished.”
 -Robert Battet, The Washington Post, April 2012


"Come to have your eyes dazzled; stay to have your heart moved. Russell Braun is the lovelorn troubadour and no one, truly, can capture the essence of manly pain as well as he does. Add to this the burnished redwood of his voice, capable of the most powerful explosions as well as the gentlest covered notes and you have a work of art."
-Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star, 3 February 2012


"The most fully formed performance came from veteran baritone Russell Braun as Valentin, Marguerite''s brother. His big number in Act 2 - Avant de quitter ces lieux - made a good impression. Upon his return from the war in Act 4 he threw himself into the fatal duel with Faust (realistically staged), and cursed his sister with relish for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy."
-David Rubin,, 12 December 2011

"Baritone Russell Braun as Marguerite''s brother, Valentin, also was excellent. His voice has a rich, strong, focused tone, which he used to great effect, particularly the scene in which he is killed by Faust."
-Tony Villecco, Broom Arts Mirror, 13 December 2011


"As Orestes, Canadian Russell Braun sang with extraordinary dramatic intensity and vocal abandon, his warm and expressive baritone conveying touching pathos. I have seen Braun plenty of times on stage, both in opera and in recitals. To be sure, his performance here reaffirms him as one of the very best singing actors in front of the public today."
-Joseph K. So, La Scena Musicale, 23 September 2011

"Russell Braun brings all the driven passion of Orestes to life, while providing the burnished tones the role calls for."
-Toronto Star, 23 September 2011

"As the impassioned Orestes, Russell Braun throws himself emotionally and physically into the role, while Joseph Kaiser''s Pylades is equally strong. Their sequential arias in the first half - Orestes explosive, Pylades calming - are beautifully linked; the two characters end up back to back, two halves of a whole. "
-Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine, 23 September 2011

"Russell Braun injects maximum passion into his voice but never loses steadiness or the vocal line."
-Michael Johnson, ConcertoNet, 25 September 2011


“Mir hat von ihnen am besten Russell Braun als gesanglich und darstellerisch ausgezeichneter Mercutio gefallen..”
“I liked them best Russell Braun as Mercutio excellent vocally and dramatically..”
-Der Neue Merker


“Baritone Russell Braun sings handsomely as Flamand’s more urbane rival Olivier.”
 -George Loomis The classical review March 29, 2011
“The baritone Russell Braun was appealing as Olivier, the poet who is outraged when, in a rush of inspiration, Flamand sets Olivier’s sonnet to music and sings it for the Countess at the harpsichord.”
-Anthony Tommasini The NY Times March 29 2011



“Best of all the men was baritone Russell Braun as a soulful Premier Chou En-lai. He gets the opera''s final words in a solo that asks, "How much of what we did was good?"”.Russell Braun fully conveys the dark.
-Erik Silverman, Associated Press

The most outstanding performance was that of Russell Braun’s Chou En-lai, his luminous baritone inflecting the figure of the Chinese premier with humanity and flashes of moral self-awareness. Braun has a way of digging for the emotional core of every phrase he sings, as well as the flexibility to move fluidly between different expressive registers.”
-Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The classical review, 4 febbraio 2011

“Russell Braun exuded mysterious dignity as Chou En-lai.”
-Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 4 febbraio 2011
Russell Braun also did nicely (despite having his arm in a sling), giving a plaintive tone to the gentle finale "I Am Old And Cannot Sleep. »
-Michael Giltz, The Uffington Post, 3 febbraio 2011

“Of equal stature was Russell Braun, his baritone revealing warmth in the reserved Chou En.”
.-Jaimes Jorden, New York Post, 4 febbraio 2011

secrets and unspoken yearnings of the grave Chou.”
-D. Sheward, Backstage, 4 febbraio 2011



Raffaella Coletti