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Billy Budd, Britten


"But the performance is dominated by the magnificent triumvirate of Billy, Vere and bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells (Claggart).  Wells' Claggart is a thing of darkness almost too terrifying to contemplate."

The Globe and Mail (Canadian Opera Company)


"Whenever he occupied it, Jeffrey Wells' Claggart dominated the stage, both through his supremely confident physical bearing and his equally confident, dark-toned baritone."

The Toronto Star (Canadian Opera Company)


"The cast is brilliant, individually and collectively … Jeffrey Wells played Claggart in Los Angeles.  No surprises in Seattle, but what a grave portrait of an evil man, driven by his self-hate for his love of men that Billy arouses one last time.  His voice is as dark as his stage presence.  We cannot like this man and we cannot even have pity for him, but he captures our attention.  Wells is bold, poised, terrifying as Claggart, handsome, too, but in a very different way from Billy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

"Jeffrey Wells played the Iago-like Claggart with the seductiveness of a cobra; the very color of his voice had a sneer."

The Oregonian (Seattle Opera)


"Jeffrey Wells made a menacing and magnificent prince of darkness, with the clearest diction onstage."

The Bellingham Herald (Seattle Opera)


"Claggart, as interpreted by Wells, is a villain who accepts his own evil with a tired, even witty, cynicism.  Handsomely sung and subtly characterized, this Claggart dominates his part of the stage incontrovertibly."

Los Angeles Times (LA Opera)


"Bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells was very menacing as Claggart.  He made his rich voice snarl and sneer when angry, and dangerous and seductive when manipulating his spies or toying with Billy's beauty."

The Houston Chronicle (Houston Grand Opera)


"As his antagonist, and ultimate victim, Jeffrey Wells creates a hulking horrific Claggart, his inner ambiguities constantly gnawing at his ironclad exterior."

LA Weekly (LA Opera)


"The singing in Billy Budd is above all praises.  The American bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells, who has presented hatred-driven John Claggart all over the world, is evil-incarnate, with a powerfully booming voice."

The Jerusalem Post (New Israeli Opera)


Faust, Gounod


"Baritone Jeffrey Wells was a mesmerizing Mephistopheles with a larger-than-life stage presence.  His powerful voice was subtly colored and modulated, diabolically compelling."

The Washington Post (Washington Opera)


"As Mephistopheles, bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells is a perfect devil.  Cloaked in deathly black and blood-red, with his attractively evil appearance and his mesmerizing voice and gestures, he gives credence to the aging Dr. Faust's decision to sell his soul.  Mr. Wells' operating progression from the title role in Don Giovanni in 1991 to the price anti-hero, Satan himself, and his past successful performances as romantic leads – villainous and otherwise – with major companies in this country and abroad underline Washington Opera's good fortune in obtaining his first-rate talent."

The Washington Times (Washington Opera)


"Jeffrey Wells could do no wrong as the devil and he wonderfully dominated the stage."

WDCU-FM (Washington Opera)


"To give the devil his due, Jeffrey Wells is magnificent as Mephistopheles, that malevolent manipulator of mankind in Faust … Actually Mephistopheles is only a demon, but Wells could not be more devilish if he were playing the Prince of Darkness himself.  Tall, lean and menacing, he looks the part, and he creates a powerful sense of drama with a bass-baritone voice like liquid velvet."

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA (Washington Opera)


"Gounod's Faust was given an extraordinary production with bass Jeffrey Wells performing a Mephistopheles that made your head spin.  His voice has to be one of the best of this half of the century; he is handsome, he can act with aplomb."

The New Paper, Frederick, MD (Washington Opera)


"Bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells, a lusty, swaggering dandy of a devil portrayed the role of Mephistopheles with a sneer and a roar that seemed to rumble from the nether regions of places best left unmentioned.  Brother Jeff sings with fire and fervor of a revival preacher, though a character who arrives in a burst of flame and departs in a mist is anything but a man of the cloth."

Grand Rapids Press (Opera Grand Rapids)


"Of the three new principals, the most convincing proved to be Jeffrey Wells, an imposing, virile and well-sung Mephistopheles who dominates with hauteur as much as nastiness."

The Los Angeles Times (LA Opera)


The Damnation of Faust, Berlioz


"In particular, (Faust) seems an easy target for the Mephistopheles of Jeffrey Wells, imposing of voice and stature, and dashing in a glossy red shirt."

The New York Times (Brooklyn Academy of Music)


"Wells, a tall, well-torsoed baritone … lurked grandly, sang deeply and had a mean, loud laugh."

Newsday (Brooklyn Academy of Music)


Das Rheingold, Wagner


"Jeffrey Wells' … Wotan in the third cycle Rheingold exuded shallow, pop-star charisma that meshed perfectly with Wotan's self-centered view of life at that point; his youthful, dynamic baritone rang out with authority."

Opera News (San Francisco Opera)


The Rake's Progress, Stravinsky


"Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wells' Nick Shadow studiedly avoids lapsing into the melodramatically sinister, so that to Tom he remains plausible until the very last."

London Times (Glyndebourne Festival)


"The Nick Shadow of baritone Jeffrey Wells, another American singer new to this country, is again vocally impressive, rich and firm…"

The Daily Telegraph, London (Glyndebourne Festival)


"Jeffrey Wells' Nick Shadow has the makings of a superbly saturnine portrait…"

The Independent, London (Glyndebourne Festival)



Susannah, Floyd


"As a soloist, Mr. Wells was phenomenal on opening night.  He delivered a real hellfire and brimstone revival in the second act, soaring over a full orchestra and chorus with his brilliant, knife-edged voice.  His diction was impeccable."

The Washington Times (Washington Opera)


"Friday night's performance belonged first of all to the bass-baritone Jeffrey Wells in the role of the arrogant, lust-driven preacher.  Not just a powerful voice, Wells imbued this character with constant energy and obsession, whether in his greedy call for offerings, his pursuit of Susannah or his agonized guilt."

Star-Telegram (Fort Worth Opera)

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