TENOR

‘O Gladsome Light’ [CD Stone Records 2017]

‘[Holst’s] Four Songs for Voice and Violin are haunting, with a sound that could be from any place, at any time. The simplicity of combining voice and strings – the purity of the harmonies and of Wiliford’s assured tone – feels like a nod to a very old tradition.[…] Throughout this album, Wiliford’s sound is strong yet gentle, always thoughtful. O Gladsome Light is a carefully crafted album that shows the tenor’s constant attention to detail, from the research and curation of this inspired collection of repertoire, to the music-making itself.’

Jenna Simeonov, Schmopera (February 2018)

‘That tenor Lawrence Wiliford’s voice is perfectly suited to English repertoire is clearly illustrated on this recording. In songs and hymns by Gustav Holst, his lesser-known student Edmund Rubbra and contemporary Ralph Vaughan Williams, Wiliford displays his gift for expressiveness, sensitivity to text and challengingly high tessitura.’

Dianne Wells, The Whole Note (31 October 2017)

“This Canadian tenor has the kind of voice that could convince rock ‘n’ roll fans to give Art Song and even opera a fair shake”.

World Magazine (December 2017)

 

Handel MESSIAH (The Philadelphia Orchestra)

“Best of all was tenor Lawrence Wiliford: a lithe, clear, perfect-for-Handel voice; vivid response to each line of word and music; ornaments, timing and delivery ideally scaled and calibrated.”

— Matthew Westphal, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Mozart REQUIEM (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)

“Wiliford brought a present, focused, expressive tenor sound to the piece, along with an enormous reserve of power.”

— Elaine Schmidt, Journal Sentinel

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Rossini PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE (Luminous Voices)

“…Lawrence Williford’s smooth, elegant tenor, yet another memorable Calgary performance from the artistically sophisticated Williford.”

— Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald

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Zachary Wadsworth THE FAR WEST

Wilford sings in a clean, controlled fashion that’s expressive without being overly so. That restraint adds a poignancy to the text that I found particularly effective.

— Ralph Graves, Finding Beauty in Ephemera

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Derek Holman ‘Ash Roses’ [CDCentrediscs 2014]

“Wiliford shows here why he is one of this country’s finest song interpreters. His lyrical phrasing, diction, articulation, range of vocal colors, subtle vibrato and high emotion are wonderful.”

— Rick Phillips, Opera Canada

 

“Wiliford sings with passion, power, and clear articulation.”

— Tiina Kiik, WholeNote

 

Bach ST MATTHEW PASSION (Orchestre Métropolitain)

“In an all-Canadian cast of soloists, l’Orchestre Métropolitain was fortunate to have entrusted the Evangelist to tenor, Lawrence Wiliford. Though the Evangelist has no formal arias, he is the narrative glue that keeps the oratorio not only intact but lucid. Wiliford was a constant source of wonder…. Vocally, he coped with the fiendishly difficult and high-lying tessitura with consummate skill. He deployed a palette of colours, a range of dynamic variation and a linguistic and verbal clarity rarely encountered. The recitative ‘Da speieten sie in sein Angesicht’ (‘Then did they spit on his face’) for example, was an object lesson in the use of an expressive palette. He could be lyrical and moving (‘Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden’), yet he could also be completely at one with Nézet-Séguin’s extremely dramatic and theatrical reading of the work.”

— Richard Turp, Bachtrack

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Concert insprired by French ‘acte de ballet’ (Boston Baroque)

“Haute-contre tenor Lawrence Wiliford was a powerful and passionate Myrtil, dazzling in his runs …”

— Jeffrey Gantz, Boston Globe

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Handel MESSIAH  (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra)

“The firm voice of tenor Lawrence Wiliford also shone in part two. Wiliford’s nuanced theatricality and powerful voice made his portions – none of which normally stand out – some of the more memorable sections of this Messiah.”

— Cy Ashley Webb, Stark Insider

 

Britten ALBERT HERRING (Vancouver Opera)

“Of note too is Lawrence Wiliford’s Albert Herring. Wiliford has a sweet tenor voice with a upper range that just won’t quit. The tessitura makes Herring a real vocal showcase.”

— Keith Dorwick, British Theatre Guide

 

“Lawrence Wiliford was a standout in the title role—not just as a tenor, but also as an actor. He was meek and pitiful after Albert’s overbearing mother and the committee’s domineering Lady Billows bullied him into taking on the May King title. But as the story unfolded, he transformed into a hilarious drunk—withering helplessly into his seat, his legs folding like pretzels when he later tried to walk down the street.”

— Alyssa Noel, Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

 

Vancouver Opera celebrates Britten with Albert Herring

“In the title role, tenor Lawrence Wiliford excelled in Albert’s darker moments … His second act turn as a drunk and frustrated Albert (a cheeky male version of the conventional mad scene) was spectacular, with just the right touch of bitter desperation to move from comic turn to psychodrama.”

— David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun

 

Mozart THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO (Opera Atelier)

“Tenor Lawrence Wiliford, who sang the role of Belmonte, has an instrument that is tailor made for Mozart. His voice is light, dulcet, supple and rich with pathos.”

— Keira Grant, Mooney on Theatre

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“The staging takes on a life of its own, especially with the likes of sopranos Ambur Braid and Carla Huhtanen and tenors Lawrence Wiliford and Adam Fisher. These Canadians not only sing beautifully, but prance across the stage with ease.”

— John Terauds, Musical Toronto

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“Wiliford was consistently pleasing, and his sweet, smooth, lyrical voice was well balanced.”

— Colin Eatock, Classical Voice North America

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Bach ST JOHN PASSION (North Carolina Master Chorale)

“The lead figure of the Passion is the role of the Evangelist, who narrates the story of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, crucifixion and death. Lawrence Wiliford was astounding in this role. His tenor voice took on the various characters demanded by the Biblical text — from simply ‘moving the plot along’ to passionate pleading to intense cries of fervor; the vocal timbre drew from a seemingly infinite number of colors and affects, all in clearly enunciated German.”

— Timothy H. Lindeman, Classical Voice of North Carolina

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Britten ALBERT HERRING

“Tenor Lawrence Wiliford, a highly expressive lyric tenor with considerable experience singing Britten, is both funny and touching as Albert in his many moods (submissive, yearning, frustrated, defiant, drunk, liberated), and his big arias are triumphs of vocal virtuosity, characterization and musical sensitivity.”

— Kevin Bazzana, Times Colonist (Canada)

 

Handel MESSIAH

“Tenor Lawrence Wiliford is a well-disciplined lyric tenor, and this part suits him exceptionally well. All his solos had the expression and character they require, and at no point was he stretched vocally, his voice free and full at all time.”

— Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald

 

James Rolfe WINTER SONGS with eigh cellos

“Tenor Lawrence Wiliford, the colours of his shining voice strong in every range, was outstanding singing Winter, James Rolfe’s settings of four cold-weather poems by 19th century Ontario poet Archibald Lampman. The beauty of silence and frost is bleak: Rolfe’s musical lines are accordingly conjunct, the contours flattened, as if by snowfall, the flow constrained, as if by ice, and emotion is contained by loneness in vast spaces. There is a crisp, brilliant wakefulness in the work, an unyielding confidence manifest in Williford’s singing, and a gentle grace.”

— Kenneth Delong, OpusOneReview

 

Bach MASS IN B MINOR

”The bright-toned soprano Yulia Van Doren blended winningly with tenor Lawrence Wilford in the duet ‘Dominie Deus’, and Wilford also provided the solo highlight of the evening with his plangent and affecting ‘Benedictus que venit’.”

— Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

 

Bach ST. MATTHEW PASSION (Baldwin-Wallace Festival Chamber Orchestra)

“At the heart of the performance was tenor Lawrence Wiliford, an Evangelist of expressive magnetism. He sang the taxing lines with intense command of language, stressing both the narrator’s vehemence and humanity.”

— Donald Rosenberg, Plain Dealer

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Mozart DON GIOVANNI (Opera Atelier)

“The vocal highlight of the night, unexpectedly, was a liquid treatment of Dalla sua Pace by tenor Lawrence Wiliford (as Don Ottavio).”

— Arthur Kaptainis, National Post

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“Tenor Lawrence Wiliford melted our reserves in Domine Deus, his duet with the soprano. His soaring, heartfelt response to the buoyant music fulfilled it utterly. And his rapt, luminous projection of his final aria, the Benedictus, was perfection. Wiliford has become a matchless artist in his chosen repertoire.”

— Ken Winters, Globe & Mail