2017 interview with Ms. Chandler-Eteme in advance of her performance of Strauss' Four Last Songs with the Lincoln Symphony:
Strauss' Four Last Songs (2017) with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra:
"Janice Chandler-Eteme was the LSO guest artist, performing the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss with orchestra. Her rich soprano voice soared in a grand rendering of the songs. Especially touching was September, the second of the songs. Wonderful orchestra strings on the introduction and opening verse matched Chandler-Eteme’s vocal timbre perfectly."
-The Lincoln Journal Star
Händel's Messiah with the Florida Orchestra under David Lockington:
"It is no surprise that soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme soared most exquisitely in the highest registers, in the second version of He shall lead his flock; and then in the third part with I know that my redeemer liveth, among other shining moments."
Concert review: RSO, vocalist shine in unusual program
The Reading Eagle
"The concert opened and closed with pieces connected to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"; in the middle were Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," with soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, and Edward Elgar's tone poem, "In the South (Alassio)."
Chandler-Eteme, a singer of extraordinary gifts who was last heard with the RSO in Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs," was the perfect choice to perform "Knoxville," based on a prose-poem by James Agee remembering his childhood. Her youthful, liquid tone and the spiritual quality she brings to any piece she sings made her an ideal vehicle for Agee's evocative words and Barber's hypnotic, exquisite melodies.
While there were times when, from where I was sitting, it was difficult to hear her over the orchestra, her performance was flawless and elegant and at the same time, quite moving."
Bergen International Festival Debut, Litton arrangement of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the arranger conducting:
“The two sopranos, Janice Chandler-Eteme (Bess) and Karen Slack (Serena) had beautiful voices and played their parts very well.”
“The soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme has an exquisite, mellow soprano and acted her role superbly.”
“The soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme gave a deeply emotional interpretation of the vulnerable Bess.”
Season Opener - Hartford Symphony:
"After intermission we heard the Bennett arrangement, often called A Concert of Songs from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme was a last minute addition to the program, and she joined Kevin Deas for the two solo vocal parts that the Concert requires. The First Cathedral Baptist Church Chorus, prepared by James "J.J." Hairston, joined the Hartford Chorale, prepared by Richard Coffey, for the choral parts. Chandler-Eteme and Deas made this challenging sing sound seem effortless and entertaining, the chorus was powerful and sensitive at all the right times and sang a rainbow of colors."
-The Hartford Courant
Mahler #2, Orchestra Iowa:
“Orchestra Iowa, Chorale Midwest, the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme of Baltimore, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne of Canada and organist Neal Marple of Cedar Rapids joined forces to create a concert completely thrilling and utterly exhilarating with William Walton's Coronation Te Deum and Gustav Mahler's Resurrection Symphony No. 2 in C Minor...Soprano soloist Chandler-Eteme joined in the magnificence. I can't recall ever hearing finer female soloists with the orchestra. The color, depth and timbre of their voices blended perfectly, soaring above the instruments and choir. The artistry of the choirs, the Wurlitzer, the soloists and the orchestra were indeed a joy to behold. Our hearts were jumping up and down with Hankewich."
"Hungary Torn" with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall:
"Unquestionably, Dohnanyi’s Missa in Dedicatione Ecclesiae, composed in 1930 for the dedication of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Szeged, Hungary, was the most accomplished piece on Thursday’s program. The work’s prodigious construction speaks to a comprehensive grasp of musical history as well as an affinity for a Continental style instead of the folkloric sources that invigorated Bartók and Kodály. Shot through with imaginatively limned details, the piece proved worthy of resurrection on more than just contextual grounds....Four soloists — the soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, the mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the tenor Brian Cheney and the baritone Leon Williams — sang those two unfamiliar pieces as if it were second nature."
-The New York Times
"Dohnányi's setting of the Mass proved inventive, from the soaring tranfser of vocal line between the four singers in the Kyrie to the glowing, almost transcendent gloss on the Credo. The Credo permitted the composer to show the greatest versatility, changing orchestral and choral textures with each stanza of the long prayer before ending on an air of hushed mystery. The Agnes Dei was sung with fervor and passion Ms. Chandler-Eteme. The whole ended with a thunderous chorale for solo organ."
Bennett arrangement of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with Jeff Tyzik, Kevin Deas and the Milwaukee Symphony:
"...a particularly fine Milwaukee Symphony Pops concert…Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and baritone Kevin Deas were nothing short of spectacular in the title roles of the opera…Chandler-Eteme brought a relaxed, easy vocal production and big, warm, colorful sound to the role of Bess. She found the emotional depth of Summertime and My Man’s Gone Now, and shone in her duet numbers with Deas...The two singers were beautifully matched, both in numbers they sang together and in their interpretation of the roles. They brought enough theatrical presence and meaning to the stage to make the audience care about their characters, without overplaying their parts within the confines of a concert presentation of excerpts from the opera."
-The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Bennett arrangement of Porgy and Bess with the Vancouver Symphony:
"The second half of the program was all Porgy and Bess, and excerpts of this modern opera were excellently delivered by Deas, Chandler-Eteme, and the UBC Opera Ensemble. I particularly like the melodic and exquisite style of Chandler-Eteme's rendition of Summertime..."
World-Premiere of Hannibal Lokumbe's Can You Hear God Crying? at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center:
"Vocal writing was idiomatic, but in registers that drew tones from soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and tenor Rodrick Dixon that were neither operatic nor vernacular but perfectly suited the music's emotional temperature. Their extended vocal duet had a sure sense of direction, though I happily never knew where it was headed."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
Return to the Chautauqua Festival, Brahms Requiem:
"..a welcomed return guest...Chandler-Eteme has sung with orchestras all across the country, including this work at Carnegie Hall...Her entrance was quite stunning in her solo, Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit ("Ye now are sorrowful"), with much of the writing high in her range. Yet she sang with clarity and poise, expressing tenderly--and with personal understanding, the texts offering a mother's comfort. In a central passage, there are magic moments when the flute, oboe and bassoon alternate passages with her voice, almost as if they are moved enough to spontaneously respond to her heartfelt message."
-The Chautauquan Daily
Return to the Cleveland Orchestra:
"But the star of the show, hosted by WCPN-90.3 FM radio personality Dee Perry, was arguably soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme. In addition to spaciousness, her bright, supple voice endowed Gershwin's Summertime with a tenderness rarely heard."
-The Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Tim Smith/The Baltimore Sun wrote:
Janice Chandler Eteme soars in Tiffany Series recital at Brown Memorial
"Not long after I arrived in Baltimore a dozen years ago, I heard a performance by soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme.
I felt then that she had one of the most innately beautiful, warming voices I'd encountered in a long while, and that she would be well worth hearing even if she were merely doing vocal exercises. I still feel that way.
So it was nice to be in the singer's presence again Saturday night at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, where she gave a recital presented by the Tiffany Series.
Chandler Eteme, ably accompanied by pianist JoyAnne Amani Richardson, chose a program rich in melodic and textual quality.
There was much to savor, from the stately lines of Handel's "Dank sei dir Herr," which she delivered with an intensely glowing tone, to the introspective, haunting songs "Chanson triste" and "I'invitation au voyage" by Duparc, which the soprano caressed eloquently.
Perhaps with the over-reverberant acoustics of the church in mind, most of the tempos were on the slow side. That kept the notes from mushing together, but the pace sometimes worked against the material, as in Schubert's "Gretchen am Spinnrade" and Faure's "Notre amour." Although wonderfully vivid in phrasing, both could have used more momentum.
Where the music called for spaciousness, though, Chandler Eteme provided it in abundance and to memorable effect. Schubert's "Nacht und Traume" was a particularly transfixing case in point.
The soprano included a welcome burst of operatic singing in the concert -- two selections from Verdi's "La traviata." She negotiated the coloratura of "Sempre libera" valiantly and got to the heart of the aria. With a promising tenor, Devin Mercer, she also sculpted "Parigi, o cara" quite elegantly. (Too bad Mercer did not also provide the off-stage tenor lines for "Sempre libera.")
Chandler Eteme summoned remarkable tonal radiance and communicative power for the beloved Margaret Bonds arrangement of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." The afterglow of that performance stayed with me through the rest of the weekend.
-The Baltimore Sun
Return to the Detroit Symphony on the "Classical Roots" series:
"...the DSO and Raphael were joined by soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme for a set of four spirituals arranged with vivid imagination by the late Hale Smith. These were highlights of the morning: Eteme's deeply expressive and well-modulated soprano captured the bittersweet emotion and optimism at the heart of Jesus Lay Your Head in the Window, This Light of Mine and the others."
-The Detroit Free Press
Mahler #2 with Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony:
"The memorable moment of Thursday's performance came during the middle of the fifth movement. After a brief silence, the Nashville Symphony chorus, singing a cappella, intoned the command Aufersteh'n (Arise). This sound--round, pure, seemingly weightless and transparent--created the perfect backdrop for soprano soloist Janice Chandler-Eteme, who took up the command and sang with urgency and deep emotion."
Strauss Vier letzte lieder with Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony:
"...soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and the orchestra gave a radiant performance of Strauss' valedictory songs. Chandler-Eteme's voice became like another instrument in the orchestra, which accompanied her with a warm, golden glow."
-The Salt Lake Tribune
Strauss Four Last Songs with Andrew Constantine and the Reading Symphony:
“Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme joined the RSO for a stunning performance of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, written at the very end of his life. Eteme has a voice that is like liquid gold, with endless breath control and the ability to squeeze every drop of meaning from a song…Eteme gave a subtle, truly autumnal interpretation, with her voice darkening and becoming more burnished as the songs went on.”
-Reading Eagle/Reading Times
Mahler #2 with Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony:
"Susan Platts' creamy, room-filling mezzo made the fourth movement, Urlicht ("Primal Light") glow with breathtaking spiritual intensity, and Janice Chandler-Eteme's complementary, radiant soprano seemed to grow right out of Platts' voice, forming a gleaming concord that floated above the orchestra. Mahler singers of uncommon sensitivity in phrasing and articulation, each displayed formidable strength and a completely unforced technique."
Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915:
“In Knoxville, soprano soloist Janice Chandler-Eteme sang with an exquisite warmth of tone and a sensitivity of phrasing that deftly conveyed the essence of this memory of childhood, family and internal uncertainty.”
-The Baltimore Sun
Górecki Symphony No. 3:
“Janice Chandler-Eteme was a spellbinding soprano soloist in all three movements, thrilling in her big moments and commanding even in her silences."
Mahler Symphony No. 2:
“... soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme was radiant in the finale.”
-The Salt Lake Tribune
"Still, the best thing about this Messiah or shall we say the most extraordinary was the soloists; Chandler-Eteme has one of those luminous, clear voices, and diction and conviction to go with, that made arias like He shall feed His flock into, well, religious experiences."
-The Ann Arbor News
“Among the four, soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme was a standout, her recitatives as calming as bedtime stories, her arias more like invitations than proclamations. Seldom have words, “Fear not,” sounded so soothing. And every seemingly softly sung note could be heard at the back of the Basilica.”
-The Saint Paul Pioneer-Press
Mahler Symphony No. 8:
“Janice Chandler-Eteme, as the transformed Gretchen, was poised and radiant.”
-The Montreal Gazette
Gershwin Porgy and Bess (Bess):
“Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and bass-baritone Alvy Powell were joined by the Choral Arts Society of Washington in a spectacular version of Porgy and Bess. Veterans of this music, the soloists totally lived their roles both dramatically and vocally in knockout performances. The orchestra met them head-on, completely involved in the passion of the moment.”
-The Washington Post
“The surprise of the evening came in the stunningly superb performance by Janice Chandler-Eteme (Bess): well-versed in concert and gospel repertoire, the soprano dominated the stage with remarkable theatrical confidence. She clearly captured the black diction of the South, delivering the dialect with appropriate coloring and accuracy. Besides her ability to speak the words, she proved to be an astonishing and sincere actress.”
“In the role of Bess, Janice Chandler-Eteme created several layers of emotion. Sometimes she was weak and addicted, other times strong and wanting to improve herself. The ambiguity demanded a very mature talent, and she had it abundantly.”
Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileras No. 5:
“Using the American Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, her voice interlaced with eight cellos, whispering like a Brazilian breeze, seductively enveloped our ears. Her voice, as clear as water, harmonized sensually with the cellos.”
-Le Courrier de l’Ouest
“…both works proved to be wonderful vehicles for Chandler-Eteme, whose technique was secure in her coloratura arias, and who radiated a simple joy in her phrasing. The Laudate Dominum of the Solemn Vespers, in particular, was enchanting for its effortless serenity.”
-The Cincinnati Enquirer
Strauss Four Last Songs:
"The concert would have been worth attending just for the opportunity to hear such a sumptuous, affecting account of the Four Last Songs of Strauss. Janice Chandler-Eteme has an ideal voice for these pieces, with a distinctively rich timbre that holds steady in all registers. The soprano truly soared through in this music, but not for the mere sensual pleasure of climbing melodic peaks. She got deep into the poetry that Strauss immortalized in song. Chandler-Eteme produced an ecstatic release of tone and feeling in the Beim Shlafengehen. And the way she molded the word Abendrot (dusk) in the final song, pouring everything she had into each syllable, was the stuff of genuine catharsis.”
-The Baltimore Sun
“The highlight of this concert, for this reviewer, was Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, sung by local soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme. [She] was a perfect choice to sing these poems. The lyrical quality of her soprano range transported us to a state of contented bliss. It is easily understandable why she would be one of the favorites for Maestro Temirkanov. Each time I have heard this artist I have been completely mesmerized!”
-The Baltimore Times
"Chandler-Eteme made a chilling dramatic display of her recitative-like passages in the final Libera Me and sang elsewhere with rich vibrant sound."
-The Chautauquan Daily
"Janice Chandler brought a backlit radiance to the soprano solo, and molded its lines exquisitely."
-The Dallas Morning News
Mozart Exsultate Jubilate:
"The opening moments of the Mozart immediately established her as a singer of accuracy and style. Each phrase emerged with a clarity and confidence of purpose. Chandler-Eteme paid highly specific attention to the words, treating the piece as personal, intimate expression, as if she were singing, metaphorically speaking in her first language.”
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
Britten War Requiem:
“Soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme brought a voice of haunting clarity and strength to the Requiem texts, never more stunningly than in the lambent phrases of the Lacrimosa.”
-The San Francisco Chronicle
Mozart Don Giovanni:
“Singing with a muscular, centered voice, Janice Chandler-Eteme excelled in the lyrical arias of Donna Elvira."
-The Washington Post
Tippett A Child of Our Time:
“The most stirring contribution came from soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, with a performance of soaring intensity and tonal grace.”
-The San Francisco Chronicle
"Conlon's relaxed sense of joy spilled over to the three soloists, who created some truly inspired moments. As Gabriel, Janice Chandler-Eteme was radiant, floating, an agile golden toned soprano."
-The Cincinnati Enquirer
Vaughan-Williams A Sea Symphony:
“Chandler-Eteme and Williams had a sublime duet on the line “Caroling free, singing our song of God.” Both soloists had the uncanny ability to be heard above and through the orchestra and chorus with great clarity and expressiveness."
-The St. Petersburg Times