Reviews




An Evening with Maria Kesselman
CRAZY COQS, LONDON

November 2015

***** 5 Star Review

In her one-woman cabaret, Maria Kesselman firmly proves herself to be a force to be reckoned with. A truly seasoned professional, she seamlessly blends an impressive voice and near-perfect technique with an ability to make each and every audience member feel as though they have known her for years.

In her own words, the set is a "celebration of the merry-go-round of life, love and laughter." It is this mix that forms the foundations of a remarkable show, and the convincing and deeply passionate delivery of each and every song that cements this.

It's a dizzying programme and there is never a moment where the audience feels distracted or even bored. There simply isn't the opportunity. While classic songwriters such as Gershwin, Sondheim and Porter and universally-loved pieces such as Fly Me To The Moon and La Vie En Rose are featured (and delivered incredibly well), Maria's vast love and knowledge of music enables her to select songs that the audience may never have heard before, but that they love almost immediately. That in itself is an incredible gift.

The show provides the perfect platform from which Maria's love for music and dance - which she alludes to throughout the evening - can shine through. That she is so comfortable on the stage (she has played Christine opposite Michael Crawford's Phantom) and clearly enjoys herself immensely, is contagious and the audience warms to her even more as a result.

Accompanying her on the piano, James Church is equally impressive, and as Maria's "partner-in-crime," he does a sterling job - flying with ease through a challenging repertoire of classics and lesser known ditties, from the sombre to the upbeat and back again.

The most memorable moments are arguably those of poignancy. In the first half particularly, Maria peppers the show with autobiographical recollections, covering areas such as the passing of both of her parents within four months of each other, and the origins of her life-long love affair with dogs, attributed to when she occasionally shared a cot with a pet poodle.

And when Kesselman sings about love – covering themes that we've all heard a thousand times before – the result is so powerful that it makes the concept itself seem completely new.

Playing the Crazy Coqs for one night only, hopefully she’ll soon be back for more.

Guest reviewer: Bhakti Gajjar for Jonathan Baz

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Maria Kesselman has a beautiful soaring voice…

With songs in French, Italian, and Spanish, all with perfect diction and clarity, this was a cosmopolitan, well chosen programme which mixed the familiar with the unusual, the soulful with the witty.

A light, skittish touch came with American humorist Tom Lehrer’s innuendo-laden ‘I got It From Agnes’ (apparently too wicked to be risked on his album) and, as contrast, Brel’s dramatic ‘If You Go Away, gave full scope to her acting talents.

The artist also demonstrated her dance expertise in an Argentinian tango with smouldering partner Leroy.

...we learned about her six canines, most plucked from Battersea Dogs Home, and her treasured correspondence with Deanna Durbin, with whose ‘Russian Medley’ (from the actress’ 1943 movie His Butler’s Sister) Kesselman had her audience clapping along in a rousing finale.

...24 songs - not a dud among them.

Jeremy Chapman

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Maria Kesselman and James Church
CABARET NIGHT - MARLOW - 26 SEPT 2015


Thanks to James Church for bringing his "cabaret night" to Marlow, and thanks of course to the lovely Maria Kesselman for her sparkling performance.

An evening of song, loosely based on the merry-go-round of life and love, including some old standards but also a number of much less well-known numbers. I particularly enjoyed Dillie Keane's moving "Look Mummy, no hands!", which was new to me anyway...

Russian folk song got a look in, as did Argentinian tango and Kurt Weill. So plenty of variety, and truly something for everyone. No wonder the appreciative audience went home smiling and humming!

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The Messiah
OSLO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


Technically the soprano Maria Kesselman was perfect. Her mastery of register and the quality of her voice must be among the best ever heard in this city. She used her voice to give us moving and artistic experiences of great variety and depth, to which the audience responded excitedly.



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Elijah
OSLO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


……..the star soprano MARIA KESSELMAN far exceeded our expectations. Refined vocal artistry and the quality of her voice calls for the greatest superlatives. An inspired performance with well deserved flowers and heartfelt ovations from a grateful audience.



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Which Witch
PICCADILLY THEATRE


''The lead role of Maria Vittoria played by MARIA KESSELMAN is vocally very demanding. I found Miss Kesselman excellent both as an actress and as a singer.''



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COSI FAN TUTTE
AMPSTERDAM OPERA HOUSE


……..but MARIA KESSELMAN stole the show with her beautiful voice and wonderful comic timing as ‘Despina’.



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LA BOHEME
THEATRE ROYAL BATH


A Large audience was treated to a faultless performance from a very strong cast with the striking and fiery MARIA KESSELMAN as ’Musetta’ particularly outstanding.



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THE SOUND OF MUSIC
THE EVERYMAN THEATRE


Everybody has this image of Julie Andrews in their head and it’s a bit too much to expect somebody to step into her shoes. Right? Wrong!

.....This is a quality production, brilliantly staged and it has a leading lady who should fear comparison with no-one.....Maria is played by real life MARIA KESSELMAN, who has a magnificent voice and a lovely natural acting style that makes her the perfect choice for the role. Heresy, perhaps, but I prefer Miss Kesselman to Julie Andrews. She is less syrupy, more down to earth. She managed to portray a lively, spirited character, cast in an initially demure role. Her voice filled the theatre and drew frequent bursts of applause.

.....Forget Julie Andrews- this is worth seeing.



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A JUDGEMENT IN STONE
LYRIC THEATRE HAMMERSMITH


The members of the victim Coverdale family are cast in an operetta-to-Sondheim mould...The daughter, Melinda has to manage tricky upward leaps of a ninth in her big number. MARIA KESSELMAN, the purist singer in the cast handles this with ease. She has a truly beautiful voice.

Sheila Hancock's performance is quite remarkable. Impassive and quiescent, she is a model for any young actor of how less is more, registering panic and growing rage only by the merest twitch, shrug or blink of the eye. But then the quality of the work on view from Emile Belcourt, Maria Kesselman and Neil Rutherford, who with Brice carry the main singing burden of the evening as the Coverdale family, is uniformly excellent.

My goodness, what a standard it sets. John Osborne, eat your heart out!



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ONE WOMAN SHOW
THE LANGHAM HILTON


Maria Kesselman has a truly golden voice with warmth radiating from every note. A gifted storyteller, she held the audience spellbound for 90 minutes and every song was delivered with sincerity and soul. A wonderfully memorable evening.



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BUBBLING OVER WITH GERSHWIN
CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE


The petite MARIA KESSELMAN with her not-so-petite wide ranging and glorious voice was a real bonus. Best known for her role as ‘Christine’ in the original production of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, her encore just had to be an excerpt from that.

But when it came to the four excerpts from ‘Porgy and Bess’, many were moved to tears and for me it was the best part of the evening, partly because it gave both singers a chance to display their talents which are quite exceptional.



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BEYOND PHANTOM
UK TOUR


Led by ‘Phantom of the Opera’ star MARIA KESSELMAN, this is a cast of three outstanding singers backed by an equally talented musical director, Matthew Freeman. The audience loved every minute and was still calling for more when they finished their encore of ‘The Rhythm of Life’ from ‘Sweet Charity’.

Thank you for a truly great evening. As Cole Porter wrote: “ You’re the Top”.



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BARNUM

MARIA KESSELMAN sings beautifully as the chilly and ambitious Swedish Nightingale.



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AFRICAN SANCTUS AND FEEL THE SPIRIT
COLCHESTER CATHEDRAL


Repeated bellows of ‘Bravo !’ from composer David Fanshawe greeted PCU’s performance of his ‘African Sanctus’, and understandably so.

Maria Kesselman, a soprano with impeccable musical-theatre credentials, reveled in the dramatic effects, the pervasive sense of rhythm of African life, the percussion-driven exuberance and haunting melodies.

Ms Kesselman was also the soloist in ‘Feel the Spirit’, John Rutter’s cycle of spirituals. Her ‘Deep River’, in particular was deeply moving indeed.

Maria Kesselman was the perfect choice of soloist for both works. She displayed her remarkable range to the full and sang with such evenness of tone; and with such innate understanding of musicianship. Indeed she looked and performed like the born star she is.



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A VIENNESE STRAUSS GALA
UK TOUR


Excellent voices and some fine acting too. MARIA KESSELMAN’S rendition of ’The Czardas’ from ‘Die Fledermaus’ was superb.



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