Stephanie Houtzeel, Mezzo Soprano

Opera & concert REVIEWS


Stephanie Houtzeel as OctavianReviews for Octavian in DER ROSENKAVALIER at the Kennedy Center with Renée Fleming and Christoph Eschenbach

“Stephanie Houtzeel, in a stunning, warm, empathetic, coltish, vivid and, one hopes, career-boosting performance, plays the title character, Octavian.....The figurative rose of the night went to Houtzeel, who last sang in the Concert Hall in Opera Lafayette’s ‘Armide’ in 2010 and who has since sung Octavian and other roles at the Vienna State Opera. She was completely convincing in the part, carrying off the wooing of two other women in concert dress without the slightest vestige of awkwardness and more than holding her own with Fleming with her easy-sounding vocal warmth.”


“In the title role, Stephanie Houtzeel, a late substitution in the cast, enjoyed quite a triumph. The mezzo proved capable of effortless vocal power as well as the finest dynamic shadings. The richly stylish musicality was matched by terrific stage presence; her portrayal of the in-love-with-love Octavian could not have been more alive with personality.”


Stephanie Houtzeel as Xerxes Review for the title role in Handel’s Xerxes/Serse

“This performance will not be forgotten in years: Stephanie Houtzeel wavers and wanders around the stage as if she has elastic in her hips and knees—it is probably not a coincidence that her Xerxes imitates Johnny Depp’s performance in ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean.’ Her Persian king is a braggart, a narcissistic superstar and a slightly degenerate aristocrat who likes to receive homage but finds amorous adventures a hundred times more captivating than any boring business of state or battle. Houtzeel does not sing the potent potentate as a cartoon but with fine tone, a slender Mezzo and strong technique, which makes the vocal ornamentation of her arias an experience.”



“Stephanie Houtzeel was a real standout with her deeply felt portrayal of the shattered empress Ottavia, singing this complex role with musical intelligence and white-hot dramatic intensity.”

- Jeremy Eichler, THE BOSTON GLOBE, June 9, 2009

Review for the title role in ARMIDE (Lully)

‘Armide’ the Obscure: Well Worth Bringing to Light

“But the outstanding performance of the afternoon was that of mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel in the role of Armide. It would be a cliche to say she was ‘larger than life’ and, in fact, she seemed something even more elemental. At its best, her Armide seemed life itself, with its messy joys, sorrows, hungers and contradictions, and the role was sung with all the ardor, intelligence and vocal luster at Houtzeel’s command, which was plenty. This was the sort of daring, impassioned performance that can make a career: I hope to hear much more from Houtzeel, and soon.

- Tim Page, THE WASHINGTON POST, February 5, 2007

Reviews for the Composer in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS

Stephanie Houtzeel as der Komponist“The role of the Composer might have been written for Stephanie Houtzeel’s gorgeous lyric mezzo. Playing the part as an impetuous, pony-tailed nerd, she delivered a paean to music thrilling in its ardor, unforgettable in its sheer beauty.”

- Larry L. Lash, OPERA NEWS, May 2003

“Outstanding the Composer of Stephanie Houtzeel, one of the best interpretations of this role I have ever heard.””

- Gerhard Persché, OPERNWELT, June 2003

“An outstanding performance from the vocal ensemble was given by Stephanie Houtzeel, whose Composer had many different nuances, optimal vocal production, simplicity and yet great passion.”

- L’OPERA (Italy), May 2003

“Stephanie Houtzel was a perfect Composer, capturing brilliantly the character's youthful dreams and insulted realization of real life with her rich voice and lovely acting.”

- OPERA NEWS, 2007

Stephanie Houtzeel as SestoReviews for Sesto in LA CLEMENZA DI TITO

World-Class Mozart as Season Finale
Phenomenal Vocal Ensemble: “La clemenza di Tito” in Graz

“How nice it is to begin a Mozart opera review with praise for a singer and the outstanding performance of Stephanie Houtzeel stands here in first place: rarely has one experienced such a vocally outstanding and dramatically moving interpretation of Sesto as on this evening; thunderous applause for this world-class performance!”

- DIE PRESSE, June 5, 2007

“With the most vocally and theatrically talented, physically attractive, uninhibited and committed ensemble to be heard in Austria this season, the erotic heat of this opera seria crackled across the footlights...Stephanie Houtzeel (wiry and tall, an asset in trouser roles) scored a triumph with her incredibly complex Sesto. A valiant ‘Parto, parto’ showcased perfect coloratura and amazing breath control.”

- Larry L. Lash, OPERA NEWS, September 2007

Stephanie Houtzeel as IdamanteReviews for Idamante in IDOMENEO

“In a thrilling, intelligent performance in the trouser role, Stephanie Houtzeel filled her deep, azure mezzo-soprano with Idamante’s sorrow, longing and love for Ilia…”


“Stephanie Houtzeel, a jumpy jock Idamante, has a sensuous, reedy mezzo, confident in coloratura, and totally assured in its ringing top.”

- Larry L. Lash, OPERA NEWS, March 2, 2006

“Stephanie Houtzeel, by now a trouser role specialist in Graz, finds eloquent expression for the sorrow and love of this role and raises her warm, full voice to moving moments.”

- OPERNGLAS, March 2006

Reviews for Octavian in DER ROSENKAVALIER

“Vocally, dramatically and physically, Stephanie Houtzeel (Octavian) and Margareta Klobucar (Sophie) were sublime.”

- Larry L. Lash, OPERA NEWS, June 2005

“Stephanie Houtzeel is from appearance alone ideally cast as Octavian; tall and slender, almost boyish, she was convincing in the double role of a woman who plays a boy dressed as a woman. Her singing is distinguished by warmth and clarity.”

- APA (Austria), February 7, 2005

“Stephanie Houtzeel masters the vocal and dramatic challenges of Octavian with bravura.”

- DIE PRESSE, February 8, 2005

Reviews for Nicklausse/La Muse in TALES OF HOFFMANN

“A special mention must go to Stephanie Houtzeel, a German mezzo brought up in Massachusetts, who in 1996 was a finalist in the Queen Elisabeth competition. Her portrayal of Nicklausse, Hoffmann’s friend, is one of the most satisfying I have ever seen on stage; her romance in the second act “Vois sous l’archet fremissant” had the whole Antwerp audience under her spell.”

- THE BULLETIN, November 6, 2003

“Stephanie Houtzeel – finalist of the Queen Elisabeth Competition 1996 – is a Nicklausse/Muse for the ages, physically and vocally.”

- LA LIBRE BELGIQUE, November 3, 2003

Stephanie Houtzeel as CharlotteReviews for Charlotte in WERTHER

“...The stand-out on stage is Stephanie Houtzeel, who creates a Charlotte, intense and rich in nuances, capable of shaping phrases with expressive simplicity, and developing the character’s anxiety in a natural manner.”

- Antonio Ligios, LA NUOVA, 28 October 2007

“A joyous surprise has arrived with the Italian debut of mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel: a powerful, expressive voice and outstanding stage presence.”

- Giampiero Marras, L’UNIONE SARDA, 28 October 2007

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New York Recital Debut - Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center


Ms. Houtzeel has a dark-hued voice, intelligence, and, as her interesting program demonstrated, musical curiosity....Ms. Houtzeel was a vivid communicator in these works...a sensitive and involving singer....her sound is distinctive and her communicative instincts are strong...”

- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 25, 1997

Concert at the Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Germany

“The phenomenal Stephanie Houtzeel succeeded in packing high emotion into the broad and serpentine vocal lines of her Fetonte aria – exactly 240 years after the work’s world-premiere on the same stage of this Palace Theater.”


Washington Square Music Festival – New York City


Stephanie Houtzeel, a mezzo-soprano with an appealingly creamy timbre, gave lovely, warm-toned readings of these works, but was at her best in a new score, Kevin Beavers’s Wandlebury Ring.”

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 18, 2007

The Vienna Musikverein: Mahler’s THIRD SYMPHONY

“…Stephanie Houtzeel, jumping in for Angelika Kirschlager, let her warm alto radiate with concentration and intensity.”

- DIE PRESSE, January 29, 2004

Musicians from Marlboro on Tour

“Next came the marvelous Houtzeel, first with three Borodin songs sung in idiomatic Russian and then Ravel’s three Madagascar songs. The three Borodin songs had a piquant flavor...Houtzeel captured exactly the faux-naiveté of these pieces and sang without guile or self-consciousness. The second (Madagascar) song in particular...was powerful and disorienting, beautifully conceived and meticulously sung.”

- TIMES UNION ALBANY, March 19, 2001