Reviews – Excerpts

William Ramsey was a great hit in Cimaroso’s little intermezzo-opera “The Music Master.” It was vivacity personified as Ramsey mugged and joked his way through the score—giving advice to the audience on “the Old School,” to the orchestra on how to play and even to the conductor (“Maestro Salgo,” he sang at one point, “can’t you follow me at all?”)

Ramsey would run in and out of the orchestra, giving bits on bowing to violins or basses, castigating the horns for coming in too soon and the like. At one point, he grabbed the baton from Salgo and while conducting pushed the real conductor off his podium. (Salgo even gave him a brief hand of applause before resuming his duties for the finale.)

Apart from all this, Ramsey sang the daylights out of the part, never sacrificing music values for laughs. It was a magnificent job, definitive! One hopes he will repeat it, and often.
Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Chronicle

Ramsey in particular virtually walked away with the Mozart in the part the original librettist wrote for himself. It is no mere cliché to say Ramsey stole the show—with marvelous comic timing, interpretive spontaneity and obvious relish of the role. In addition, his diction was so impeccable that not one line was lost, no matter how apparently carelessly tossed off. His mellow baritone was no less impressive. And his delightful bits of stage business included some real audience captivators.
Elizabeth Leedom, Modesto Bee

William Ramsey was a dignified and authoritative Jesus with a quality that could be called “loveableness.” He gave significance to his words, the great cry of “Eli, eli lama Sabachthani?” that was profoundly moving.
—Harold Lundstrum, Deseret News

The best singing of the night was that of Mr. Ramsey – a fantastic performance. His tone was crystalline and his phrasing sure.
—George Raine, Salt Lake Tribune

Stanford scored again Saturday night with baritone William Ramsey in “The Music Master,” an “intermezzo burlesco” by Domenico Cimarosa. Ramsey, in early 18th century costume, wig slightly askew, bustled on stage to demonstrate the golden art of singing. He conducted a composition of his own, gave the cues, admonished the violins, patronized Salgo and edged him aside and interfered with the basses. All the time he kept up a steady stream of patter which the orchestra interpreted without a break in the flow of music. Ramsey’s comedy was lively and he miraculously made very word clear.
—Dorothy Nichols, Palo Alto Times

William Ramsey was the splendid baritone, firm and excellent in technique, tone and vitality.
—Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle

William Ramsey, listed as baritone, has a voice strong enough in depth to be at ease in the bass role. He was most effective in “For he that is mighty” in the “Magnificat.”
—Dorothy Nichols, Palo Alto Times

Ramsey was most impressive. He sings with care and attention to detail.
—Dorothy Nicholes, Palo Alto Times

Ramsey displayed the warm mellow quality of his voice in the bass solo, “Mors Stupebit.”
—Mildred Kline, Monterey Peninsula Herald

Bass soloist, William Ramsey, in an exceptional declamation intoned the curious “ Mors stupebit: which came through not only well vocally, but with a more symbolic significance that the actual notes represented…. William Ramsey did expert justice in the rendition, placing his emphatic singing on the assertive declamatory nature with lyric impeccability, assertive and finely-attuned expressiveness.
—Irving W. Greenberg, Carmel Pine Cone

The highlight of the evening, however, was the one-act chamber opera, Domenico Cimarosa’s “Il Maestro di Capella,” of 1799. Its title (and only) role was taken by baritone William Ramsey…. Ramsey strode onstage after the frothy overture wearing a powdered wig and announced himself as the last of the golden-age singers, and from then on things were golden indeed. Cimarosa’s lighthearted parody of the late 18th century musical establishment proved good durable fun, and Ramsey was equal to every hammy moment it afforded him. It was all one big in-joke, and all concerned enjoyed themselves hugely. Bravo Maestro Ramsey!
—C. E. Maves, Palo Alto Times

Soloist, baritone William Ramsey… was excellent: Ramsey’s voice was rich and full, particularly in his rendition of Eliot’s poem.
—Michele Hannkosh, The Stanford Daily

William Ramsey served as narrator (of King David)… his pacing was excellent.
—Peter Danner, Palo Alto Times

The baritone, William Ramsey, came through splendidly in the judgment day aria…. He is richly dramatic and held his own against the sounding of the trumpet.
—Dorothy Nichols, Palo Alto Times

William Ramsey sang with clarity, fine tone and secure grasp of the musical meaning, floating easily over the Handelian melismas…. Ramsey sang with resonant warmth and fine diction.
—Nathalie Plotkin, Monterey Peninsula Herald

William Ramsey, baritone… warming to the eloquence effectively.
Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle

Ramsey is capable of good dramatic shading…. He sang the aria celebrating the creation of all the animals very well.
—Liz Papas Smith, Palo Alto Times

William Ramsey sang “Un baccio di mano” (K.5541), a concert aria for basso buffo. Next time perhaps he’ll treat us to three or four arias. Ramsey sounded superb.
—Michael Andrews, Palo Alto Times

The short, lively, concert, “Un bacio di mano,” K. 541 was attractively sung by the baritone William Ramsey. I relished the aria and its performance, buffo advice from a Frenchman to a clumsy lover, in Mozart’s liveliest “Cosi fan tutte”fashion.
—Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle

Baritone William Ramsey was the villainous prison Governor who had secretly sequestered Florestan in his deepest dungeon. Ramsey was chillingly effective in his difficult and dramatic aria “Ha! Welch ein Augenblick. His tone had a cutting edge which illuminated his character. His vocalism was masterful and had a thrilling timbre.
—Nathalie Plotkin, Monterey Peninsula Herald

The runaway hit of the evening was a triumphantly rib tickling performance of Domenico Cimarosa’s intermezzo burlescoil Maestro di Capella” (The Music Master.) This is a sparkling rococo romp and musical collection of jokes pointed at musicians in general and perhaps at the composer himself in particular.

After bubbly, frothy overture a la Gilbert and Sullivan, setting the mood of the piece, baritone William Ramsey, as the Maestro, bustled in, engulfed by costume and powdered wig. He announced he would sing an aria as they did in the “golden age of singing,” proceeded to demonstrate hilariously the orchestra parts and then conducted the piece. This was even funnier because Ramsey is an inspired farceur, a fine singer and an experienced conductor who knows exactly what he is doing at all times musically.

The audience was completely unreserved in expressing its approval of Ramsey’s magnificent portrayal.
—Nathalie Plotkin, Monterey Peninsula Herald

Another discovery was baritone William Ramsey. Ramsey’s Pizzaro was fiercely mordant and managed to capture the menace of Beethoven’s villain.
Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Chronicle

William Ramsey’s Pizzaro, the villainous prisoner governor, had just the right snarl, and was absolutely chilling.
—Arthur Bloomfield, San Francisco Examiner

Ramsey, a fine Baritone made such a strong impression at last summer’s Carmel Bach Festival.
Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Examiner

Baritone William Ramsey sang with quiet authority and fine diction. He punched the surprising fortes effectively in the high-register emphasis near the end of the work. The poignant underlining of “love” and “joy: by the composer in this bleak celebration of “the turbid ebb and flow of human misery” is a subtle touch and Ramsey followed Barber’s wishes with sensitivity and precision.
—Janos Gereben, San Jose Mercury

Ramsey’s aria “Empfind ich Hoellenangst” was sung with strength and clarity.
—Angela M. Owen, Palo Alto Times

Baritone William Ramsey was the soloist, and sang the uncommonly supple and expressive vocal line with uncommon suppleness and expressivity.
—C. E. Maves, Palo Alto Times

Baritone William Ramsey gave a first-class performance in the role of Elijah. Ramsey’s voice has a wonderfully lyric quality.
—Janos Gereben, San Jose Mercury News

Baritone William Ramsey finished a fine “Et in spiritum sanctum” apparently so turned on that he joined the chorus in the Confiteor, an act of faith that should endear him to all past and present choristers.
—Marilyn Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

William Ramsey, bass-baritone, was splendid.
—Christopher Salocks, Palo Alto Times

Baritone William Rmsey surpassed himself Sunday afternoon in his presentation of Franz Schubert’s song cycle, “Die Winterreise.

Ramsey’s technique allow a light staccato as in Baroque singing (“Deception”), which contrasted with the flowing lyric passages and created variety in what might have been a sameness of melancholy. His voice was smooth in its range though the deep tones were the most impressive.

He used restraint in his art. Not until the 16th song, “A Last Hope,” did he open up a full voice with wonderful, climactic effect. His German was clear.
—Dorothy Nichols, Palo Alto Times

William Ramsey, the comic Papageno in Friday’s “Flute,” did an about-face in the serious role of Pilate with no loss of artistic stature.
—Michael Walsh, San Francisco Examiner

William Ramsey as Papageno is a born comedian, as well as a fine baritone, and was a hit with the audience.
—Dorothy Nichols, Palo Alto Times

The most lovable character of the opera, Papageno the birdcatcher, is a natural set up for baritone William Ramsey, a much appreciated and valued participant in the last several Bach Festivals. Playing the role for all its appealingly comic humanity and delicious musical warmth, he was the center of attention whenever he was on stage. His predicaments were soundly relished and his singing was masterfully rounded and a joy to listen to, all the way.
—Nathalie Plotkin, Monterey Peninsula Herald

William Ramsey made fine sport in the plum role (of Papageno); his baritone firm and pleasing, his hopping around, hiding behind potted plants and doing one funny take after another.
—Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle

William Ramsey was excellent.
—Mitchell S. Klein, Peninsula Times Tribune

Baritone William Ramsey gave us a musical, dignified performance as the voice of God.
Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Chronicle

Ramsey’s fine diction was a help in understanding Edward Dent’s translation of da Ponte’s libretto.
—Dorothy Nichols, Peninsula Times Tribune