As Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Nedda in I Pagliacci (Opera Tampa)

"Cristina Nassif was riveting as Santuzza, the pregnant, excommunicated peasant girl of Cavalleria, and then as Nedda, the wanton ingenue of Pagliacci. The role of Santuzza has the luscious coloratura that defines a prima donna, and the soprano soared in passionate arias such as Voi lo sapete, but she also brought rare subtlety to her scenes with Turiddu, the Sicilian rake who wronged her. During the intermezzo, she expressed Santuzza's anguish without singing a note, simply by her poignant presence alone in the empty square outside the church that she was not allowed to enter.

Nedda is a different sort of diva — a kind of cut-rate Carmen — and here, too, Nassif gave a compelling portrayal of a woman not without resources, mainly sexual, but ultimately trapped in a man's world of shocking brutality."
John Fleming, Performing Arts Critic - Tampa Bay Times

Opera Tampa double-header scores with Italian melodrama
"Through dialogue we learn that Turiddu has rushed to the arms of a newlywed, newly ex-girlfriend, Lola (Dawn Pierce). He vexes Lola by making love to Santuzza (played exquisitely by Cristina Nassif)...Both Piper and Nassif infuse their tragic roles with sympathetic humanity...Nassif's sweetly pained vocal beams from the stage, triggering the pangs of lost love with searing intensity and graceful elegance.

Pag's Nedda, performed by Nassif, offers an exciting and extreme contrast from the pitiful victim Santuzza. Nedda is saucy and frisky, even going so far as to lie prostrate on the floor like pop music's Madonna. In "Stridono lassu," she sings lustfully about the August rays on her skin, longing for the "freedom of birds overhead" — an especially charismatic aria from Nassif."
Julie Garisto, The Daily Loaf

As Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito (Washington National Opera)

A Wonderfully Nasty Nassif in 'Clemenza'
The Washington National Opera closed out its three-week run of Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" on Saturday night at the Kennedy Center, replacing Tatiana Pavlovskaya (in the cheerfully evil role of Vitellia) with young up-and-comer Cristina Nassif. It was an inspired choice: Nassif is a gifted soprano, with a powerful and expressive voice and a stage presence that can only be described as electric.

And that's all for the good, since the plot of "Clemenza" needs all the juice it can get. While the music is sublime -- some of the most beautiful in any of Mozart's operas -- the goody-goody characters have all the dramatic depth of cottage cheese. But Nassif, with her flashing eyes and floating hair, conjured up a convincingly nasty would-be empress -- even if she did have to display a good side in the end.

The supple, detailed performance was conducted by Steven Gathman (sitting in ably for Heinz Fricke), and there was fine singing in every corner.

Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post

As Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata

“Last October, CVNC reviewed Virginia Opera's superb touring production of the perennial favorite Verdi tragedy in Richmond, where soprano Cristina Nassif permanently raised the critical bar for the role of Violetta.”
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

“Unusually fervent press releases and photos hinted that their Violetta, soprano Cristina Nassif, is a major talent on the cusp of a great career. Insightful direction, a stellar lead, a strong cast of co-principals, and a well-prepared orchestra yielded a superb theatrical experience.
At the end of the prelude, soprano Nassif entered from behind a side curtain, looking like a million dollars in a glittering white ball gown. She stared at the audience as if looking into a mirror and recalling her dark experiences.
Having seen a number of first-rate Violettas, I was unprepared for the fuller range of complexity that soprano Cristina Nassif brought to the role. Besides having the looks that are ideal for a courtesan, she has a dazzling voice that is dramatically effective whether used at a hushed piano or raised across its range to a precisely-placed high note at the climax of an aria. Her application of vocal color and nuanced dynamics to bring out the emotional truth of her character as she phrased her lines was thrilling. She fully plumbed the emotional depths in all her arias.”
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

“Giuseppe Verdi's tragic opera, based on Alexander Dumas' "Camille," is a showcase for a soprano who can balance vocal brilliance with fragility and the elegant with the elemental. Cristina Nassif, the svelte Violetta of the "Traviata" that the Virginia Opera brings to Richmond this weekend, might have been born to sing and act the role.
Vocally, Nassif shows almost limitless flexibility, from the suave and seductive to the brittle and throaty, from wild extroversion to unearthly quiet.
Dramatically, her range is even wider. She masters all the dimensions of temperament and presence needed for this character - the self-contained courtesan at the center of the party, the lover amazed at the depth of her passion, the ghostly romantic martyr. She pushes the limits, as a melodrama heroine should, but she never oversteps into cheap theatrics or vocal display for its own sake.
Remarkably, this is Nassif's first Violetta. Don't be surprised if the role makes her a star.”
Clarke Bustard, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“In the lead role as Violetta, Cristina Nassif's strong and lively soprano nailed the acrobatic sections and filled the contemplative arias with emotion. She sang with heart, whether in a crystalline tone in the first two acts, or with a sickly disposition in the final act.”
Grace Jean, The Washington Post

“Beloved of opera fans everywhere, "Traviata" is so frequently performed that it can get worn around the edges. But on Friday and again yesterday at George Mason University's Center for the Arts in Fairfax City, the company freshened it up by successfully casting a radiant, relative unknown in the difficult title role.
Violetta sings some of the most complicated arias Verdi ever devised, and the role is often a steppingstone for a soprano attempting to move from the lyric repertoire toward grand opera. In a brilliantly intuitive stroke, conductor Peter Mark chose luminous young soprano Cristina Nassif to sing his Violetta. Her deeply affecting yet powerful performance infuses this production with genuine romantic fire and tragic passion.
Her luscious, well-supported vocal gifts bloomed magnificently, swiftly transforming her into a Violetta to remember with love and admiration. Displaying great emotional maturity and a seemingly unlimited vocal range, she melded effortlessly with her character and made the magic happen, made the audience believe in a way that happens infrequently even with the greatest of companies. With these performances, the gifted Miss Nassif -- only in her late 20s -- could be on the threshold of a truly brilliant career. “
T.L. Ponick, The Washington Times

“Just when one thought that the Virginia Opera can never top their wondrous production of "Turandot", they come through with a scintillating production of "La Traviata" at the George Mason University. Cristina Nassif proved herself to be the finest dramatic soprano seen in many of year on the opera stage. Her vocal and acting transitions were stunning thoughout this most demanding work. Her exciting trills of frivolity were well ranged with her tragic covered tones of tragedy.
The death scene was the most moving with the main characters giving top emotional renderings.”

“Even after 152 years, La Traviata remains a gem of an opera, and Virginia Opera gives it a jewel box of a production. The telling itself requires a Violetta of surpassing artistry, and Virginia Opera has one in Cristina Nassif.
An island of stability in the ceaseless activity of her party – more fine stage direction there – she played Violetta as someone ready to leave her life as a demimondaine even before Alfredo’s appearance. She is clearly making the best of this life while being eager to find a way out – a state of affairs that gives her “Sempre libera” more depth than this aria has in more typically flighty renditions. Nassif gives dignity to her scene with the odious Giorgio Germont in Act II, and in the second scene of the act shows real poignancy as she affirms her love for Alfredo even as she tells him he will never understand – and refuses to return to him. The final act, in which she sings flawlessly while lying down, bent over and kneeling, is more moving than this overlong bit of melodrama tends to be nowadays. Indeed, Nassif is as much actress as singer in this performance: her Violetta seems truly to live as well as to sing.”
Mark Estren, (and critic for The Washington Post)

“The thirty-first season for the company, it could be subtitled “The Season of Sexy, Super-Sensational Sopranos,” and beautiful young diva Cristina Nassif delivered. As Violetta, the doomed courtesan smitten and scorched by the love of a callow man, Nassif presented an intelligent, complex performance…a performance all the more remarkable for being Nassif’s first go at the coveted role. Violetta, one of opera’s favorite ladies, is one of the more difficult roles to portray and sing; each of the show’s three acts requires different vocal production and a different attitude. Nassif nailed it: Her Act I Violetta was sassy and defiant, yet warm and receptive to love, the big voice soared and sparkled weightlessly.
Signature back-to-back arias “Ah, fors’ è lui” and “Sempre libera” were dramatic and vocal perfection. Violetta’s love for Alfredo in Act II transformed from bucolic bliss to self-sacrifice with heart-tugging veracity. On her Act III deathbed, Nassif allowed Verdi’s music to convey its message of despair; she sang expressively and with deep sadness, and left the excessive coughing fits and weepy histrionics to lesser sopranos. Violetta’s final aria, “Addio! del passato” confirmed Nassif’s first steps to operatic stardom. Her phrasing and support throughout the evening were impeccable.”
B.J. Atkinson, Port Folio Weekly

“Two excellent performances were delivered by Cristina Nassif as Violetta and Grant Youngblood as the elder Germont, the father of her suitor. Though a relative newcomer who worked as a Virginia Opera apprentice, Nassif has a polished voice that’s strong from bottom to top and full of emotion.”
David Nicholson, Daily Press

“Soprano Cristina Nassif returned to Norfolk, having appeared with the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, to give her first performance as Violetta, the courtesan with higher aspirations. Her voice had a beautiful dark quality from top to bottom. Most impressive was the detail she gave every musical line, with clarity in coloratura and a sense of stretching in Verdi’s long, slow phrases. The high point of the evening came in the pivotal second-act scene she shared with baritone Grant Youngblood, a veteran of several productions here.”
Lee Teply, The Virginian Pilot

“For 31 years, the Virginia Opera has prided itself with bringing to the stage some of the best and brightest and most potentially encouraging singers available. Think Renee Fleming, Ashley Putnam, Diana Soviero, and Frederick Burchinal, to name a few Virginia Opera singers who have gone on to the big times. It’s time to add to that list the name of Cristina Nassif, a former Virginia Opera Spectrum Resident Artist, who debuted in the role of Violetta.
I have mixed feelings about the trend to match physical form with character, but, in this case, I must admit it works and works well. Nassif is simply perfect as the courtesan. Slim, trim, and quite lovely, Nassif looked the role, without even opening her mouth. But, ah, when she did, it was clear that this performer had what it takes to sing the role. Her soprano is light, lyrical, and well developed throughout her range, and her coloratura capabilities are well defined. Add to this a superb stage presence and sense of dramatic portrayal and you’ve a Violetta worth hearing and seeing. Nassif is a singer to watch.”
John C. Shulson, Opera Canada

“Last night at Virginia Opera, the stage glowed with a mystical, ethereal magic. A star was born. Her name is Cristina Nassif. We watched in awe as she revealed layer by layer a definitive Violetta. She transported us to a spiritual realm that happens rarely in the theater, whatever the genre may be. Cristina Nassif is, and I quote Artistic Director Peter Mark, “an amazing and thrilling operatic singer”. He goes on to say that she has “flawless technique, emotional abandonment, and a buoyant stage personality”. In show business vernacular, one would say she’s a triple threat or maybe even a quadruple threat. I go on record as saying the young lady has it all. Her vocal instrument projects every emotional nuance one could possibly imagine from large to small with perfect clarity. She sings with her whole body, an art one is not privileged to behold very often.”
Edgar Loessin, WHRO Public Radio

Opera delivers breathtaking 'La Traviata'
Director Eric Dillner couldn't have cast a better swan songstress in soprano Cristina Nassif. On Saturday, at Riverview Theater, the soprano delivered a riveting performance as Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata."
The production ended Dillner's seven-year career with Shreveport Opera and pleased a buzzing audience.
Playing a consumptive courtesan who yearns to redeem herself through honest love before she dies, Nassif brought a mix of delicateness, strength and melancholy to the role. Her voice played like a feather in the wind — gentle and graceful during a good man's romance, rolling and thunderous when his father blew in to interfere, and passionate and desperate as her tragic end arrived.
Alexandyr Kent, Shreveport Times

WICHITA -- Abject tragedy doesn't get more enjoyable than it did Saturday night at the Wichita Grand Opera's season-opening production of "La Traviata."
The quintessentially operatic tale of love found, love denied, love embraced, love betrayed and, finally, love rekindled only to be quickly snuffed by death brought one pleasurable moment after another to the Century II Concert Hall.
The object of all this love was American soprano Cristina Nassif, who portrayed Violetta Valery, the central character of Giuseppe Verdi's opera based on Alexandre Dumas fils' "La Dame aux camélias," known in English as "Camille."
Strikingly beautiful and decked out in a gown befitting the finest of 19th century salons, Nassif looked every bit the part of a Parisian courtesan and immediately captured the audience's attention without singing a note.
Then when she sang -- wow!
Although the 20-something Nassif is still a newcomer to the worldwide operatic stage, she possesses a vocal talent that in years to come when she is starring at La Scala or the Met will give WGO audiences a "remember when" moment.
From her grand entry to her literally drop-dead finale, Nassif not only mastered the complexities of Verdi's score but imbued her arias with nuance and emotion.
Nassif also is a singing actress. She used not only the myriad facets of her voice but also her expressions, gestures and postures to embody her character.
She also knows the benefits of restraint. In the climactic act, Nassif avoided deathbed histrionics and coughing fits as she succumbed to tuberculosis.
Even lying down, Nassif's voice remained powerful, dynamic and dramatic. I suspect if a role called for it, she could do it standing on her head.
...[William Andrew Stuckey's]Act II duet with Nassif was a gem in a jewel box full of brilliant moments.
Bill Blankenship, The Capital-Journal (Topeka, KS)

Wichita Grand Opera began its fifth season on Saturday with Giuseppe Verdi's classic tearjerker "La Traviata" in Century II Concert Hall. The opera featured a young, handsome cast that was one of the most enticing the company has assembled.
Soprano Cristina Nassif starred as the doomed courtesan Violetta. The 29-year-old American is new to the role but sang with assurance and dramatic intensity.
Nassif's performance revealed the fragility of Violetta's life as a courtesan. The singer is a star on the rise; it would be welcome if the Grand Opera could engage her again.
Chris Schull, The Wichita Eagle

Piedmont Opera’s Triumphant Staging of Verdi’s La Traviata
"In the fall of 2005, I reviewed a fine Virginia Opera production of La Traviata in Richmond that featured the Violetta of soprano Cristina Nassif. Her vivid embodiment and singing of the role (directed by Dorothy Danner) drove me to my Rodale’s The Synonym Finder for non-redundant superlatives. A subsequent fiery Carmen and a complex Nedda made her appearance in this production all the more keenly anticipated. Her powerful voice easily filled Stevens Center as it had Richmond’s Landmark Theater. More importantly, her most quiet passages floated into the hall and were readily audible. Her voice was beautifully focused, exactly on pitch, and she applied a refined palette of color to convey quicksilver changes of emotions. It was fascinating to watch Nassif add subtle character touches to her core interpretation in order to bring out new facets of the courtesan with a heart of gold."
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Bravissimo: Piedmont Opera's La Traviata is worth raving about
"Last night, even before it had ended, patrons were raving about Piedmont Opera’s La Traviata. Some were calling it their favorite production of Verdi’s beloved opera. I share such enthusiasm wholeheartedly.
Several fine-singing leads head the long list of factors accounting for the success of the musical execution, overseen by conductor James Allbritten.
And though the opera’s final scene is in an entirely different vein, it comes off compelling — which is to say that all that singing before Violetta’s dramatic death is something to savor. Nassif’s gifts in acting manifest themselves most strongly in her final moments as well; even as she deteriorates, we sense an admirable defiance against the inevitable."

As Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni

"Soprano Cristina Nassif (Donna Elvira) used the full compass of her voice and her convincing dramatic skills to make a great foil for Don Giovanni."
Gabriela Ramírez-Carr, The Shiller Institute

Virginia Opera delivers seductive 'Don Giovanni'
"As Donna Elvira, soprano Cristina Nassif was a more mature, though equally troubled, figure. Her darker sound was a nice contrast, and her delivery of words was particularly dramatic."
Lee Teply, The Virginian Pilot

Virginia Opera's Don Giovanni a pleasing performance
"...the singers, led by Matthew Worth in the title role, were glorious. Other standouts included Cristina Nassif as Donna Elvira and Daniel Mobbs as Leporello, though there was hardly a performer up there I didn't warm to. This was one of the most effective ensembles the company has assembled in a while."
David Nicholson, The Daily Press

"The sensuous soprano Cristina Nassif as Donna Elvira manages to combine pathos and humor in her passionate love/hate feeling for her former lover. She is a vocal sensation."
Edgar Loessin, WHRO's Loessin at Large

Virginia Opera Impresses with new Don Giovanni
"Soprano Cristina Nassif, long a favorite of area opera fans, added some mature vocal heft to her role as Donna Elvira, whom she portrayed as still conflicted about her notably poor life choices... her superb, burnished delivery remains a major highlight of this production."
T.L. Ponick, The Washington Times

Virginia Opera plays 'Don Giovanni' at George Mason University
"Cristina Nassif (Donna Elvira) sang convincingly even in elaborate flourishes"
Cecelia Porter, The Washington Post

'Don Giovanni' is a delight, and well worth the trip to Richmond
"Cristina Nassif provides vocal fireworks as Donna Elvira."
Lucia Anderson, The Free Lance Star

"As played by sopranos Cristina Nassif as the fiery Elvira, Nicolle Foland as the piteous Anna and Sarah Jane McMahon as the earthy Zerlina, they charm us with distinctive voices that prove perfect conduits for the quirks of each character."
Roy Proctor, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“For having it all together – voice, looks, acting and commitment to the role – Nassif’s Donna Elvira is the one to watch.”
Dick Saunders, The Mainline Times

“The singing from the gang of holy rollers that pursue the don throughout the action was consistently expressive. The three female leads were strongly conceived, with an especially fiery Donna Elvira from Cristina Nassif.”
Peter Burwasser, Philadelphia City Paper

As Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Delaware)

Mozart's 'Figaro' gets a delightful turn in solid OperaDelaware production "Soprano Cristina Nassif adds a regal dimension to the Countess. She is brilliant in "Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro" and heartbreaking in "Dove sono i bei momenti." But Nassif is equally skillful with comic material, especially in her duets with Matthews."

Tom Butler, Delaware Online - Special to News Journal

As Carmen in Bizet's Carmen

Temptress near flawlessly rendered
"For the title role Cristina Nassif had seductive vocal and physical allure in abundance. She radiated temperament, both erotic and sensual. She played Carmen as an exhibitionist, but did not neglect the fatalistic side of the gypsy’s character. She has a full and weighty voice, but with a clarity in the middle which gave it a wild, buoyant tang. In the cathartic finale she was quite simply overwhelming in the way she coloured and inflected her notes. She brought a wealth of vocal fervour to her arias and moulded Bizet’s generous vocal line to lyrical and intense purpose."
Riek van Rensberg, Independent Online

Opera Africa stages a stupendous Carmen
"Cristina Nassif is an all-encompassing Carmen. She’s magnetic, has the “physique du rôle”, meaning she’s an athletic creature who stalks, captures and discards her prey, bestriding the stage and José with equal aplomb. Her beautifully warm and flexible soprano voice took us through all the alluring emotions the character is capable of. She even managed her lower register well – quite gorgeous in much of the Card Song."
This is the one Carmen you’ll just have to experience."
Paul Boekkooi, SA Jewsh Report

Stage blazes with Opera Africa’s Carmen
"Nassif makes an immediate impact on stage in her first-act appearance, singing the famous Habanera, with its sultry descending chromatic melody, one of the most recognisable in the world of opera. Embodying a convincing Carmen requires a certain recklessness to bring the character to life, seeking her own freedom and brushing aside concerns about love and stability. Nassif’s Carmen is fickle and wily."
Dillon Davie, Mail & Guardian

"The marvelously engaging story of the torrid love affair of a sensuous Gypsy temptress with a young Spanish soldier lost little in this abridged version. If anything, it seemed more concentrated and accessible. Partly this was due to the power of its principle singers — Cristina Nassif as Carmen, Viktor Antipenko as Don Jose and baritone Eric Dubin as Escamillo. Nassif strutted across the stage, flaunting a combination of grace and earthy physicality, her voice remarkably full and gutsy."
Steve Siegel, The Morning Call

"Cristina Nassif projected strongly as a breezy, brassy Carmen."
Rupert Christiansen,

The Passion of 'Carmen' excites
"The music was rousing and Cristina Nassif as Carmen was fantastic singing Habanera, with feeling and humanity.
Nassif was excellent in her role as the woman who cannot be loved by just one man."
The Docklands24

"Cristina Nassif’s hussey Carmen had a seductive lilt and an excellent castanet roll."
Evening Standard

"Cristina Nassif's Carmen is a feisty, tempestuous character who holds both the male characters and the audience in her spell,"

"Cristina Nassif's Carmen also has the looks and plenty of rich tone. She plays a mean castanet, too."
The Times

From the Virginia Opera, A Spellbinding 'Carmen'
Just when you think there can't possibly be anything new to see or hear in "Carmen," along comes Virginia Opera with a sparkling production that is equal parts glitter and nuance.
By the time Cristina Nassif made her instantly dominating entrance as Carmen, Bizet's opera was already firing on all cylinders. Then Nassif turbocharged it, mixing sultry anomie with a hint of menace in the "Habanera," and clearly setting her smoldering sights on Brian Register's Don José at once. Nassif's voice has range and power, and the positions from which she can project it are amazing -- stretching, sitting, even lying down. She literally reels in the hapless Don Jose, capturing him with the rope he uses to tie her. Nassif also dances with enthusiasm, and clacks some mean castanets in Act 2.
Like Carmen's sorcerous rose, Virginia Opera's bewitching production was spellbinding.
Mark Estren, The Washington Post

Nassif seduces all in Virginia's 'Carmen'
The Virginia Opera made its first appearance of the season at the George Mason University Center for the Arts this weekend with an impressive production of Bizet's beloved "Carmen." Soprano Cristina Nassif starred in the title role of the ill-fated gypsy seductress who breaks one too many hearts.
The Virginia Opera's "Carmen" was surprisingly lavish, jamming the smallish GMU stage with an evocative set, colorful characters and costuming and loads of terrific music. Wisely, this production was built around the impressive talent of Miss Nassif, a darkly beautiful young soprano who handled this mezzo role with aplomb.
Miss Nassif portrayed Carmen as a tempestuous devourer of men, her rich voice descending from a gorgeous sensuousness into a nasty, nasally, snappish French when she's particularly disgusted with Don Jose's lack of manliness. Add this impressive performance to her heartbreaking portrayal of Violetta in last season's Virginia Opera production of "La Traviata," and one begins to wonder why the Met has not been knocking at her door. In the meantime, however, we can revel in our luck and look forward to Miss Nassif's return this spring in the Virginia Opera's production of "I Pagliacci."
T.L. Ponick, The Washington Times

Strength of 'Carmen' on full display
Friday night's Virginia Opera production was an able reminder of what made "Carmen" so popular in the first place.
Cristina Nassif returned to the Landmark Theater stage in the title role, sporting a rich, caramel soprano and the sexy flirtatiousness needed to hold the eye of every man in Seville. Carmen is a Gypsy, a tramp and a thief, and Nassif makes her alluring both physically and musically, with a voice that is sultry yet controlled.
Daniel Neman, Richmond Times Dispatch

Bizet's Carmen in Richmond: Another Triumph for Soprano Cristina Nassif
One of the pleasures of attending operas is catching great talents as their careers begin to take off. That was true of last Fall’s Virginia Opera production of Verdi’s La Traviata and it was even truer of the company’s searing production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen heard in the Landmark Theater...

Both Virginia productions starred one of the finest singing actresses I have had the privilege to hear. In an age in which audiences and directors seem to value onstage appearance over vocal heft, soprano Cristina Nassif has gorgeous looks and stage presence in spades. More importantly she has full control of a large voice that has a pleasing timbre. Her palette of vocal color and fine expressive graduations of dynamics are amazing. Her diction is superb.
Nassif’s seductive and sultry Carmen was ruthless as she exploited the weaknesses of her male targets. While most singers who take up this role are mezzo-sopranos, Nassif’s solidly supported lower range was wholly convincing. Aggressively straddling every chair and bale in sight or vamping against a wall, she was an unusually athletic gypsy. She extracted the maximum of dramatic and musical value from all of the character’s hit arias.
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Virginia Opera season opens with "Carmen"
The strong vocal cast is headed by Cristina Nassif in the title role. Her soprano is a lyrical delight, solid and flexible throughout her extensive range. Plus, she's quite beautiful and knows stagecraft, all of which suggest a significant main stage career awaits her.
For whatever reason, Danner held Nassif's Carmen to one of a flirtatious quality rather than seductive and fiery. But, that made little difference; so overwhelmingly fine was Nassif's grand performance.
John Shulson, The Virginia Gazette

In the role of Carmen, exotically beautiful soprano Cristina Nassif showed the spit and grit and smoldering sexuality of the freedom-loving gypsy. In her first entrance, the lithe Nassif seemed to float down the staircase; later, she worked the rope; danced on the table; gave a lap dance...with single-minded purpose: to ensnare another man.

This is a soprano voice, as we were priveleged to hear last season when she dazzled us as Violetta in La Traviata...the high notes rang with power and brilliance.
B.J. Atkinson, Port Folio Weekly

Straightforward approach works in balanced "Carmen"
Everything was sung on pitch, in rhythm and with all of Carmen's music phrased with intelligence and insight. She commanded the stage and made one watch Carmen at all times, and she did this by avoiding blatant sexuality, instead portraying a proud and free woman.
Paul Sayegh, The Virginian-Pilot

Review: ‘Carmen’ blazes with passion
Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” the rouser that it is, was given convincing life and drama Saturday by its principals, Cristina Nassif (Carmen) and Dan Snyder (Don Jose).
Wrapped into an alternately sunny and somber vision of a seduction story gone very wrong, this production worked because it approached the familiar music with fresh, unbridled passion.

Nassif makes a splendid Carmen in both her vocal versatility and dramatic intensity. After playing beautifully with the tempo of “L’amour et un oiseau rebelle” (the habanera), she made her role as the dangerous seductress very clear. During the aftermath of the fight with Manuelita, Nassif pounced onto the iron gate that separated herself from her rival like a ferocious predator. There was absolutely no doubt this Carmen was a woman not to be messed with.
Alexandyr Kent, The Shreveport Times

Cristina Nassif a dramatic and fine-singing Carmen
Cristina Nassif was a marvelous talent in the title role when the West Virginia Symphony staged its dress rehearsal of “Carmen” at the Clay Center Thursday night.
Bizet’s opera is one of the gems of the operatic repertory because its combines great music with that rarest of operatic commodities, a dramatic story that works.
Soprano Nassif has a big voice that is sufficiently dark in its coloration and nuanced in its shading to conquer this demanding role more often performed by mezzo-sopranos. She articulates extremely well and is a superb actress, looking the part and mastering this role that combines manipulative, selfish seductress with independent, self-reliant modern woman.
Bob Schwarz, The Charleston Gazette

Cristina Nassif makes an impressive Carmen
[W]hen Carmen, played by Cristina Nassif, comes to the front of the stage, passions really heat up and chaos soon abounds.
[M]ake no mistake about it, it was Cristina Nassif who single-handedly pushed and shoved this work this way and that to satisfaction.
I've never seen a stronger Carmen in my life.
Rick Justice, The Daily Mail

“Cristina Nassif, in the title role, offers a believable performance without being overtly dramatic, her sultry vocals nicely shaped and projected in the "L'amour" of her famous "Habanera." Her task isn't easy: She represents the emancipated woman, feminine and free, whose control over men reflects a fiery resolve. It certainly subdues Don Jose…”
Kurt Loft, TheTampa Tribune

“This abridged/semi-staged mounting served as a stunning presentation of a young soprano who has the potential to mature into a splendid interpreter of the opera’s title role.
Cristina Nassif, a student at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, handled the vocal and theatrical requirements of Bizet’s seductive gypsy with command and commitment. She based her characterization not on overblown stereotypes but rather on an identification with the passions that course through this intense young woman who would rather die than live as someone’s slave.
Even more impressive was her singing Saturday night before an audience that packed the house. Though a soprano essaying a role usually sung by mezzos, Nassif possesses so sultry and beguiling a lower register paired flawlessly with upper clarity that one missed none of the role’s sensuality while gaining dramatic brilliance to a degree heard rarely from mezzos.”
Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local

As Nedda in I Pagliacci (Virginia Opera)

"Cristina Nassif was an excellent Nedda -- a classic spitfire, as flighty as the birds whose freedom she envies, her voice dusky and intense, never shrill."
Mark Estren, Special to the Washington Post

Virginia Opera: Verismo Double Bill of Cav and Pag Packs a Wallop
"Each time soprano Cristina Nassif brings another character fully to life onstage — Violetta in 2005, Carmen in 2006 — she sets the performance bar higher than any other singer I have heard in that role. In an age when many opera lovers insist upon physical verisimilitude (the fat lady's out), Nassif is drop-dead gorgeous and as lithe as a gymnast. Add to that her possession of a powerful voice that sends shivers down the spine at climaxes or melts the heart during hushed passages. Her high notes are pitched perfectly and fast passages are cleanly executed while her warm timbre is instantly winning. All of this is coupled with a breath-taking facility for acting. When on stage, she is in character every instant, with every movement or facial expression. This was the case as she embodied Nedda in I Pagliacci. She physically glowed as she sang "Oh! Che volo d'augelli". Maybe subtle lighting enhanced the effect, but I prefer to believe she was radiant. She brought the same intensity to her role as Columbine in the play-within-a-play. It was amazing to watch as Nassif transitioned back and forth between Nedda and Columbine, desperately trying to continue the play as Canio became increasingly mad with rage. Her singing was simply stunning."
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Opera twins well-served by heart and smarts
"[Gustavo Lopez Manzitti] received tremendous support from soprano Cristina Nassif as his wife, Nedda.

Nassif's voice soared, its edge conveying all the longing and frustration that this character experiences. She is a natural stage performer, and it is hard not to watch her, even when she is not singing. In the final scene, one was totally caught up in her futile efforts to get the play back on track, until she exploded with defiance at her husband, her voice thrilling in its dramatic power."
Paul Sayegh, The Virginian Pilot

"What a delight to hear soprano Cristina Nassif again, in a role she was born to play. As Nedda, Canio’s unhappy wife, Nassif showed every facet of this woman’s inner self: Her dissatisfaction and fear, her strength at repelling Tonio’s advances; her vestigial gratitude for Canio; her smoldering sexuality. La bella Nassif sang with heart-stopping beauty."
B.J. Atkinson, Portfolio Weekly

"The lovely Cristina Nassif is a brilliant singer-actress, as evidenced in her fiery, sexually charged Nedda. Vocally, she is lyrical, focused, distinctive and expressive."
John Shulson, Opera Canada

Tales of carnage among the knaves
"Budding superstar soprano Cristina Nassif was superb in "Pagliacci," creating an uncommonly nasty Nedda."
T.L. Ponick, The Washington Times

[O]pening night an absolutely joyous feast!
"Cristina Nassif is a sensual and highly physical Nedda. She and fine baritone Michael Todd Simpson as her lover Silvio, make very real the chemistry of passion that engulfs them. Nassif is a soprano with highly pleasing lightness and great strength existing side by side. She is an exceptional actress as well. The total package is mighty impressive."
Edgar Loessin, WHRO-FM

Strong singing carries Va. Opera twin bill
"As Nedda, local favorite Cristina Nassif's rich and robust soprano blended harmoniously with the masculine baritone of Michael Todd Simpson as Silvio."
Daniel Neman, Times-Dispatch

Paglaccio Rusticano
"Cristina Nassif, a Washington-area soprano whom I interviewed for DCist last year, as Nedda. Nassif's voice is on the reedy side, with a vigorous vibrato, and her physical appeal and dramatic instinct served her well. The most beautifully sung and dramatic scene of the evening was Nassif's love scene in I Pagliacci with Silvio, sung by the equally handsome and full-voiced baritone Michael Todd Simpson."
Charles T. Downey,

As Soprano Soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Buffalo Philharmonic)

"The last movement, what everyone was waiting for, did not disappoint. Bass Kevin Deas, intoning that all-important first vocal line, commanded attention. He and the other singers — soprano Christina Nassif, mezzo soprano Jeniece Golbourne and tenor Israel Lozano — had the kind of power and presence the symphony demands."

Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News

As Djamileh in Djamileh (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh)

Opera Theater offers a delightful 'Djamileh'
"Cristina Nassif was charismatic in the title role. Her love song to Haroun early in the opera, doomed at the time, was filled with emotion and strength, while her dramatic interactions were always sharply focused."
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune

Carpets, belly dancing spice up 'Djamileh'
"Nassif emerged as a rare operatic triple threat. Possessed with a vivid mezzo-soprano voice and an authoritative dramatic presence that made the most of a thin story line about a Persian slave girl who pines over the affections of a young nobleman, she was also surprisingly supple, even in a seductive dance trio with Kissel and Hamer.

Eaton...engaged Olivia Kissel and Maria Hamer of Zafira Dance Company to infuse the opera cast with some rudimentary lessons in belly dancing. It was a decision that gave the production an exotic flair as the women, and particularly Cristina Nassif (Djamileh), provided a confident and authentic undulating landscape for Bizet's Middle-Eastern opera."
By Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Soprano Soloist in Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Buffalo Philharmonic)

Sensual, sparkling music fills Kleinhans
This weekend’s concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is pure enjoyment. It focuses on Vienna in the early 20th century, before the world wars. The music is gilded, sensual, sparkling. Think of Gustav Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss,” with its gold leaf. That’s what this concert is like.

The wonderful thing about the singers on hand this weekend — soprano Cristina Nassif and baritone Tom Barrett — is that [in selections from Mahler's "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"] they seemed deep into the songs’ emotions. Barrett brought out the sly humor of “St. Anthony of Padua’s Sermon to the Fishes.” Operating as a team, both singers drew laughs from the audience in the flirty song “Wasted Effort.” In contrast, at the end of the song I love best, “Where the Beautiful Trumpets Sound,” I saw Nassif wipe her eyes. I can’t blame her. What a heartbreaking song that is, with its wandering, sleepwalking, ghostly melodies.

Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News

Soprano Soloist at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC

Soprano Cristina Nassif and tenor Benjamin Warschawski had 95 percent of the stage time at a sold-out Embassy Series recital at the Austrian Embassy on Saturday night. Both were in fine voice -- Nassif exceptionally so. Much of the program was standard stuff, including encapsulations of "La Traviata" (the "Brindisi" from Act 1, "Lunge da lei" from Act 2 and the opera's final scene) and "Carmen" (the "Habanera," "La fleur que tu m'avais jet¿e" and, again, the conclusion). Nassif's rich soprano dominated Warschawski's thinner tenor in their duets, but both performers sang with emotional fervor.

They also showed an affinity for Lehar. Nassif's "Vilja-Lied" from "The Merry Widow" was beautifully sung and expressively phrased.

Both singers were especially good in works less often heard. Nassif found unsuspected depths in "Marietta's Lied" from Korngold's "Die Tote Stadt" and "Chi il bel sogno" from Puccini's "La Rondine."

Mark J. Estren, The Washington Post

As Soprano Soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Friday night's Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra program of opera music was, overall, a delight.

It was apparent that...Cristina Nassif has the potential to be an amazing presence on an opera stage.

Nassif was the major find of the evening, however. She took hold of the roles she sang with an assurance that bodes well. Her performance of "Doretta's Song," from Puccini's "La Rondine," was close to revelatory, and her partnering with Ruminski in "La ci darem la mano," from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," was fairly balanced.

Garaud MacTaggart, The Buffalo News

“Duende! A Program of Spanish Art Songs”
Soprano gives rich voice to poetry

"“Prima la parola” is Italian for "first the word." The phrase has been a mantra for opera composers since the 17th century, exhorting them to remember that the exposition and expression of a text must take precedence over any musical bombast or vocal pyrotechnics. Words were well-served when the International Poetry Forum presented a concert by soprano Cristina Nassif on Wednesday at Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland.

I don't know Spanish, so I can't comment on Nassif's diction, but her singing was ravishing. A coloratura soprano by trade but a sultry alto by timbre, her voice was full-throated while always in total control. She effortlessly and precisely tossed off the jagged leaps in Rodrigo's "Four Madrigals of Love" and languidly spun the lyric, floating lines of [the aria from Granados’s Spanish opera] "The Maja and the Nightingale."

…every interpretation was spot-on, without being histrionic or affected. Backed by Katerina Souvorova's virtuosic accompaniment, she warmly elicited the solemnity of "Seguidillas religiosas" and the poignancy of "Del Cabello Mas Sutil." She sang "El majo discreto" with appropriate bravura and relished in the playful patter of "Cancion Gitana."

Purists may bristle at the idea of a sung poetry reading. But applying musical tone to enhance text is the very nature of singing. Booking Nassif was a wise choice by the IPF. She indeed lifted the texts to a higher level of expression.”

Eric Haines, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

As Zemphira in Aleko (Bel Cantanti)

“In the leading roles were four splendid singers who could also act: soprano Cristina Nassif as the passionate but unfaithful Zemphira;…All four have big, rich voices, well suited to the Russian repertoire...and all four sang intelligently and musically.”

Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post

AIDS Marathon Opera Gala – Puccini’s “Quando me ‘n vo” and “Chi il bel sogno” (Scottish Rite Center)

“The finest and most finished work came from Nassif (displaying the plummy low notes, tangy top and penetrating tone of an old-school Italian spinto-soprano),”

Joe Banno, The Washington Post

Soloist in The Embassy Series "Tribute to Korngold" (Austrian Embassy)

“Soprano Cristina Nassif joined Frey for "Marietta's Song" from Korngold's opera "Die Tote Stadt" ("The City of the Dead"). Her powerful voice filled the aria with emotion, the clarity of her upper register ringing out in full cry. In excerpts from "Shakespeare Songs," Op. 29 and 31, Nassif sounded best in the dramatic pieces -- explosive in "O Mistress Mine" and passionate in "Desdemona's Song."”
Grace Jean, The Washington Post

“And soprano Cristina Nassif gave spirited performances of "Marietta's Song" from Mr. Korngold's famous, and now frequently revived, opera "Die Tote Stadt" ("The Dead City"), Op. 12, as well as brilliantly suggestive renditions of his sprightly "Shakespeare Songs," Op. 29 and 31.”
The Washington Times

As Tatiana in Eugene Onegin (Bel Cantanti)

“The chief strength of this production is the singing. Cristina Nassif is a striking Tatiana, with a stage presence and acting talent as powerful as her voice.”

Joseph McLellan, Special to The Washington Post

As Rosina in “Il Barbiere and More” Opera Gala (Bel Cantanti)

“Cristina Nassif was a Rosina capable of spectacular coloratura acrobatics but also intelligent and adept at trickery.”

Joseph McLellan,

As Soprano Soloist in Elijah (Virginia Symphony Orchestra)

“Soprano Cristina Nassif pleaded for help as the Widow, her rich sound varied to express nuances in mood shifts. Both her strength and agility served the challenging aria “Hear Ye, Israel” well.”

Lee Teply, The Virginian Pilot

As Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (AVA, Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra)

“The most complete performance is that of Cristina Nassif, who really knows her way around both a stage and a musical phrase and has the savvy and discipline to adapt her vibrant persona and upper register to Pamina’s more austere duties. Every Nassif does here rewards attention; she really runs with Cazan’s refreshing concept of a proud, daring princess.”

David Shengold, Philadelphia City Paper

As Tatiana in An Evening of Russian Romances (AVA)

“The entire second half was given over to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s best known opera, Eugene Onegin. The four singers were thoughtfully matched, with the arresting, stentorian voice of Cristina Nassif carrying the ardently romantic Tatiana…”

Peter Burwasser, Philadelphia City Paper

As Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (AVA, Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra)

“Cristina Nassif is a strong Rosina -- rebellious and a risk-taker, determined to run off and marry this mysterious suitor. Normally categorized as a soprano, Nassif sings the role in the original mezzo key. Last year she was an excellent Musetta; here she shows the same assertiveness and seductiveness, which we don't always see in this part.”
Steve Cohen, Philadelphia City Paper

“A cast change added drama to the opening-night performance. Soprano Cristina Nassif stepped into the production to sing Rosina after illness forced mezzo-soprano Erin Holland to withdraw. A striking actress with an easy command of the stage, Nassif caught the vivacity of the Spanish girl. Her bright soprano projected boldly when Rosina's music soared into the upper range.”
Robert Baxter, The Courier Post

As Alice Ford in Falstaff (AVA, Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra)

“Cristina Nassif acted a sexy, vivacious Alice and her top notes dominated the ensembles impressively.”
David Shengold, Philadelphia City Paper

“Cristina Nassif makes a vivacious Alice Ford. She savors the arching phrases Verdi gives the soprano.”
Robert Baxter, The Courier Post

As Musetta in La Boheme (AVA Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra)

"The fireball Musetta, Cristina Nassif, was not the light soprano usually heard, but a sexy-looking spitfire with a big voice."
W.J. Fenza, Special to the Morning Call

As Despina in Così fan tutte (AVA Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra)

“Cristina Nassif, made for the stage, wielded a rich, darkly tinged soprano as (for once!) a winning Despina.”

David Shengold, Philadelphia City Paper

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