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“Beautiful, strong and vibrant tone with a ringing top; and an excellent interpreter.”

The Richard Wagner Society International Gold Book

“Short revealed a proto-type heldentenor of considerable promise and proved to be an expert partisan of the style.”

New York Concert Review

“. . . A vocally exciting performance . . . sang a superb PAGLIACCI. 'Vesti 1a giubba' rang out splendidly and the role was acted with palpable energy, poignantly descending darkly into violence . . . a very strong performer.”

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

“ . . . Outstanding voice . . . stood with convincing power, charm and charisma. . .  Short's refined, polished dramatic tenor was always controlled and his 'Vesti la giubba' was both deliberate and poignant. . . (an) exceptional young singing-actor.”

Cape Cod Times

“At the curtain calls, the tremendous Canio of John L. Short was greeted with a spontaneous, unanimous standing ovation. Quite deservedly so, for his total performance: the humanity of his dramatic presence,  the intense realism of his acting, and the volcanic power and thrilling beauty of his rich, deep tenor voice were the highlight of the entire afternoon. Mr. Short’s wrenching performance of “Vesti la giubba’ was everything one could ask for from any great singing-actor.”

Bergen News

“The dramatic tenor John Short was the real reason to feel fortunate for having attended Pagliacci. It would be difficult to choose whether it was Short’s acting or singing which was most remarkable as they were so totally fused into one entity as Canio, so perhaps it’s best to not even try. Suffice to say, he was as good in this iconic role as any famous tenor past or present one could care to name, as was his truly memorable ‘Vesti la giubba.’ Mr. Short’s Canio was so distraught and convincing in the final scene that many members of the audience actually wondered aloud in alarm as the curtain was coming down if Nedda and Silvio had been killed for real: the very essence of Verismo.”

NJ Star Ledger

“Very impressive as prisoner and husband Florestan, John Short deftly delineated the suffering; yet glimmer of hope in an aria lament in the funeral-prison scene. It was truly heartfelt . . . first class . . . top notch. . . Beethoven got his due, and then some.”

Connecticut Post

“John Short as Don Jose was very strong and threw himself into the rigorous part. Don Jose's famous aria, 'La fleur' was tender, gently ascending the scale at the end to rest on the high B-flat. His is really the more interesting character; whereas Carmen is basically the same throughout, Don Jose gradually unravels from complete indifference to fatal obsession during the story. Short did it all most convincingly.”

Idaho Statesman

“John Short’s performance as the ill-fated Don Jose was also richly applauded. His performance was intriguing and memorable from beginning to end, fully capturing the characters tortured emotional collapse. Short’s warm voice was smooth, powerful and used intelligently. The final scene was played for all it’s worth, the grandeur and realism Mr. Short achieved was thrilling.” 

Opera News

“Tenors who can really act are extremely rare, so John Short’s revelatory portrayal as Don Jose really put the ‘dramatic’ in dramatic tenor. His performance was so insightful, total and intense, that at times one forgot one was experiencing an operatic performance. If though, opera as an art form is supposed to be about theatre with music or music-drama, then the effect of this young man’s acting and singing must be considered near the ideal. Tall, handsome and powerfully built, he at first seems merely imposing, but there is never a moment when he is not completely involved and wholly the character: increasingly dangerous, unstable, obsessed, tortured and yet somehow noble, he revealed the disintegration of a potentially great man as movingly and realistically as one could imagine. His voice was equally magnificent, with a multi-colored timbre that was warm, masculine, and seemed bass, baritone and tenor all at once. Even in scale and projected with titanic strength and yearning, his singing was also supple and tender, as during the famous ‘flower song,’ which was as much lived as sung. The final scene was not only thrilling and grand; its realism was actually disturbing, as if the story this time were literally true. If only all operatic performers captured the essence and humanity of their characters like this young man, opera would not be in the trouble it is.”

Idaho Tribune

“Tenor John L. Short’s searing portrayal of the obsessed Don Jose was entirely believable and the highlight of the performance. Both vocally and dramatically, Mr. Short projected the characters torment with great strength and suavity, beauty and poignancy. The ‘flower song’ was touchingly sung and movingly narrated. His vividly intense, even frighteningly realistic acting was riveting in the final scene as his character’s sanity completely unravels. At the moment where Don Jose snaps and kills Carmen with a brutal knife thrust, there were audible gasps in the audience from the sheer terror and heartbreak revealed to us in the anguish of Short’s gargantuan vocal and dramatic power: at that moment everyone in attendance must have feared for the well-being of his co-star. One felt actual relief only a few minutes after the performance ended when they embraced at the curtain calls amid bravos before all was truly seen to be well. That is operatic acting of the highest caliber!”

Chelsea Clinton News

“Although suffering from a severe indisposition, heroic tenor John L. Short offered a commanding, vivid and exciting Otello. His declamation and style were superior, his stage presence dangerous and explosive, like a cornered, wounded lion, even while performing in evening dress. Mr. Short had the true sound of an authentic Otello: noble, dark, baritonal, rich, ringing, and imposing in heft and power. It’s a shame he wasn’t in his best vocal health, but he never failed to give 110% to his characterization and the audience rewarded his talent and effort with a big ovation.”

Hawthorne Gazette

“John L. Short’s powerhouse performance as the jealousy maddened Moor of Venice thrilled the audience at many key moments, particularly at Otello’s enraged cries of ‘Sangue!’ Mr. Short’s somewhat husky heroic tenor had real mettle and depth, as well as warmth and richness to go with its impressive power and thrust. His tremendous vocal and theatrical energy brought cheers from the audience at the end of the great oath duet that ends Act 2.”

WWFM, the Classical Network

“It’s rare to go to opera these days and experience a terrific singer who is just as good, if not better, as an actor. In the powerhouse American dramatic tenor John Short, OI gave us an Otello who clearly has the talent and intelligence to portray Shakespeare’s Othello on the legitimate theatrical stage. It would be a shame to miss out on that wonderful singing voice though! Mr. Short’s sound had the force and strength of a level 5 cyclone in moments of command and fury, but was beautifully covered and round in moments of tenderness. He gave the audience shivers at every dynamic extreme, his timbre like marble in the middle, mahogany in the low range. Enunciation was thrilling too: every word was projected with emphasis and colored to suit its meaning. Mr. Short’s Otello was a triumph!”

Brooklyn Press

“Even in a program of excerpts an opera company dare not put on scenes with orchestra from Verdi’s masterpiece Otello without a real Otello, which is probably the rarest of all operatic voice-types. In the American dramatic tenor John L. Short though, OI actually had a real one, and great one at that. Tall, athletic and strongly built, Mr. Short was physically convincing as a mythic warrior-general and moved like a caged Lion of Venice: he acted up a storm as the tragic Moor. His singing was at times tender and achingly gorgeous, at times like a dark, menacing thunderstorm throwing huge lightning bolts, but at all times his singing was passionate, noble, heartfelt and artistic, his portrayal  realistically projected, vulnerable and honest. High notes were frequently spectacular in their breadth of tone, the middle and lower ranges of his full, rich sound were lush and gorgeous in coloration, he seemed to have enough heft to easily sing Iago’s baritone role. Mr. Short’s sound quality is different from other tenors: much beefier and richer than Domingo’s more lyric Otello for instance. His level of dramatic intensity is weightier too: One could always sense the character’s intelligence at war with his dangerous instinct for violence being driven over the edge by insane jealousy. Mr. Short’s Otello on this occasion of extended scenes, was comparable with the best Otello’s one could care to name in the last several decades.” 

Brooklyn Spectator

“The powerful Samson of dramatic or heroic tenor, John L. Short, was everything one could hope for in this iconic He-Man role, vocally and theatrically. His appearance and presence onstage was ideal, French style excellent, big voice clear, full, impassioned and very exciting.”

Village Voice

“The most powerful vocalist of the 3 principals was easily, appropriately enough, the Samson, portrayed vividly and with great passion by heroic tenor John L. Short. The color of Mr. Short’s richly textured voice is that of a deep baritone, but quite surprisingly it was his enormous, rafter-ringing high notes that were the most thrilling sounds of the evening. Samson’s high G’s, A’s and Bb’s in Act 2 were like sustained cannon shots that threatened to make the walls buckle. The fact that his handsome appearance and commanding stage presence was every bit the equal of his rather stunning voice contributed in no small way to the enjoyment of the evening and the success of the performance.”

New York Press

“As Samson, heldentenor John L. Short sang with an astounding, granite-like strength which was virile and emotionally stirring. His French enunciation and style was excellent, his phrasing and musical nuances vibrant. Although Mr. Short’s hair is thinning a bit on top to portray an ideal Samson in a concert setting, his heroic stage presence and brawny appearance was in every way totally believable as this romantically tortured biblical hero. His resonant voice was more than a match for the orchestra even at full volume and he has a unique, rich coloration to his sound throughout the range that is unusually beautiful for this type of tenor.”

Chelsea Clinton News

“The performance benefited immensely from the singing and acting of heldentenor John Short as Siegmund. He has an ideal look, presence, acting style and sound quality for the doomed Walsung, and Mr. Short’s merits were almost inseparable vocally and dramatically. It also didn’t hurt that he had by far the largest voice in the cast, both in volume and quality, with remarkable warmth of tone. His German style and diction were more than adequate, if slightly too Italianate. In the end though, Mr. Short’s thoughtful and heroic characterization, manly theatrical performance and beautiful, rich sound were probably very close to what Wagner had in mind for Siegmund.” 

WQXR F.M. Radio

“John Short’s Siegmund was remarkable. He was heroic and convincing as an unconquerable warrior possessed of a noble spirit while also portraying a doomed, hunted wild man being pursued by fate. His acting was involved and detailed, larger than life when called for, yet realistic and heartbreakingly tender and vulnerable when with his beloved Sieglinde. Short’s impressive singing was at turns stentorian and broadly lyrical: his unusually rich sound was glorious, full and handsome, quite beautiful most of the time, even in his high range, a quality almost unheard of in a heavy heldentenor voice. His final moments with Sieglinde and his death scene were deeply moving.” 

Westside Spirit

“The male star of the evening was easily John Short as the valiant troubadour Manrico. Mr. Short had surprisingly good Italian style and diction to go with a remarkably resonant and beautiful voice. He actually sounded more like a Verdi Baritone than did the evenings Di Luna, but when Mr. Short surged above the staff as at the end of Act 3’s famous cabaletta, the quality of his resounding, beefy high notes spoke for themselves. In addition, he had an excellent legato and a remarkable stage presence, as his heartfelt acting in and of itself was a highlight of the performance, especially his scenes with his mother, the gypsy Azucena.”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Although he sounded more like a baritone than a tenor at times, John Short’s highest notes as Manrico, the Troubadour, were astounding and huge throughout the performance. His unusual, deep quality of voice grew more beautiful and sweet as the evening progressed, as did his legato, but he never failed to project his characters tortured conflict or bravery honestly. Short’s acting and stage presence was excellent and believable, ultimately much more creditable than most tenors in this kind of repertory ever dream of being.”

Brooklyn Paper

“Radames, the General of the Egyptian army and tenor hero of the opera, was ably sung and acted by John Short. Mr. Short’s first attempt at this notoriously difficult role was an unqualified success. Alternately stentorian and lyrical as the role requires, he was always ardent and in command of his voice and character. Mr. Short arrived at the end of the performance in just as good of shape as he began it, or even better, for Acts 3 and 4 contained his best work. He definitely has an advantage over other tenors in this repertory, for Mr. Short is tall, robustly handsome in appearance and a very good actor. His full tenor voice has warmth, richness, impressive size, resonance and an easy ring. His technique was smooth for this kind of tenor and his long high notes were surprisingly good coming from such a baritonal foundation in the middle and low range. His Italian style and diction were excellent and dynamic control was purposeful and artistic. Many a famous tenor at the hallowed Met has not been as effective as Mr. Short in his role debut as Radames.” 

Long Island Press

“Calaf, the Unknown Prince, was excitingly sung by a tall, handsome tenor from Oregon named John Short, who is quite a fine actor and has real stage presence. Despite sounding too much like a baritone for some tastes, his high notes were exciting and remarkably full in this highest of Italian dramatic roles. His portrayal of the character was insightful and inspiring, not coming off as the selfish jerk Calaf usually does. For instance, his concern throughout for Liu and the blind Timur was palpable and genuine. His portion of the Riddle Scene was ardent, desperate and relished in his victory: his cyclonic top notes and breadth of declamation in bravely solving the riddles was stunning. At all times, Mr. Short’s phrasing was musical and alert to text, his style passionate, impetuous and heroic, musically and histrionically. Not surprisingly, his “Nessun dorma” was a solo highlight of the evening, and Mr. Short’s rapturous account of the famous aria was much more meaningfully interpreted than one usually experiences. The triumphant prince’s conquering of the title character’s icy reserve in the final duet was, for once, totally convincing: stirringly powerful and intensely romantic. Because of Mr. Short’s involved and realistically acted performance, not only his role, but the entire opera as a work of drama was lifted out of mere fairytale and rendered much more believable and relevant as theatre than one remembers it being before. Bravo indeed!”

Long Island News

“A real discovery of the evening was a tall, broad-shouldered and imposingly voiced dramatic tenor - there could be no more descriptive wordfor this mans voice and stage presence than dramatic - named John L. Short. Not only did Mr. Short look and sound like he was born for his operatic excerpts from Otello, Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila, Carmen and even Wagner’s Die Walkure, but his singing of the musical theatre selections in the programs lighter 2nd half revealed a control and suppleness I would not have believed possible for such a huge-voiced singer. As if that weren’t enough, Mr. Short’s acting, even in concert was the most impressive of the evening. Changing the quality of his sound and physicality in large and small ways to suit the materials style revealed thoughtful artistry as well as command of talent. Did I mention his voice is also incredibly rich and beautiful?”

Long Island Herald

“The magnificent dramatic tenor of John Short arrived and the evening definitely took a turn for the better. Possessing an unusually large, distinctive and vibrantly colored voice to go with an imposing stage presence that is easily engaging, Mr. Short’s theatrical energy and massive climactic top notes single-handedly changed the course of the faltering performance like a vocal Hercules diverting the course of mighty rivers in ancient mythology. Both virile and stirring, though perhaps not to all tastes, Mr. Short has a powerful, rich, and unique sound that is not comparable with any other tenor: but it is definitely thrilling and very impassioned. Stylistically, he is also quite individual in his natural, broadly lyrical expressiveness and declamatory utterance. It almost seemed as if he came from, perhaps even belongs in, another time, long ago, when real heroes walked the operatic earth: not just over-hyped, highly publicized, small-voiced stars.”

Long Island Weekly

“Many members of the audience were particularly taken with the big, booming darkish tenor voice of John Short and his ringing high notes. I admired those too, of course, but was actually more impressed with his passionate nature, musical and linguistic sensitivity, and his grand yet genial presence onstage. Big, even huge-voiced singers come and go in opera; Mr. Short seems to have more going for him than just spectacular top notes and putting out constant waves of stentorian volume. Good for him that he strives for and often achieves subtlety, beauty and artistry as well.”

Queens Chronicle

“The standout performer of the evening was a tall, barrel-chested dramatic tenor named John Short. Looking and moving like a heavyweight contender with a virile stage presence and some serious acting chops, Mr. Short opened his throat, a vocal thunderclap emerged and the majority of the audience was in the proverbial palm of his hand and cheering enthusiastically. By the intermission his varied operatic excerpts had members of the audience trying to compare him with every great dramatic tenor one could name and by the end of the concert a few seemed frustrated that he didn’t exactly resemble their favorite ones more: apparently the trouble is that Mr. Short doesn’t really sound like anyone else. For some that’s a problem, strangely enough. It struck me as odd that an exciting, original artist could be cheered spontaneously for how wonderfully they performed and yet criticized on second-thought, or after the fact, for not being more common or typical. Seeming to be equal parts tenor and baritone, his sound is sensuous, masculine, and at times, almost surreally huge: but also beautiful with a gorgeous texture I don’t believe I’ve heard before in a tenor voice. His singing was by turns audacious, lyrical, and explosive, his expression thoughtful, committed and always deeply impassioned. In this day of the generic, pleasant sounding operatic singer, the incredible rich quality and distinctiveness of Mr. Short’s unusual voice and intensely sincere artistry should truly set him apart without any question. If it isn’t allowed to, whose fault is that?”

Queens Tribune

“John Short’s glowing, resonant dramatic tenor combined with warm artistry and an equally potent stage presence to create many thrilling, even memorable moments throughout the evening.”

New York Sun

“Oregon’s John Short surprised with a big, beautifully colored heroic tenor sound and a flair for the dramatic onstage. His exuberant, heartfelt passion and powerful yet stylish singing and acting gave the audience exactly what they wanted: a genuine thrill!”

San Francisco Examiner


“It’s perhaps a little premature to suggest it, but John L. Short, a tall, brawny young man from Oregon, may actually be that rarest of all operatic voices: a born heldentenor. His sound is surprisingly large and full, baritonal, very warmly textured and rich, with an unusual, soft-grained mellow quality I can’t recall ever hearing in another heavy heroic tenor of this kind. The voice has plenty of ring and his highest notes, including Faust’s high C, came easily to him, but Mr. Short doesn’t have a typical sort of tenor sound, or at least one that all will respond to positively if they like a tenor to sound typically high, bright, light and sweet. He appears to be quite musical, stylistically serious, dramatically engaged and has a stunningly powerful, easy stage presence to go with his distinctive and, to this listener’s ears, rather beautiful sound.”

Oakland Tribune


“One of the real pleasures of the concert was the strapping, young bull of a dramatic tenor from lumber-jack country in Oregon named, ironically since he’s quite tall, John L. Short. Mr. Short had a winning, engaging presence on the stage, and his singing was full of vim and vigor, great gobs of passion and, surprisingly, a fair amount of lyrical artistry too. His singing was charming, had significant strength and tonal depth, and was very heart on the sleeve capped with gorgeous top notes. The famous high C from Gounod’s Faust was shimmering and sustained stunningly, delighting the audience. In the great aria from Puccini’s Tosca, where Short pulled out all the stops, he showed us another side of his nature and sang with great pathos and intensity. His ‘Wintersturme’ from Wagner’s Die Walkure was romantic, richly intoned and nobly expressed.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Notable was the exciting heroic tenor John Short, who impressed dramatically with an overwhelming 'Vesti la giubba' from Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI.”  

ORPHEUS Magazine

“ . . . John Short brought strength and conviction to the performance.”

Opera News

“John Short is an absolutely thrilling dramatic tenor!”

Classical Singer Magazine NYC

“In addition to a very strong, commanding stage presence, Mr. Short combined a uniquely beautiful, richly-colored sound to a warm musicality used with compelling emotional intensity, enormous reserves of vocal and dramatic power and a tremendous top-voice . . . He is a thrilling, ‘total performer’ of overwhelming impact!”

Headlight Herald, OR

“This young man with such a powerful stage presence and rare acting ability for an operatic performer is, without a doubt, one of the Northwest's finest talents!”

Federal Way Guidepost, WA

“He has a gorgeous, deep tenor voice of dark, baritonal richness and warmth, yet has real sweetness, brilliance and surprising ease on the upper notes as well as remarkable reserves of tremendous, stentorian power whenever called upon throughout the entire range.”

The Vanguard, OR

“. . . A truly beautiful tenor voice of unique timbre and great power. . .”

The Oregonian

“The rich, surprisingly full tenor voice of John Short stole the show. The power and beauty of his climactic, sustained high-notes was thrilling and impressive: his easy, commanding stage presence even more so.” 

The Olympian, WA

“John Short sang and acted with great vigor and a compelling, dark-hued tenor voice of startling impact and quality.”

Statesman Journal, OR

“Surprisingly, the best actor onstage last night was an operatic tenor: not a statement one is likely to encounter very often in the theatre or the musical world. However John Short proved to be that rarest of all things: a real singing-actor who commanded the stage as if he were born to it. Mr. Short is tall, burly in a handsome way, and moves easily with great focus and purpose. His singing voice is well controlled, beautiful, rich in quality, and seems to have endless reserves of power. When Mr. Short came out for curtain calls at the end of the evening, the entire audience stood up in unison and gave him a sustained, cheering ovation for his sensational performance.”

Herald and News, OR

“The concert was also notable for the introduction of a new dramatic tenor: John Short, from the state of Oregon. Mr. Shortnot only looked like a brawny man from timbre country, he sounded like one too. His excerpts were especially impressive and movingly interpreted, but everything he sang was artistic, impassioned and remarkable for the intensity, beauty and enormous thrilling power of his thunderous, rich sound. His grand stage presence was imposing but engaging.”

Sacramento Bee

“Having an authentic heroic tenor for the Verdi and Wagner operas makes an enormous difference in whether any given performance will be successful or not. In John L. Short’s stylish and exciting singing, the evening enjoyed that and more. His voice is rich, distinctive, powerful and quite harmonious, even remarkably beautiful. In addition, he is tall and attractive, has presence and a notable sense of grandeur onstage and moves and acts very well. One or two higher notes early on were a bit effortful or bruised even, but there were a lot of them so one expects that occasionally from a real heroic tenor, but most were thrilling. In their breadth, heft, sheer size and quality, even awesome, calling to mind the great Canadian Jon Vickers and the late-great American James McCracken, two of the post-war eras most celebrated ‘singing-actor’ dramatic tenors. High praise indeed, but Mr. Short’s musicality, artistry and seriousness of preparation and quality warrant it. One wishes him well in the stormy seas of operatic life, for success; even with this level of talent, is never assured.”

New York Observer

(Mr. Short’s extensive list of performances from leading roles in Musical Theatre and Operetta include: Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Curly in Oklahoma, Emil de Becque in South Pacific, Petrucchio/Fred in Kiss me Kate, Quichotte/Cervantes in The Man of La Mancha, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, and Francois Villon in The Vagabond King.)