“But perhaps the most eye-opening performance on Sunday was Madelyn Wanner’s masterful interpretation of Tito's reluctant villain, Sesto. As an actress in a key trouser role, this marvelous mezzo was surprisingly convincing as Tito’s turncoat pal. As a vocalist, Ms. Wanner's performance was convincing and secure, her ornamentation tight and accurate. Above all, her voice itself was clear, robust, emotional, yet fearless, possessing just the right qualities to address this opera's peculiar blending of the classical and the baroque. She’s truly a talent who deserves greater notice as nearly anyone in attendance at Sunday's performance will doubtless agree.”
- The Washington Times
"Madelyn Wanner sang Amenaide’s sympathetic friend, Isaura, with assurance and empathy. This is a difficult smaller role involving much hand-wringing and pleas for mercy for her headstrong mistress."
- LA Opus
“Listen for Mozart’s memorable arias. One must-mention: “Trust me, have faith….” (Parto, parto ma tu ben mio….” for those who know the Italian text). Mezzo-soprano Madelyn Wanner, shines with radiance in the trouser-role throughout this famous dialogue-duet between Sesto and the clarinet obbligato, delivered by clarinetist, Jonathan Yanik.
Wanner, her hair cropped short, military-style, projects a pure but insecure young man– a Sesto, torn between passionate love and painful guilt for his betrayal of Tito. That moving duet signifies Sesto’s inner battle: to remain dutifully loyal or surrender to thirst for power. His growing confidence to act sound like a heavenly, moral argument. Aptly, Wanner’s nuanced voice expands with her use of sweeping, open-palmed, male gestures that take full command of the stage……..Overall, what I found profoundly moving, though, was Wanner’s whole-bodied demeanor of melancholia, the agony of a conflicted soul, that reflected in her face and eyes, attention-grabbing even into the curtain call.”
- DC Theater Scene
“The lynchpin however is Madelyn Wanner, a mezzo soprano, as Sesto. The vocal part is challenging and she has the greatest emotional journey to complete as she struggles with betraying her friend. Wanner was more than up to the task. She’s a powerful singer. There was one song especially that becomes a sort of duet between her and clarinet player Jonathan Yanik. Both treble through the runs that only Mozart could write and few can sing and play.”
"Mezzo-Soprano Madelyn Wanner played Sesto in a traditional “trouser role,” or a woman playing the part formerly performed by male castrati. The role is a juicy, difficult part vocally and emotionally. She stole the show with her aria “Trust Me, Have Faith….” (“Parto, parto ma tu ben mio”), which is actually a duet with clarinet in a song only Mozart could write. Her voice soared in perfect harmony with the instrument through a series of impossible and moving musical and vocal acrobatics, even as she tortured herself with the emotion of the song and Sesto’s betrayal of his best friend."
- DCMetroTheaterArts, Favorite "Scene Stealers" of the 2012-2013 DC Area Theater Season
“In keeping with tradition Sesto is a trouser role and played masterfully by Madelyn Wanner, who steals the show every time she opens her mouth……last night she impressed me to no end……Even Ms. Wanner's 3 piece suit for Sesto and haircut had me convinced she was a man……As I mentioned, any time Ms. Wanner sang was a highlight........there is no question that "Trust me, have faith" ( Parto , parto ) was the most memorable and most applauded moment of the evening.
"Madelyn Wanner......rose to the challenge with her moving renditions of the four movements' texts.
Her performance was supported and highlighted by the orchestra creating an exciting ensemble performance. Ms. Wanner's voice shone forth supported by the orchestra, and at times became one with the Philharmonic when the scoring demanded it. I still can hear the moment in the second movement when the soloist first joined the instruments. At that instance, I thought there was an entire choir present, so well did her great controlled and yet expansive voice and the orchestra’s musicianship blend in seamlessly. The magical effect which at once demonstrated the high level of technical musicianship and artistry of Ms. Wanner and the Philharmonic was, in no small part, due to Mahler's extraordinary command of orchestration. "
- Prince Georgian