"There is a notable debut from Sam Furness as the tortured Novice, bullied by Claggart into betraying Billy"
"Furness, however, is terrific in the immensely difficult title role. Gauchely attractive, he… sings it all with great ease and impeccable style… it’s Furness’s night."
"...a voice with star quality, and Furness can float it delicately over a final chord as readily as he can send it slamming to the back of the hall."
The Arts Desk
"There was no need to make allowances for tonight’s cast. The stuttering, twitching, and completely hilarious Vašek (Samuel Furness)… provided some moments of pure comedic genius."
Described as having “all the makings of a star” in the Guardian and hailed as “a lyric tenor clearly going places” in Opera magazine, tenor Sam Furness has sung major roles for Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera and the Teatro Real, Madrid, always earning praise for his compelling acting and innate musicality.
Highlights of the 2018-19 season include his house debuts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Novice Billy Budd and Simpleton Boris Godunov) and Theater an der Wien (Rodolphe Guillaume Tell). He also returns to Vlaanderen Opera (Vitek The Makropulos Case and Der Cavalier Cardillac). In the 2019-20 season he makes his house and role debut as Albert Gregor The Makropulos Case at the Opernhaus Zürich.
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White King/Mad Hatter, Alice's Adventures Under Ground
Royal Opera House, February 2020
Sam Furness of the 7pm cast couldn't have been better or more clarion. Barry gives his White Rabbit (pictured below) short shrift until the trial, but the Mad Hatter has instant impact with machine-gun-fire "noroomnoroomnoroom"s.
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 5 February 2020
The remainder of the cast — Sam Furness, Peter Tantsits, Mark Stone, Clare Presland and Hilary Summers — similarly excel in multiple roles.
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 6 February 2020
Albert Gregor, The Makropulos Case
Opernhaus Zürich, September 2019
The rest of the cast, too, is absolutely exquisite. It is a hand-picked ensemble, from which the tenor Sam Furness as Albert Gregor and baritone Scott Hendricks as Jaroslav Prus … stand out. But it has to be said, rarely does one see an ensemble in which all eleven singers are so utterly convincing.
Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 22 September 2019
Sam Furness performs confidently as great-great-grandson Albert…
Susanne Kübler, Berner Zeitung, 23 September 2019
All the singers were very good vocally and theatrically. Tenor Sam Furness was outstanding as Albert Gregor, credibly embodying the tempestuous young man with a bright tenor…
John H Mueller, OnlineMerker, 23 September 2019
The male roles were also superbly cast, notably with Sam Furness and his nuanced tenor voice in the role of Albert Gregor...
Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 23 September 2019
… Albert, sung with warmth and beauty of voice by Sam Furness ...
Anna Kardos, Tagblatt, 24 September 2019
Sam Furness plays the nervous and infatuated Albert Gregor, singing and playing the role convincingly.
Das Opernmagazin, 24 September 2019
Holy Fool, Boris Godunov
Royal Opera House, June 2019
And there’s no weak link among the soloists... Sam Furness’s Holy Fool lights up the stage with his sweetly-sung derangements.
Michael Church, The Independent, 20 June 2019
Rising tenor Sam Furness makes his mark as the Holy Fool whose innocent, plain-speaking lines devastate the already disturbed Tsar.
George Hall, The Stage, 20 June 2019
Sam Furness makes a strong impression as the Holy Fool...
Hugh Canning, The Times, 30 June 2019
As the Holy Fool, Sam Furness built on the strong impression he had made as the Novice in Billy Budd - he is a tenor to watch.
Erica Jeal, Opera magazine, September 2019
Novice in Billy Budd, cond. Ivor Bolton, dir. Deborah Warner
Royal Opera House, April 2019
Among a strong supporting cast, Sam Furness stands out as the groveling hapless Novice
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 24 April 2019 ★★★★★
Britten’s all-male opera demands character singing of the highest quality, and this production highlights British male talent spanning three decades... the wide-eyed Novice of Sam Furness, everyone makes their mark in this motley crew.
Amanda Holloway, The Stage, 24 April 2019 ★★★★★
"There is a notable debut from Sam Furness as the tortured Novice, bullied by Claggart into betraying Billy"
Hugh Canning, The Times, 28 April 2019
And then there was the cast of principals, which was up there with anything that seasoned Budd veterans will be able to remember... tenor Sam Furness made a company debut full of promise as the Novice, warmly sung and strongly projected
Erica Jeal, Opera magazine, July 2019
Among the minor characters... Sam Furness’s Novice – broken by a flogging, then turning into Billy’s betraying Judas – are vividly portrayed.
Michael Church, The Independent, 24 April 2019 ★★★★
"In his ROH debut, Sam Furness shone as the bullied Novice."
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 28 April 2019 ★★★★
Sam Furness, making his ROH debut as Novice... an impressive performance in this difficult role.
Melanie Eskenazi, musicOMH, 24 April 2019 ★★★★
There is a host of stand-out performances in the smaller roles... Sam Furness goes from strength to strength in his intensely sung Novice
Peter Reed, Classical Source, 24 April 2019 ★★★
Supporting roles are richly cast, with Sam Furness’s pitiful Novice and the gruff warmth of Clive Bayley’s grizzled Dansker standing out.
Alexander Coghlan, The Spectator, 4 May 2019
The cast was uniformly strong. Sam Furness made much of the Novice’s role, working hard with the text and communicating the young lad’s ignorance and innocence. Furness sang the Novice’s Dirge with honest feeling, as, encouraged by his caring friend (Dominic Sedgwick), he dragged himself the full length of the deck, unable to walk or stand after his flogging.
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 26 April 2019
Most notable is tenor Sam Furness in his pivotal (albeit not exactly colossal) role as the Novice. The fledgling who sells his soul to ambush Billy Budd out of fear of Claggart is rendered almost sympathetic by the tremulous and yet accurate fashion with which Furness sings of the "floggings and the lashings" he endures as a sailor, using diminuendo and vibrato to suggest total frailty as a sad paradox to a man of his vigour and age.
Sophia Lambton, BroadwayWorld.com, 30 April 2019
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, December 2018, cond. Vladimir Jurowski
Among the soloists, tenor Sam Furness and bass Joshua Bloom stood out in their long, unaccompanied exchange at the work’s centre... Terrific stuff, wonderfully well done.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 9 December 2018
Excellent soloists too, and if I pick out tenor Sam Furness and bass Joshua Bloom for special praise, that is only for the quantity of their solo work in a uniformly fine line-up.
Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk, 10 December 2018
Flamand in Strauss's Capriccio dir. Tim Albery, cond. Douglas Boyd
Garsington Opera, June 2018
Tenor Sam Furness’s sweet-voiced Flamand is delightfully boyish and ardent, lost in his music, inflamed in voice and heart by his passion for his dual muses, music and the Countess.
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, June 2018
Sam Furness’s tenor is on glorious form for Flamand, the geeky musician with an idealistic passion
Peter Reed, Classical Source, June 2018
Sam Furness was a clear-voiced, earnest and engaging Flamand
David Karlin, Bachtrack, June 2018
Don José in Bizet's Carmen - Jyväskylä Opera
The level of the soloists is very high: tenor Sam Furness sings with his pure lyrical voice with glamour and gives the language a great naturalness; he looks alive on the stage.
Both main roles sing their parts very well. Especially memorable are Furness’ high notes, which predict the possibility of getting to the very biggest stages of the world.
Title role of Offenbach Les contes d’Hoffman, cond. Philip Sunderland, dir. James Bonas
English Touring Opera, October 2015
Furness, however, is terrific in the immensely difficult title role. Gauchely attractive, he charts Hoffmann’s descent from naive idealism to self-destructive despair with compelling veracity, and sings it all with great ease and impeccable style… it’s Furness’s night.
Sam Furness’s tenor as Hoffmann ... sounds almost too seductive for a serial romantic failure. This is a voice with star quality, and Furness can float it delicately over a final chord as readily as he can send it slamming to the back of the hall.
The Arts Desk
The ubiquitous Hoffmann (strongly sung and flamboyantly acted by Sam Furness) is no longer a poet deserted by inspiration but a silent movie director who is equally washed up.
The singing is of exceptional quality. Sam Furness flings himself with total commitment into Hoffmann’s torment – it’s refreshing to hear a British tenor let rip with such full-throated ardour and he plays the part of the hopeless unshaven wastrel to the hilt.
There was no doubting the passion and promise of Sam Furness’ blond-mopped Hoffmann.
The screening of this ‘lesson in love’ is overseen by Sam Furness’s jaded and disillusioned Hoffmann, a slumped figure of dejection, pathos blending with mundanity - a former Romantic hero now reduced to an idler blowing smoke rings. Furness was tireless in the title role and blended an ethereally beautiful head voice with focused lyrical power and rich warmth. Furness also showed good sense in pacing himself and ensuring that he had the stamina to sustain the lyrical intensity; indeed, he began strongly, but held enough in reserve to offer some thrillingly impassioned singing in the Antonia and Giulietta Acts. He was utterly convincing as the somewhat shabby poet-turned-filmmaker.
The cast were on fine form… Sam Furness has a lyrical tenor voice and he did a great job with Kleinzach’s aria in the prologue which he sang with tongue in cheek heroic gusto… he delivered well in the incendiary scenes in the Antonia and Giulietta Acts where he gave us some thrilling singing and a ravishing beauty of tone.
Seen and Heard International
Offenbach’s Hoffmann is a drunkard, a dreamer, a seducer and a murderer. Played with gusto by tenor Sam Furness, we first see him in the depths of drink, goaded, unsuccessfully by his Muse (mezzo soprano Louise Mott) into producing his next work of genius.
No such problem with the lyrical singing of Sam Furness, who made a beautifully convincing Hoffmann, poet and visionary rescued from his own excesses…
Sam Furness in trascendent form…. Furness is lyrical, fearless and tireless in the title role.
Rising star tenor Sam Furness brings burnished and varied tone to his self-destructive Hoffmann.
Sam Furness is excellent as Hoffmann, producing a strong and expansive tenor sound.
Baron Lummer in Strauss Intermezzo, cond. Jac van Steen, dir. Bruno Ravella
Garsington Opera, June 2015
Sam Furness turns in a fine performance as a shameless, perpetually grinning Baron Lummer
Sam Furness, as the dashing Baron Lummer with whom Christine is supposed to be entangled, delivered a wonderfully detailed portrait of caddish, wheedling opportunism
Other supporting roles are flawlessly taken. Sam Furness does a perfect comedy turn as the not very bright young fop Baron Lummer
Sam Furness is a splendidly laconic Baron Lummer.
Sam Furness’s Baron… [is] excellently shambolic
Sam Furness brings some much-needed comic relief as spivvy Baron Lummer
Sam Furnes’s Baron Lummer offered a well-judged mixture of vocal allure and immaturity of character.
Števa in Janáček Jenůfa, cond. Stuart Stratford, dir. Annilese Miskimmon
Scottish Opera, April 2015
Sam Furness is a wonderfully slippery Števa.
Sam Furness’s recklessly immature Števa [is] all too credible.
Joe in Puccini The Girl of the Golden West, cond. Keri-Lynn Wilson, dir. Richard Jones
English National Opera, September 2014
…young lyric tenor Sam Furness’s voice gleaming occasionally through the textures
Jaquino Fidelio, cond. Douglas Boyd, dir. John Cox
Garsington Opera, June 2014
For me there were two standout performances. Jennifer France, and especially Sam Furness, in the usually boring roles of Marzelline and Jaquino, acted and sang impeccably and in such a way as to make you care about characters most productions scarcely bother with.
Making more than is on the page of the somewhat inconsequential Jaquino was Sam Furness, very much the handsome chap who wants his girl.
Lensky Eugene Onegin, cond. Jane Glover, dir. John Ramster
Royal Academy of Music, March 2013
The vocal honours of the evening went unequivocally to Samuel Furness, whose performance of Lensky’s aria before the duel, a piece that can sound maudlin, was so pure in tone, so full of useless regret, that I wonder if I have ever heard it sung so finely in the theatre.
Samuel Furness (Lensky) stood out for his bright, commanding tenor and confident acting.
…Samuel Furness's Lensky [was] outstanding...with exceptional singing… Furness held on to his top-note farewell with a cheeky persistence that had you gasping. But this was the last night of the run and he could do it, so why not? In a work suffused with poignancy, it was nice to smile.
Title role of Albert Herring, cond. David Syrus
Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, January 2013
From a vocal perspective, the young British tenor is beyond reproach…
In the role of the 'May King'…Sam Furness is perfect. His monologues are delivered with a touching spontaneity… His beautiful tenor voice is moving…as an actor he is excellent.
The tenor Sam Furness was a remarkable interpreter of Albert Herring. Herring is a character who needs a convincing actor-singer rather than just a brilliant singer and this British tenor lives up to the challenge remarkably well.
The first ever May King at the Théâtre du Capitole is sung by young Sam Furness. This lyric tenor, who will turn 27 this year, already shows pretty amazing qualities of timbre, evenness throughout his whole vocal range and an innate musicality… my goodness, what great promise.
Singing the role of Albert, young British tenor Sam Furness is a revelation. A natural on stage, his Albert is genuine and touching. Here is a singer who knows how to negotiate the pitfalls of the score. Not to be missed.
Vaŝek The Bartered Bride, cond. Peter Robinson, dir. Rodula Gaitanou
British Youth Opera, September 2012
Yet even [Kecal] was outshone by the remarkable Vašek of Samuel Furness, a lyric tenor clearly going places... With Gaitanou’s help, Furness created one of the most complete, funny and touching impersonations of this tricky role that I have seen.
Sam Furness, a fine tenor who can also act, commanded the stage as the poor, shy, tongue-tied boy who eventually finds his inner grizzly bear by joining a circus.
All the principals are singers one would like to hear again. Particularly outstanding [is] Samuel Furness, whose portrayal of the socially maladjusted Vasek — a stuttering victim of maternal oppression who finds his vocation in a circus bearskin — is a tour de force.
London Evening Standard
Samuel Furness’s stammering nerd, Vasek [was] pointed and vigorous from the start, though his real blossoming comes in Act III, when this dolt bridegroom advances beyond caricature into a genuinely sympathetic character.
There was no need to make allowances for tonight’s cast. The stuttering, twitching, and completely hilarious Vašek (Samuel Furness)… provided some moments of pure comedic genius.