"Her appearance as Mimi...Zambalis displayed a creamy, beautiful middle register... made Mimi girlish and vulnerable, projecting pathos through visual details as well as with her voice. In Act IV particularly, she looked like someone at death's door.
"The stand-out in the current cast is Stella Zambalis, whose appealingly wistful and exquisitely sung Mimi is guaranteed to raise a tear."
New York Magazine
"Stella Zambalis played Mimi as sweet and demure, but with a reserve of strong personal will that blossomed in the last two acts. Vocally, Ms. Zambalis was a delight: her high notes floated without strain, and she sang with vibrato and a sense of color that were regulated to suit the shape of the line... beauty of tone..."
The New York Times
As Violetta in La Traviata..."Stella Zambalis has everything operatic: a truly incredible instrument of enormous variety and subtlety, the talent
to fully inhabit and realize a credible persona within a complex character and -- this very few people have --
an ability to give emotionally at a level no sentient being could resist. It was an artistic triumph that fully
justifies the title of diva…Even the next morning, I'm still very much under the spell of the entire experience."
Les Contes d'Hoffmann "Stella Zambalis portrayed all three of Hoffmann's loves with sensitivity and complete assurance...The Olympia segment emerged the most fully realized, vocally and theatrically. In spite of being pushed and pulled all over the stage on roller skates, Zambalis was superb."
"Zambalis’ tone was heartbreakingly gorgeous…Her phrasing was exquisite and emotionally charged."
"Vocally the true star of the show was Stella Zambalis as Liu. This was a gorgeously-sung, world-class performance by a singer who could spin out her pianissimo high notes with exquisite dynamic control."
"...and a wonderful soprano who sang this music in an overwhelming way. Stella Zambalis is a reincarnation of Victoria de Los Angeles. With an extraordinary beautiful voice, one of the most beautiful one can hear today, she was celebrated by the audience with enthusiastic ovations."
"Stella Zambalis’ fervent voice melts and soars."
On recorded Mimis "The Greatest Mimis: I am happy to have seen Freni, Scotto, Georghiu, Gallardo-Domas and Stella Zambalis in person as Mimi. They have each brought something deeply personal and affecting to the role, and I don't regret having seen any of them. Below are those Mimis that I basically like arranged in three tiers:
Cotrubas/De Los Angeles/Moffo/Stratas
...I am still waiting for someone today who seems to encompass both the fragility and the essential courage embodied in this part. So far, there has been one, but she has not recorded it yet: Stella Zambalis."--Geoff Riggs - Operacast.com
La Rondine "This time around, Magda, the swallow of the title who eventually flies away from her cozy love nest, is played by Stella Zambalis as an intriguingly passé beauty with a heart-stopping tug in the voice... But thanks to Zambalis' fragile charm, Magda dominates the stage, exactly as Puccini must have intended."
New York Magazine
Marriage of Figaro "Chief among a marvelous cast is Stella Zambalis as the Countess. It is as if Lipton managed to engage a young Montserrat Caballe for the part, so effortless is the thick, rich flow of this darkly delicious voice. When she ornamented the reprise in her aria Dove sono -which Mozart would have been more used to than we are today- it was simply ravishing."
The Spectator (Canada)
"Stella Zambalis interpreted the Countess in an intelligent and sensitive way leaving precious memories of her performance."
Il Secolo (Italy)
"Stella Zambalis was an intense Countess, in admirable style and of rare vocal talent."
"Stella Zambalis was a Countess of high quality and of great vocal attraction especially in the difficult coloratura passages."
As Violetta in La Traviata: "She has everything operatic: an instrument of enormous variety and subtlety, the talent to fully realize a complex character and -- this very few people have -- an ability to give emotionally at a level no sentient being could resist. It was an artistic triumph that fully justifies the title of diva." The Isthmus (Madison, WI)
"Soprano Zambalis, her voice rich with color, her dramatic performance compelling and rich in nuance, is outstanding." Wisconsin State Journal
"...Stella Zambalis was a nearly perfect Violetta." "...her tone was heart-breakingly gorgeous..." "...Zambalis' vocal powers rose in the more poignant lyrical singing of the remaining three acts, and by the death scene Zambalis had the role completely in her grasp. Her phrasing was exquisite and emotionally charged, and in an opera in which it is so easy to push the emotions too far, she captured Verdi's old-style, catch-in-the-throat emotionality without sacrificing credibility." The Austin Statesman
"So it's nice to report that the doomed courtesan of AOL's production captures all the pyrotechnics and pathos. The magnificent Stella Zambalis brought convincing emotion and vocal power to Violetta's prolonged death scene. The bravura of Zambalis' performance makes it easy for the audience to suspend its disbelief... audience reveled in the outpouring of musical sentiment." The Texas Triangle
"Soprano Stella Zambalis got inside the tragic role of the professional mistress who goes amateur. She sang with great agility and with a richly textured instrument that sailed through the chorus." San Antonio Express-News
"Her coloratura singing was impeccable, and her pianissimo echo of Gioir! that carried into the next phrase on the same breath met a standard set by Callas but unmatched by many other fine performances," "Stella Zambalis was simply breathtaking! (I am running out of adjectives.)" Austin American-Statesman (Letters to the Editor)
Musetta in La Boheme, Houston Grand Opera: "Stella Zambalis' Musetta wasn't merely "a flighty coquette", but a firecracker of an empowered woman. Vocally, [Mimi] was serviceable but a bit muted; Zambalis was superb." Kansas City Star
"Musetta makes her appearance in this act and sings the opera's most famous number Quando me'n vo' soletta,...a rousing and spirited rendition that was one of the evening's highlights." Houston Press
"The cast is different but excellent. Two major Italian stars,[...], take the main roles. But it's the home-grown talent that really shines. An alum of the studio, Stella Zambalis, returns in triumph to sing Musetta as well as you could ever hope to hear... They're [Zambalis and Hernandez] a dynamite duo." Dallas Morning News
...she gave Musetta a fiery, flighty presence that comes from stage experience." Houston Chronicle
As Mimi in La Boheme: "As the seamstress Mimi, Stella Zambalis was quite simply magnificent. Unlike some interpretations of this character we've seen in the past, Zambalis' Mimi is not some shy, fragile little waif, but a vivacious creature whose zest for life and love is not dimmed by the illness that threatens to consume her. She is as much pursuer as pursued at the start of her relationship with Rodolfo (there's nothing accidental about the scene where she and Rodolfo search for her dropped door key in a darkened room); in the final act, as her life dwindles away, there's as much courage as sadness in her attitude as she confronts her fate. Zambalis' voice is a marvelous instrument-powerful throughout the scale, with a full, rich and darkly colored tone. In the Act I aria, Mi chiamano Mimi, Zambalis sounded bright and lyrical; for Addio, senza rancor, the tone was more honeyed; in her final duet, Sono andati, Zambalis sang with a slightly breathy tone that made each phrase shimmer". Tulsa World
"Stella Zambalis showed herself to be a fine singer and actress as well, with a strong clear voice and heart-tugging gestures... In her dying scene, she looked and acted suitably ghastly while singing with alternate sweetness and passion." The Bergen Record
"...the death scene was genuinely touching, nothing was overdone or contrived. Stella Zambalis' Mimi declined into illness convincingly... wrenching the heart by the time she cries out to Marcello in the snow scene `Help me!'" New York Post
"Gripping... Stella Zambalis was an affecting Mimi with a satiny soprano voice and sparkling high notes" Orpheus
Headline: "Zambalis a lovely Mimi in `La Boheme'" "The outstanding feature of the production was probably the beautifully sung Mimi of soprano Stella Zambalis. In a post-feminist age, the Puccinian `little woman' can be hard to take. But Zambalis sometimes gave the impression that she was living the part. It was a melting and tender performance that made the tubercular doomed Mimi all to believable. Moreover, her singing was consistently beautiful. She had the rich top register necessary for the splendid bloom of the climax of Si, mi chiamano Mimi; and she commanded the beauty of phrasing and changes of tone color necessary for the creation of Puccinian pathos." The Sun (Baltimore)
"Soprano Stella Zambalis sang the role of Mimi for the first time in her career, but her performance filled the stage with the maturity of someone who had performed the role many times before... did more than simply sing the notes, she brought emotion to the role with her beautiful-sounding voice and excellent interpretation of the doomed girl... Zambalis and Hernandez combined their skills to winning effect in Act I when they traded their dreams; her with an equally moving Mi chiamano Mimi." Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa)
"A gorgeous duet concludes Act I. It is that duet that establishes Stella Zambalis as the prima donna, in the best sense of the term... rare to achieve such a robust rendering, particularly in the treble... captivates the audience again with the lilting aria Addio, senza rancor." The Desert Sun
Headlines: Bravos all around for Opera Pacific's La Boheme "The cast is led by Stella Zambalis as the withering flower, Mimi... conveys just the right combination of innocent fragility and passionate earnestness... Zambalis is an excellent singer and actress, who made her Mimi resonate emotionally and lyrically throughout the performance. Press-Telegram
"At the center of any Boheme is Mimi, sung by Stella Zambalis, making her debut in the role. Zambalis made the role hers, on her own vocal terms. She sang with impressive sensitivity, floating ethereal pianissimos when the need arose, and when Puccini made his more spinto demands, Zambalis had ample power to meet the challenges of that vocal category. Both her Act I vocal showcases were moving, and her performance grew even more arresting as the evening went on." The Orange County Register
"The famous plot of Mimi and her jealous lover, Rodolfo, was sung beautifully by Stella Zambalis whose soft, pure tones laid a touch of magic on the opera. Tustin News
"Stella Zambalis projected a fragile air and her liquid voice with steel underpinning caressed the lush melodies given to the tragic waif Mimi." Hollywood Drama
"The opera's leading lady is richly and warmly portrayed and sung by Stella Zambalis. Here is a beautiful soprano used intelligently for characterization and effect, not display alone." The Columbus Dispatch
As Magda in La Rondine: "Stella Zambalis as Magda, sang the long lines smoothly. Magda is the mistress of a rich man when the opera begins but Zambalis' voice is as clear and sweet as a girl in a church choir. She sang some beautiful pianissimos and held some pure high notes without a tremble." Associated Press
"Luckily there was a great deal to admire in the performance of Stella Zambalis, who as Magda, the swallow who returns to her Parisian nest in Act 3, sang sweetly and acted with resourcefulness." New York Post
"Stella Zambalis sang the soprano role of Magda with a clear, beautiful voice very full of feeling." Orpheus
As the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro:
"His cast included a couple of real finds, among them the Countess of Stella Zambalis... produced a soprano voice characterized by a particularly rich coloration... sang (and acted) with a nice sense of elegance and style." The Toronto Star
"Bernardi has selected an exemplary cast -rising star rubbing voices with veteran artist- who provided performances of uncommon gracefulness. Stella Zambalis' Countess was wistful and yet also tantalizingly high-spirited. Both sopranos sang with refinement and beauty, and Bernardi had urged ornamentation upon their music to beguiling effect: Zambalis' delicately decorated reprise of Dove sono was heart-stoppingly lovely." The Globe & Mail
"It's been a joy to watch and hear Zambalis rise over the past dozen years from a young Houston Opera Studio mezzo soprano to a secure star, her dramatic range broadening with her vocal range. Zambalis managed to keep the best of both voices -a silvery, agile, well-focused top, but with buttery, mezzo warmth and hold down below. With her mobile face and well-observed movements, evidence of her Houston training, she made a persuasive Countess." Express News (Austin)
"First-rate... third act aria recalling happier romantic days was practically a show-stopper." Encore (Austin)
As Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni: "Stella Zambalis gives her power-house soprano, which can range expressively from high dudgeon to low melancholy, and a gift for melodramatic acting to Donna Elvira, the opera's Queen of Revenge and Foolishness." The Des Moines Register
"Donna Elvira, sung richly and touchingly by Stella Zambalis...." The Kansas City Star
As Micaela in Carmen: "Stella Zambalis renders this music beautifully, in a voice like milk and honey with a seamless range and expressive power." St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Stella Zambalis' Micaela was a winner, more vivacious than the usual goody-goody, and beautifully sung." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Micaela's role is small, but its importance is undeniable. Performed by Stella Zambalis, her total dedication is only enhanced by the pure, angelic voice of this experienced singer, who manages to captivate the entire audience while standing completely alone in the middle of the ample stage of the Detroit Opera House." The Monitor
"...an affecting Micaela, capped by a radiant delivery of the third act's prayerful aria." Detroit News
"Sweet-voiced soprano Stella Zambalis was all haloed goodness as Micaela." Detroit Free Press
"...sang it with grace." Detroit Sunday Journal
"Of the principals, Stella Zambalis, making her City Opera debut, sang one of the finest Micaelas in memory. Her vulnerable portrayal provided the perfect contrast to [Carmen]." New York Post
"Actually, Stella Zambalis, as Micaela, made the most potent impression. In her debut with the company, her musical gifts and her dramatic instincts combine to give her two appearances a tenderness and humanity that were missing in the other characters." The New York Times
As Maria in Maria Golovin: "Stella Zambalis made an unforgettable Maria -- a ripened, full fledged mystery woman touchingly vulnerable and yet determinedly a "survivor" -- and her singing had just the right combination of sweetness and steel." Newsday
"Stella Zambalis was an excellent Maria." Scherzo
As Anna Glawari in The Merry Widow: "At the center of any production of The Merry Widow must be the right Merry Widow or Anne Glawari. And this the Indianapolis Opera had in Stella Zambalis, a soprano with a voice at its best when eased out and up rather than pushed, just as Lehar's music almost demands. She also happens to be an artist who knows how to contain the stage and draw the sort of attention unto herself that an artist portraying a role like the attractive Anne Glawari should. Zambalis also proved to be a heroine. Rehearsal and performance were hampered by a sprained ankle, but in slow business tradition, Zambalis chose to go on. Her characterization of the classic operetta character, nevertheless, was full-bodied." The Herald-Times
"In a bit of bad luck, Stella Zambalis injured her ankle during a rehearsal earlier this week. But in the great `show must go on' tradition, she went on as Anna Glawari, the fabulously wealthy and very merry widow. In the first act, Zambalis limped slightly and sang somewhat tentatively, almost in half-voice. But by the second act, she was limping more noticeably and singing more beautifully and by the third, her singing was so ravishing that I failed to notice the condition of her foot. Her singing of Vilia in Act II and Meine Lippen, Sie Küssen so Heiss, interpolated from Lehar's last staged work and only opera, the 1934 Giuditta, were high points in a production that had no lows and only a few middlings." The Indianapolis News
As Sara in Roberto Devereux: "As Sara, Elizabeth's rival for Roberto's affections, Stella Zambalis gave the evening's most polished and nuanced performance. She cares about words as well as shapely phrases, all produced with a voice remarkable for its range, security, and smooth consistency." New York Magazine
"An Opera Orchestra discovery of last year, soprano Stella Zambalis was an exciting, dark-voiced Sara." New York Post
"Soprano Stella Zambalis shone in the `other woman' part of Sara, Dutchess of Nottingham, producing limpid tones of often melting beauty." New York Daily News
As The Three Ladies (Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta) in Les Contes d'Hoffman: "Soprano Stella Zambalis sang the diva Stella (a serendipitous name coincidence) in the Prologue and Epilogue, Olympia in Act I, the young singer Antonia in Act II and the courtesan Giulietta in Act III. She was sensational. Her voice had the lightness and agility to cope effortlessly with Olympia's coloratura flights, her darker tone and worldliness to project the unspoken heartache of Giulietta and the lyric beauty to sing Antonia's aria opening act with poise and poignance." The Chautauquan Daily
"Soprano Stella Zambalis portrays not only the diva Stella (a happy coincidence of names) in the Prologue and Epilogue, but also the three flashback amours, the mechanical doll Olympia, the young singer Antonia and the courtesan Giulietta. Remarkably, she has both the airiness and nimble upper register to cope very well with the coloratura gymnastics of Olympia and the warm, darker middle register to make Giulietta's sultriness seem convincing. Zambalis is, quite simply, a knockout." Unknown
"Of the four roles soprano Stella Zambalis is taking on in `Hoffmann', two of them are at opposite ends of the range and style spectrum. Olympia is a coloratura role a la Roberta Peters, while Giulietta is suitable for someone like Jesse Norman. Lessenger is lavish with praise for the production's female lead, Stella Zambalis, who sings all three principal female characters (coloratura, lyric and low soprano), plus another character (also an opera singer named Stella). Stella is just amazing, Lessenger said, `really a phenomenon. This is one of the few singers I know who really can sing all four of the roles and really do justice to all of them'." Unknown
"Stella Zambalis portrayed all three of Hoffmann's loves with sensitivity and complete assurance... The Olympia segment emerged the most fully realized, vocally and theatrically. In spite of being pushed and pulled all over the stage on roller skates, Zambalis was superb." Opera News
"Lets meet the doll who charades as Hoffmann's three truly, madly and wonderfully audacious women, as well as Stella, the embodiment of the tree. Her Offenbach names were Antonia, the consumptive beauty with the marvelous voice; Olympia, the mechanical doll with a penchant for singing while dancing; and Guilietta, the seductive Venetian coquette with deceit in her heart. Offenbach composed demandingly and rewardingly for a multi-roled soprano. It was amazing how thoroughly Zambalis absorbed every note, every word and every characterization. She was highly responsive to the musical demands with toe-curling displays of vocal pyrotechnics. Nothing was more beautiful than her well-placed head tone, sung with the utmost grace and refinement. Her voice has become bigger and more dramatic at both ends of her wide range. Sometimes with rawness of tone, she sang thunderously loud. Other times she showed impressive nuance and beauty of tone. Her voice is rare in its directness and pealing resonance. With childlike glee and great skill, Zambalis perfected the rigid movements and the glassy-eyed stare of the mechanical doll." The Oak Ridger
"Top vocal honors must go to soprano Stella Zambalis, who starred as each of Hoffmann's loves, but took the audience by storm in the `Olympia' segment with her comedic talent. Her movements and comic timing as she delivered the starring aria of the scene were without compare. It's too bad the members of the chorus could not all act the part of automatons as well as the gifted Zambalis." Knoxville News-Sentinel
In Gian Carlo Menotti's Cantata Muero porque no muero: "...and a wonderful soprano who sang this music in an overwhelming way. Stella Zambalis is a reincarnation of Victoria de Los Angeles. With an extraordinary beautiful voice, one of the most beautiful one can hear today, she was celebrated by the audience with enthusiastic ovations." Spandauer Volksblatt
"The American soprano, Stella Zambalis was rewarded with enthusiastic bravo shouts for her beautiful and impressive singing." Der Tagesspiegel
"...outstanding interpreter was Stella Zambalis. She sang Gian Carlo Menotti's Cantata based on the text of Holy Teresa of Avila, a mezzo changed to soprano, fully blooming and of sensuousness far from the Italian-Americans Puccini based and intended esthetic frugality." Berliner Zeitung1
As Cherubino in The Ghosts of Versailles: "Stella Zambalis and Renee Fleming also sing impressively - the last two in a beguiling passage adapted from (inspired by? developed out of?) Mozart's sublime Voi che sapete." Los Angeles Times
"Stella Zambalis made a captivating debut as Cherubino..." Opera Monthly
As Liu in Turandot: "Soprano Stella Zambalis sang it with power, precision and a degree of passion that set Liu apart from the emblematic characters around her. Zambalis got the biggest ovation of the night....." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Notably missing from this page are any reviews of her Tosca. I have had the great pleasure to hear Ms Zambalis' Tosca on four occasions (2002 Columbus Opera and 2004 Chattanooga Opera) and have never equalled the experience elsewhere. I also heard her Butterfly in 2005. I'll try and dig up some reviews (If you are aware of any, please email them to "webmaster at stellazambalis.com") If I'm really lucky, I will post a sound clip.