Critical Acclaim

 

Ghetto Songs, Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany:

“Mit dem frisch gekürten Grammy-Gewinner Karim Sulayman gehören ein erstklassige Sänger”
- Heinrich Oehmsen und Elisabeth Richter, Hamburger Abendblatt


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Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee, WI

“There is star acting from mezzo Amanda Crider as Poppea… melding so exactly with an elegant tenor, Karim Sulayman as Emperor Nerone. Their duets – yearning and playful – are a centerpiece. But Sulayman’s emotional ardor is also on display in an unabashed erotic duet with dramatic tenor Nicholas Huff, a scene that elevates the intentions and cruel beauty of Monteverdi’s lyrical excursions. Sulayman uses every acting interlude suggested to emphasize how cold as well as passionately dangerous the emperor actually is.”
- Dominique Paul Noth, Urban Milwaukee

“Fully her equal is Emperor Nerone, here finely embodied by tenor Karim Sulayman, who manages to come off as a romantic hero and a frightening menace all at once; no mean feat. Their love scenes are thoroughly believable—at times even soaked in Eros.” - John Jahn, The Shepherd Express

“Amanda Crider… a beautiful match to Karim Sulayman’s warm, soft-edged sounds in moments of tenderness, and cold, driven sounds elsewhere, in the role of Emperor Nerone. They delivered an absolutely gorgeous wedding duet.”
- Elaine Schmidt, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

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Songs of Orpheus, Avie Records

"...his lucid, velvety tenor and pop-star charisma best suited to melodious arias... He casts beguilingly mellifluous lines..., and captures the wistful melancholy with mellow tones... Sulayman's Italian diction is impeccable... pure beauty of sound." - Kate Bolton Porciatti, BBC Music Magazine

“Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman [and Apollo’s Fire] are ideal hosts: they get past the surface, so to speak, to the inner fire of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The immediacy and heat they provide to scenes from that masterpiece outweigh any worries you might have about stylistic niceties. The details are not neglected, but they are made subsidiary to the emotion… Sulayman’s attractive tenor tone serves his dramatic instincts well, closely embracing the flow of Italian texts and musical line.” - David J. Baker, Opera News

"Sulayman makes a pleasant, personable hero, letting the text lead the way here, just as it should, and balancing a light, agile top to his voice with a baritonal warmth at the bottom." - Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone

"Tenor Karim Sulayman [and Apollo's Fire] run this historical/stylistic gamut with emotional engagement and technical aplomb. Sulayman sings with a smooth, at times sweet, and above all even tone that remains balanced and poised through a variety of affects... The legends don’t discuss Orpheus’s virtuosity, but Sulayman tosses in some impressive displays... demonstrating both the tenor’s phenomenal sense of line and his sensitivity to the text without overstatement... The overall effect is of listening closely to a person nobly in touch with their emotions rather than a character tossed around by their feelings." - Andrew J. Sammut, Early Music America

"This elegant and heartfelt new release... rendered with stylishness and an easy grace. Sulayman boasts a clarion but richly textured sound."
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

"...Sulayman has a wonderfully resonant voice, and he contributes, in his singing and in an elegant note, a sense of personal involvement with the story of Orpheus, mythology's most famous vocalist... where Sulayman really excels is in forging a little "I love you to hell and back" narrative to tie together these pieces... An audience of the 17th century, one suspects, would have loved both the idea and its execution by Sulayman, who manages to produce a big yet intimate sound." - James Mannheim, AllMusic.com

"...the evidence of the present CD Sulayman seems likely to have been a highly personable Orfeo. His tenor is a pleasing lyric instrument, capable of a range of colour. His greatest asset is an acute awareness of text, an asset so essential in this music. Sulayman uses this awareness to effect with, fluid musical shaping that obeys the demands of the text, while never being slave to the rigidity of the bar line. He has, too, the technique to open ‘Rosa del ciel’ with a true messa di voce and the intelligence to bring, for example, delicious shaping and a sense of the joy of awakening love..."
- Brian Robins, Early Music Review


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Orfeo in L’Orfeo, Apollo’s Fire, US National Tour

"For a considerable portion of the opera’s two-and-a-half-hour length, Karim Sulayman (Orfeo) was singing, at first rapturous in his wedding with the love of his life, Euridice, then plunging to shocked despair when she suddenly dies and is taken off to the Underworld. The tenor was inexhaustible, singing with as much — if not more — beauty late in the opera as he did early on. Every nook and cranny of Orfeo’s radiance, terror, and depression was explored vocally, with Sulayman’s voice tenderly cradled by the flexible continuo. Intimate and confessional, even in the 500-seat venue of Kulas Hall on the campus of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the performance brought humanity to the venerable myth."
- Mark S. Jordan, Seen and Heard International

"The role of Orfeo is central to the opera - Euridice, who dies as the second act is just getting underway, has far less to do - and tenor Karim Sulayman was so good, he threatened to turn the production into a one-man show. His tone has refined itself over the years to a silken sheen, and his expressiveness, both vocal and dramatic, was impressively intense, whether consumed by ecstasy at his marriage with Euridice or wrapped in despair at her untimely death." - Mark Satola, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Karim Sulayman’s multifaceted Orfeo was breathtaking. His light and engaging tenor fully embodied the character as boyishly enchanted, stricken, determined to the depths of hell, and then riven with irretrievable loss — all over the course of two hours." - David Kulma, ClevelandClassical.com

"Cast as Orfeo, Karim Sulayman is uncannily well-suited to the role, with his clear, delicate, high-ranging voice and commanding stage presence."
- Ann Arbor Observer

"Karim Sulayman was a moving and physically expressive Orfeo, very much in love with the poised Euridice of Erica Schuller."
- Lisa Hirsch, San Francisco Classical Voice


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Testo in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia

“Sulayman all but stole the show in this scene. He was also a strong presence as the narrator for the other Monteverdi work, the dramatic and warlike Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.”
- Steve Moffatt, The Daily Telegraph (Australia)

“Doing the lion’s share of the singing was Sulayman as Testo. His intense stage presence and instinctive feel for the text made him the night’s most engaging performer. His finely judged balance of speech and floated singing was a highlight.” - Justine Nguyen, Limelight Magazine

“Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda... with Sulayman proving a very gifted narrator, using his light and lucid voice to excellent dramatic effect.” - Shamistha de Soysa, SoundsLikeSydney.com.au

“For Il combattimento, most of the emphasis fell on Sulayman’s Narrator who surged through Tasso’s lines with requisite fire and dramatic emphasis – in line with the composer’s directions and his music’s illustrative character. But the single-voice experience didn’t pall, thanks to this singer’s vocal vim and textual assurance.” - Clive O’Connell, oconnellthemusic.com

“Though skilled they were, I was particularly drawn to tenor Karim Sulayman whose sustained phrases in Il combattimento were chilling. Yet his stage presence is what made him so exceptionally compelling. While others erred on the edge of over-dramatic, Sulayman was convincingly helpless and affected the narrator whose curse is to see all, but never intervene. In Coffee Cantata, he struck that careful balance between the farcical and caricature which is the stuff of good satire.” - weekendnotes.com


“The bright-voiced, animated tenor Karim Sulayman stole every scene he was in as the comic Tabarco, Fernando’s servant.”
- Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times

 

“Happily, Karim Sulayman’s Tabarco was one of the evening’s highlights; no aging, nearly voiceless character-tenor, Sulayman combined a richly agile voice with a loose-limbed comic flair that never threatened to go over the top.”
- Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box

 

“Karim Sulayman, who specializes in wisecracking servants had more fun than anybody; plot shenanigans never unsettle his enjoyable light tenor.”
- John Yohalem, Opera Today



“The vocal star of the evening, however, was Sulayman, whose subtle and wide-ranging tenor voice was marvelous throughout, but took flight in the anguished "So sweet is the torment," an almost folk-like setting of words by Carlo Milanuzzi. The acclaim that followed Sulayman's finely shaded performance had an extra measure of appreciation, which made the singer almost blush.”
- Mark Satola, The Cleveland Plain Dealer


 

“Karim Sulayman, in Gypsy drag and at one point waving a sex toy, demonstrated apt comedic gifts as a campy Delfa”
- Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times

 

“Karim Sulayman’s stylish Delfa was a vocal standout.”
- Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box

 

“Karim Sulayman who, in drag, played the role of Delfa, Medea’s nurse, smoothly slipping from tenor to haute-contre territory and back.”
- Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Classical Review


 

“So began a run of fine singing throughout the cast that continued to the final note. Karim Sulayman and Joseph Gaines were standouts as Eumete and Iro.”
- George Grella, New York Classical Review


 

“Karim Sulayman est peut-être la vraie révélation de cet enregistrement, dans le rôle de Fabio, le serviteur d’Aldobrandin: qu’il s’agisse de l’air «Ah c’est un superbe cheval!» (acte I, scène 6) ou du trio avec Octave et son maître à la scène suivante («Vous m’étonnez, vous badinez»), il est excellent.”
- Sébastien Gauthier, concertonet.com

 

“Tenor Karim Sulayman sang Acis with clean, clear sound and earnest intensity.” - Charles Ward, The Houston Chronicle

 

“The Marlboro première of Vaughan Williams’s Merciless Beauty featured the lyrical, expressive tenor of Karim Sulayman with Nikki Chooi and Ross, violins, and Bronwyn Banerdt, cello.  It was followed by an equally marvelous Poulenc Sextet... Saturday’s concert was a mixed experience. Selections from Haydn’s Aus des Ramlers Lyrischer Blumenlese – Goode accompanying soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, Sulayman and baritone John Moore – were all new to me except ‘Der Greis’, I am ashamed to admit. They were unfailingly well done.” - Tully Potter, classicalsource.com

 

“In the very first recitative, the expressive tenor Karim Sulayman (singing, as did all the soloists, from memory) embodied the contrast between the salvation that Messiah was to bring—”Comfort ye,” he sang, with heart-piercing compassion—and the world’s “iniquity” that is in such need of salvation.”
- Nicholas Jones, Cleveland Classical

 

“Tenor Karim Sulayman was as communicative molding tender phrases (“Comfort ye”) as he was uttering vehement statements (“Thou Shalt Break Them”).” - Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

“Tenor Karim Sulayman entranced the audience with his lyrical, focused and tender voice in arias and songs by Sacchini and James Hewitt.”
- Alexandra Simon, Seen and Heard International

 

“But it is Hong’s Poppea and superb Karim Sulayman’s Arnalta that steal this show.  Their duets and solos are blithe and witty, with Hong making Poppea a sensuously ambitious woman and Sulayman turning Arnalta into a one-woman comic foil. It helps that Arnalta gets some of the opera’s best lines, whether it be warning Poppea about falling into bed with an emperor, or giddily celebrating her own rise in stature as Poppea becomes Nero’s empress. Tall and unafraid to use his expressive face, Sulayman quickly became a crowd favorite.”
- Bret McCabe, Baltimore City Paper