Reviews

'It was remarkable that it could happen at all, this performance of Die Walküre; but it was even more remarkable that it was so fine…… As for the cast, I have to reach back to memories of Karajan’s days at Vienna, with Vickers and Nilsson and Hotter, for a Die Walküre that was overall as well sung as this….The eight Valkyries were not a uniform ensemble but a line-up of striking individuals. Collectively they bore out Siegmund’s initial acknowledgment to Brünnhilde, that she and by extension the other Valkyries are beautiful……Yes, there were imperfections; but what did they matter in the face of such greatness as we were privileged to witness, we who were there at Saffron Hall on Sunday 9th October 2016?"  - Paul Dawson-Bowling, Wagner News issue 223 
Die Walküre, Saffron Opera Group, Saffron Hall, Oct 2016 

'After the techno high jinks of the Met’s cinema relay of Tristan und Isolde the day before, Saffron Opera Group’s unencumbered concert performance of Wagner’s Die Walküre came as a blessed relief. It was also a performance that triggered the ring cycle’s main drama with considerable panache…… ….The Ride of the Valkyries was a rather stately affair, but the necro-equestriennes themselves were a magnificent bunch, high on all the testosterone from their stocktaking.' - Peter Reed, Opera Magazine, December 2018 
Die Walküre, Saffron Opera Group, Saffron Hall, Oct 2016 

'I saw the late, great Danish/American comedy pianist Victor Borge many times and one of the things he did was to play the ending of works stressing how much time had been saved by not sitting through the whole thing. I ruminated on this during and after an (intentionally) extended 75 minute second interval when even at Bayreuth it is only an hour and there they have sets to change! However, the arrival of eight Valkyries – whose singing I have rarely heard bettered anywhere I have heard Die Walküre – brought renewed energy to a performance which had not reached the heights of Saffron Opera Group’s previous Wagner, at least for me. Individually and in ensemble, each one managed her part admirably, and this was an – all-too-rare – octet who were capable of consistently beautiful sounds, even if one or two seemed to be auditioning for bigger parts with Saffron Opera Group and elsewhere. Tempi which had meandered a little in the first two acts now brought everything to a triumphant conclusion.' - Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International 
Die Walküre, Saffron Opera Group, Saffron Hall, Oct 2016 

'We were treated to a glorious cohort of Valkyries, whose fabulous evening dresses alone would have struck the toughest of heroes into dumbfounded admiration, headed by the exceptional Kristin Sharpin (Gerhilde); Cara McHardy (Helmwige); Melanie Lodge (Waltraute); Emma Curtis (Schwertleite); Catrin Aur (Ortlinde); Emma Carrington (Siegrune); Mae Heydorn (a bright, engaging Rossweisse); Magdalen Ashman (Grimgerde). Setting out on their “Hojotoho!” chorus with infectious enthusiasm, the Valkyries sang with relish and skill, delivering shining battle cries, as well as conspiratorial banter, with lovely tone and slick timing' - Charlotte Valori, Operissimawhispers 
Die Walküre, Saffron Opera Group, Saffron Hall, Oct 2016

'Her Habanera and Seguidilla from Carmen, provocative, sexy, witty and dangerous, made me wish that I could see her sing the role in the theatre [...] a fine rendition of Acerba Voluttà from Adriana Lecouvrer. The latter is easy to overdo, but it is sung by a Princess, and Ashman gave it proper dignity amid the swirling passion of the music. But the two Wagner pieces were, of course, the highlight of the evening. For Wo in Bergen, Ashman was joined by Simon Thorpe as a determined but shifty Wotan who knew from the first that his wife had him on the run. Ashman, in tremendous voice, immensely dignified, wounded and angry, never let us forget that Fricka has right on her side and was careful not to let us see the goddess enjoying the experience of bringing her erring husband to heel. Between them, they conjured up such a powerful spell that I felt absolutely cheated that they did not perform the whole of the scene. Waltraute's narrative wielded a different sort of power, with Ashman standing still, wide-eyed, gazing into a horror almost too great for the terrified Valkyrie to comprehend as she so eloquently described the terror that had gripped Valhalla. Throughout the programme I was impressed by her use of words in all four languages, but this aria was the finest example.' - Katie Barnes, The Music Club of London Magazine, March 2015
St John's Smith Square, London

'To allow the judges time to deliberate, the inaugural recipients of the Carole Rees Awards for Advanced Musical Studies gave a short concert. As Roger Lee explained, these awards have been created in memory of his late wife. Magdalen Ashman, a talent whom Carole spotted some years ago, sang a riveting account of Waltraute's Höre mit Sinn, which she has recently been studying with Dame Gwyneth Jones. I was greatly impressed, not only by the splendour of her singing, but also by her command of the text and by the taut atmosphere she created while she sang. The aria was all the more arresting for being so still and concentrated.' -Katie Barnes, Wagner News,  November 2014
The Carole Rees Awards at the Wagner Society Singing Competition, The Royal Academy of Music, London

‘Enter Amneris, the vocally and dramatically excellent Magdalen Ashman….’ - Roger Smith, Bach Track International, August 2013
Aida, Opéra de Baugé, France

‘There had been an enthusiastic gang of Valkyries, some better than others, with notable contributions coming from Katherine Broderick (Helmwige), Magdalen Ashman (Siegrune) and Elaine McKrill (Ortlinde)….’ - Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International, May 2013.
Die Walküre, Wagner 200, Philharmonia, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre

'A fabulous ensemble……  Magdalen Ashman and Alan Fairs as a Marcellina and Bartolo whose transformation from horror to human was almost believable….. It’s not easy to do Figaro right, and this was a treat.’ - Robert Thickness, Opera Now, Sept 2012
Le Nozze di Figaro, Stowe Opera

‘But there were stand-out performances from all the lead cast including Michael Davis as The Count, Magdalen Ashman as Marcellina and Marc Callahan as Figaro.’ - Andrew Kay, Bucks Herald, July 2012     

‘Magdalen Ashman makes much of housekeeper Marcellina, turning her into a spirited lady of abundant charm.’ - Giles Woodforde, Oxford Times, July 2012  

'A duet for Maid Marian and Alice, her attendant, toward the end of the act, is a delight' - Richard Traubner, Opera News, February 2012
Robin Hood, Macfarren, Naxos

‘Magdalen Ashman made Fricka a small lady with huge attitude. The sight of this goddess harrying her huge Wotan was itself worth the price of admission. Her acting was superbly vivid. She radiated indignation, sarcasm, rage, exasperation and belligerence without ever compromising the character’s dignity, and her deep, full mezzo voice is simply marvellous. I want to hear her again, soon.’ - Katie Barnes, Wagner News, 2011
Die Walküre, The Rehearsal Orchestra, Henry Wood Hall, The Mastersingers

‘Magdalen is a natural Fricka, and she brought the character alive with a very assured and strong performance.’ - Jeremy Rowe, Wagner News, November 2011
St James Piccadilly Recital with Charles kilpatrick

​'I loved Magdalen Ashman’s Venus too – she sounded always as if she had power in reserve.' - Wagner News, 2011
Tannhaüser, Northern Wagner Orchestra

'Magdalen Ashman put in a sensational performance as Waltraute. With abundant power throughout its range, her voice seems to be at its most splendid when she is working below the stave. Her scene with Kimberley Myers as Brünnhilde represented what would remain as the high point of the weekend right up until the closing moments of this drama, which the part of Waltraute does so much to set up musically. She was powerfully convincing as she revealed the gamut of emotions which Waltraute experiences during the course of this dialogue. This graduate of the Mastersingers Goodall Academy convincingly became (as she always does) the very character which she had been asked to portray.' - Roger Lee, Wagner News, 2011 
Götterdämmerung, Edinburgh Opera Players Orchestra 

‘Magdalen Ashman was coached in the role of Fricka , which she recently sang for the Mastersingers with the London Rehearsal Orchestra. Hers is a huge voice and we can expect to hear much more of her in future.' - Micheal Bousfield, The Music Club of London Magazine 2010
Das Rheingold, Masterclass with Sir John Tomlinson, The Mastersingers, Presteigne

 Bottom image  ©Stephanie Matti