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Edmondo in Manon Lescaut
San Francisco Opera

Tenor Sean Panikkar, one of the most opulently gifted of the current crop of Adler Fellows, shone in Act 1 as Des Grieux's fellow student Edmondo. Every time Panikkar opens his mouth onstage these days, the house is full of people suddenly clutching for their programs and muttering, "Who is that guy?" and his performance on Sunday -- crisp, clear-toned and blooming -- was no exception.

San Francisco Chronicle November 21, 2006

First and foremost, there is Sean Panikkar's Edmondo - the young man with the generally agreed-on promise of a great singing career also makes a "statement" here for matinee-idol good looks and arresting stage presence.

      Opera West  November 26,2006

Adler Fellows Sean Panikkar (Edmondo) and Kendall Gladen (madrigal singer) lighted up their small roles.

San Francisco Examiner November 21, 2006

As Edmondo, a student, tenor Sean Panikkar sings with an appealing, conversational spirit; you know this guy.

 Mercury News  November 21, 2006

San Francisco Opera’s current Adler Fellows in the cast all made a good showing: tenor Sean Panikkar as Edmondo (in such good voice that you wish he had been the lead)...

San Francisco Classical Voice November 21, 2006

Of the smaller roles, the standout was Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar, currently an Adler Fellow in the company's development program. A handsome man with café-au-lait skin and a devilish smile, he deployed a silvery tenor in the opening scene and it was difficult to understand why any of the girls could resist.

 Seen and Heard International November 21, 2006

Sean Panikkar, a promising tenor from the company’s training programme, makes more of Edmondo than one might have thought possible.

Financial Times November 21, 2006

This courtyard scene, which can drag, was perfectly set up by Des Grieux's friend Edmondo (Adler Fellow Sean Panikkar)...                                                       

Contra Costa Times  November 21, 2006

The first act also had to contend with the Sean Panikkar effect (that's Sean above). He's a young Sri Lankan in the Adler Fellows program who keeps being given tiny parts that are usually the companion, the friend, the herald, what have you, and the problem is that his voice is so youthful, lyrical and beautiful, that the star tenor's entrace is usually a disappointment in comparison. This happened last year in both "Norma" and "Maid of Orleans." In the latter, his victim was Misha Didyk, the Ukranian tenor who is also singing the lead in "Manon Lescaut." Misha was fine on Sunday, even though he oversang at times, but we wanted to hear Sean!

 Civic Center November 23, 2006


Sailor and Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde
San Francisco Opera

Among Opera Center participants, Sean Panikkar excelled as the sailor in the opening scene, and in Act 3 as the shepherd.

San Francisco Classical Voice October 10, 2006

Adler Fellow Sean Panikkar, doing double duty as the Sailor in Act 1 and the Shepherd in Act 3, sang with extraordinary power and beauty

San Francisco Chronicle  October 7, 2006

Daniel is a ripping, exuberant singer.So is tenor Sean Panikkar, a product of SFO's Merola Opera Program, who sang the role of the shepherd, so loyal to Tristan, and yet, like everyone else in this excruciating story, unable to protect the knight from his chosen death.                         

 Mercury News  October 7, 2006




 Raymond in Joan of Arc

San Francisco Opera

the best singing came in the smaller roles. Tenor Sean Panikkar, a gifted Adler Fellow, scored a knockout in the first act, singing with luxuriant clarity as the local peasant whom Joan refuses to marry.

  San Francisco Chronicle June 5, 2006


Current Adler Fellow Sean Panikkar proved a very tempting and romantic tenor in his role as "Raymond", the rejected suitor to the distracted Joan.

  San Francisco Sentinel June 12, 2006


Young Sean Panikkar is Joan's saintly would-be fiancé, with an authentic Russian tenor sound (even if the recent Merola participant's family hails from Sri Lanka ).

     San Francisco Classical Voice June 3, 2006


Sean Panikkar, as Joan's spurned fiancé, succeeds in the difficult task of playing the resigned and slightly meek lover. Resignation does not carry the voice too far, but Panikkar's clarity and confidence does nonetheless.

        SFist June 8, 2006


 Gala Concert for Arizona Opera


(Dolora) Zajick returned with a powerful, emotion-packed rendition of Joan's Aria from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Orleanskaya deva (The Maid of Orleans), the role she is currently portraying at San Francisco Opera. That was not an easy selection to follow, but when Sean Panikkar sang MacDuff's Aria 'Ah, la paterna mano' from Verdi's Macbeth with smooth, well-controlled legato, the young tenor let the audience know that he is quite worthy of being on the same stage as the mezzo icon.

Music and Vision June 2006




Macduff in Macbeth 

North Bay Opera

The role of the avenging Macduff was considerably strengthened by Sean Panikkar, a current Adler Fellow from San Francisco Opera. Panikkar’s “Ah, la paterna mano” (Ah, a father’s hand was not here) was a master class in Verdian delivery: beautifully phrased, elegantly sung, and meaningful. And his rousing call-to-arms “La patria tradita” (Our country has been betrayed) was thrilling. He was justly awarded with prolonged applause.

San Francisco Classical Voice March 11, 2006


Tenor Sean Panikkar, as Macduff, deservedly earned the biggest round of applause at Saturday’s opening-night performance of Verdi’s original 1847 version of “Macbeth.” … Though Panikkar didn’t have exceedingly long stretches onstage, he made the most of his time with richly textured vocal efforts that were sustained and notably consistent throughout. Panikkar boasts a voice full of vim, clarity and straight-ahead beauty, evident in his aria

Vacaville Reporter March 15, 2006


His (Panikkar's) singing brought down the house.

Daily Republic March 15, 2006





Flavio in  Norma  

Opera Colorado

The biggest surprise of the evening was the Flavio, Sean Panikkar, a young American tenor of Sri Lankan heritage. He has a good sized warm voice with a truly exciting sound. He made the most of his small role and held his own ground as an actor with the all star cast. Certainly, he is an artist of whom a great deal more will be heard.                                                                                                                                                                              

Music and Vision February 2006


…and, as Flavio, Sean Panikkar offered evidence of a tenor worth watching 

Opera News May 2006


Sean Panikkar is a tenor of promise in the brief role of Flavio 

Daily Camera February 2006




 Basically British Song Recital Series  


Tenor Panikkar displayed a fine, clear lyric voice highlighted by exceptionally clean elocution during the Parry and Tosti works. But then, you may have seen him on the stage in some of the local Opera House productions. He’s a graduate of the Merola Program for young singers and has now advanced to being an Adler Fellow at the S.F. Opera. Tall, good looking, musical, and with superb intonation, Panikkar seems fit for a major career

San Francisco Classical Voice January 27, 2006




The Future is Now Adler Concert 2005  


There were no balance problems with Sean Panikkar, nor is there any doubt that he will soon become an acclaimed tenor in Global Opera, Inc., but it remains to be seen if he'll be a Wagnerian heldentenor. If he does (and he may), he will add another unique distinction to his resume (in addition to being "the tenor from Sri Lanka "), based on his Wagnerian debut tonight in the role of Macbeth. Come again? It went like this: Panikkar was the only one to appear twice tonight, and that was only right after he "sang" Walther in a "Meistersinger" scene ("Fanget an!"), taken up entirely by Thomas Glenn's brilliant performance as David, instructing the clueless knight in proper academic singing. So Panikkar's Wagnerian debut came in form of listening for some 15 minutes, asking only "what's that?" and encouraging the other to advise him... which Glenn did, hilariously, in a remarkably fluent and authentic performance. When Panikkar returned to sing "Ah, la paterna mano," he was singing Verdi right and proper, but one couldn't help listening for the heldentenor sound he didn't have a chance to display in the Wagner excerpt. It may well be there, but for now, there is no question about his ability in both verismo and bel canto.


San Francisco Classical Voice December 6, 2005




First Prisoner in Fidelio  

San Francisco Opera

…and the First and Second Prisoners, Sean Panikkar and Eugen Brancoveanu, made the most of their brief roles.

  Contra Costa Times  November 2005

Partial relief arrived with Christine Brewer's Fidelio...and then with the prisoners' chorus, featuring fine solos from Sean Panikkar and Eugene Brancoveanu - two outstanding Adler Fellows.

 Opera West November 9, 2005

Flavio in  Norma 

San Francisco Opera

Two Adler Fellows - Sean Panikkar as Flavio and Kimwana Doner as Clotilde - showed off voices and performances more impressive than Jun(Oroveso) or Todorovich(Pollione).

San Diego Magazine  October 2005

Sean Panikkar, a current SF Opera Adler fellow, was a sturdy Flavio.

Contra Costa Times  October 2005

Title Role in  Le Pauvre Matelot (Milhaud)

San Francisco Opera Center

The Milhaud opera, like so much of this composer's work, was capable and forthright without ever being especially interesting, a collage of dance rhythms and undistinguished melodies cloaking Jean Cocteau's functional libretto. It was notable mostly as a vehicle for the superbly athletic and far- ranging vocalism of tenor Sean Panikkar as her (Penelope’s) long-lost husband.

  San Francisco Chronicle  March 2005

Merola Grand Finale 2004

How do you recognize an exceptional operatic voice? Simple. It makes you happy. About 40 minutes into the program in the War Memorial tonight, at the 47th annual Merola Grand Finale, I didn't have to think or evaluate, the recognition was purely visceral. It was a matter of well-being, of pleasure, as two of the young artists, Kimwana Doner and Sean Panikkar, sang with surpassing musicality and passion, commanding self-confidence and gorgeous expression. In the duet from Mascagni's "L'Amico Fritz," the Sri Lankan tenor (now of Bloomsburg, PA) and the soprano from Detroit left the boundaries of the Opera's training program behind, and carried the audience away, as if they witnessed a highlight of the regular season. Doner - an accurate, powerful singer, with a bright, beautiful voice - has already made an impression on those attending Merola events this summer, but Panikkar emerged from the large group of Merolini for the first time, suddenly, unexpectedly, and with great impact. He sang with ardor, elegance, a thrilling command of the music, with an Italian diction seldom heard among young singers... or veterans. The full Opera Orchestra, under the fine direction of Stephen Lord, did not cuddle the singers - they had to hold their own "against" 70 musicians, and they have, but not by being loud. Both Doner and Panikkar projected their voices superbly, filling the huge hall with music.

      San Francisco Classical Voice  August 2004
































































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