2018 EncoreMichigan Wilde Award Winner

"Best Performance in an Opera" for the role of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27

Photo: Fay Fox

The mood shifts for the lively opening scene, in which the Mother (Briana Hunter, a radiant mezzo-soprano), who is several months pregnant, talks with three girlfriends
— Anthony Tommasini, NYTimes
Hunter....imbues her solos with ecstasy and anguish as the moment demands. Her trajectory from the hopeful future she imagines in the opening scene – a successful business owner, a loving marriage, a happy family – to the grim reality that seals her fate years later is shattering. The sweetness in her supple lyric mezzo belies a glint of steel.
— Cameron Kelsall, Parterre Box
As his wife and “The Mother,” Briana Hunter is a fine match. She’s a wonderful singer and dramatically holds nothing back from the heartbreak required of this role.
— Susan Galbraith, DC Theatre Scene
Hunter is a mezzo-soprano of astounding vocal and dramatic range. Her liquid voice can be pants-role commanding, as in her intense “Lost boys,” or persuasive and plush, as in her Act IV defense aria “Jury of my Canvas.” Equally at ease as Jo in last year’s Little Women and in the practical shoes of Gordon’s Stein, Hunter should be in high demand when her contract with MOT is up this spring.
— Jennifer Goltz, Opera News
Mezzo-Soprano Briana Elyse Hunter brought Jo to vivid life, ably shouldering most of the opera’s musical and dramatic work. Eminently likeable, Hunter created a portrayal of Jo that rang deeply true, from her tomboyish independence through the budding poise of her young adulthood. Hunter’s control of her gorgeous instrument was equally impressive: she moved with authority between speaking and singing, and between her lowest lines and a lavish, stunningly controlled upper register.
— Jennifer Goltz, Opera News
Speaking of power, the lead voice of the production, Briana Elyse Hunter, who plays Jo, doesn’t disappoint....Her impeccable mezzo-soprano vocals were incredibly versatile. From her lower register to her top notes, she filled the auditorium with strong, consistent vibrancy that motivated the audience to give a well-deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of opening night.
— Sam White, The News Herald
“Mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter was a mesmerizing Carmen, contributing a fiery theatrical presence and dynamic vocalism. Hunter consistently displayed impressive fluidity in her flawless Habanera and Seguidilla 
— Opera News
Carmen, of course, is nothing without a strong title character, and Baltimore native Briana Hunter, new to the Music Academy this year, combined her sultry mezzo with keen acting skills to flesh out (so to speak) the seductive “untamed bird” of Seville. One of the greatest arias, “Seguidilla près des remparts de Séville,” was not only sung beautifully but also cheekily choreographed with the brazen gypsy (who’d been tied up after a cat fight) freeing her hands, toying whip-like with the strap, and finally pushing the guard into the captive’s chair at the last note.
— Joseph Miller, Santa Barbara Independent