Reviews are in for Elizabeth's chilling portrayal of Poe's famous murderer in the world premiere of Gregg Kallor's Tell Tale Heart, in collaboration with the Crypt Sessions and On Site Opera:
"It’s difficult to imagine a more atmospheric venue or riveting soloist, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski. Entering in the dark through a door that creaked as if it were speaking a line of dialogue, Pojanowski cautiously took her place on a small platform, dressed in hospital scrubs and clogs, her hair pulled into a severe ponytail, her face devoid of makeup. Lost in her recollections of her murder and dismemberment of the old man for whom she cared, she seemed completely unaware of the audience, despite the proximity of the seating. It was a bravura acting performance, layered with unpredictable bursts of anger, glee, indignation, disgust, and the occasional shimmer of, if not remorse, at least regret. Kallor’s vocal writing was refreshingly gracious and intelligible, allowing Pojanowski moments of lyricism, as well as providing hints for dramatic emphasis, which she followed scrupulously. Director Sarah Meyers suggested an interrogation room with a metal chair and a single lamp that cast harsh shadows on Pojanowski’s face. The confinement forced Pojanowski to climb onto the chair at one point as if trying to escape her own skin, and she modulated the character’s increasing madness to make her ultimate breakdown both surprising and inevitable. Shawn Kaufman’s strategically placed red lights throbbed in rhythm with Pojanowski’s anguished revelation of the dead man’s beating heart under the floorboards."
- Joanne Sydney Lessner, Opera News, October 28th, 2016
"Pojanowski’s flinty mezzo deepened with lurid color as her character’s confession grew more histrionic, all the time putting over every single word of the libretto with clarity. The starkly simple production by Sarah Meyers, which placed Pojanowski in the merciless glare of a single spotlight, proved one of the most effective stagings I’ve seen from the always-inventive On Site Opera, a collaborator on this project."
"Presented as chamber opera, with Joshua Roman on cello and the composer on piano, Elizabeth Pojanowski, the gifted mezzo soprano whose burgeoning world wide career has caught opera’s eye, incorporated the mad storm at the heart of the tale’s narrator.
She enters on a whisper, defending her intent to eliminate not the old man, who she likes, but his evil eye which is fixed on her, driving her crazy. Sustaining the tonal arc of a monodrama is a large order. There is not a moment when Pojanowski does not fill her mission, to spiral the madness of the character and drive her both to the goal of murder and then around the bend as the heart of darkness beats and beats until she collapses in a weird guilt. She is left standing before an interrogative lamp, captured....Pojanowski looms like a brooding owl, driven by desire becoming madder and madder as the old man appears to resist the fate she has designed. As listeners, will she or won’t she becomes a question. Although we know the answer, we are so caught up in the moment in the Crypt that we enter the flow of terror, caught in a web of strings or hammers and particularly of the extraordinary human voice. This is a triumphant monodrama done in a perfect setting."
"The centerpiece of the evening was the premiere of Mr. Kallor's The Tell-Tale Heart. The two musicians were joined by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski who performed the story with fine English diction and dramatic intensity. We were amazed that this difficult work with its strange vocal lines had been committed to memory and we appreciate the effort. A music stand would have destroyed the carefully crafted illusion of madness created by Ms. Pojanowski."
"Pojanowski was a committed murderess...her face and body moved in and out of shadow, as if she told her tale beneath the glare of an interrogation lamp. There was a wonderfully cinematic quality to this imagery...[Pojanowski's] voice was flexible and athletic...I admired her willingness to communicate lunacy through a robust physicality."
Praise for her interpretation of Isolier in Loft Opera's critically acclaimed production of Rossini's Le Comte Ory:
"The breakout performer of this show, though, was mezzo Elizabeth Pojanowski, who looked almost shockingly like a boy in the trouser role of the page Isolier. Even better, her big, colorful mezzo radiated star quality. If I were running LoftOpera, I’d be trying to figure out a way to produce Der Rosenkavalier as a vehicle for her."
"...and Elizabeth Pojanowski, who lighted up the stage with a gorgeous, supple mezzo as the lovelorn page Isolier." -
"One standout performer was Ory’s page Isolier, played by the mezzo-soprano Elizabeth
Pojanowski. This role involves a) dressing like a man, and b) playing Ory’s foil again and again as the plot thickens—both of which Pojanowski, with her hair-hiding pompadour and expressive face, did to solid comedic effect. Plus her rich and velvety voice gave some listeners actual spine tinglies."
"Isolier, Ory’s page, was superbly portrayed in travesti by the shining mezzo Elizabeth Pojanowski"
"Elizabeth Pojanowski as Isolier, the Count’s page, was terrific. She has a great voice and was truly connecting with everyone she interacted with."
"Mezzo Elizabeth Pojanowski in the trouser role of Isolier was also a highlight. She had an agility and a youthful wistfulness in her representation of the young forlorn lover. She also had a knack for playing a young man: adapting the boyish mannerisms, gait, and gaze of one in the first throes of love. She was fun to watch. The first time Pojanowski came on stage accompanying Ory’s Tutor, sung by bass-baritone Jeff Beruan, I sighed a great sigh of aesthetic relief."
"The most consistently strong singer and performance over all for me was Elizabeth Pojanowski as Isolier. She managed to find genuine feeling and humor in her beats without resorting to any of the generalized mugging for the audience that often mars comic opera."