Britten’s canticle Abraham and Isaac...was superbly characterised (with Dandy sometimes sounding startlingly like Kathleen Ferrier, for whom Britten wrote the part of Isaac)
Richard Morrison, The Times
Photograph © Clare Park
For Handel Rodelinda
Presto Classical by Katherine Cooper
The other stand-out performance comes from the remarkable young contralto Jess Dandy, whose weighty but agile voice sounds tailor-made for the tricky role of Eduige.... It’s a treat to hear the part assigned to a true contralto rather than a mezzo (no disrespect to the great Janet Baker, who sang it opposite Joan Sutherland on Charles Farncombe’s vintage recording), and she’s a vivid singing actress, spitting poison in the virtuosic ‘De miei scherni’ and absolutely riveting in the Act Three dungeon-scene where she and Rodelinda fear their plan to spring Bertarido from the nick has fatally backfired.
For Janacek The Diary of One Who Disappeared
The Arts Desk by Boyd Tonkin
We don’t often see sultry come-to-bed moves in the Wigmore Hall, that chaste Parthenon of refined musical taste. But when Jess Dandy stretched out languidly on stage while offering to show Nicky Spence“how the gypsies sleep”, the temperature shot up even in an empty auditorium. In Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared, wildness and passion war with inhibition and conformity.
In her numbers, Dandy matched him for big-flavoured intensity, a proper diva more than a flirty minx, with her shame-free invitation to cross the ethnic lines: “Sit here closer to me… Or does my complexion alarm you?” Critics should never complain that voices are just too strong.
Handel – SAMSON – Dunedin Consort (Linn 2019)
“Jess Dandy, a true contralto, is the oratorio’s voice of balm, singing the sublime prayer ‘Return, O God of hosts’ with warm, even tone and broad phrasing.”
Handel – SAMSON
Dunedin Consort / Handel Festspiele Halle
“Possibly the most sustained role is that of Micah who observes and comments from the Israelite viewpoint, although it is not as emotionally demanding as the roles of Samson and Manoah. It was sung by English contralto Jessica Dandy… with great range and formidable low notes, excellent technique and subtle feeling, particularly in “Return, O God of hosts”.