In her performance as Tisbe in LA CENERENTOLA with Opera San Jose
"As the two sisters, soprano Sandra Rubalcava and mezzo-soprano Donna Olson also abet the physical comedy commendably from the moment Rubalcava scratches her backside as if by habit. They aren't handed many notable solos, but they pace most of the ensemble singing - especially the "What a Tangled Web" sextet near the end - that makes Rossini's score sparkle."
San Jose Mercury News, Colin Seymour, September 2002
"Clorinda (Sandra Rubalcava) and Tisbe (Donna Olson) and their father, Don Magnifico (David Cox), were played very broadly for maximum comic effect."
ConcertoNet.com, Kelly Snyder, September 2002
In her performance as Suzuki in MADAME BUTTERFLY with Opera San Jose
"They were perfect... Joseph Wright, as the voice of conscience, the concerned American consul Sharpless, and Donna Olson, as Butterfly's faithful servent Suzuki, won richly deserved ovations second only to Makerov's Butterfly. They were excellent."
San Mateo County Times, Keith Kreitman, April 2002
"Suzuki, the maidservant of Butterfly, was very well done by Donna Olson, remembered affectionately because of her role as Dorabella, sister to Decter's Fiordiligi in this season's production of Cosi fan Tutte."
San Francisco Classical Voice, Dan Leeson, April 2002
"The rest of the cast seems far more Japanese, especially Butterfly's servant Suzuki (Donna Olson, in a seamless performance)."
San Jose Mercury News, Colin Seymour, April 2002
In her performance of Massenet's MANON with Opera San Jose
"Julie Engelbrecht's "Dangerous Liasons" costumes provide the elegance of the period. The look is best exemplified by cheeky coquettes played by Jenni Samuelson, Cameron Russell and Donna Olson."
San Jose Mercury News, Lesley Valdes, February 2002
"She [director Olivia Stapp] did...get some excellent flirt-work from Guillot's mistresses: Jenni Samuelson, Donna Olson and Cameron Russell, who also kicked in with some wonderful a cappella trio sections.
Michael J. Vaughn, February 2002
In her performance as Meg Page in FALSTAFF with Opera San Jose
"The smaller roles of Pistol, Kirk Eichelberger and Meg Page, Donna Olson, were effective and well sung."
San Francisco Classical Voice, Dan Leeson, 2001
"The women in the cast were uniformly srong from Lucy Salome Strauli's sly, earthy Dame Quickly to Donna Olson's playful, lively Meg Page."
ConcertoNet, Kelly Snyder, 2001
As Dorabella in COSI FAN TUTTE with Opera San Jose
"The singing on opening night was uniformly exquisite. Soprano Lori Decter Purcell sang the role of Fiordiligi with a consummate grace and power that was beautifully matched by mezzo soprano Donna Olson as Dorabella."
Out & About, 2001
"The pacing of the whole evening and tightness of ensemble between singers and the orchestra were a marvel. All the singers sang with strong characterization and excellent ensemble work. Donna Olson skillfully embodied Dorabella's susceptibility to masculine charms."
San Francisco Classical Voice, Anna Carol Dudley, 2001
"Since this is a comic opera, many emphasize the buffoonery or acting. But in the sparkling interpretation that Opera San Jose opened on Saturday, it is the singing, especially the three female characters, that carries the day. And, oh, what singing! I can hardly imagine any production with more beautiful voices. It would be hard to distinguish between the vocal richness of mezzo soprano Donna Olson as Dorabella and soprano Lori Decter Purcell as Fiordiligi, they are so similar in timbre. They are both a feast for the ears in their duets, as well as solo arias. That is not to say that the three males were not in excellent voice. It is just they were in tough competition with those soaring female voices.
San Mateo county Times, Kieth Kreitman, 2001
"The other couple, played by Donna Olson (Dorabella) and Adam Flowers (Ferrando) was perfect foils for the others and played with even broader style. Olson's voice was pretty."
The San Mateo Daily Journal" Susan L. Brown, 2001
Flora in Nevada Opera's La Traviata:
Also singing well is mezzo soprano Donna Olson who sings Violetta's sometime friend Flora with a lush tone and lots of frivolous intensity.
Jack Neal, Nevada Review, 2001
Nevada Opera's Member's Choice Concert:
"That was the case with the Member's Choice Kick-off Concert featuring the youthful and distinguished voices and alluring acting abilities of soprano, Melinda Cumberledge, Mezzo Soprano, Donna Olson, Tenor Theodore Green, Baritone, David Stoneman and Bass John Ames. Vocal fireworks is the theme for this season and Friday's concert delivered. Olson brought a subtlety and tonal beauty to all she sang, most especially the lovely Offenbach barcarole and duet, "Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour," she sang with Cumberledge."
Jack Neal, Nevada Review, 2000
VASHTI in the Celebrate Song Recital of American Operatic Monodrama:
"David Schiff's 'VASHTI' was by far the highlight of the concert. Donna Olson sang and acted out the seven roles with humor, vocal strength and warmth. It was also an apt piece for the day."
James McQuillan, The Oregonian, 2000
"...It was so sensational. She was wonderful. Her voice, theatricality and musicality were indeed a triumph and there is no doubt she will perform VASHTI again."
David Schiff, Composer, 2000
Trinity's Treasury of Song in Portland, OR:
"Olson used her rich voice to dramatic effect in 'Mad Bess...' Her high notes soared, and her phrases spun nicely. She also acted with her voice, changing tone and attack to highlight the words."
David Stabler, The Oregonian, 1997
Karolka in Jenufa with Portland Opera:
"That scene also offered an effective appearance by Donna Olson as Steva's new fiancee, Karolka..."
David MacLaine, Willamette Week, 1996
Bel Canto Northwest in Portland:
"...Donna Olson and Kurt Alakulppi were suitably mocking and sarcastic as the would-be lovers Beatrice and Benedict in their duets from Berlioz' adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing'."
Amy M. Starke, The Oregonian, 1994
Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Pioneer Pocket Opera in Sacramento:
"Donna Olson as Cherubino was of equal vocal merit and fully Mozartian in demeanor, which is as meaningful a compliment one can receive."
Alfred Kay, The Sacramento Bee, 1992
"...and Mezzo Sopranos Donna Olson as Cherubino and Lyssa Ogilbee as the Countess were very, very good."
Holly Johnson, the Sacramento Union, 1992
Amahl's mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Stockton Opera:
"Donna Olson's big, and well controlled, Mezzo-Soprano voice and dramatic ability gave real poignancy to the role of Amahl's mother."
Sherman Spencer, The Stockton Record, 1991
"Donna Olson, who has a big, operatic Mezzo Soprano voice, sang the part of Amahl's mother. Her ever-so-slight vocal edge sounded perfect for the characterization of a poor mother who wants so much for her son and can give him nothing but love. Olson's attempted theft of "All That Gold" seethed with passion. Her "Have You Seen a Child" quartet with the kings stirred the heart and washed the tear ducts."
Dianne Runion, The Stockton Record, 1990
Stabat Mater with the Clark Chorale in Sacramento:
"Donna Olson beautifully balanced the composer's reverential intent with his innovative vocal movements... Olson sang in a high-energy, high concentration manner, and her high notes were particularly impressive. Reached cleanly and powerfully, they often seemed aimed at the celestial audience as much as for the one in the theater...And while each woman was charming in solo paggages, they were equally effective in duet. Their combined voices had a richness and strength that complemented each other with even, sweet tones."
Robert A. Masullo, The Sacramento Bee, 1990
The Madrigals of Monteverdi with the Clarke Chorale in Sacramento:
"Donna Olson sang beautifully the gorgeous melodies of 'Amor,' with five men singing as a kind of Greek chorus in comment. Olson and Clark brought the chorus to a high point of operatic power in the ending measures of 'o viva fiamma' (O living flames)..."
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, 1990