Acis & Galatea, Genève, 2023

Charles Sigel at Forum Opera writes: 

“It is the Swedish bass Staffan Liljas, impressive with virtuoso roughness, but capable of touching sweetness on “and my Love” to depict a gloomy love that is cold and violent. We could wish for a deeper timbre but he compensates for this with a biting articulation and a precision rivaling those of violin and traverso solos.”

Emmanuel Andrieu at ClassiqueNews writes:

“The Polyphemus of the Swedish bass Staffan Liljas is not outdone with a sonorous voice and a strong dramatic presence. He presents himself with a lot of style and emotion, without ever yelling, in this role of “bad guy”.”

Elodie Martinez at Opera Online writes:

“The latter is played by the Swede Staffan Liljas, who interprets the anger and bitterness of Polyphemus, but without abandoning the rejected lover who remains. Thus he offers a beautiful air “O ruddier than the Cherry”, preceded by a touching “…and my Love”.”

Alain Cochard at Concert Classic writes:

“There is nothing overplayed in Polyphemus by the Swede Staffan Liljas, but a density of the vocal material and an accuracy of expression which, added to the effectiveness of the staging, give all its weight to the role.”

Aida, Wermland Opera, 2023

Sören Tranberg at Tidskriften OPERA writes:

Staffan Liljas, as the King of Egypt, impresses with palpable authority with his sonorous and deep bass.

Bacho Continuo, Musikaliska, 2023

Claes Wahlin at  Aftonbladet writes in “Happy apocalypse to Musikaliska and The Royal Opera”:

”’Ich habe genug’ – I’ve had enough – begins one of Bach’s most famous cantatas, BWV 82. This was the third and final cantata at Musikaliska yesterday, the day for early music, which for the past decade has been celebrated on the 21st of March all over the world. Staffan Liljas soft bass voice performed beautifully together with seven musicians at what since this past fall is our National Scene for early music.”

“Staffan Liljas’ bass wove beautifully around the instrumentalists counterpoint, Kerstin Frödin’s baroque oboe, Mime Brinkmanns baroque cello.”

Christmas Oratorio, Norrlandsoperan, 2022

Bengt Hultman at Västerbottens-Kuriren writes in “Highly charged Christmas feeling at Norrlandsoperan”:

“It is truly with authority that Staffan Liljas powerful and resplendent bass sounds. I have mentioned the duet between soprano and bass, and here you get a sterling interpretation of the texts words of comfort.”

Acis and Galatea, Maison de la Radio et de la Musique, 2022

Emmanuel Deroeux at Olyrix writes:

“While Galatea and Acis rejoice in happy and dancing duet, the abominable cyklops Polypheme is already emerging from his lair. The Swedish bass Staffan Liljas seems to greatly enjoy performing this loving and jealous villain, both “scenically” and vocally. He lends him his dark voice, deliberately fiery and even devoid of finess. His diction is as fascinating as the contrast with the flute accompaniment (and reinforces the contrasting passions of this opus when he sings “”Torture! fury! rage! despair!” where wrath is married to honey).”

Bertrand Bolognesi at Anaclase writes:

“And further Staffan Liljas, a mephitic bass who alternately projects Polypheme’s sentimental turmoil and alternately his spite and rage by very welcome rolled Rs. His astounding ease of singing sumptuously serves O ruddier than the cherry as well as Cease to beauty to be suing, thanks to an ideal expressive palette.”

Michel Jakubowicz at ON mag writes:

“As it pertains to the rest of the singers, they range from the tenor Mark Milhofer (Acis) to the excellent bass Staffan Liljas who ferociously embodies the infernal Polypheme.”

Philippe Ramin at Bachtrack writes:

“Finally, skillfully combining earthiness with precision in the details in the role of Polypheme, the bass Staffan Liljas has the requisite agility for the well-known ”O ruddier than the cherry” and the wild authority for the trio ”Torture, fury”, in which Alarcón again applies a risky but most effective rubato.”

Patrice Gay at Premiereloge Opera writes: 

”[…] the Swedish bass Staffan Liljas’ Polypheme exits his lair surrounded by smoke. This is followed by an ample recit filled with wrath, prelude to a colorful aria (”O ruddier than the Cherry!”), where the piccolo’s notes act subtly mocking: the cyklops fiery declarations are not far from making the audience smile.”

Baroque BASS, 2022

Martin Nyström at Dagens Nyheter writes in “Staffan Liljas bass voice is beautiful sounding and agile”

“It is an ambivalent wealth of contrasts that is fully expressed in Staffan Liljas’ debut album, where he with his most colourful, sonorous and agile bass voice interprets Italian motets and English anthems from the 17th century. All of this to an accompaniment of the highest caliber by the organist Peter Lönnerberg, theorbist Jonas Nordberg and cellist Mime Brinkmann, who makes her instrument come to the fore as the albums second bass voice.”

Jan Jacoby på Custos skriver:

“[…] an unusual and especially in this repertoire well placed bass voice. It is forceful yet slender, strikingly agile and fluid, instrumental in the clarity of its lines, but with a timbre helpful for diction, and its range reaches unhindered from dark profondo notes to a relaxed top.”

“Staffan Liljas handles his unusual instrument throughout with a technical excess which includes both gracefully nuanced dynamics as well as distinct and vigorous coloraturas. His presentation has a enjoyable artistic presence with evocative changes in timbre and not least a stylistically accurate feeling for the seamless connection between serious penetrating declamation and fluid coloraturas which perhaps comes to its most pronounced use with the father figure Claudio Monteverdi with Ab æterno ordinata sum from 1640 and a posthumously published Laudate Dominum.”

Detmar Huchting at Klassik Heute writes:

“Staffan Liljas performs the vocal pieces with the extraordinary and consciensciously used beauty of his bass voice and with a subtle interpretation of the texts deeper meaning.”

“For all lovers of baroque music from the 17th century, this excellent cd should be another piece of the puzzle, lending further radiance to the collection.”

Joakim Olsson Kruse at Kyrkomusikernas Tidning writes:

“The bass Staffan Liljas releases his first solo-cd and has put together a flowing program which elegantly shows both the full colour palett of his voice and introduces us to the possibilities for virtuosic and intimate solo singing for bass voice in the generations before Bach and Handel.”

“Everything is extremely enjoyable, but the high point may be the concluding English anthems by Purcell, Blow and Turner. Is one given the sense that Staffan Liljas here is most on his home turf? Can additional dimensions of luster in the timbre and an even greater variation in interpretation and dynamics be sensed? In some of the English pieces he is joined by a euphonious vocal ensemble, which hightens the impression yet more. Congratulations to an elegant and tasteful solo debut!”

Bengt Forsberg at Musikrevyn i P2 says:

“Awefully talented musicians, the music is from start to finish wonderful. It is a very likeable approach. I enjoy this cd a great deal!”

Djur som hatar människor at Uppsala Stadsteater, 2021

Lars Ring at Svenska Dagbladet writes in “Sweet animals singing on the last verse in dystopia”

“The quantum supercomputer, entertainingly interpreted by the bass singer Staffan Liljas, has an intelligence which in the end trumps the humans.”

Niklas Wahllöf at Dagens Nyheter writes in “In space, everyone can hear the animals squabble and sing”

“Everything is connected in an impressive way. It is truly the happy dystopia which the piece has been called.”

“Every one acts and sings formidably. So does the orchestra, to say the least.”

Susanne Sigroth-Lambe at Uppsala Nya Tidning writes in “Dystopian fabel carried on musical wings”

“The performance is a musical party. All lines are sung like in an opera with inlays of pop music accompanied by the musicians in the orchestra pit.”

“The performance has a lot of dark humor, but the bitter subtext becomes increasingly clear, that man is both its own and all other species’ worst enemy.”

Hela Historien at Confidencen, 2021

Erik Graune in Tidskriften OPERA writes in “Hela Historien – Den Andra Operan på Confidencen”

“In 1715 Maria Margherita Grimani, active at the Viennese court, writes an oratorio with a Salome theme bearing the straightforwardly brutal tital La decollazione di San Giovanni Battista (The decapitation of St John the Baptist). Here there is an effective duet between Salome and Herod, virtuosically performed by the soprano Annastina Malm and the bass Staffan Liljas.”

Acis & Galatea at Confidencen, 2019

Bo Löfvendahl in Svenska Dagbladet writes in “Two hours of pure joy – absolutely world class”

“This is a performance at the highest level musically – two hours of pure joy. Everything is steered with driving energy and light touch by Olof Boman, who under the name Confidencen Opera & Music Festival Orchestra has gathered a dozen of Swedens best baroque musicians.”

“With his fine phrasing, Staffan Liljas binds together the wild melodic jumps of his Polyphemos and gives the evil villain human sensibilities.”

Loretta Villalobos in Expressen writes in “A trip worth the trouble when Confidencen performs Händel”

“If you look apart from the beautiful scene changes of the rococo theatre and the imaginative costumes, in the end this performance is a feast of song and music all the way – not least thanks to the well balanced precision with which Olof Boman leads the Confidencen Opera & Music Festival Orchestra.”

“Staffan Liljas as Polyphemus is the only one who produces real acting, and where it might have devolved into flamboyant evil, it remains on course due to his stage presence.”

Bodil Hasselgren in Tidskriften Opera writes in issue 4 2019
“Here the stage director Tine Topsøe has used the historic theatre and the beautifully painted set pieces to highlight the pastoral aspects of Handels opera.”

“Olof Boman leads the Confidencen baroque orchestra with steady hand, lending it a simultaneously transparent and weightless sound suitable to the piece.”

“Polyphemus – who in Topsøe’s interpretation is a cast out figure turning his sorrow into aggressive malice – is performed solidly and with feeling by Staffan Liljas, who has the most stage presence of them all.”

Björn Gustavsson in Dalarnas Tidningar writes in “Distanced staging and clarity – Händel in two premieres”

“It is a staging of the rare type where everything works and where you notice how everyone, both on stage and in the orchestra, are driven by a common inspiration. The performance of about two hours is simply put hauntingly good: a shimmering water color filled with clarity, precision and luster.”

“The jealous Polyphemus (bass Staffan Liljas, here better than ever) becomes a Scarpia-like prince of darkness and kills his rival.”

Henry Larsson in Capriccio writes in “Colourful Handel at newly started Confidencen Opera & Music Festival”

“The fine bass Staffan Liljas gives the rogue Polyphemus elements of dreadfulness – a monster in the saga – and rages his scorned love with virtuosity in the aria I rage – I melt – I burn!”

Der Vampyr at Läckö castle, 2018

Niklas Smith in Seen and Heard International writes in “A Thrilling Night With The Vampire In Läckö”

“Staffan Liljas played Malwina’s father Davenaut, who at first appears avuncular if vain, but becomes an old-fashioned patriarch when Malwina rejects his plan to marry her to the Earl of Marsden (Ruthven in disguise) before midnight and has the audacity to announce that she loves Aubry, a young knight with little money or snob appeal. Mr Liljas’ sonorous bass sounded the part whether he was a genial host or enraged head of the family.”

Bo Löfvendahl in Svenska Dagbladet writes in “200 year old vampire is resurrected – full of life”

“It is hard to imagine a more ideal place for a ghost story than the court yard at Läckö castle, perched on top of a windblown cliff overlooking lake Vänern. When twilight sets in, the eery feeling creeps closer: this evening amplified by hissing black shadows and a vampire with long pointed nails eagerly licking his lips.”

“Staffan Liljas [presents] a beautifully sung father figure”

Vivier’s Journal at The Concert Hall in Stockholm 2018

Camilla Lundberg in Dagens Nyheter writes in “Top Marks. Wonderfully dynamic performance when Claude Vivier finally arrives in Sweden”

“With travels to Bali and Iran, with readings of the Bible, Pinocchio and Lewis Carrol, in 1977, Vivier composed a sometimes extatic, sometimes drastic diary in the grand choir piece ‘Journal’. Four vocal soloists and percussion evokes something of a lithurgical ritual; steeped in asian spirituality but also punctuated by absurd notions from Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Reine Brynolfssons wonderfully dynamic manual is juxtaposed against the wonderfully pure timbre of the Eric Ericsons Chamber Choir, capped off by the four star soloists – clear as a starry night in the ecstatic final’s invocation to a unattainable cosmic love.”

Erik Wallrup in Svenska Dagbladet writes in “Murdered composer revived with fragility”

“Brilliant – especially as the more significant approaches toward the new music seldom occur outside the walled-off gardens of the festivals.”

“The solo quartet was excellent”

Madama Butterfly, Skånska Operan, 2017

Kjell A Johansson in Kristianstadsbladet writes in “Puccini a Success at Bäckaskog”:

Staffan Liljas in the role of the American Consul of Nagasaki acts as a communications link between the couple. The soloists diction is good overall, but Staffan Liljas does not allow you to miss a single consonant.

Of all the Skånska Operan productions I have seen, and there are many, I think this “Madama Butterfly” is the one that has made the deepest impression on me.

Lars-Erik Larsson in Skånska Dagbladet writes in “A Butterfly with many qualities”:

As an audience member one is drawn into their feelings and engaged in the story. It is fine acting and well thought-through direction.

Ligetiland, Folkoperan, 2016

Bo Löfvendahl in Svenska Dagbladet writes in “Success when Folkoperan frolics in Ligeti’s World”

“‘Aventure’ for three voices becomes a complete miniature opera, where Staffan Liljas and Maria Sanner join Alexandra Büchel on stage. Reclined in lounge-chairs they enact a whole movie of reactions, with great vivacity and skill.”