Seattle Symphony - Beethoven 9th Recording
"One notable legacy of Gerard Schwarz's long tenure as Seattle Symphony music director has been the establishment of an annual year-end tradition of Beethoven's Ninth performances. One of the most beloved of all classical works, offering an uplifting message of peace and brotherhood, the Ninth has become a Seattle fixture. This recording immortalizes one of the very best casts of vocal soloists who have gathered over the years on the Symphony stage. Soprano Jane Eaglen and mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby bring a Wagnerian might to their solos; William Burden sings the tenor lines with rare beauty, and Clayton Brainerd is a solidly authoritative bass-baritone."
Seattle Times, December 2010
Portland Opera - Fidelio, Beethoven
"As Don Fernando, Clayton Brainerd, a giant of a man, may not have been a physically apt impersonator of the president-elect, but his majestic demeanor and rich-toned singing offered a satisfying similarity to the Obama oratorical style and unruffled elegance. "
Opera Magazine, June 2009
Boston Symphony - Oedipus Rex, Stravinsky
"And the male soloists were superb. There was a thunderous trio of basses led by the eminent Jamaican artist Sir Willard White as Creon, with Franz-Josef Selig as Tiresias, and the awe-inspiring Clayton Brainerd as the Messenger."
The Boston Globe by Richard Dyer, Friday, May 5, 2006
Berkeley Opera - Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg
A Master Singer, Clayton Brainerd, singing Hans Sachs, stood head and shoulders above the rest of the generally good cast. He has an international career: it's easy to see why but hard to understand why it's not even bigger. (He sounded much better than San Francisco Opera's last Sachs, James Morris, who was unpleasantly dry-voiced when he sang the role in 2001.) His baritone is beautiful, firm, resonant, well-controlled at all dynamic levels, smoothly-produced and expressive, as is his stage manner. He brought out all of Sachs's nobility, wisdom and experience in his scenes with the guild and Walther. He was touching and vulnerable with Eva and sly as he trapped Beckmesser.
San Francisco Classical Voice by Lisa Hirsch, July 22, 2005
Monterey Symphony Orchestra "Beethoven 9th"
"Baritone Clayton Brainerd, fresh from performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, boomed like a sonorous god of brotherhood and joy, filling the auditorium with frissons. The other excellent soloists - were simply overshadowed by this tremendous solo vocal force"
Monterey County Herald, Tuesday, May 25th 2004
New Orleans Opera "Das Rheingold"
"As Wotan, the king of the gods, Clayton Brainerd sang with clarity and conviction, displaying various aspects of Wotan's personality. He projected the nobility beneath the character's constantly changing emotions."
The Times Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana Saturday March 13, 2004
Scottish Opera "Aida"
"The cast grows in personality. Clayton Brainerd makes Amonasro a tough, bullying Ernest Hemingway."
Scottish Herald, Glasgow, Scotland, December 5, 2003
Scottish Opera "Aida"
"Amonasro was Clayton Brainerd, an immense man with a ferocious delivery, who promised to deliver the Ethiopian king as a colossal bully."
Opera, London, England, February 2003
Scottish Opera "Aida"
"And Clayton Brainerd's Amonasro, father of Aida, proved to be the audience favorite, thanks to his imposing bass."
Daily Mail, London, England, December 2003
New Orleans Opera "Die Walküre"
"Clayton Brainerd, now with more experience as Wotan, has matured remarkably. His dark voice rang out dramatically, causing one to regret the cuts made to his monologue. His complaints in Act III showed fire long before his spear struck the rock"
Wagner Society of New York "Wagner Notes", New York, NY February 2002
Scottish Opera "Die Walküre"
"Meanwhile, onstage there was further expression and dynamism from the singers, as well as newness in ways that had not been anticipated. Elizabeth Byrne was a late replacement as Brünnhilde, and Clayton Brainerd joined the cast during the run to take over as Wotan from an indisposed Matthew Best. Both were magnificent. Mr. Brainerd, with his soft vocal textures, strong but gentle demeanor and expressive intelligence, sang of wisdom being gained through uncertainty and defeat."
New York Times, New York, NY September 4, 2001
Paris Opera (Bastille) "La Damnation de Faust"
"Le bonne surprize étant venue de Clayton Brainerd, épisodique Brander de magnifique stature." (The good surprise came from Clayton Brainerd, an episodic Brander of magnificent stature)
Scenes Magazine, Paris France July 22, 2001
Minnesota Symphony Orchestra "Tristan und Isolde"
"Clayton Brainerd sang the part of the faithful squire Kurwenal with supreme dignity. His dark, sharply focused voice cut right through the orchestra and his words carried to the farthest seats in the hall!"
St Paul Pioneer Press, St Paul, Minnesota May 28, 1998
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra "Das Rheingold"
"The choice of the young American bass baritone Clayton Brainerd for the role of Wotan was an inspired one. A huge man with a voice to match, Brainerd conveyed Wotan's godly nobility as well as his fragility with utter conviction. At the opening of Scene II his singing of the marvelous lines as Wotan gazes on the completed Walhalla sent shivers down the spine!"
Lively Arts, Auckland, New Zealand, September 1997
Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires "Die Walküre"
"Morris, who canceled his last two performances, was replaced by Clayton Brainerd, an American newcomer who had mastered a difficult role and displayed a beautiful if not voluminous bass-baritone, with an easy top."
Opera News, December 28, 1996