Reviews and Snippets


“…  A singer to watch…  he has an excellent voice, strong, even and flexible with a rich tone and an apparently effortless gift of characterisation…  he brought something special to the heartbreaking final verses.”

- Russell Reid, Sunday Post

“His voice combined a transparent real baritone quality with a warm sincerity that sold Walt Whitman’s text to the audience at its full emotional worth.”

- Alan Cooper, Aberdeen Press & Journal

“... a powerfully physical experience. The acting, too, this close-up is a physical presence, of real muscle, teeth, saliva even... it is the unadorned force of human voice and movement.”

- Adam Somerset,  Theatre in Wales

“The intimacy of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after Duncan’s murder is unforgettable; the suddenly vulnerable, childlike Macbeth comes to her for comfort and she responds by placing her hand over his heart and burying her head in his back.

“Trapped in a symbiotic relationship slowly spiralling out of control, Phil Gault’s blustering, hollow Macbeth and Eldrydd Cynan Jones’s steely Lady Macbeth dominate the stage whenever they appear. In particular, Macbeth’s twisted, writhing face when he resumes his seat at the feast after seeing Banquo’s ghost and assures his guests that all is well is utterly chilling.

“The [opera’s] most mesmerising moment occurs immediately after the interval, as Macbeth, barefoot, crawls onto the stage to retrieve a key, placed in the middle of the otherwise empty space. The single concession to his new royal status, a small medal pinned to his breast, hangs askew. His agonising progress seems to take forever. Finally he reaches it, and lies on his back holding it above his head, fixing it with a vacant gaze. The witches enter and softly, tenderly, take it from him.

“The unearthly power of the occult is glimpsed but never seen in this production, although the play cultivates its atmosphere of seeping evil so assiduously that when Phil Gault reaches for the ghostly dagger, clawing at the air, the effect is so convincing that the audience looks not at him, but at the space where the dagger should be. When Macduff approaches him with a real dagger at the play’s conclusion, Macbeth grins, as if relieved to finally see a tangible manifestation of the supernatural horror which has driven him insane.”

                                                                                        - Alun Thomas, Reviewing Shakespeare

“Phil Gault as the eponymous Lightning-Rod Man, trying to sell his rod in a thunderstorm, is enigmatic and ponderous...”

- Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic

“Phil Gault is an excellent communicator and his expressive, rich baritone comfortably accommodated every mood and nuance of meaning...

    ...Claire Haslin is the consummate accompanist, able to make the piano whisper or sing, take on the role of orchestra, add colour and texture as required - always a sheer delight to listen to...

     ...This combination of exceptional talent added up to give an evening which was engaging, at times deeply moving, and always totally entertaining.”

                        - The Galloway News

“The Vagabond... was given a bracing flavour in this performance, while The Roadside Fire had a trotting rhythm cleverly conveyed by the singer...

    ...Gault used his dark, lyrical voice to good effect, showing a particular sensitivity to the words.”

- Bristol Evening Post


“...  Always a sucker for a good baritone, I was hooked in seconds. Billy Budd’s aria perfectly conveyed the haunting sadness of the young man on the morning of his execution.”

- Lynda Strickland, South Wales Argus

“Escamillo, sung by late replacement Phil Gault, made his big appearance late in the work and to great effect. He made the ideal exuberant, effervescent toreador and lit up the stage...”

- Dr A.C.K. Smith, Falkirk Herald

“I greatly enjoyed the baritone, Phil Gault’s rich voice and warm tone in his tribute to faithfulness, “Omnia sol temperat” and later, in the Tavern scene, his unctuous Abbot offered an all but sinister warning about the excesses of the Tavern...”

- Ivan March

Editor of “The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs”

“Last week's concerts in Ardrishaig and Campbeltown can simply be described as a glorious musical experience. Phil Gault has a big voice always under control with great range, diction and dynamics, accompanied by his wife Claire Haslin whose outstanding expertise as a solo player, accompanist and experienced repetiteur were in great demand and never fell short.

“The opening group of Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel was Phil at top volume. He could fill any space and certainly in Campbeltown he needed more space but what a range of power, emotion, soft sensitivity in Youth and Love and Whither Must I Wander. It was a huge musical unity of voice, piano and words, not simply a group of songs.

“With Schubert you did hear the songs and what beautiful songs. I have no German but Phil's opera skills and the softer, sweeter, smoother piano told the story so clearly. There was love, wonder, expectation, fear, horror and grief entrancing as well as entertaining the audience.

“The Ravel was lighter but no less skilled. The singer became the animals and the piano highlighted the details. Delightful compositions and a delightful performance. Don Quichotte was in a much more modern style with a big range and less familiar harmonies. The Chanson a Boire was particularly Spanish and very powerful.

“The Welsh Songs took us from the very sentimental, to the glories of David of the WhiteRock where the singer cries out for a harp, to the beautiful Ar lan y mor where Claire provided the harp accompaniment on the piano, to the full Welsh male voice choir in Colon Lan, and it was not a small choir.

“The final group by Barber had simpler clearer images, love young and mature separated by a James Joyce tale of a liaison in a Solitary Hotel with a lovely jazz accompaniment. Typical of Joyce it was dramatic but not quite clear what happened. Green lowland of Pianos displayed the lovely piano playing of Claire and clear echoes of Britten in style.

“The whole evening was a delight of two very skilled performers presenting a wonderful range of outstanding songs.”

                          - John Kerr, Kintyre Music Society, writing for the Mid Argyll Arts Association