"Penning not only sings with a personal warmth that really resonates with an audience — her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” being just one example of that Saturday night — but she’s also one of those rare performers who can sing both classical music and pops standards, and she displayed her talents in both areas to perfection in this concert....Her performance of the version of “Ave Maria” that’s attributed to the Baroque composer Giuliu Caccini but really isn’t by him at all, but instead is a contemporary piece written by Vladimir Vavilov, was just beautiful. So were her renditions of works such as “I Wonder as I Wander” and “O Holy Night,” and her a cappella “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” was simply mesmerizing....The Doll Song...At the same time as this aria certainly gets an audience laughing, however, it’s also a perfect vehicle for a coloratura soprano such as Penning to display the full range of her vocal capabilities, which she did spectacularly."
- Arlene Bachanov, Adrian Daily Telegram
"Penning draws from an accomplished background that has taken her to many symphonies around the country. Her vocal versatility was impressive, moving with ease between formal oratorios and musical theatre work. Especially skillful coloratura was in the second act in "The Doll Song"...she was reeled out as a doll and explored all reaches of her voice while drawing from her theater talents to perform the work. Her accappella offering was equally impressive in Sweet Little Jesus Boy by Robert MacGimsey. Then she was emotionally effective in the folk song/ballad I Wonder as I Wander as well as other carols when the audience was encouraged to sing along. Every RSO (Rockford Symhony Orchestra) program has its magic moments. One of Saturday's was within the glorious passages of Ave Maria by J.S. Bach and likely considered a holiday ritual. These moments put the finest with the finest-Penning soared and concertmaster Michele Lekas played violin before the rest of the orchestra."
- Sue Langenberg, The Rockford Register Star
"Guest artist soprano Diane Penning joined...with a spectacular performance, in costume, of Jacques Offenbach's Doll Song from The Tales of Hoffman. A beautiful high register, fluid obbligatto lines all precisely executed. For me it was worth the price of the ticket."
- Bill Seeback, The Muskegon Chronicle
"As a classically trained soprano, Penning's version of George Gershwin's "Summertime" was all you could ask for. Yet she easily adapted to a Broadway ingenue to sing Bernstein's "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" and a dance band singer for Cole Porter's "Easy to Love".
- Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press
"The astounding coloratura of Penning befitted the demands of the role of Christine from Phantom.. her seeming ease in the demanding cadenza in the aria "Think of Me" and the extensive range needed for "Phantom of the Opera" was silvery and thrilling".
- Dick Jaeger, Lafayette Courier
"Attending an Opera Night Showcase is vaguely akin to catching a really good triple-A baseball game in that both events are affordable, professional
in caliber and occasionally involve future stars: Diane Penning, for example, singing Donizetti. A lyric with coloratura agility, range, and flawless
intonation, Penning elicited the single 'brava!' of the night in her aria, O Luce di quest ' anima."
- Alfred Thigpen, Grand Rapids Press
"Penning's second aria, Ach ich liebte from Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, was a perfect vehicle for her stunning coloratura voice. She was at her best as she climbed into the inhabited the stratosphere, and her German Diction was beautifully clear."
- Julie Scrivener, Kalamazoo Gazette
"Penning's pure and agile coloratura soprano energized the performance with clean musical lines that captured the spirit of Mozart's comic opera in all its playful irony and wit."
- Foley Schuler, Chronicle