Reviews

Johnny Johnson (Chicago Folks Operetta)

The 12-piece orchestra, under the expert direction of Anthony Barrese, has a fine feel for Weill’s distinctive mix of pastiche and lush lyricism.
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times
June 26, 2017

Superbly conducted by Anthony Barrese and an unimprovable 12-person orchestra, each of almost 30 songs pulls its weight and engages head and heart.
Lawrence Bommer, Stage and Cinema
June 25, 2017

Semiramide (Opera Delaware)

Anthony Barrese’s players performed generously. What a pleasure to hear an unstaged overture! Barrese presided judiciously over the complex ensembles.
David Shengold, Opera News
April 29, 1016

Semiramide (Opera Delaware)

This is Rossinian opera as it was meant to be experienced… Contributing decisively to the success of the Delaware Semiramide is also the conducting of the young American Rossini specialist, Anthony Barrese. He inspires the orchestra, to play with distinctive Rossinian articulation, phrasing, rhythmic pulse and exuberance.
Andrew Moravcsik, Opera Today
May 6, 2017

From its first dramatic chord, the excellent orchestra under the baton of Anthony Barrese sets an authoritative and nimble musical standard that drives the performance all the way through.
Gail Obenreder, The News Journal
May 2, 2017

Maestro Anthony Barrese kept a firm grip on the long passages allowing excitement to build but never letting the music race out of control.
Christine Facciolo, Newsworks/WHYY
May 2, 2017

Conductor Anthony Barrese, who revived Amleto last year, did an even more impressive job with this more complicated, more demanding piece. He trained an excellent cast and led a remarkably colorful vocal and orchestral performance.
Steve Cohen, Broad Street Review
May 2, 2017

L’italiana in Algeri (Sarasota Opera)

Embellishing the entire opera and its proficient ensemble is the masterful score presented by the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, under the superlative direction of conductor, Anthony Barrese.
Carolan Trbovich, Broadway World
March 28, 2017

The Sarasota Opera Orchestra, under the precise and ebullient leadership of Anthony Barrese, gave all the whomps and emphasis to this sparkling score needed to show us the ensemble, now a full week into the season, was very much in tune with itself and the music it was making.
June LeBell, Longboat Key Observer
February 19, 2017

Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Coeur d’Alene)

…Much of the credit for this goes in this case to the musical direction of Anthony Barrese and the orchestra, largely hand-picked from the ranks of the Spokane Symphony. In such a small group, the contribution of each member is completely exposed, especially when, as in this case, no amplification is used. Under Barrese’s baton, the details of Rossini’s brilliant orchestration were meticulously observed, without ever detracting from the impulsive forward movement of the comedy
Larry Lapidus, The Spokesman-Review
September 10, 2016

Amleto (Opera Delaware)

Providing a pleasure beyond mere curiosity, Amleto is a genuine discovery…. Conducting the score he rediscovered, Anthony Barrese paints it with a heavy strength, Verdi-like colors and brilliant contrasts.
David Shengold, Opera News
May 14, 2016

Barrese held his very solid forces together with aplomb.
Jean-Marc Proust, Opéra magazine
May 14, 2016

Thanks goes foremost to Maestro Anthony Barrese, who not only conducted both the Albuquerque and Delaware productions, but who also found the lost score in the first place and then, over the course of many years, meticulously sculpted the performing edition used in both productions…
At every turn, including scenes with large chorus and elaborate ensembles, Maestro Barrese and his musical forces captured the sheer power – and yes beauty – of the forgotten but compelling score.
Richard B. Beams, Opera con brio
February/May, 2016

With only two full-time employees and an operating budget of $1.2 million, Opera Delaware mounted a solid production of “Amleto” (by E. Loren Meeker) with generic medieval costumes and an outstanding cast far better than many I’ve heard from companies with 20 times the funds. Throw in Barrese’s terrific conducting, and “Amleto” is not only a success story but an inspiration to anyone who equates “regional opera” with “yet another mediocre ‘La Bohème.’ ”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post
May 15, 2016

Barrese, who heads Opera Southwest, spent years putting it together, getting people interested, even rewriting it a bit. He conducted it in Albuquerque and in Wilmington (Bregenz has expressed interest); the small but able OperaDelaware orchestra played with enthusiasm and finesse.
John Yohalem, parterre.com
May 18, 2016

Credit must go to conductor Anthony Barrese who reconstructed Faccio’s score and led the orchestra in a brilliant performance.
Christine Facciolo, Newsworks
May 19, 2016

Maestro Barrese led the proceedings skillfully and made it all exciting and moving, the work of a lover proudly showing off his beloved.
Charles Jernigan, Operapronto
May 24, 2016

The conductor, and the man responsible for putting the long-neglected score in performable shape, was Anthony Barrese, and it is a pleasure to report that the performance he led was in every musical respect of the highest quality. The orchestra did ample justice to a score of considerable sophistication, reminiscent of the quasi-symphonic richness pioneered a couple of generations earlier by Spontini, rather than of the more melody-centered style espoused by Italian opera composers from Rossini to Verdi and beyond.
Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International
June 3, 2016

Norma

For novice opera patrons, the production directed by Nic Muni and conducted by Anthony Barrese exemplifies why you should go in the first place…
…Barrese’s orchestra sounded note-perfect whether playing full lush melodies or delicate minimal accompaniment designed to allow the singers’ naked voices to rise or fall on their own merits.
Bill Hirschman, Florida Theater Onstage
January 24, 2016

Anthony Barrese conducted with passion and idiomatic fluency, never allowing the dramatic tension to flag while drawing first-rate orchestral execution. Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
January 24, 2016

Finally, conductor Anthony Barrese, who did very well at the helm of Les pêcheurs de perles last season, did even better this time around with an orchestral pit that sounded great with an added bit of aplomb in its step, switching with mastery from fervent jingoism to floral mellifluousness, always in synch with the voices and never detracting from them. Abel Folgar, tuffgnarl.com
January 25, 2016

The tightness and precision of Florida Grand Opera’s wonderful orchestra under the direction of Anthony Barrese emphasizes Bellini’s power with passion and understatement. Often conductors eschew bel canto operas in favor of ones offering the opportunity of an enormous orchestra. Barrese proves once again that less is more. Jeff Haller, ConcertoNet.com
January 25, 2016

Pero sin duda lo mejor de la noche fue la orquesta, que bajo la dirección de Anthony Barrese, en su debut en la ciudad, se mantuvo a la altura de la hermosa música, tanto en los pianísimos como en las explosiones a bombo y platillo. El maestro cuidó mucho las dinámicas para dar a sus cantantes el mayor lucimiento. Daniel Fernández, El Nuevo Herald
January 25, 2016

The opera was conducted by guest conductor Anthony Barrese. He was seen last year with Florida Grand Opera conducting Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers.” Barrese is a small, energetic man who is interesting to watch on the conductor’s podium. He is extremely sensitive to the singers on stage and is truly a world class conductor. Jack Gardner, Edge Media Network
January 26, 2016

Anthony Barrese led a first-class orchestra that played more or less spotlessly, his singers followed him expertly, and his tempos were logical and dramatically appropriate. Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Arts Paper
January 26, 2016

Aida

The OSW orchestra, primarily members of the New Mexico Philharmonic, render the score superbly, directed by Anthony Barrese. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 26 2015

The girl in the train

This wonderfully sung show, especially from Alison Kelly, Caroline Wright, and Nick Pulikowski, was enhanced with the breathtaking score beautifully performed by Anthony Barrese’s 20 piece orchestra. Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
September 7 2015

Madame Pompadour

Music director Anthony Barrese has a decided feel for the music and secures crisp, buoyant playing from his 21-piece orchestra, which is tucked away at the side rear of the stage John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune
July 19 2015

CFO music director Anthony Barrese leads a 21-piece orchestra, one increment bigger than the 20-member ensemble he led in last year’s “Ball at the Savoy” and the results are excellent… The brass was notably perky and gleaming and the harp was particularly alluring. Last year Barrese put down his baton briefly to take up the accordion and this year he sported a guitar for the final verse of a humorous number. M.L. Rantala, Hyde Park Herald
July 22 2015

Les pêcheurs de perles

Anthony Barrese, a newcomer to the FGO pit, led the orchestra. Barrese, artistic director of Opera Southwest, held back the musicians more than the company’s principal conductor, Ramón Tebar, never allowing them to overpower the singers. David Flesher, The Miami Herald
March 2 2015

From the lovely atmospheric prelude prefiguring Leïla’s first entrance to Zurga’s assassination, maestro Anthony Barrese conducted the nimble FGO Orchestra with sensitivity and nuance. Steve Gladstone, MiamiArtZine
March 5 2015

The entire performance had a freshness to it, an eagerness that can only come from youth. Maestro Anthony Barrese is only 39 years old, but his musical maturity sounds a few decades older. Also making his FGO debut Saturday (Feb. 28), he not only kept all the moving parts of the opera well-hinged, but he managed to convey its intimacy. Fernando Landeros, artsburstmiami.com
March 9 2015

In his company debut, Anthony Barrese, artistic director and principal conductor of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, gave an energetic reading of the score, emphasizing the Italian influences on Bizet’s opera Jean-François Lejeune, Opera News
July 2015

La Wally

the Dallas Opera orchestra, with Anthony Barrese at the helm, produced highly atmospheric sounds. Olin Chism, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
January 31 2015

Amleto

BALTIMORE CONCERT OPERA

You have to admire the valuable service Barrese has done just by shedding fresh light on the work and its creator…What counts is that, much of the time, Faccio’s music offers solidly crafted, often stirring melodic lines that communicate text vividly and are fueled by a strong sense of rhythmic motion. The mad scene and subsequent funeral march for Ofelia (the Italianized Ophelia) are among the most imaginatively crafted passages.

Some of the arias, especially the impassioned “To be or not to be” soliloquy, would surely find favor with singers today. And the best of the ensemble scenes, such as the Act 2 finale when Amleto’s scheme to unnerve his dastardly uncle starts to work, pack considerable punch…Barrese’s intense conducting, which combined momentum and expressive breadth, made it easy to appreciate the score’s finer points Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun
October 3 2014

For Barrese and some of the singers, the evening was a kind of dress rehearsal: they are giving a staged production at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque at the end of this month. For me, at least, it was tantalizing. I would be happy to hear “Amleto” again.

At the very least, Faccio represents a missing link between Verdi and the verismo composers of the century’s end. “Amleto” is filled with melody, but freed from the ironclad traditions of arias and cabalettas; the “Essere o non essere” scene (you knew there had to be a “to be or not to be” moment) is as much dramatic monologue as aria per se… Ofelia’s mad scene, in its wistful tuneful simplicity, presages the final scene of Verdi’s Desdemona far more than it derives from the histrionics of Donizetti’s Lucia…I hope that Maestro Barrese’s efforts will be rewarded with future performances Anne Midgette, The Washington Post
October 3 2014

…besides being a fascinating first glimpse at Boito grappling with Shakespeare, Amleto is a taut, four-act score full of musical excitement growing from the familiar story…It is difficult to rate Amleto’s worth on one hearing, but it passes my personal test: I’d gladly go hear the score again next week, if that were possible. The work is well-paced and moves through this elaborate story with a minimum of confusion, rising to proper musical climaxes. The melodies do not sound like Verdi or Boito or anyone else, but their style will appeal to those who love middle Verdi. There is work here for singing actors of ability to show it off, and Baltimore Concert Opera was fortunate to have so impressive a cast, most of whom will repeat their roles with Southwest Opera John Yohalem, parterre.com
October 7 2014

Maestro Barrese conjured up a beautiful myriad of sounds and if you really listened, you could certainly hear an orchestra. I can only imagine what care he must have lavished on his excellent cast of singers and the chorus. There were truly thrilling sounds made by all…All in all, it was a fantastic night for opera fans and newcomers to the art. We witnessed an American premiere together. There is truly nothing like being in an atmosphere of such great expectation and absolute joy at the marvel of experiencing something of this magnitude. Wade Davis, operagasm.com
October 7 2014

OPERA SOUTHWEST

There is one more man who figures prominently in the reappearance of the lost opera, musician Anthony Barrese… who devoted 12 years of his professional life to piecing together and realizing, in a note-by-note reconstruction, Faccio’s faded handwritten manuscript of Amleto… This is a remarkable achievement that makes him a valued contributor to the history of 19th Century Italian romantic opera. I expect we will be hearing more of him.
He conducted a well-rehearsed, musically cogent performance… Barrese’s crisp, energetic New Mexico orchestra played unusually well. James A Van Sant, American Record Guide
January, 2015

The good news, no, the great news, is that Amleto is a major work, a beautiful and eminently stage-worthy work, and also a work that Opera Southwest staged and performed with great élan and competence. Boito’s libretto for Amleto strikes me as truly remarkable, not least for his ability to cut a long and complex drama to manageable lengths for opera…It is abundantly clear that Boito’s libretto is a minor masterpiece in translating Shakespeare for the operatic stage, and an example of Scapigliatura because it partially moves away from traditional operatic language and forms…Faccio’s music is “new” too, in the sense that it is constantly trying, usually successfully, to paint scenes and moods in the orchestra… Mood painting in the orchestra is everywhere, such as the spooky music when the Ghost speaks to Hamlet, or the ethereal music for Ophelia’s mad scene…There are also daring harmonies for the time…The score builds too; Acts III and IV are even better than the first two acts. Musically, there is one striking and dramatic scene after another…
When we came to Albuquerque, I suspected and hoped that we might find a worthy resurrection in Faccio’s score, but I have to confess that I did not expect much more than a competent performance from a small, local company. How wrong I was… Without Barrese, there would have been no Amleto for us to see, and he had whipped his forces into a superb ensemble…At the end, the sold out audience rose as one, and for once the standing ovation was well deserved. When Amleto failed at La Scala in 1871, Faccio or perhaps one of his students, hung a sign on a door at the Milan Conservatory: “Closed for the death of Amleto.” If Faccio’s ghost is watching from somewhere, I think he would be pleased. And for me at least, the standing ovation, which went on and on, was certainly for the company and Maestro Barrese, but it was also for him. Charles Jernigan, operalounge.de
October 26, 2014

For Artistic Director Anthony Barrese this was a labor of passion, perhaps obsession. But labor certainly and nonetheless a formidable task. The fruits of his painstaking work at long last came to fruition on Sunday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center when Opera Southwest gave the stunning premiere of the long lost and forgotten “Amleto” (Hamlet) by Franco Faccio…Make no mistake—this is Grand Opera, rather than the brooding of the melancholy Dane…Barrese, who knows more about this work than anyone alive, conducts what must be considered a definitive version….For all intents this is a premiere of a new work, the first for Opera Southwest during my tenure, and represents a step up to another level of achievement beyond the care and enthusiasm that goes into all its productions. Bravo! D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 27, 2014

…operatic exhumations of this importance are virtually unheard of by American regional companies. Credit goes to the conductor Anthony Barrese, who prepared an edition from Faccio’s autograph manuscript and led a vibrant performance. George Loomis, Financial Times
October 28, 2014

This is not a simple matter of an interesting discovery. Composed on a libretto by his friend Arrigo Boito, based on the Shakespeare play, Faccio’s Amleto is an important work, worthy of being placed next to Boito’s Mefistofele and Ponchielli’s La Gioconda in the chapter of the history of Italian opera between Verdi and Verismo. A creator like the other scapigliati of the “music of the future” and accused therefore of “Wagnerism,” Faccio instead wrote a very Italian opera, in which one finds a structure of very flexible numbers, an orchestration never banal, and a language that owes more to Verdi than it claims. It does not lack in pages of notable melodic inspiration, in addition to a pregnant dramatic force. Worthy of inclusion in an anthology is the libretto of Boito – his dress rehearsal for the two Shakespearean efforts that he drafted for Verdi – an author whose lexical tastes can be criticized but not his theatrical vocation. Very well conducted by Barrese, Amleto was performed with a good cast and a modest mise-en-scene. Enrico Girardi, Corriere della sera
October 30, 2014

This venture was a testament to the devotion of Anthony Barrese, the company’s artistic director, who learned of the piece’s existence in 2002 and spent the next dozen years working from manuscripts in Italian archives to prepare a modern performance edition based on the 1871 version. Such a project would not seem unusual behind the ivy-covered walls of academe, where the resultant reconstruction would fester among other unnoticed dissertations. Pursuing it in the real world, with the goal of making the piece live and breathe in front of a paying audience, seems quixotic in comparison, but it is precisely the sort of venture to which musicology should aspire… The real hero of this Amleto was Barrese,… who pulled off a creditable and enlightening production. James Keller, Sante Fe New Mexican
October 31, 2014

Ball at the Savoy (Chicago Folks Operetta)

They all appear to be having a ball, as does the spirited orchestra under music director Anthony Barrese. John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune
July 20 2014

Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera North)

The production, conducted by Anthony Barrese, was musically excellent throughout…it was the music that made the production so worthwhile. Barrese and the excellent Opera North orchestra performed passionately, yet sensitively, and with nuance. Jim Lowe, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus
August 9 2013

From the overture’s first ominous muffled drums and cannon shot of brass, the score gallops along with ferocious intensity, refined here to an exquisite tension by conductor Anthony Barrese… Barrese balances the fragile beauty of Donizetti’s writing for Lucia’s voice with the brooding depth of the male vocals. Both the orchestra and the chorus were in vigorous, unified voice, and deserve special praise. Nicola Smith, Valley News
August 8 2013

The Kiss (Opera Theatre St. Louis)

Anthony Barrese conducted a lively reading of the score, with its tuneful Czech-inflected melodies and stirring orchestral accompaniment. Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
June 23 2013

Anthony Barrese conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra with a steady hand. Steve Allen, www.stagedoorstlouis.com
June 28 2013

Conductor Anthony Barrese brings Smetana’s lively, tune-filled score to brilliant life. Chuck Lavazzi, www.kdhx.org
June 27 2013

Conductor Anthony Barrese, debuting with OTSL, told Examiner.com he learned the score specifically for this production. Betraying no lack of familiarity, he led a crisp reading of the score, which overflows with Slavonic dance tunes and Smetana’s unmistakable orchestral patina. Richard Carter, www.examiner.com
June 24 2013

Anthony Barrese drew particularly fine playing from his St. Louis Symphony musicians who reveled in the richness and lyrical detail of Smetana’s writing. At times there were even potent suggestions of Wagner, such as in the superlative sustained “sun” passages. Maestro Barrese’s assured reading winningly rendered all of the sprightly folk elements, and he shaped the performance with stylistic acumen. James Sohre, Opera Today
June 20 2013

Conductor Anthony Barrese leads members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in a spirited reading of Smetana’s tuneful traipse through the 19th century Czech countryside. Mark Bretz, Ladue News
June 18 2013

In his [OTSL] conducting debut, Anthony Barrese brought out all the Slavic beauty of Smetana’s score and supported his singers admirably.Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 16 2013

Madama Butterfly (Opera Southwest)

…the Opera Southwest orchestra, led by Artistic Director Anthony Barrese, provides strong support with an essential spark and sympathetic rendering of the score, never overpowering any of the voices despite often thick instrumentation. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
March 19 2013

Family Concert (Dallas Opera)

Barrese was excellent and right with the singers in all of the selections. He was especially impressive in accompanying the complicated recitative in the Count’s aria, “Hai gia vinta la causa.” He gave an intensely felt version of the third act interlude from Carmen that hushed even the noisiest of the children. Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones
February 18 2013

Otello (Opera Southwest)

Rossini scholar Anthony Barrese leads an excellent group of musicians with buoyant illumination. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 29 2012

L’elisir d’amore (Opera North)

Under the direction of Anthony Barrese, the Opera North orchestra played the sparkling score with a sure lightness of touch. Nicola Smith, Valley News
August 9 2012

Barrese led the fine Opera North [orchestra] in a nuanced performance that accentuated the beauty and breathed with the story. Jim Lowe, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus
August 10 2012

The Circus Princess (Chicago Folks Operetta)

Conductor Anthony Barrese makes Kalman’s operetta both playful and romantic. Katy Walsh, chicagonow.com – the fourth walsh
June 17 2012

Anthony Barrese’s 19-piece orchestra is robust and lovely. Lauren Whalen, Chicago Theater Beat
June 14 2012

…fine, lively playing of the 20-piece orchestra under Anthony Barrese. John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
June 11 2012

…first-rate orchestral playing under the skilled baton of Anthony Barrese. Albert Williams, Chicago Reader
June 12 2012

Lucia di Lammermoor (Sarasota Opera)

Conductor Anthony Barrese showed supreme sympathy with Donizetti’s melodious score, leading a taut, atmospheric account, sustaining the long bel canto lines superbly and bringing great lift and buoyancy to the toe-tapping rhythms. Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review
March 18 2012

…Anthony Barrese kept good rhythm, pacing and tension, involving the audience in this ill-fated love affair. Karyl Charna Lynn, Opera Now, U.K.
April 26 2012

Under the direction of Anthony Barrese, the Sarasota Opera Orchestra played the preludes to each scene with its customary finesse. Richard Storm, Herald Tribune
February 19 2012

We knew the orchestra, under Anthony Barrese, was in good form…Barrese, in the pit, seemed to breathe with the singers, leading while following, and making his orchestra sound rich but never overpowering. June LeBell, Longboat Observer
February 22 2012

 

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Southwest)

The OSW orchestra, now augmented by former members of the New Mexico Symphony, is led with the sure hand of music director Anthony Barrese, a Rossini specialist. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 14 2011

Don Giovanni (Sarasota Opera)

…the excellent orchestra led by Anthony Barrese. Gayle Willaims, Sarasota Herald Tribune
February 13 2011

Conductor Anthony Barrese kept the music going at a clip that was just a little faster than most other productions and recordings, but never so fast that the singers couldn’t breathe and phrase beautifully.
The orchestra’s ability to play at that pace showed off its remarkable facility. And, in all, it was three of the shortest, most enjoyable hours we’ve spent in the theater in a long time. June LeBell, Longboat Observer
February 16 2011

L’italiana in Algeri

Rossini specialist, Anthony Barrese keeps the tempos brisk and the comedy buoyant. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 8 2010

Rigoletto (Opera Company of the Highlands)

The Opera Company of the Highlands presented a full concert version… expertly conducted by Anthony Barrese. James F. Cotter, Times Herald-Record
July 20 2010

A highlight for me was the importation from our second city, Chicago, of the superb conductor Anthony Barrese… For OCH he led a wonderful orchestra made up of area professionals, many of them familiar to Newburgh Symphony attendees, supporting the singers on a very high level. Barry Plaxen, The Catskills Chronicle
July 2010

Hansel and Gretel

Humperdinck’s sophisticated orchestration, clearly indebted to the work of his mentor Wagner, was absolutely gorgeous, giving the performance much of its emotional and dramatic heft under conductor Anthony Barrese. John Fleming, Opera News
June, 2010

The fulcrum of the performance was the glorious playing of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra under Anthony Barrese. The conductor has been impressive with colorful scores (Sarasota’s Lakme in 2005), and Barrese drew iridescent, richly textured playing in the orchestral set pieces as well as supporting the singers with great skill. Lawrence A. Johnson, South Florida Classical Review
March 8, 2010

Humperdinck’s sophisticated orchestration, clearly in debt to his mentor Wagner, is absolutely gorgeous, giving the opera much of its emotional and dramatic heft. The orchestra turned in a fine performance under Anthony Barrese. An associate conductor in Sarasota in 2002-03, Barrese has become a first-rate conductor. John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times
March 7, 2010

Humperdinck, in setting this Grimm fairy tale, managed to come up with an opera about children scored for an orchestra so dense and so richly embroidered, it can obscure the voices on stage.

Fortunately, Anthony Barrese was in the pit and he made crystal-clear water out of the often impenetrable orchestration, never overpowering the singers and bringing forth some of the finest playing from the Sarasota Opera Orchestra to date. Beautiful as the singing and music is on stage, it’s the orchestra that shines in this production. June LeBell, Longboat Observer
March 3, 2010

From the very first soaring moments of the overture, in which the familiar melody of the Evening Prayer is woven into a rich tapestry of sound, it was clear that this was to be an evening to remember. The excellent orchestra, under the direction of Anthony Barrese, produced music of notable transparency and accuracy, led by the French horns in their challenging statement of the theme. Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald Tribune
March 1, 2010

La Cenerentola

The orchestra deftly led by music director Anthony Barrese gives solid support, so crucially necessary in this music where the voices are frequently and perilously exposed. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 6, 2009

Don Giovanni (BLO)

Anthony Barrese did fine work in the pit. Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe
April 25, 2009

On a stage crammed with talent, [Susanna Phillips] nevertheless stole the show, although she still blended beautifully into those exquisite ensembles, which were directed with superb control by conductor Anthony Barrese. Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review
April 26, 2009

The outstanding orchestra, led by Anthony Barrese, provided solid musical support throughout the opera. The orchestra exhibited their excellence in the Finale of Act I, “Presto presto pria ch’ei venga,” with their crisp articulation, mastery of different textures and ability to change dynamics on a whim, supporting the energy and frenzy on stage. Elizabeth Perten, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
April 27, 2009

The orchestra under the baton of Anthony Barrese was precise and nuanced, the overture a pleasure to hear. Hanna Kirsch , The Justice Online
May 19, 2009

Turandot

L’Orchestre Philarmonique de la Ville de Trèves alterne avec bonheur les pages intimistes et romantiques, sous la baguette inspirée du jeune chef américain Anthony Barrese, qui fait ici ses dèbuts en France. Opéra Magazine
Number 38, pp. 52-53

L’Orchestra del Teatro di Trier, diretta con energia dal giovane Anthony Barrese, si è dimostrata di livello e “solida.” Franco De Marco, Il Messaggero
November 30, 2008

Tosca

[Maestro Barrese] kept the pacing at once voluptuous, taut and focused. Willard Spiegelman,Opera News
June 2008

The orchestra was conducted with much passion by Anthony Barrese. I can honestly say I’ve never heard the orchestra play better. He brought out performances from the orchestra I’ve never heard before… The passion from the pit was matching what was on the stage. Mark-Brian Sonna, Pegasus News
March 11, 2008

Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Southwest)

Director David Bartholomew and conductor Anthony Barrese keep the music and action driving forward without a moment’s lag, with fresh comic touches throughout. D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal
October 15, 2007

Intermezzi

The best Intermezzo concert I heard was with Anthony Barrese conducting Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. In the ripe acoustics of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church it was so revelatory and fresh that I marvelled about the composer (not for the first time), “Where did all the music come from!” Gil French, American Record Guide
September/October, 2007

Spoleto USA’s second Intermezzo on Wednesday afternoon got off to a rousing start with the bouncy overture to Giacomo Rossini’s “L’italiana in Algeri.” Conductor Anthony Barrese generated inspired playing by members of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, who sparkled. William Furtwangler, The Post and Courier
May 31, 2007

Intermezzo II featured conductor Anthony Barrese and members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. Rossini’s overture to “L’italiana in Algeri” (“The Italian Girl in Algiers”) was distinguished by sharp, precise ensemble work, plus some of the sweetest piccolo playing I’ve ever heard, courtesy of orchestra member Madelene Campos….

The second piece, Giovanni Bottesini’s “Grand Duo Concertante,”… was performed here in an adaptation by Camillo Sivori, who rewrote one of the solo bass parts for violin. Bassist Aaron John Baird and veteran Festival Orchestra violinist Melissa Ann Ussery gave a blistering account of this showpiece… Baird and Ussery were fully involved with each other as performers, and Barrese proved to be an exceptionally good accompanist…

In the final work, Tchaikovsky’s well-loved “Serenade for Strings,” the 17 players produced a lush, well-integrated string texture. Barrese came off as eminently capable, and he obviously knows the piece thoroughly,… he built momentum steadily and with excitement in the long crescendo of the fourth movement, leading to a recap of the work’s triumphant opening theme, and a rousing end to the concert. Joshua Rosenblum, The Post and Courier
June 1 , 2007

It’s hard to go wrong scheduling a Rossini overture for any concert. And the bubbly ones to his comic operas – like L’Italiana in Algieri, heard here – are especially welcome. In the capable hands of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra and conductor Anthony Barrese, this one sparkled and charmed. Lindsay Koob, Eargasms – Charleston City Paper
May 30, 2007

Music in Time

Anthony Barrese conducted a small band from the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in his creation, “The Apostolic Rag.” This musical melange worked and actually deserves a re-hearing. William Furtwangler, The Post and Courier
June 6, 2007

Conductor Anthony Barrese conducting his own piece, “Apostolic Rag,” which he described as a 12-tone piece for 12 musicians lasting 144 bars. And the title, of course, references the twelve Apostles. (I hate to spoil the numeric consistency, but it reminded me of Stravinsky’s Ragtime for Eleven Instruments.) The piece is Barrese’s winning mix of Schoenberg-style atonality with Joplin-esque ragtime forms, plus some enjoyable metric trickery, and it’s loads of fun. Joshua Rosenblum, The Post and Courier
June 7, 2007

The second half of this program presented three works in a more jazzy vein. Anthony Barrese conducted members of the SFO in his own composition, The Apostolic Rag. This work deftly (if that’s a good word to use with 12 tone music…) answers a rather weird question; what would a rag sound like written in 12 tone style? Keeping the conventions of both styles neatly in balance, it produced a sort of hallucinatory time warp. Robert Bondurant, Eargasms – Charleston City Paper
June 5, 2007

Rigoletto

Under the expert direction of Anthony Barrese, the orchestra navigated Verdi’s rich score. It gave patrons light-hearted, bouncy strings in introducing the fickle, hedonistic Duke. It gave them tender flutes before Gilda dashed on the scene. Mila Koumpilova, The Forum
April 1, 2007

Le nozze di Figaro (Sarasota Opera)

Every note and word is infused with wit. From the start of the overture, crisp and exciting under the direction of Anthony Barrese, to the comedic timing of the actor-singers onstage, this production rose to the challenge of Mozart’s best and then some. Gayle Williams, Sarasota Herald Tribune
February 14, 2006

Anthony Barrese conducted an orchestra of about thirty-five players plus fortepiano… Mozart’s amazing score was well represented. John Fleming, Opera News
July, 2006

Anthony Barrese showed an inspired Mozart hand, drawing polished and energetic playing from the excellent Sarasota Opera Orchestra. Lawrence A. Johnson, Opera (U.K.)
August, 2006

On the afternoon of March 11, I had the opportunity to see Le nozze di Figaro. I have seen quite a few performances of this opera in different places from Paris, Aix-en-Provence, the Met, NYCO and conduct ors that include the names of Solti, Pritchard, Marriner and Rudel.

This Figaro has been the most detailed and most cared for from the orchestral point of view that I remember having ever heard live. Credit conductor Anthony Barrese for that… The textures of each section, the cleanliness of the playing, the effect balance and the overall transparency of the performance of this music was so great that I just let myself go and enjoy the performance of the orchestra. Luis Angel Catoni, www.weblaopera.com
March 11, 2006

Conductor Anthony Barrese set the stage for the delightful antics on stage with a clear, crisp reading of the overture and, during the opera, led the orchestra so that the voices could bubble above it making for a clear understanding of the plot. Chip Ludlow, Venice Gondolier Sun
March 1, 2006

Il maestro Anthony Barrese ha mantenuto tempi saldi ed un suono pulito. [Maestro Anthony Barrese maintained steady tempi and a clean sound.] Christine Gransier, L’opera (Italy)
August, 2006

Lakmé

The orchestra and chorus, under the sensitive direction of Anthony Barrese, were exceptional throughout. Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald Tribune
Thursday, March 3, 2005

Delibes’ music is gorgeous. It’s lush, romantic and memorable. And in the hands of conductor Anthony Barrese, it all came together beautfiully. June Lebell, Longboat Observer
Thursday, March 3, 2005

Anthony Barrese kept proceedings simmering nicely. Phil Ward, Opera Now (U.K.)
Summer 2005

The Youthful Anthony Barrese conducted Lakme with exceptional sensitivity and daring. Terence Fugate, Scene Magazine
April 2005

Anthony Barrese mantuvo el equilibrio musical bajo control y dictò siempre unos tempi impecables. [Anthony Barrese kept the musical equilibrium under control and always dictated impeccable tempi.] Roger Steiner, Opera Actual; Barcelona
May 2005

The illusion of an India far removed from our time… reached fruition in the detailed and luxuriant conducting of Anthony Barrese. Alan Becker, American Record Guide, vol. 68 # 3
May/June 2005

Carmen

Conductor Anthony Barrese made his Commonwealth Opera debut with Friday’s performance. Under his guidance the orchestra played with balance, elegance and subtlety it has rarely achieved. The musicians rose to the full range of Bizet’s colorful, masterfully orchestrated score… Clifton J. Noble Jr., The Republican
Monday, November 22, 2004

Barrese conducted with precision and energy, drawing a rich performance from orchestra members… Larry Parnass, Daily Hampshire Gazette
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

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