Selected Praise
2016-2015 Festival | Reviews
 
OperaDelaware’s 2016 Opera Festival continues to receive unprecedented press coverage and rave reviews! Below, a sample of the critical kudos for Hamlet (Amleto) and Falstaff. For a complete list of publications, please click see our News & Reviews page.
Hamlet (Amleto)
If you like Verdi, you will find much to like in ‘Amleto’ ... An outstanding cast far better than many I’ve heard from companies with 20 times the funds... Throw in [Anthony] Barrese’s terrific conducting, and ‘Amleto’ is not only a success story but an inspiration... When a company is in dire straits, artistic vision and excitement are a better way to recover than palpably playing it safe. OperaDelaware’s ‘Amleto’ is an excellent illustration of this point... I hope it’s enough to keep OperaDelaware on the map.
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

"An event worth traveling for... The title role is a star maker, to which OperaDelaware's Joshua Kohl brought a hard-to-match standard of unselfconscious charisma... An intelligent cast, solid direction both on stage and in the orchestra pit, plus the treat of being at Wilmington's lovely Grand Opera
House." — David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has stormed gloriously into downtown Wilmington... This OperaDelaware production is an important one, and it drew a worldwide audience to its near-sold-out opening night... A riveting and unforgettable evening.
Gail Obenreder, The News Journal

"OperaDelaware's new production was spare on scenery, but chocked full of great acting and singing—a new moving experience which ratified the worth of the opera itself and the sneaking belief that the most interesting things in opera are happening on the stages of small, feisty companies and not on the vast stages of the country's traditional behemoths of opera... The young cast was just superb in both acting a singing... Joshua Kohl was wonderful in the arduous title role; young and athletic, he looked like Hamlet should, handsome and baleful, and he sang with ardor and commitment. He and Matthew Vickers as Laertes were a forceful pair, and Vickers acted the hothead vigorously. Much of the most beautiful music in the opera falls to Ophelia, especially her entrance at the beginning ('Doubt that the stars are fire,' to use Shakespeare's words borrowed by Boito) and her shattering mad scene... this scene, here in Sarah Asmar's spectacular performance, was a moving highlight of the score... 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, Opera Journal

Credit must go to conductor Anthony Barrese who reconstructed Faccio’s score and led the orchestra in a brilliant performance… Period costuming honored the play’s legacy while Peter Tuptza’s contemporary set design forced the audience to reassess Shakespeare as modern and nimble rather than cumbersome and hidebound... Additional visuals were provided by projections and live feeds which punctuated the drama at key points. Especially effective was the projection of The Ghost (Ben Wager) admonishing an increasingly mad Hamlet to stay the course and avenge his murder... Baritone Timothy Mix delivered a prideful Claudio while mezzo-soprano Lara Tillotson and soprano Sarah Asmar excelled as Gertrude and Ofelia respectively. Tenor Joshua Kohl was as valiant and sensitive a Hamlet as anyone could hope for.
Christine Facciolo, Newsworks

"...a very happy return to Wilmington's Grand Opera House. One almost doesn't know what to report first—the beautiful production, the extremely fine performances, the opera itself, or OperaDelaware's tremendous achievement of returning to financial stability and growth after a few somewhat uncertain years." – David Browning, Taminophile

I expected to enjoy ‘Amleto,’ having admired the score in its Baltimore concert performance a year and a half ago, and as broadcast, fully orchestrated, from Opera Southwest; I wasn’t expecting to be knocked out by the performance. And I’d like to hear it again, and these singers again.
John Yohalem, Parterre Box

"Joshua Kohl gave a star-making performance, tireless to the last, intimate and passionate. He bounded about the set in Amleto’s 'antic' moods, with lyric, wooing phrases for his duets, and he’s slim and easy on the eyes… One doesn’t hear Amleto every day, and I’d love to encounter it again, with this cast, and soon. – John Yohalem, Parterre Box

Falstaff
Fearless and shameless, director Dean Anthony has pulled out all the stops. He stages the work with an outrageous abandon that marries vaudeville with the Three Stooges and Elizabethan hijinks, all the while carefully masking the immense technical skill in stagecraft required to successfully mount this opera.
Gail Obenreder, The News Journal

"There's not a serious bone in this opera's body and the cast of this production plays it for the farce that it is. Bass-baritone Steven Condy is the undisputed star of the show, mixing slapstick with virtuosic arias about the joys of alcohol, the uselessness of honor and the aphrodisiac powers of his own bulging belly... The rest of the cast is equally superb with standout performances by sopranos Victoria Cannizzo as Alice and Sharin Apostolou as her daughter Nannetta, who gets to sing the prettiest arias and some flirtatious duets with tenor Ryan MacPherson as her intended Fenton. Ann McMahon Quintero applies her rich mezzo-soprano (as well as a "wiggle in a walk") as a deliciously bawdy Mistress Quickly." – Christine Facciolo, Newsworks

That final Verdi opera received a fine production… The attractive cast was well-matched, and the Falstaff of Steven Condy was one of the most amiable and likable of any I’ve ever seen.
Steven Cohen, The Cultural Critic

"This was the best acted and directed Falstaff I have ever seen... The credit has to go mainly to stage director Dean Anthony, who understood every nuance and twist in the music... Farce can be the most difficult form of comedy to bring off successfully. Timing is everything, and the timing here was a wonderment. Of course the skill of the singers helped immensely. Steven Condy as Falstaff could teach a thing or two to much more famous Falstaffs; the quartet of women (Victoria Cannizzo, Sharin Apostolou, Maariana Vikse, and Ann McMahon Quintero as Alice, Nanetta, Meg and Mistress Quickly) were quick and witty and sang the complex ensemble pieces effortlessly. Our tenor, Ryan MacPherson was a sweet-voiced Fenton and Sean Anderson was authoritative as Ford. All of the low-life types (Bardolfo, Pistola and Dr. Caius) were beyond funny."  – Charles Jernigan, Opera Journal

The two big male roles were superbly cast. Steven Condy played an old-fashioned Falstaff, narcissistic and convincing in his inability to believe himself a fool, with fine diction, fine bursts of buffo and a bellyful of swagger. He was always ‘on.’... His foil is the humorless Ford—nothing is funnier than the humorless in duet with hilarity—and Sean Anderson sang a most winning Ford, full-throated and masterful, acted to the tip but sung with gracious power.
John Yohalem, Parterre Box
Hamlet gallery
Falstaff gallery
 
 
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