Selected Praise

2017 Spring Festival | Reviews


OperaDelaware’s 2017 Festival, a celebration of the 225th anniversary of Gioachino Rossini's birth, continues to receive rave reviews! Below, a sampling of praise for Semiramide and Cinderella (La Cenerentola). For a comprehensive list of reviews, please see News & Reviews.

Praise for Semiramide

OperaDelaware has become a regional company whose plans savvy operagoers far and wide should follow. Starting with last year's Verdi/Boïto-based festival—based around Faccio's highly worthwhile Amleto—the troupe now fill the wonderfully atmospheric, intimate (1,200 seat) 1871 Grand Opera House with two concentrated weekends a year built around one lesser-known but important opera. This year's candidate, Semiramide, opened April 29 to a justified ovation... with very creditable leading singers sending off vocal fireworks in the remaining 2 hours, 40 minutes, Dean Anthony's handsome, well-staged production still gave a remarkably enjoyable sense of the piece. — David Shengold, Opera News

I can think of no place in America I would rather hear this type of opera than Wilmington’s Grand Opera House... 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... Opera Delaware has also assembled a cast of promising young singers, all about a decade into their careers—each enthusiastic, accomplished, and versed in bel canto style. Collectively, they demonstrate the remarkable breadth and depth of American opera training... A final participant deserves mention. Whereas spectators in Philadelphia and München were only intermittently and randomly responsive, those in Wilmington inspires an audience to engage from the first moment. The night I attended, they displayed an unerring instinct when to break in with enthusiastic cheers, just as an Italian audience would, yet could be pin-drop silent for long periods of maximum tension. Opera in Wilmington is, as it was in Rossini’s day, a communal experience.
Andrew Moravcsik, Opera Today

"A rare treat...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… Lindsay Ohse assumed the title role, which was rescued from neglect in the 1960s at La Scala by Joan Sutherland. Ohse handled all the demanding trills, leaps, scales, staccato, and legato just fine. What’s more, she showed some qualities Sutherland never commanded: sexiness, a rich middle register, and strong articulation... As her son Ninia, later named Arsace, Aleksandra Romano gave a stunning display of decorative low-voiced coloratura; with her petite stature, she was convincing as a teenage boy. Romano auditioned for OperaDelaware’s director Brendan Cooke in New York last year, and he says he was blown away. So was I. Though Daniel Mobbs has given fine performances in supporting roles for Opera Philadelphia, as the evil Assur, he revealed star quality, with warm, rich tones and a command of florid singing. His solidly projected voice filled the intimate Wilmington Grand Opera House, which is approximately the size of Venice’s La Fenice, where the opera had its world premiere in 1823." — Steve CohenBroad Street Review


Photos by Joe del Tufo / Moonloop Photography

OperaDelaware’s Spring Festival has become a valuable tradition, a highly anticipated event that draws opera buffs from well beyond the borders of the First State... Soprano Lindsay Ohse was a consummate Semiramide who brought a stunning technique to the role, impressing not only with her command of coloratura but with her range and the strength of her middle and lower registers... Aleksandra Romano’s rich mezzo-soprano made for a convincing—and at times conflicted—Arsace, blending beautifully in the pair of duets she shared with Ohse... Daniel Mobbs was perfect as Semiramide’s paramour and co-conspirator Assur. His powerful and nimble bass-baritone met the technical demands with ease and consistency... Maestro Anthony Barrese kept a firm grip on the long passages allowing excitement to build but never letting the music race out of control... ’Semiramide’ is not your everyday opera but one that deserves to shine in the footlights a bit more often.
Christine Facciolo, NewsWorks/WHYY

"Lindsay Ohse excelled as Semarimide, imbuing the role’s challenging vocal fireworks with power and feeling. Aleksandra Romano in the trouser role of Arsace admirably mastered the demanding vocal acrobatics, and Daniel Mobbs made an evil, pompous prince Assur. Maestro Anthony Barrese’s taut pacing gave energy to the performance, making for an engrossing evening.— Karyl Charna Lynn, The Opera Critic

Questions about how OperaDelaware would follow up their 2016 smash Spring Festival were forcefully answered Saturday night, when the company unveiled its exhilarating and riveting production of Gioachino Rossini’s infrequently performed tragedy ‘Semiramide’... 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... a first-rate cast of truly fine singers who seamlessly deliver Rossini’s perilously difficult arias and ensembles with elan and seeming ease... A tour de force, this is indeed grand opera.
Gail Obenreder, News Journal


... vibrant, charming and downright funny... this second production of the company’s Spring 2017 Festival is also propelled by the thrilling singing of its principals and a company-wide understanding of composer Gioachino Rossini’s very particular musical demands and rewards... Michael Borowitz conducts the orchestra with a joyful dispatch and a rich romantic sound that matches the composer’s musical glee. The maestro also leads a stellar company of singers who accomplish the feat of singing Rossini’s music seem effortless... However, this company of intrepid singers is undaunted by the composer’s vocal pyrotechnics. They seem to deftly toss off Rossini’s trademark devilishly difficult runs and patter and trills and leaps and musical switchbacks with breathtaking ease and a sense of fun.
Gail Obenreder, The News Journal

"...pure magic...Mezzo-soprano Megan Marino is the main attraction as Angelina and she does not disappoint. Her facility with the coloratura lines was effortless, her acting totally natural and her enthusiasm and energy unflagging. Jack Swanson applied his ringing, powerful tenor to the demanding role of Prince Ramiro, consistently note-perfect in the score’s difficult runs with their enormous range and rapid articulation. Baritone Steven Condy nearly stole the show as the boorish Don Magnifico. He virtually blended into the role with his hardy voice and outstanding acting. The remaining cast members were nothing short of excellent.– Christine Facciolo, Newsworks


Photos by Joe del Tufo / Moonloop Photography

A spirited and clever production by director A. Scott Perry, a cast of good singers and actors, and visual effects both comic and dazzling made this a highly enjoyable show... From the first moments, I was charmed by the antics of stepsisters Clorinda and Tisbe, quite capably sung by Jennifer Cherest and Alexandra Rodrick, and their blustering father Don Magnifico, given great comic flair by Steven Condy... I was even more delighted with the Angelina (Cenerentola, or Cinderella) of Megan Marino... With a pleasing sound throughout her voice and very clear coloratura singing, she was fully the equal of this demanding role... The Dandini of Sean Anderson was a joy to watch... His singing was beautiful in sound, evenness and agility. His chemistry with Don Magnifico was comic and charming.
David Browning, Taminophile

"Filled with mouth-watering melodies, the opera vacillated between hyperactivity and stasis with amusing characters and a storm scene rivaling Barbiere... [Jack] Sawnson possessed that elusive feature that many otherwise good tenors lack, those lusciously sweet, strong high notes. [Megan] Marino easily handled the vocal acrobatics required for Cinderella. The remaining cast were equally top-notch. Michael Borowitz drew lush sounds from the orchestra."  – Karyl Charna Lynn, The Opera Critic


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