A most versatile conductor, JOHN BARIL has led critically acclaimed performances of symphonic and choral music, ballet, opera, operetta and musical theater. He has collaborated with such artists as conductor Stephen Lord, soprano/director Catherine Malfitano, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, director Paul Curran, the late director Colin Graham, conductor Marin Alsop, dramatic mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick and pop chanteuse Toni Tennille. For the past twelve seasons, he has worked closely with the apprentice and studio artists in the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program at the Central City Opera Festival, leading them in mainstage youth performances of Manon, Pique Dame, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, La fanciulla del West, Candide, La traviata, Little Women and Carmen. In 1996, he was Chorus Master for the Newport Classics recording of The Ballad of Baby Doe, an opera he has performed with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. During his tenure at Yale University, where he was the Managing Coordinator and assistant to the Artistic Director, he again worked closely with developing artists in repertoire, language, style, performance traditions, and led them in performances of La cenerentola and Tchaikovsky’s rarely-heard Iolanta as well as numerous scenes programs.
At Central City Opera, he began as production coordinator and assistant conductor in 1992, progressing to associate conductor and music administrator in 1996, and, as of the 2000 season, resident conductor, a post created for him. During the 2001 season, Mr. Baril conducted the critically acclaimed regional premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, marking his tenth anniversary with the company. Several seasons ago, he conducted to standing ovations a sold-out revival of Carmen, marking the first opera to be sung in French at Central City, while 2003 found him leading performances of the unusual double-bill of I Pagliacci and Goyescas. In 2002, he conducted Street Scene at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and also made his debut with Opera Colorado, as chorus master for their productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni, Sweeney Todd, La Traviata, La Boheme, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Giulio Cesare, Le Nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Carmen, Norma, Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, Magic Flute, L’elisir d’amore. Un ballo in maschera, Florencia en el Amazonas, Il trovatore and Les Pecheurs des Perles. In the summer of 2004, Mr. Baril led 14 performances of Central City’s highly-praised production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, directed by Paul Curran, while in 2005, he conducted sold-out performances of Madama Butterfly, to standing ovations, and which marked the anticipated directorial debut of Catherine Malfitano. As newly-promoted Music Director, the first in the company’s history, he led Don Giovanni in 2006, Massenet’s Cendrillon for the company’s 75th anniversary season in 2007, sold-out performances of Bernstein’s West Side Story for its 50th anniversary celebratory performances in 2008 and teamed up again with Malfitano for a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor in 2009. John made his Nashville Opera debut in 2008 in Don Giovanni as well as his Opera Delaware debut in 2010 with Tosca. He conducted a performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Colorado in 2010, followed by Heggie’s Three Decembers (2010), a triple bill of Gianni Schicchi, Die Sieben Todsünden and Les Mamelles di Tiresias (2011), followed in 2012 by a new production of La bohème. In February 2012 he lead Opera Colorado’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro and looks forward to a new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia for Central City in summer 2013. Last fall, he returned to Opera Delaware to conduct Cavalleria Rusticana and I pagliacci and is at the helm for a new Central City Opera production of Dead Man Walking in summer 2014.
A native of Stagecoach, Nevada, JOHN BARIL attended the University of Nevada—Reno, where he was awarded full scholarships in tuba, conducting as well as in music education and, later, vocal performance, and from which he graduated cum laude. This led to a thirteen-year relationship with the Nevada Opera Association, where he began as a chorister at age 17, soon thereafter studying under the late, famed vocal pedagogue Ted Puffer (and teacher of Dolora Zajick), and sang numerous comprimario roles including Dancaire, Spalanzani, Normanno, Goro, Monostatos, Gastone, Parpignol, Don Basilio, St. Brioche, Harry, and the Magician in The Consul as well as conducting L’elisir d’amore, Hänsel und Gretel, Mame and Il trovatore, and several productions of The Nutcracker with the Nevada Festival Ballet. He has judged Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in Phoenix, San Diego, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Mississippi.
John is an endurance runner; he’s completed several half marathons and four marathons.