John Baril conducted a stylistically accurate, theatrically vivid account of this thrice-familiar score. The orchestra responded with real fire and commitment. The divisi 'celli were especially vibrant and pulsing with emotion. The clarinet solo work was impeccably haunting. Whether playing soli or tutti, Maestro Baril inspired these fine players to thrilling results. He did on occasion allow soloists to indulge in some held high notes that were long enough to give Corelli pause, but that is a minor consideration. His reading had veristic sweep as well as minute detail.
Baril, the CCO music director, typically conducts each season's "standard" opera, and his artistry cannot be underestimated. His sensitive and intelligent musicianship, and that of his orchestra, are absolutely vital here. Puccini's habit of doubling vocal lines where singers routinely stretch out the rhythm is just one challenging aspect of the score which Baril has totally mastered.
This chorus, which serves, as both the opera's antagonist and its soul, is magnificent, and its preparation is the swan song for John Baril, Opera Colorado's longtime chorus master. Baril, whose contribution has always been one of the steadiest, most reliable, and excellent aspects of company productions, has resigned the position to pursue other opportunities. - The Scarlet Letter
...and of conductor John Baril, whose pacing offered both dramatic excitement and vocal space. The orchestra may have managed just a tentative-sounding overture, but the players gathered their forces, found some of the sharp-edged atacks and the color that had been missing at the beginning and provided a vivid soundscape for the rest of the evening.
Against this luscious setting played the crystalline tones of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, led with a deft baton by Conductor John Baril. Smoothly transitioning from the exuberant staccatos of Act I to the languorous romantic melodies of Acts II and V, the orchestra perfectly prepared the singers for musical excellence. And that, certainly, was achieved.
In the pit, John Baril led an outstanding orchestra, maintaining a steady beat....
[Music Director and] conductor John Baril provided fine support in the pit.
The orchestra played beautifully under Baril's direction: supportive, precise, never overshadowing the singers.
Maestro John Baril and the festival orchestra deliver an exquisite rendition of Verdi's fabulous melodies.
CCO Music Director John Baril, always superb in the pit, again leads a polished, professional orchestra through a sensitive reading of the score. Baril knows what the singers need and consistently provides it.