The lines are a Stephen Sondheim-style puzzle of interruption and overlap that is put together with stunning precision. The show also has influences of Bernstein, Gershwin and, in one of its lighter moments, Elvis Presley. It is that mix of Broadway liveliness and cinematic intimacy that define this work (and many recent American operas). The music swells and stops to drive emotion the way a movie score does. At Central City, conductor John Baril let his orchestra play as if it were recording a soundtrack and it sounded melodramatic in all the right ways.
Saturday night's opening of Jake Heggie's "Dead Man Walking," performed with the composer in attendance, was an emotionally shattering but spiritually edifying experience of a kind that is rarely repeated. CCO Music Director John Baril leads the orchestra through Heggie's dense but melodius score, making sure that the music's difficulty does not draw attention to itself or away from the story and its characters. Although it sounds like a modern opera, no audience member will leave without subconsciously humming some tune or other, possibly the unforgettable hymn "He Will Gather Us Around," maybe the heaving descents of the parents' laments, or even the restless five-note figures that open the opera and constantly return.
[Marc] Astafan worked with his obviously willing cast to infuse its famous characters with a real sense of zing. Together with conductor John Baril, they created a production that was zany and fun.
Conductor John Baril wielded effective control, and the orchestra performed incisively.
Conductor John Baril kept the musical side of things percolating along. Maestro Baril accommodated and partnered with his singers with skill, and he made some bold choices of tempo for a few of the most well-known moments. The orchestra acquitted themselves cleanly…it was a wholly creditable afternoon of bubbly music-making.
John Baril conducts the Central City Opera orchestra with a baton that keeps the musicians in the pit and the singers onstage in perfect sync.
Music Director John Baril is an artist of intelligence and sensitivity. His talent for balancing authenticity with practicality is impeccable. From the podium, Baril kept everything moving at a brisk pace, such that the long first act seemed to fly by.
The orchestra played tightly under the baton of conductor John Baril.
At Saturday night’s performance, conductor John Baril mastered well the difficult art of joining instruments and vocals. There was balance and an endearing partnership between the stage and the pit.
The orchestra played beautifully under the direction of Maestro John Baril, especially the intermezzo in Cavalleria Rusticana.