Baltimore Opera Theatre

January 2010

Dear Lovers of opera in the Greater Baltimore area,

For those of you who were unable to attend our debut performance of IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, it was a great success with a rave review from national opera critic, Paul Walkowski, who reviews opera performances all over the USA monthly at Hippodrome Theatre has received extremely positive feed back from people who attended the performance, as have we. The combination of European and local Baltimore musicians was a wonderful cultural experience for those involved. The Baltimore area students who participated as extras also had an exciting experience meeting singers from several different countries and seeing first hand what goes on back stage at an opera performance. An art student from the CARVER CENTER FOR THE ARTS designed the cover of the program and former Metropolitan Opera baritone, William Powers provided a free lecture for students that was well received and appreciated. We are thrilled to report that there was no acoustical problem at the Hippodrome. Every singer was heard perfectly without amplification.

Worldwide reviews for a worldwide audience

Baltimore Opera Theatre’s “Barber,” a blast, full of energy and good humor.

“I viewed this performance at the Hippodrome on Sunday afternoon, November 22, and I found myself drawn into the music and story of Count Almaviva’s pursuit of the lovely Rosina, with the help of the jack-of-all trades barber of Seville, Figaro.

It was a delightful performance, staged nicely and lit beautifully by Giorgio Lalov. It was a show peopled with an ensemble cast of seemingly indefatigable performers and a 39-piece orchestra that brought the house to laughter and earned solid applause at final curtain.

Simply put, the show was a blast, full of energy, good humor, outstanding individual and ensemble performances and solid production values…it did not disappoint. Baltimore audiences will undoubtedly appreciate the effort.

Mezzo-soprano, Viara Zhelezova, singing the role of Rosina, was simply magnificent. Her acting was natural and fluid and her vocal delivery was flawless. She navigated through the sixteenths with seeming ease, displaying remarkable agility and sweetness, never missing the tempo. I was in awe of her stamina and infectious talent throughout. Brava!

Many deserved kudos go out to this cast, most notably the veterans Hristo Sarafov, singing the role of Dr. Bartolo and basso Konstantine Videv, singing the role of Don Basilio. Wow! When these two were on stage together, the dynamic was electrifying. As I have noted in the past when reviewing this opera with other companies, if these roles are done right they can make this opera soar and Sunday afternoon both singers were on their game, in every way, and the opera soared. Mr. Sarafov especially, won over the audience with a performance that was amusing and vibrant with energy and good humor. He captured the nuance of Dr. Bartolo wonderfully and never missed the opportunity to exaggerate Bartolo’s obsession, without ever sinking into silliness. Bravo!

Singing the role of Count Almaviva was American-born lyric tenor Benjamin Brecher.  Mr. Brecher handled himself nicely…I found Brecher’s take on all his characters a solid plus to this production. I have seen him perform this role before and he fits the character well and obviously enjoys himself (and his characters’ antics) on stage.

Lyric baritone Petar Danailov singing the role of Figaro projected a strong and pleasant baritone (we should see more of him) and handled himself with ease on stage. He was a huge “plus” for this production as was mezzo-soprano Jo-Anne Herrero, singing the role of Berta, the maid, who actually gave the comprimario role real star quality and punch. Very nicely done.

Markhan Thakar, conducting, did a superb job, one that it was clear even he was pleased with. The orchestra complimented the performers and storyline and rendered a finely honed interpretation of what Rossini clearly intended.

All in all I would have to say Baltimore’s brief opera draught has ended. Opera has returned to the city with a new company on the block. This “Barber” was a delightful and well-done comic success. Congratulations!”
By  Paul Joseph Walkowski

“The feedback from your opera has been extremely positive as have the reviews, which is a great way to start.  We are very excited about the March show (Verdi’s RIGOLETTO MARCH 11, 2010) and are hopeful word will build…”
France-Merrick Performing Arts Center

We look forward to presenting Verdi’s RIGOLETTO at the Hippodrome Theatre on March 11, 2010 at 8PM. We have a superb international cast of professional singers including Cuban baritone, Nelson Martinez as RIGOLETTO, Ukrainian tenor, Igor Borko from Kiev National Opera as the Duke, Russian soprano, Larissa Yudina of St. Petersburg Opera as Gilda, and American baritone and former Metropolitan opera soloist, William Powers as Sparafucile. The opera will be performed in Italian with ENGLISH super titles and will feature a
full orchestra, full-scale sets and brand new costumes. Full bios of all the soloists can be found on our website at

See you March 11 at the historic Hippodrome Theatre!

Giorgio Lalov

Jenny Kelly, Founder and President - Giorgio Lalov, Artistic Director Ph: 410-419-4344

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