Stage Director
CENDRILLON - New Orleans Opera

“The direction by Jose Maria Condemi was sprightly and fun, yet never overdone.”

George Dansker, Opera News
Atlanta Opera keeps 'Barber' fresh, lively

“Stage director José Maria Condemi gives us lots of fun and wonderful stage business throughout: the character Figaro here becomes a powerful master of ceremonies, not just manipulating and tricking the other characters, but overseeing the action itself (he lights the stage at the opening with a snap of his fingers, or coaxes an army of soldiers to sleep one by one with a light tap of his fingers).”

Andrew Alexander, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tosca - Florida Grand Opera
“Under stage director José Maria Condemi, the acting was subtle, natural and convincing, with nothing like the stock, exaggerated gestures so often seen on the opera stage. Many nice imaginative touches brought the work to life. In Act 1, Tosca flirtatiously seized one of her lover Cavaradossi’s paintbrushes and ran off with it, refusing to give it up, as she interrogated him about the woman he was painting. And the physical interplay between Tosca and the villainous police chief Scarpia, as he approaches her menacingly in describing Cavaradossi’s torture, ramped up the intensity of this nerve-wracking scene.”
David Fleshler, Miami Herald
Murder, Betrayal and Baritones: FGO Delivers Soaring Tosca
“The plot is unabashed melodrama — doomed lovers threatened by a malignant and powerful sadist — taken from Victorien Sardou’s play that Sarah Bernhardt toured in endlessly. But it moves steadily toward inevitable tragedy in part because of the impassioned performances and pacing by stage director José Maria Condemi.”
Bill Hirschman, Florida Theatre Onstage
Verdi's Opera Revives One of Shakespeare's Best Characters
“Falstaff is unlike any other opera, by Verdi or anyone else, and it can be perplexing on a first encounter, as it is almost an ‘opera minus arias.’ But Verdi’s Falstaff is nevertheless an enchanting and thoroughly satisfying experience — once you know what you are getting. This elegant yet forceful production was directed by OSB’s Jose Maria Condemi.”
Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent
Utah Opera recreates "La Traviata"
“The three-act piece follows the story of tragic lovers Violetta and Alfredo. Set in 19th century Paris, the social status and politics of the time heavily influence the characters and twist their behavior. Giuseppe Verdi has produced over 19 operas, but ‘La Traviata,’ composed in 1853, remains his most successful piece.Set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, the opera has established its place as number one on the Operabase list of most performed operas in the world. It is this powerful novelty that director José Maria Condemi and artistic director Christopher McBeth have depicted on the grand Capitol Theater stage.”
Lynette Randall, Daily Utah Chronicle
Excellent performances, great chemistry make Utah Opera production a 'Traviata' to remember
“Though it features a pair of festive and sparkling party scenes — staged smartly by director José María Condemi and sung with flair by the Utah Opera Chorus, as prepared by new chorus master Caleb Harris — ‘Traviata’ is among the most intimate of operas. Its power lies in the one-on-one scenes featuring the three central characters in various combinations. Utah Opera’s cast boasts three first-rate singers in these roles, but even more important is the potent chemistry between each pair. Every relationship onstage rings true.”
Catherine Reese Newton, Salt Lake Tribune
Top Ten Picks of 2013
“The first of FGO’s new 'Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places' presentations offered an arresting double-bill of Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s satirical pastiche 'Tango' and Astor Piazzolla’s 'Maria de Buenos Aires', a blend of poetic magical realism and sultry nuevo tango rhythms mixed with jazz. Presented in March at The Stage, a popular bar and pop music venue on the periphery of the Miami Design District, the pairing was inventively staged by Jose Maria Condemi, well sung, and idiomatically conducted by Ramon Tebar.”
David Fleshler & Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
Houston Grand Opera's AIDA is Spellbinding and Sumptuous
“Jose Maria Condemi makes a splendid HGO debut with this lavish production of AIDA.... Jose Maria Condemi has coached his cast [to] perform the familiar plot with such energy and life that the story feels completely fresh and original.”
David Clarke, Broadway World
San Francisco Opera/Cosi fan tutte
“Director Jose Maria Condemi emphasized the giocoso in Mozart’s dramma, moving the singers around with an eye to charming tableaux.”
Georgia Rowe, Opera News
'Così fan tutte' review: Betting on love
“Condemi’s staging focuses on the comic side of the piece, with some deft stage business and several hearty laughs.”
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
And a Good Così Was Had by Tutte
“There really is no weak link in the cast of six, nor in the Nicola Luisotti’s conducting, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra’s playing, or Jose Maria Condemi’s open-eyed, vibrant directing.”
Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
Florida Grand Opera sizzles with nightclub tango double-bill Read more here:
“Jose Maria Condemi’s theater in the round production utilized the small stage, covered bar area and large courtyard, the music and action coming from all directions.”
Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
'Secret Garden' review: Child's delight
"Perhaps the most delectable aspect of Friday's premiere, which was sleekly directed by Jose Maria Condemi, was the visual design of Naomie Kremer, a series of video projections that did a superb job of capturing the piece's mood and details. Film clips provided the key character of a robin who haunts the garden, evoked the daunting expanse of the moorland, and finally - in a sumptuous riot of color and foliage - the climactic flowering of the garden itself."
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Condemi directs in straightforward and unfussy fashion. His blocking is solid, and he’s generally successful in creating appropriate movement styles for each of the character.”
Lisa Hirsch, San Francisco Classical Voice
“With its high-tech spectacle and classic pedigree, 'The Secret Garden,' directed by Jose Maria Condemi, is a marketable venture: Friday’s audience included many young adults, teenagers and parents with children, not your usual opera crowd.”
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
A "Tosca" Surprise in San Francisco - Angela Gheorghiu, Melody Moore Split Role of Tosca, Massimo Giordano Excels as Cavaradossi
“Jose Maria Condemi’s inspired staging: What is especially praiseworthy is the stage direction of Jose Maria Condemi, as was his staging of this production’s last revival in 2009. Condemi’s staging of standard works is always imaginative, while remaining faithful to the composer’s intentions. In the Act I church scene, he fills the spaces with individual characterizations, with nuns, prelates and parishioners, each tending to their own business. Notably, there were substantial changes from his 2009 mounting of the first act. Two boys pester the Sacristan, but he responds by giving them each coins, while admonishing them to pay their respects when passing the altar. Spoletta literally runs across the church floor to the exit to carry out Scarpia’s order, but while doing it he too takes a momentary nod in the altar’s direction. The entrance of the Vatican’s Swiss Guards lets us know that this is no low-level parish priest that will conduct this Mass.”
Opera Warhorses
Tango opera 'Maria' casts magical spell
"For a night, we were under the spell of the tango, and the ballroom became the tango artists’ cabaret. In Jose Maria Condemi’s staging, the action surrounded the audience of 450, including patrons at small cabaret tables. As the performers tangoed, sang and acted out the drama, they moved (and sometimes leapt) between a spare set consisting of three raised platforms, strategically placed around the performance space. Actors leaned provocatively on the ballroom’s bar, blowing invisible plumes of smoke."
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
Review: If you need a good scare, check out an amazing 'Duke Bluebeard's Castle' at San Francisco Symphony

“It’s primal and fiercely entertaining. Directed by Nick Hillel and staged by Jose Maria Condemi, this is a superb production.”

Richard Scheinin, Mercury-News
Daniel Catan's FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONAS - Opera Colorado

“Director José Maria Condemi kept his focus, shaping the characters with earthy, three-dimensional emotions.”

Marc Shulgold, Opera News
At Opera Colorado, a rare and appealing "Florencia," sung in Spanish
"It's rare to credit the good work of an opera's production team before the singers, but it's now or never: Sets by Phillip Lienau, projections by Aaron Rhyne, lighting by James D. Sale, all working under the no-dreams-barred direction of Jose Maria Condemi.... Catan indulges every emotion. So does the director."
Ray Mark Rinaldi, Denver Post
William Burden Triumphs in Gluck's "Orphee et Eurydice" - Seattle Opera, February 29, 2012
"The new production was conceived and directed by Jose Maria Condemi, one of the most insightful and imaginative of contemporary stage directors. ... In Gluck's opera, there are three basic scenes - the graveyard where Eurydice's body is consigned to the earth and to which Orpheus returns with the momentarily distraught Eurydice in the opera's final moments, the realm of the Furies who guard the underworld, and the Elysian Fields, where the spirits of the dead exist in a joyful state. For each of these scenes, in collaboration with the Seattle Opera's creative team, Condemi created a specific image. The burial place was dominated by an ancient, overarching deciduous tree, bereft of leaves. Crowds of mourners were silhouetted against the sky, as they might be in an Ingmar Bergman film, with the seven dancers performing mourning rituals."
Opera Warhorses
Seattle Opera revives, freshens 'Orphee et Eurydice'
"Director Jose Maria Condemi knows that the composer's simplicity is hardly simple-minded, but calls for a subtle balance of stylization and realism. What makes the production so deeply satisfying is the clear sense that emerges of a unified aesthetic vision, shared by his design team and the performers. The myth's timeless, archetypal character is always anchored in recognizably human emotions."
Thomas May, Crosscut
Seattle Opera enlivens Orphée et Eurydice with sublime performance
"The stage direction of Jose Maria Condemi was absolutely spot on. The opening scene when the chorus, in silhouette and against the outline of an enormous tree, slowly carried the body of Eurydice, was very dramatic. The sinews of Hades complemented the music and stretchy actions of the Furies in the second scene, and the resplendent colors of the Elysian Fields (complete with a slip-and-slide hillside) looked like pure joy."
James Bash, Oregon Music News
Seattle Opera's Orphée Rings Out With a Tenor's Tour de Force Performance
"Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice from 1774 arrived in Paris scant years after the florid, lavish displays of Baroque opera were still going strong there, and it couldn't have been a bigger contrast. 'Noble simplicity' was Gluck's intention, and director/producer José Maria Condemi of Seattle Opera's production of Orphée has followed that dictum with faithful imagination. One might wonder how three singers and a spare set, plus a chorus, could fill McCaw's stage, maintain constant interest, and propel the forward momentum of the story, but, believe me, they do.... With ideas and input from Condemi, Heidi Zamora designed the costumes, Connie Yun the lighting. Both they and Lienau are Seattle Opera staff, so that this production's entire design and execution have come from in-house, a triumph for the company and a display of its caliber.... The production is a tight one, with every aspect furthering the story, as Gluck, and Condemi, wanted. The result is a gem, leaving many memories to savor."
Philippa Kiraly, The SunBreak
Stagecraft dominates 'Orpheus and Eurydice'
"Unlike many productions, this visually striking ‘Orpheus and Eurydice,' by Jose Maria Condemi, bringing Gluck's masterpiece back to Seattle Opera after a 24-year absence, was created entirely by the Seattle company."
Bernard Jacobson, Seattle Times
Magical melodies help "La traviata" capture hearts
"Director Jose Maria Condemi kept to Verdi's clarity of a single moral purpose driving the plot of this outstanding example of Italian Romantic melodrama. He masterfully managed to smoothly move some massive party-goer scenes down to intimate two or three person exchanges."
Mort Levine, Mercury-News
"For those who love the opera, I recommend this production and cast unreservedly. Veteran opera goers will appreciate a "Carmen" done this well. For those who are new to opera, I believe this is would be an excellent first "Carmen" or even more, a first opera." Read More...
Opera Warhorses
"‘Carmen,' which opened Sunday and runs through Dec. 4, was a good opera for beginners-Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's 30-year-old sets have worn well, and director Jose Maria Condemi moved lots of people about with spirit and tact."
David Littlejohn, Wall Street Journal
A Vivid Carmen
"All the basics are in place in San Francisco Opera's propulsive, stylish production of Carmen. It was vividly restaged by José Maria Condemi, who endeavored to keep the richly distinctive qualities of the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's original 1981 production."

John Bender, San Francisco Classical Voice
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