Stage Director
A feast for the senses
"To the Lyric's credit, the cast and crew has taken an opera in which the plot leaves a lot to be desired and, with Jose Maria Condemi's direction, elevated it to a grand scale of dulcet vocalizations, glorious sets and an orchestra in top form."
Betty Mohr, Southtown Star
"Ainadamar was a huge musical and dramatic success. A new production gave director Jose Maria Condemi a chance to work closely with his singers and create a show of visual beauty, grace and touching drama. Condemi used the stage's apron for most of his action but also wove his singers in and around the orchestra to support a 'living backdrop', the eight ladies of the vocal ensemble. Thomas Hase's imaginative lighting supplied color and beauty that evoked time, place and mood."
Charles Parsons, American Record Guide
Verdi, Ernani: Civic Opera House, Chicago, 31.10.2009
"This Ernani is one of Lyric’s more inspired offerings. In presenting this early Verdi, it captures the style of the piece vividly, with an outstanding cast. Licitra and Radvanovsky are remarkable and Radvanovsky in particular stands out among the international cast. In a production of this quality, it is easy to agree with Radvanovsky’s view that Ernani ranks with Un ballo in maschera or Trovatore, despite general opinion to the contrary."
James L Zychowicz, Seen and Heard International
Chicago Lyric Tackles "Ernani"
"Condemi's staging was equally deft, managing to keep both principals and chorus on the move without resorting to stale stage business."
Wynne Delacoma, Musical America
Lyric cast rises above illness, injury to deliver a rousing new 'Ernani'
"Jose Maria Condemi's staging is traditional, conservative and respectful of the drama. Visually it's a sumptuous show. Scott Marr, Lyric's resident design director, has created a Spanish Renaissance fashion extravaganza -- women in brocaded velvet and damask gowns, nobles in fancy doublets and soldiers in gleaming conquistador helmets and breastplates. The lavish sets, lit by Duane Schuler, include towering, ornately decorated, Moorish-style castle walls, carved mahogany doors and a serpentine column set on a steeply raked parquet floor."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
"The young Argentinean-born director Jose Maria Condemi in his first new production at Lyric somehow understands the motivations of these melodramatic characters and is able to take them seriously while having some fun with them."
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times
Vocal firepower and a handsome production overcome the stilted drama in 'Ernani'
"Director Jose Maria Condemi bravely took Piave's creaky libretto at face value and deftly mitigated many of the staging pitfalls, drawing admirable acting from his singers."
Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
<span id="gallery-cutline">The Spanish king's elaborate yet stark throne room, inspired by the works of Renaissance artists, symbolizes the monarch's lonely lifestyle.<br /></span>

"According to director Jose Maria Condemi, his collaborator's research was exhaustive.

"Marr "literally bombarded me with hundreds and hundreds of images," Condemi said, laughing. In their pursuit of historical accuracy, they analyzed renderings of 16th century architecture, furnishings, dress, even fixtures like multicandle chandeliers. The challenge "was not so much designing, or finding common ground, but editing," the director said."

Molly Moulfe,
Ainadamar, Cincinnati Opera, 6/9/09
"Jose Maria Condemi's Cincinnati Opera production was stark, with the orchestra placed center stage and the action taking place in front of the orchestra and on a series of risers behind it. There were no sets, only the atmospheric lighting of Thomas C. Hase. Costumes, too, were extremely simple. This approach was highly effective, emphasizing the ritual aspect of the theatrical experience and highlighting the music."
Joe Law, Opera News
Chicago's Lyric Opera returns to the basics - major voices
"What I've seen of director Jose Maria Condemi's new production, (with sets and costumes by Lyric's own resident design director, Scott Marr) leads me to believe Chicago is in for one sumptuous show."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
<p>Dawn Upshaw (left) in the role of Margarita Xirgu onstage with Jessica Rivera in the role of Nuria in the Cincinnati Opera production of "Ainadamar."</p>

"Cincinnati Opera presented a new concept, directed by Jose Maria Condemi, which placed the orchestra onstage, rather than in the opera pit. The evening unfolded as a hybrid of concert and music drama, and it emphasized that in the end, this work is truly mesmerizing for its music.

"It was an artistic triumph, and one of the most riveting musical experiences this city has ever witnessed."

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
Power and energy dominate in this Tosca
"Tosca can be a physically brutal little opera, and San Francisco Opera's latest production takes this notion to the hilt, stressing pure power in both its singing and acting. The energy of it all makes for an outstanding evening of theater.

"With a magnificent series of tromp-l'oeil sets by Thierry Bosquet, inspired by a 1932 SFO production, and a straightforward approach to the music and action, the differences come largely in the small touches and decisions, notably those made by talented stage director Jose Maria Condemi."

Michael J. Vaughn, The Opera Critic
Orfeo ed Euridice, West Bay Opera, 2/20/09
"Although it took 247 years for Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice to reach Palo Alto, it was worth the wait. The West Bay Opera audience had every reason to cheer. The care and imagination that company general director/conductor José Luis Moscovich and stage director José Maria Condemi lavished on their ostensibly low-budget production made for a marvelous evening of theater and music."
Jason Victor Serinus, Opera News
Amore (Shawnette Sulker), left, comforts Orfeo (Sarah Barber) as Euridice (Maria Alu) lies in back.
Limited resources, but a full opera offering
"The rest of the pleasure comes from a wonderful score played by the house orchestra, conducted by Jose Luis Moscovich, himself, the choreography by Yannis Adoniou and the creative staging and direction by Jose Maria Condemi."
Keith Kreitman, San Mateo Daily Journal
Set design for Orfeo ed Euridice by Jean-Fran&ccedil;ois Revon
"Condemi's staging abandons fussy period trappings in favor of a clean, contemporary setting featuring minimal sets and video design by Jean-François Revon.... What registered in Condemi's staging was characterization and dramatic focus."
Georgia Rowe, San Francisco Classical Voice
Tristan und Isolde
"Deborah Voigt's near transcendental Isolde is worth the four-and-a-half hour trip, as Clifton Forbis's tormented Tristan and Stephen Millings' imposing King Marke make this required viewing. David Hockney's mesmerizing 1987 designs for the L.A. Opera get sturdy use from up-and-comer director José Maria Condemi. The Lyric Opera orchestra and conductor Sir Andrew Davis have not sounded better, particularly in the overpoweringly somber Act 3 prelude."
Time Out Chicago
"And, sensitively directed by Jose Maria Condemi, this production of 'Tristan und Isolde' marks another Lyric Opera triumph." Read More...
Betty Mohr, Southtown Star (Chicago)
Tristan holds what he believes to be the cup of friendship offered to him by Isolde. Clifton Forbis plays one of the lead roles as Tristan, and Deborah Voigt performs in the lead role of Isolde. <br /><span class="credit"><br /></span>
"'Tristan' can be a static opera, but stage director Jose Maria Condemi deployed the singers well." Read More...
Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times
Swoopy sails. The Tristan sets bear resemblance to the 71-year-old painter&rsquo;s latter-era English seaside landscapes.
"Condemi blocks his actor-singers like a veteran theater chief, yet the South American acknowledges that his singers frequently feed him ideas when he runs out of his own--a remarkable admission given the egotism that pervades the industry. 'The work of a director is to distance himself from the production and also imagine what the audience sees,' he says."
Bryant Manning, Time Out Chicago
Historic Tristan und Isolde at Lyric
"Few experiences in the opera house rival a great Tristan und Isolde. Producing such a performance, however, requires not only flawless singing and intelligent vocal pacing from the opera's principals, but also a true commitment on the part of the cast to psychological, nuanced portrayals of their characters. Lyric Opera of Chicago's Tristan und Isolde showcased a cast that excelled in both areas-a cast that deserved all the superlatives lauded from the crowd after one of the most electrifying nights in Lyric's recent history."
Paul Wooley, ConcertoNet
"Fly to the California Theater as Opera San José is presenting a production of 'The Magic Flute' that is big fun, deeply cast, stunning to look and sophisticated in whole new ways for this company. ... The key to the production is director José Maria Condemi, who has universalized the story by layering in an Asian element. ... The final scene is a spangled fairy tale come to life." [DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE - Opera San José]
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
"Flawless [is] Seattle Opera's handsome, impressively crafted La Bohème. Director José Maria Condemi gives us the piece straight. ... This production expertly realized so many of those moments that make the opera beloved, living and breathing as a 'Bohème' ought to do. ... It left me not only thoroughly engaged, but freshly amazed at what a supreme example of music-theater this is." [LA BOHÈME - Seattle Opera]
Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly
"What training program? The young artists produced a near-flawless, thoroughly professional production. There have been many notable Merola productions in the past but I cannot remember one with more all-around excellence, quite without a weak link. Director José Maria Condemi was the self-effacing, efficient stage director." [LA CENERENTOLA - San Francisco Opera/Merola Program]
Janos Gereben, San Francisco Examiner
Total: 113 (Viewing: 91–113)