Conductor
Acclaim
 
Marc Blitzstein's 'Regina' is both dramatically and musically powerful at Opera Theater of St. Louis

"Maybe its mix of musical styles — shifting among call-and-response spirituals, ragtime, jazz and cinematic romanticism — calls for a conductor as committed and capable as Stephen Lord, who is leading performances by Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He gets fine playing from members of the St. Louis Symphony."

Scott Cantrell, Dallas News
REGINA - Opera Theatre of St. Louis

"Conductor Stephen Lord valiantly welded the score’s disparate elements together."

Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal
REGINA - Opera Theatre of St. Louis

"Though the score evokes spirituals, jazz, folk songs, ragtime and Dixieland, the elements of musical theater came through most strongly in this performance, led with brio by Stephen Lord."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
'Regina' at Opera Theatre of St. Louis is gripping music theater

"In the pit, music director emeritus Stephen Lord made an excellent case for the score, with the help of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra."

Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Rigoletto - Canadian Opera Company

"Stephen Lord drew particularly vital playing from the COC Orchestra, with especially fine contributions from the winds and brass, that made the score sound newly polished with its myriad colors glowing brighter and clearer than before."

Christopher Hoile, Opera News
Rigoletto revival graced with first-rate voices

"This time, the singing couldn’t be better, nor could we expect a more nuanced or muscular job from the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, thanks to veteran American conductor Stephen Lord."

John Terauds, The Star
Rigoletto - Canadian Opera Company

"All three [singers] are led by Stephen Lord at the podium, who counted this Jan. 20 performance as his 67th conducting of Rigoletto. Lord's innate, human approach to Verdi's score lets it amble along naturally, full of fire, elasticity and space for the singers."

Jenna Simeonov, The Globe and Mail
Rigoletto – Michigan Opera Theatre

"A triumphant beginning to a promising season, powerfully conducted by Stephen Lord, the company’s newly installed principal conductor, this Rigoletto follows the destruction of a mafia don’s barbed-tongued bartender after the loss of his beloved daughter."

Jennifer Goltz, Opera News
La Traviata - PortOpera

Stephen Lord's conducting of his responsive orchestra and singers was exemplary, from the haunting intimations of the prelude to the dramatic force of the powerful closing chorus of Act II."

Cornelia Iredell, Opera News
Titus Lightens Up in Saint Louis

"Last but most certainly not least, this performance of Titus marked Stephen Lord’s last appearance on the podium as longtime Music Director. Maestro Lord has given us a lot to be grateful for over his tenure, but none more so that this lovingly rendered, stylistically correct, and dramatically propulsive reading of a Mozartean gem. His rapport with the singers and instrumentalists alike was remarkable and his inspired leadership was of the highest order. Bravo, Maestro, e buona fortuna!"

James Sohre, Opera Today
Titus: La clemenza di Tito - Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

"Far more engrossing was the OTSL production of Mozart's penultimate work for the stage – billed as, simply, 'Titus.' Conductor Stephen Lord chose it for his final appearances as the company's music director before taking on the title of music director emeritus, as of 2018. His abiding belief in the piece showed in the stylish vitality he brought to a long-neglected masterpiece."

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Opera Theatre's production of 'Titus' delivers

"Music director Stephen Lord, conducting his final production in that capacity, chose “Titus” as his swan song, and cast its six roles with some of the best of the young singers whose careers he’s advanced in recent years. They did not disappoint; it’s hard to imagine a better cast. Few conductors possess Lord’s invaluable combination of understanding of both voices and vocal scores. Add to that his excellent rapport with instrumentalists — this is one conductor who never fails to connect the musicians of the stage with those of the pit — and it’s clear that this is the end, not only of an era, but of a kind of golden age at OTSL."

Sara Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Worth the Wait

"Stephen Lord’s conducting is especially impressive in the lengthy ensembles toward the end during which the whole musical structure was built up and sustained most impressively." 

Michael Johnson, ConcertNet
Norma – Canadian Opera Company

"Stephen Lord conducted an idiomatic, singer-friendly performance, drawing a big ... sound from the orchestra.... I do like his well-judged tempi, and his willingness to allow the singers, especially Radvanovsky, the freedom to showcase her incredible technique."

Joseph So, Musical Toronto
Sondra Radvanovsky gives blissful performance in COC’s production of Norma

"In the pit, conductor Stephen Lord and the COC orchestra provided a sure, subtle and sympathetic accompaniment, proving the fluid base on which the vocal greatness onstage could soar."

Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail
Carmen - PORTopera

"... artistic director Dona Vaughn and conductor Stephen Lord pulled together their forces to create an exciting, dramatically convincing performance.... Lord’s sure hand in the pit elicited fine work from singers and orchestra, and did full justice to the dynamic range and sweep of Bizet’s score."

Cornelia Iredell, Opera News
Macbeth - Michigan Opera Theatre

"Under Lord’s baton, the colorful orchestra was similarly spectacular ..."

Jennifer Goltz, Opera News
Saint Louis Takes On ‘The Scottish Opera’

"In the pit, Music Director Stephen Lord knew exactly what he wanted, and what he wanted proved to be some faster-than-usual tempi. Actually, that approach had a good deal to recommend it as it glossed over some of the shortcomings of the rather youthful score. The strings especially had a magnificent night, with lush and idiomatic playing from first to last. I also appreciated the selective use of well-calculated astringent bowings that had the same effect as that scraping Psycho theme (with the bloody doings in this opera, that is a complement and a compliment!).

"Overall then, Maestro Lord went a bit more for creating driving passages than evoking spooky atmosphere, and his approach yielded effective results. When he finally relaxes the tension and helms a slow-paced final aria for Macbeth, the evening (and the singer) is all the better for it. Too, any number of choral passages found the Maestro in a suitably expansive mood."

James Sohre, Opera Today
2 Murderous Men in 2 Operas About Killing for Politics

"Under the confident musical direction of Stephen Lord, the 'Macbeth' cast turned in an urgent, vocally solid and dramatically splendid performance."

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
‘Macbeth’ at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

"The company’s first production of Verdi’s 'Macbeth' benefited from the idiomatic conducting of Stephen Lord."

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Opera Theatre’s “Macbeth” is an epic tale well told

"Conductor Stephen Lord did masterful work, and the St. Louis Symphony's superbly performed Verdi."

 

Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat
Mississippi Muse

"It is thanks to Lord’s nose for new talent and ability to nurture that OTSL has been the venue for debuts or major early appearances of such singers as Patricia Racette, Christine Goerke, Anthony Dean Griffey, Lawrence Brownlee, Ailyn Pérez and Jamie Barton, to name a few. His casting policies have had a direct effect on the company’s idealistic approach to repertoire, and by the end of this season, which features the premiere of Jack Perla’s Salman Rushdie-inspired Shalimar the Clown, OTSL will have staged 25 premieres and 24 first American performances. Little wonder, then, that a decade ago Opera News was already putting Lord (one of only four conductors) on its list of the ‘25 Most Powerful Names in US Opera’."

John Allison, Opera Magazine
With Verdi's 'Macbeth,' The Opera's the Thing

"Conductor Stephen Lord, long-time music director for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, is winding down his storied tenure with the company. He is at his inspired best leading a spirited performance by members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in OTSL’s first performance of this majestic 19th century operatic masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi. OTSL’s interpretation is sweeping in its execution and thrilling in its grasp of Verdi’s lush and often surprising score."

 

Mark Bretz, Ladue News
MOT debuts solid ‘Lady Macbeth’

"Lord acquitted himself well on the podium, with his taut, cohesive conducting of the MOT orchestra."

George Bulanda, Detroit News
English National Opera - Norma

"The final word should be reserved for the superb ENO orchestra and chorus, both on excellent form under conductor Stephen Lord, who fires up the score as few others today could. Musically, this Norma was as vital a performance as could be wished for."

Graham Rogers, Opera News
Long live ENO!

"The first indication that it would be an exceptional evening was in the opening chords of the Overture, a belligerent and energetic piece with a surprising ethereal coda, conducted, as was the whole opera, with masterly pacing and fluid tempi and plenty of rubato by Stephen Lord, and immaculately played."

Michael Tanner, The Spectator
PORTopera’s ‘Tosca’ a stellar performance

“Stephen Lord conducted a briskly paced but never rushed performance. Musicians who play in opera pits say the score of ‘Tosca,’ ubiquitous as it is, is tricky to play, and whether PORTopera’s temporarily assembled ensemble could master it was an item on the list of worries – needlessly, it turned out. Lord drew from his players, as well as the chorus and children’s choir, a supple reading that fully mirrored and supported the drama onstage.”

Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald
Tosca - PORTopera

“Stephen Lord’s conducting propelled the score superbly, beginning with those famous opening chords.”

Maria Mazzaro, Opera News
Young artists rule in 'Center Stage' concert at Opera Theatre of St. Louis

“Music director Stephen Lord conducted with feeling and grace, with members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra onstage.”

Sarah Bryan Miller, St Louis Post-Dispatch
La Rondine – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ (1917), an enchanting, bittersweet work in which the courtesan Magda finds true love but is finally too honest to marry her tainted self to her innocent beloved, benefited from a sensitive orchestral performance conducted by Stephen Lord.”

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
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