Superb Sweeney Todd raises the roof in Opera Theatre of St. Louis production

“Conductor Stephen Lord and the orchestra were exceptional throughout the performance.”

James Bash, Oregon Music News
For a challenging 'Alice' and a triumphant 'Sweeney Todd,' meet me in St. Louis
“Few houses on the Great White Way could afford the luxury of conductor Stephen Lord’s orchestra or the flawless cast of gifted singing actors OTSL assembled. … Here was a ‘Sweeney Todd’ for the ages.”
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Mad Hatter, Demon Barber Are Spirited in St. Louis
“OTSL’s stunning production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ had the best of both opera and Broadway worlds: the full Jonathan Tunick orchestrations, lovingly and vigorously conducted by Stephen Lord. … This tight show was one of OTSL’s best ever.”
Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Igor Toronyi-Lalic
"Conductor Stephen Lord whipped up a creamy dessert in the pit. It won me over in the end. Puccini never suffers much from calorific indulgence. Lord also drew out some fabulous solo contributions from the clarinet and bassoon."
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Telegraph
Tosca, Eno - review
"Supervising the revival herself, she [Catherine Malfitano] has sharpened the stage action even further, in conjunction with Stephen Lord's powerfully driven conducting, creating a truly visceral impact. From the opening bars, Lord draws a sound of striking amplitude from his orchestra, moderating and winching up the tension which explodes in the climactic Te Deum. He's skilful, too, at eliciting the inky black tone associated with the brutal police chief Scarpia and the implacable oppressive forces he represents, though he can also create a mood of interior reflection which succeeds in lending dramatic credibility to even the big set pieces. In Vissi d'Arte, for example, he allows Claire Rutter the space to protract each phrase as though it's tearing her heart out, while Cavaradossi's E Lucevan le Stelle in Act 3 poignantly evokes a distant world of past happiness."
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard
"... alongside the energy of Stephen Lord's conduction and the inspired direction of Catherine Malfitano, this is truly a great evening's entertainment and a production to relish."
William Harston, Daily Express (UK)
Opera Review: Tosca @ Coliseum
"In the pit, Stephen Lord conducts with aplomb, allowing Puccini's masterful phrases to overwhelm, without ever sacrificing any of the score's subtleties or wondrous hues."
Sam Smith, Londonist
A Tosca without tricks and tomfoolery
"The performances of the three principal singers are all noteworthy, to which conductor Stephen Lord must be added as a vital part of the drama. He not only draws superb playing from the ENO Orchestra, he also has a long-term view of the opera, its almost-symphonic ebb and flow, and displays a fine ear for colours, blends, balances and dynamics. What is more the opening of the opera - Scarpia's motif - is seismic in its arrest (pun or no pun?) and breadth, and remains so when it returns. Orchestral menace at its best!"
Colin Anderson, The Opera Critic
Die Zauberflöte - Michigan Opera Theatre
"Conductor Stephen Lord, music director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, kept things moving in the pit, balancing both lighter and more robust passages with a keen ear that let the voices come through unimpaired. The MOT Orchestra played with stylish zest."
John Guinn, Opera News
Daring Spirits of St. Louis
"OTSL music director Stephen Lord and the orchestra made magic of exquisite music from the same pen as La Mer."
Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News
A probing and insightful "Pelleas" in St. Louis
"Conductor Stephen Lord was by no means impervious to score's nuance and color, but his chief contribution was to give the music a rhythmic underpinning that underscored and propelled the drama onstage."
George Loomis, Classical Review
Saint Louis Opera Theatre: Review
"Stephen Lord led a richly nuanced orchestral performance."
Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
St. Louis brilliantly reaffirms 'Klinghoffer' as a landmark American opera
"Debussy's diaphanous orchestration shimmered with delicate highlights under music director Stephen Lord."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
An Orphan, a Libertine and the Walking Dead
"Members of the St. Louis Symphony played sublimely for Stephen Lord, the company's music director."
Steve Smith, New York Times
High Art: Debussy's Pelleas and Mélisande is anything but conventional opera -- it's a trip
"Conductor Stephen Lord and the orchestra masterfully expose every millimeter of theatricality in the score, yet they manage to preserve its exquisite subtlety and subtexts."
Lew Prince, River Front Times
Michigan Opera Theatre charms in Mozart's 'Magic Flute'
"From the overture, conductor Stephen Lord drew animated playing from the MOT Orchestra."
Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News
La Boheme - English National Opera
"Matters have improved in the pit with the excellent ENO orchestra now under the experienced baton of Stephen Lord who conducted with suitably idiomatic Puccini conviction, tenderness and 'heart-on-the-sleeve' emotion."
Jim Pritchard, Music Web International
O.T. St. Louis: The New Regime Steps Up
"The situation in the pit was quite luxurious, however, with music director Stephen Lord leading members of the SLSO in a first-rate treatment that this score will never get on Broadway."
Sarah Bryan Miller, Musical America
Best When It's Tangy, Not Sweet
"The superb Saint Louis Symphony, led by Stephen Lord, did justice to those beautiful waltzes."
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal
A new family-friendly opera and Sondheim's evergreen Night Music...
"Stephen Lord's conducting has the score's many waltz rhythms lilting nicely."
George Loomis, The Classical Review
"Music director Stephen Lord led it all stylishly and idiomatically. It seems unlikely that this score has ever had such superb treatment as it received from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post Dispatch
'Tosca' an old-fashioned treat
"American conductor Stephen Lord, music director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, is yet another debutant here; he brings a touch both careful -- in the good sense -- and easy, one that emphasizes Puccini's lyricism and humanity, never over-presses and allows the Lyric Orchestra to shine."
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times
Rome's reigning diva is back, a stronger Lyric cast in tow
"In his house debut, Stephen Lord, music director of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, conducted with idiomatic panache and brio, securing good coordination between pit and stage ..."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Review: Tosca/Lyric Opera
"It is rare to have the leads in this overdone warhorse be compatible in terms of drama and vocal color. In a work where caricature often takes over, everything this time around is understated rather than milking everything. The big arias are often done up to be like operatic moments of 'American Idol,' but here, they are refreshingly part of the fabric of the drama, as they well should be. Much of that credit goes to conductor Stephen Lord, also making his Lyric debut, who gave the work an almost chamber music-like feel ..."
Dennis Polkow, New City Stage
Opera Theater goes to Europe
" ... Lord had a musical triumph, conducting with a sure hand and well-considered tempos."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A series of exceptionally strong performances under the American conductor Stephen Lord ensures that it sounds marvelous..."
Christopher Gray, Oxford Times (UK)
"Stephen Lord, an ENO debutant, brings atmospheric melodrama to Verdi's astonishing score."
Hugh Canning, The Times (UK)
Rigoletto is as enthralling as ever
"Come the second act ... the ever lively ENO chorus and conductor Stephen Lord's bold dynamics inject[ed] some drama into proceedings. The final act - set around that glowing, dingy Hopper-esque bar - was as enthralling as ever."
Kieron Quirke, Evening Standard (UK)
Rigoletto: English National Opera @ Coliseum
"In the pit Stephen Lord conducted a blood and guts reading of the score and although he took many passages at quite a lick, it was viscerally exciting ... and the orchestra played their hearts out. And at the end, joy of joys, there were even proper curtain calls, so bravos all round."
Keith McDonnell, Music OMH (UK)
Salome (6/3/09), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
"The lineup for Strauss' one-act Salome guaranteed success, but the production's brutal force was an unexpected surprise. Lord brings a Romantic musical temperament to the pit, and he led the Saint Louis Symphony players in glorious, plush colors and opulent climaxes without covering the singers."
Judith Malafronte, Opera News
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