L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Lake George Opera Festival

Michael McConnell’s production in the small theater seemed to flaunt the youth of the performers (who),  radiant, attractive and energized . . . overflowed with vitality, bel canto skill and appeal. 

OPERA NEWS

 

 

FALSTAFF, Opera Festival of New Jersey

The jolly performance of Falstaff, which opened last Saturday, was staged and directed by Michael McConnell with wit and taste.  

THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

 

THREE DECEMBERS, UrbanArias

It spans three locations, several time jumps, and shifts between tragedy and comedy, and Director Michael McConnell handles the changes with aplomb.

DC METRO THEATER ARTS

 

       UrbanArias’ one-act opera delivers terrific

        performances.  Michael McConnell’s direction

was economical and unfussy.

WASHINGTON POST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAYDN'S HEAD (World Premiere), Lyric Opera Cleveland

The text abounds in witty and thoughtful ideas on art and treachery, and the piece plays like a dizzy three-ring circus, especially as deliciously staged by Lyric Opera executive director, Michael McConnell. 

AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

 

. . . and his brilliant theatrical imagery was the principal pleasure in Larry Baker’s surrealistic one-act opera Haydn’s Head

OPERA NEWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selected Press

 

THE RAKE’S PROGRESS, The City Musick, Chicago

The simple but handsome production benefits from Banks’ crisp, springy conducting, which is perfectly in synch with director Michael McConnell’s expert pacing and keenly observed dramatic detail. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

 

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Lyric Opera Cleveland

McConnell’s stage direction is fast-paced, detailed and funny . . . hugely imaginative and enjoyable. 

THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

 

 

CANDIDE, The Dayton Opera

The show felt as fresh as last week’s headlines.  The concept of stage director Michael McConnell and set/costume designer Fay Conway to approach the piece from what they called “the attic of Voltaire’s imagination” works brilliantly.  That comical tension is pushed to incredible extremes by the new production.  The show holds back neither on the horror, nor on the fun. It sparkles literally and figuratively.  

DAYTON DAILY NEWS

 

MRS DALLOWAY (World Premiere), Lyric Opera Cleveland

The work made its intimate, probing points thanks to Michael McConnell’s urgent production.

OPERA

                                                                                                                                                   CARMEN, Lyric Opera Cleveland

           McConnell’s Carmen is vividly dramatic and superbly paced. 

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

 

IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA , Opera Memphis

Behind the scenes, what truly pulled together Barber’s busy jigsaw of a plot and score was Michael McConnell’s witty and well-synchronized stage direction. 

THE MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL

 

SWEENEY TODD, The Human Race Theatre Company

 . . . almost flawless.  The voices are right on target, the sets without fault, the costumes and makeup outstanding and the staging and acting as close to New York quality as can be found anywhere but the Big Apple.  

DAYTON DAILY NEWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STRIKE UP THE BAND, Lyric Opera Cleveland

I could run my quill pen dry trying to give this profoundly alive cast the praise it deserves.  Under Michael McConnell’s shrewd guidance, they resurrect the vaudeville style that kept our grandparents in ecstasy, the style that led to generation of supreme clowns from Willie Howard to Bert Lahr.   SCENE (Cleveland)

 

 **

LYRIC OPERA CLEVELAND 1988 SEASON   

Opera audiences in Northeast Ohio have really begun to sit up and take notice since Michael McConnell assumed the executive directorship of LYRIC OPERA CLEVELAND . . . the troupe has undergone a thorough revamping with McConnell at the helm, and its offerings have become abundantly more fluent and compelling, not to mention entertaining.  McConnell is a producer with a probing mind, imaginative eye and sensitive ear. 

OPERA

 

ON MICHAEL McCONNELL AT THE END OF HIS DIRECTORSHIP OF LYRIC OPERA CLEVELAND, 1995

It is as an impresario and director with bold, risky ideas that McConnell has had such a enormous impact on Lyric Opera Cleveland and opera in Cleveland in general.  Few observers of McConnell’s

productions could come away unmoved in some way by the attention paid to musical and dramatic values.  The concepts occasionally raised one’s hackles, but they always treated the sources with respect and blazing intelligence.   

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 

Laura Ingram and Rachel Fulton, Cosi fan tutte,

Florida State Opera, 1999.

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