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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.