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Critics Have Good Things to Say About FGO Orchestra

FGO soars in La Sonnambula
Miami Herald, Feb. 11, 2007  

More than any single factor, the evening's success was due in no small part to having the estimable Richard Bonynge in the pit. A long and experienced veteran in bel canto repertoire from his celebrated partnership with his wife, Dame Joan Sutherland, Bonynge's natural command brought out all the elegance, lyric beauty and vivacity of Bellini's score masterfully. The conductor also drew consistently refined and idiomatic playing from the Florida Classical Orchestra, whose strings in particular sound better with every outing.

Hail, 'Caesar'! Stylish Handel closes FGO season

Lawrence A. Johnson
Miami Herald, April 28, 2008

The Florida Classical Orchestra performed superbly in its final assignment for FGO, and, placed on the pit's Broadway riser, the strings had much greater presence. The performance was bolstered by uncredited guest musicians, notably theorbo player David Dolata and hornist David Peel, who supplied a worthy obbligato to Caesar's Va tacito e nascosto.


Lawrence A. Johnson
Sun - Sentinel, January 10, 2006

Conductor Peter Leonard drew efficient, rhythmically nimble playing. If there wasn't much tonal sheen or Gallic elegance from the burly orchestral textures, the beautifully floated French and English horn solos provided some compensation.

Puccini's Tosca boils with emotion.
By Jack Zink, Theater/Music Writer
Sun-Sentinel, February 13, 2008

Conductor Stewart Robertson kept the orchestra in an aggressively brisk mode throughout the opening-night performance, reasonably controlled in contest and maintaining an edge through the score's more affecting or somber turns.

FGO serves up fiery, majestic `Tosca'
Miami Herald, Feb. 11, 2008

Stewart Robertson was a much more engaged presence in the pit, pointing the big moments effectively, supporting the singers alertly, and drawing surprising weight and refinement from the orchestra. Apart from some acid-toned viola and cello solos and more maladroit horn lapses, the orchestral playing was the finest heard this season. The strings had impressive burnished richness and woodwinds were consistently characterful with a beautifully evocative clarinet introduction to E lucevan le stelle.


Review: The Pearl Fishers
By Lawrence Budmen, Special Correspondent
Sun-Sentinel, January 30, 2008

Long a champion of French opera, Stewart Robertson conducted with unflagging momentum and masterfully delineated Bizet's elegantly colored wind and string writing. The Florida Classical Orchestra played with clarity and refinement.

Anna: A song of exquisite torment is a coup for Florida Grand Opera
By Lawrence Budmen, Special Correspondent
Sun-Sentinel, May 1, 2007

Stewart Robertson conducted an eloquent, incisive account of Carlson's swirling musico-dramatic creation with bright, colorful playing from the Florida Classical Orchestra.

Aida scales heights as quirky spectacle opens new opera hall
By Lawrence A. Johnson
Sun-Sentinel. October 30 2006

Stewart Robertson's spacious conducting let tension sag a bit in the first act, but proved alert and idiomatic enough, if without the kind of consuming fire this score demands. The Florida Classical Orchestra played very well indeed, though it still felt a size too small for the opera and the venue.

Classical Orchestra has authority, needs audience
By David Fleshler
Sun-Sentinel, March 1, 2007

The Florida Classical Orchestra emerged from the opera pit Tuesday to give a good performance of works by Tchaikovsky at Florida Atlantic University.

The orchestra, which appeared at the university's Carole & Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium in Boca Raton, is best known as the pit ensemble for Florida Grand Opera and Miami City Ballet. Freed of the need to follow singers or dancers, the orchestra showed itself capable of fine ensemble work and a rich sound in substantial symphonic compositions.

Florida Classical Orchestra plays solo show
Miami Herald, Nov. 21, 2006   

Considering this month's punishing FGO schedule, of concurrent Aida and Abduction from the Seraglio performances, the Florida Classical Orchestra played surprisingly well Sunday. The orchestra brought a striding vigor to the Untouchables theme, and, though lacking the requisite silver-screen sumptuousness, tackled the lyrical ebb and flow of Morricone's scores from Cinema Paradiso and Once Upon a Time in America with aplomb. Morricone's melodic style often veers into soupy sentiment, yet Robertson largely kept the schmaltz at bay, drawing fine solo contributions, particularly Robert Weiner's beautifully floated oboe in an excerpt from The Mission.

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