“... Anthony Barrese brought out all the Slavic beauty of Smetana’s score and supported his singers admirably.”

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch




In a few short years, the spirited young American conductor Anthony Barrese has gone from assisting Maestros David Zinman, Fabio Luisi, and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to an early appointment as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Southwest. His imaginative plans to revive Franco Faccio’s nineteenth century opera Amleto, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet—produced at Opera Southwest in the fall of 2014 —brought rare encouragement from Placido Domingo. “Several years ago I had the pleasure to attend a presentation of this work by the talented young conductor Anthony Barrese, and remember well the strong impression made by both the quality of the music and the performance,” wrote Mr. Domingo after attending an early workshop presentation, adding that Franco Faccio was one of Verdi’s favorite musicians.  In conjunction with Casa Ricordi, Maestro Barrese spent a decade painstakingly researching and editing a critical edition of the 1865 opera, which has not been heard since an early revival at La Scala in 1871.

Maestro Barrese’s guest-conducting has taken him to some of America’s leading companies; this past June he received accolades for leading a brilliant production at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis of  Smetana’s The Kiss. The New York Times sent music critic Vivien Schweitzer out to St. Louis where she covered his debut. “Anthony Barrese conducted a lively reading of the score, with its tuneful Czech-inflected melodies and stirring orchestral accompaniment.” (June 23, 2013) The veteran reviewer Sarah Bryan Miller, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also found much to praise:  “In his [OTSL] conducting debut, Anthony Barrese brought out all the Slavic beauty of Smetana’s score and supported his singers admirably” (June 16, 2013).

During the 2019-20 season, Maestro Barrese will unearth another long-forgotten work with Opera Southwest, this time the Giovanni Bottesini opera Alì Babà, based on the story of “Alì Babà and the Forty Thieves” from One Thousand and One Nights. First premiered in 1871 at London’s Lyceum Theatre, Alì Babà has been painstakingly reconstructed by Maestro Barrese from the composer’s original manuscript over the last decade. Not only has he has sought to maintain the authenticity of the piece through his reconstruction, but also in his selection of the cast and creative team, including Egyptian bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam in the title role and award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker Foad Faridzadeh as director in his opera debut.

Other recent highlights have included performances of several productions at the Sarasota Opera, including LakméLe nozze di Figaro, and Hansel and Gretel. He has also led: Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera North; Don Giovanni at the Boston Lyric Opera; Il tabarro at the Mercury Opera Company, Edmonton; productions of Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles and Rossini’s Norma at Florida Grand Opera; The Merry Widow with Opera Saratoga; Rossini’s Semiramide at Opera Delaware; Wagner’s Lohengrin with Opera Southwest; and Ned Rorem’s Our Town at the DePaul Opera Theater. Having served as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Opera during the 2006-2007 season, Maestro Barrese was quickly engaged to lead a production of Tosca a year later; he was engaged again in 2015 to lead a production of La Wally as guest conductor.

In Europe he has conducted a new production of Turandot in Ascoli Piceno’s historic Teatro Ventidio Basso, with a cast that included Nicola Martinucci as Calaf.  He also made his French debut conducting Turandot at the Opéra de Massy, France. He made his operatic conducting debut in Milan with La bohème and recorded Roberto Andreoni’s quattro luci sul lago with ”I Solisti della Scala” (a chamber group made up of the first chair musicians of the La Scala Philharmonic) for broadcast on Italian National Radio/ RAI 3.

Mr. Barrese is the recipient of numerous composition awards including a N.E.C. Contemporary Ensemble Composition Competition Award for his Madrigale a 3 voci femminili, and two B.M.I. Student Composers Awards. With a Master’s of Music cum laude from New England Conservatory of Music, Maestro Barrese was granted the 2007 Georg Solti Foundation U.S. Award for Young Conductors.  As an undergraduate he majored in composition at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Maestro Barrese divides his time between Albuquerque (Opera Southwest) and his home base in Chicago.