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“All the colour and emotion of Puccini’s music”

“Renato Balsadonna conducted the Orchestra of Opera North to bring out all the colour and emotion of Puccini’s music, from arctic quiet to frenetic energy to pathetic intensity. He controlled the flowing mercury with efficiency, with some well-timed sudden jolts when required. ” - Full Review

“Full advantage of conductor Renato Balsadonna’s grasp of Puccini’s timing and melodies”

“In this latter respect she took full advantage of conductor Renato Balsadonna’s grasp of Puccini’s timing and melodies. He has learned much, I suspect, during the years he spent working with Sir Antonio Pappano, a Puccini specialist of the first grade, for the Royal Opera at Covent Garden.”

Seen and Heard International - Full Review

“Conductor Renato Balsadonna was superb”

“...the orchestra under the direction of conductor Renato Balsadonna was superb and proved that one could understand the story by listening to the music alone. ”

North West End UK - Full Review

“Puccinian detail and passion”

“Renato Balsadonna.....shows in the details he gets from the orchestra, which plays with Italianate, Puccinian detail and passion, and the ensemble he has moulded from fine young singers....”

Hugh Canning The Sunday Times - Full Review

“Enveloped in a wash of suitably sentimental romantic colour”

“The orchestra swooned under the baton of Renato Balsadonna, who brought out the score’s pictorial flourishes to striking effect. ‘O soave fanciulla’ was enveloped in a wash of suitably sentimental romantic colour, and the snowy atmosphere at the beginning of Act 3 was enough to warm the cockles on a chilly northern night.”

Charlotte Armstrong

“An exceptional orchestra”

“Renato Balsadonna’s experience as Director of the Royal Opera House Chorus was strongly revealed in his management of the Orchestra of Opera North; he’s no novice at conducting, either, but his chorus work seems to have given him a special understanding of the needs of singers, allowing them to caress a phrase or to darken an emphasis as necessary. This is an exceptional orchestra, responsive to a delicate touch as well as to encouragement to indulge in the more sweeping moments, and Balsadonna obtained lyrical, finely phrased playing from every section.”

Music OMH - Full Review

“Renato Balsadonna was sensitive, and skilful”

“Conductor Renato Balsadonna was sensitive, skilful and got the best out of the Opera North orchestra”

Mancunian Matters - Full Review

“Wrings every ounce of frivolity and tragedy from Puccini’s superlative score”

“The wonderful Orchestra of Opera North, under the baton of Conductor Renato Balsadonna, wrings every ounce of frivolity and tragedy from Puccini’s superlative score.”

East midlands theatre - Full Review

“Orchestra performed faultlessly”

“The orchestra performed faultlessly under the baton of Renato Balsadonna, bringing out the emotion of the music of Puccini.”

What's Good to Do - Full Review

“Conducted with light but sure precision”

“Renato Balsadonna conducted with light but sure precision, and made good use of the dramatic pause when necessary.”

Number 9 Reviews - Full Review

“Direction was never less than idiomatic”

“....with powerful guidance from conductor Renato Balsadonna, whose direction was never less than idiomatic and drew beautiful playing from the orchestra, they managed to persuade me this time that the breaking-up-is-hard-to-do emotions of act three are really the most glorious part of the entire opera.”

Theatre Reviews North - Full Review

“Conductor Renato Balsadonna’s pacy, sensitive handling”

“Conductor Renato Balsadonna’s pacy, sensitive handling of the orchestra matches the overall vision of an opera where love and loss are linked by the most fragile of threads.”


Reviews across the UK and Ireland

La Bohème, Theatre Royal, Nottingham, 4****: by William Ruff

"Al Regio una Sonnambula che convince"

“Se però questa Sonnambula riesce ad esercitare l'incanto di uno sguardo a perdita d'occhio nella contemplazione della bellezza melodica, lo si deve al direttore Renato Balsadonna e al suo fraseggio flessibile, con i respiri, le elasticità di tempo e i colori che creano varietà, naturalezza, e tolgono al discorso ogni sospetto di schematismo. Basta un niente per trasformare l'orchestra di Bellini in un organetto meccanico. L'altra sera, invece, voci e strumenti si fondevano in un respiro comune: davvero un ottimo risultato.”

"However, if this Sonnambula succeeds to exercise the charm of a look as far as the eye can see in the contemplation of melodic beauty it is due to the conductor Renato Balsadonna and to his flexible phrasing, with breaths, the elasticity of time and the colors that create variety, naturalness and take away all suspicion of schematism. It takes nothing to transform Bellini's orchestra into a mechanical organ. The other night, instead, voices and instruments merged in a common breath: a really wonderful result."

Paolo Gallarati - LA STAMPA 11/04/2019

"Balsadonna is Immersed in his Repertoire"

“It was clear from the rhythmic precision of the prelude not only that the orchestra was well run-in… but also that this would be a fast-moving, lithe, athletic account of Puccini’s great score, yet one touched by an elegant, instinctive feeling for rubato. Balsadonna is immersed in this repertoire – as he is in Verdi – and one can only hope he gets more chances to spread his conducting wings at Covent Garden. …the Flower Duet was almost as if Fiordiligi and Dorabella had taken a trip to Japan…encouraged by Balsadonna to indulge in natural, Italianate phrasing.”

Hugh Canning Opera Magazine July 2017 reviewing Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House

"Une Lecture Limpide"

“Dans la fosse, Renato Balsadonna impose une lecture limpide, faisant ressortir les nuances des pupitres de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice et soulignant les effets théâtraux d’une production somme toute conventionelle, mais parfaitment huilée. Le drame est là, à tout instant: que demander de plus?”

Jean-Marc Proust À la scène reviewing Tosca at Opéra de Nice

"Une des Grandes Satifactions de la Soirée"

“…la partie musicale est une des grandes satisfactions de la soirée. A la tête de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, le chef italien Renato Balsadonna déroule une forte et belle precision la double trame d’une partition tissée de leitmoifs, mais non moins articulée sur un lyrisme sensual recurrent.” 

Emmanuel Andrieu opera-online reviewing Tosca at Opéra de Nice

“The Highlight of the Evening”

“He conducted the last performance of Nabucco, keeping the orchestra on their toes in a rhythmically alert and exciting performance, and his choristers sang their hearts out for him in Va, pensiero - the highlight of the evening.”

Hugh Canning

The Sunday Times

“A Very Big, Bold, Vibrant Performance”

“Renato Balsadonna is clearly sympathetic to Massenet's music and drew a good sense of style from the singers and the orchestra. Though highly sympathetic to the singers, Balsadonna did not hang around, and the whole performance had wonderful gusto. There were many lovely orchestral moments… this was a very big, bold, vibrant performance.”

Planet Hugill

“Blend of Belligerence and Unmistakably French Lyricism”

“Balsadonna and his forces hooked us from the first with the blend of belligerence and unmistakeably French lyricism. The strings [had] real sheen in impassioned unison passages like the portrait of the protagonist as eternal sufferer.” 

The Arts Desk

“A Good Ear for Massenet's Orchestral Colours”

“Renato Balsadonna conducted with brio and style. From the first moments of the overture, the BBC Concert Orchestra impressed with the elan and brilliance of their performance. Balsadonna had a good ear for Massenet's orchestral colours and ensured that details counted whilst never lingering over much.”

Planet Hugill

“an Exceptional Conductor”

“Balsadonna proved here what an exceptional conductor he is…an excellent display of precision, drama, and musicality.”

Music OMH

“An Exciting and Propulsive Reading”

“Under Renato Balsadonna’s energetic baton, this was an exciting and propulsive reading.”

Classical Source