One of the industry’s most versatile conductors, John Baril regularly leads critically acclaimed performances of symphonic and choral music, ballet, opera, operetta and musical theater in notable theatres worldwide. Gaining critical acclaim for his solid technique and sensitivity, The Boulder Daily Camera hailed: “John Baril, always superb in the pit, again leads a polished, professional orchestra through a sensitive reading of the score. Baril knows what the singers need and consistently provides it.”
In 2006, Maestro Baril was appointed the first Music Director at Central City Opera, where he had progressed through various leadership roles since 1992. Under his baton, the company enjoyed numerous critically acclaimed performances spanning a wide repertoire including: the regional première of Adamo’s Little Women; a sold-out revival of Carmen, marking the first opera to be sung in French at Central City; the unusual double-bill of Pagliacci and Goyescas; Les contes d’Hoffmann, directed by Paul Curran; sold-out performances of Madama Butterfly, to standing ovations, marking the directorial début of Catherine Malfitano; Massenet’s Cendrillon for the company’s 75th anniversary; sold-out performances of Bernstein’s West Side Story for its 50th anniversary; and teamed up again with Malfitano for a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Also for Central City, he led performances of Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata, Heggie’s Three Decembers and Dead Man Walking, Tosca, John Musto’s Later the Same Evening, Rigoletto, and a triple bill of Gianni Schicchi, Die Sieben Todsünden and Les mamelles de Tirésias. Recently, Baril conducted a “splendid” production of Il trovatore, critics hailing “Music Director John Baril has seen his share of milestones in the pit at Central City Opera, but this summer’s Il trovatore—represents a new height for him and the company.” Last season, the maestro conducted Two Remain and Die Fledermaus for the company.
Maestro Baril is equally sought after outside of Central City. Last season, Baril led Shreveport Opera’s Rigoletto, and will begin this season with La traviata at Inland Northwest Opera. Other recent productions include Roméo et Juliette and Il barbiere di Siviglia at Virginia Opera; Les pêcheurs de perles for Toledo Opera; Don Giovanni in his début with Nashville Opera; Tosca in a début at Opera Delaware, returning later to conduct Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci; Carmen with Nevada Opera; The Turn of the Screw for University of Missouri Kansas City; Le nozze di Figaro and Il barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Colorado; and returned to Opera Colorado for the world première of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. He also served as Chorus Master for the Newport Classics recording of The Ballad of Baby Doe.
Throughout his career, Maestro Baril continues to demonstrate a commitment to crafting musicians of the future through his work in educational environments. He works closely with the apprentice and studio artists in the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program at the Central City Opera Festival, leading them in mainstage performances of Manon, Pique Dame, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La fanciulla del West, Candide, La traviata, Little Women, and Carmen. During his tenure at Yale University, he again worked closely with developing artists in repertoire, language, style, performance traditions, and led them in performances of La Cenerentola and Tchaikovsky’s rarely-heard Iolanta as well as numerous scenes programs. He conducted Street Scene at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and Così fan tutte at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Since its inception in 2005, the Associate Conductorship at Central City Opera under Baril’s tutelage has played a major role in the early careers of several young conductors including Andrew Altenbach, Jeffrey Eckstein, Levi Hammer, Timothy Myers, Adam Turner and Christopher Zemliauskas. He has judged Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in Phoenix, San Diego, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Mississippi.