Hailed by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times as “vocally robust” and “lyrically malevolent”, American Bass-Baritone Joseph Barron is sought after for his portrayals in both the dramatic and comedic repertoire.
Recently, Mr. Barron returned to the Metropolitan Opera to sing Monterone in Rigoletto and cover Swallow in Peter Grimes, débuted with the Dallas Opera and the Atlanta Opera as Donner in Das Rheingold and the Cleveland Orchestra as Happy in La fanciulla del West. This season he returns to the San Francisco Opera to cover King Heinrich in Lohengrin, the Metropolitan Opera to cover Melitone in La forza del destino and to Finger Lakes Opera to sing Ramfis in Aida. [read more...]
"... Joseph Barron, a Don Pizarro with few peers in the years since Friedrich Schorr, Josef Metternich, and Hans Hotter..." – Voix des Arts
Fidelio – “In too many performances of Fidelio, the musical atrocities committed by interpreters of Don Pizarro, the tyrannical prison governor, are nearly as unpardonable as the character’s torture and detention of Florestan. The sagacity of North Carolina Opera’s casting of this Fidelio filled Meymandi Concert Hall with every note sung by bass-baritone Joseph Barron, a Don Pizarro with few peers in the years since Friedrich Schorr, Josef Metternich, and Hans Hotter last sang the rôle. Rather than the travesty of off-pitch caterwauling that it is in some productions, Pizarro’s tempestuous entrance aria ‘Ha! welch’ ein Augenblick!’ was genuinely sung in Barron’s performance, the full range of the music in the voice and the words hurled into the auditorium like grenades. Though appropriately savage, ‘Jetzt, Alter, jetzt hat es Eile!’ in the duet with Rocco was also uninfringably musical, and his voicing of ‘Verweg’ner Alter, welche Rechte’ in the quintet was vicious without being discordant. In the quartet in Act Two, Barron detonated a volatile ‘Er sterbe!’ that, like all of the bass-baritone’s singing on this evening, made its point without resorting to shouting and snarling.”
"... Barron commanded attention every time he entered the stage..." – Classical Voice of North Carolina
Fidelio – “His bass was resonant and powerful, the voice of reason to Don Pizarro's aggressive bass-baritone, which was sung by Joseph Barron. Barron commanded attention every time he entered the stage, a convincing and compelling villain.”
"... a thundering bass voice..." – Town Topics
Nixon in China – "Joseph Barron, singing the role of Nixon’s right-hand man Henry Kissinger, sang with a thundering bass voice reminiscent in range of Kissinger’s own gravelly speaking voice."
"... dark vocal timbres rich in narrative nuance..." – South China Morning Post
Don Giovanni – “Joseph Barron as Leporello, the not-so-nobleman and his full-time wing man, both of whom conveyed moments of dark humour with dark vocal timbres rich in narrative nuance. . . Leporello followed his master’s every move with a distinctive mix of disgust and envy."
"... Joseph Barron’s rich bass-baritone made his scenes ring with threat and menace..." – Opera Wire
Rigoletto – “An excess of riches, no question about it. And that included the somewhat ethical assassin, Sparafucile. Joseph Barron’s rich bass-baritone made his scenes ring with threat and menace (while still sounding gorgeous). And his singing in the Act three quartet helped make that a moment where I wished we could have revived the tradition of bis. Please, repeat!”
"... a smoothness to his robust bass-baritone..." – Seen and Heard International
Rigoletto – “Joseph Barron was all business as her brother, Sparafucile; one body was as good as the next as long as he got his money. There is a smoothness to his robust bass-baritone that matches his total ease on stage.”
"... vivid and sonorous..." – Opera News
Rigoletto – “Joseph Barron (Sparafucile) was vivid and sonorous”
"... Joseph Barron, whose bright, focused singing was suited to the role..." – Opera News
Le nozze di Figaro – "The cast was strong from top to bottom, led by the enthusiastic portrayal of Figaro by Joseph Barron, whose bright, focused singing was suited to the role; his Figaro was believably enamored of his Susanna."
"... Seldom has evil been conveyed musically with such restrained relish..." – Broad Street Review
Fidelio – "a marvel to hear, as are Andreasson’s bass-baritone and Joseph Barron’s bass (as Rocco and prison governor Don Pizarro, respectively), conveying starkly different personalities within such a close vocal range. . . The villain in this case is Don Pizarro, and a worse fiend can scarcely be imagined. Barron portrays the prison governor—a rival nobleman to jailed protest leader Florestan—with a pallor of evil usually reserved for depictions of Satan. Seldom has evil been conveyed musically with such restrained relish."
"... Barron’s muscular bass-baritone and flair for dynamic phrasing..." – Opera News
Der Freischütz – "Joseph Barron’s muscular bass-baritone and flair for dynamic phrasing made him a commanding Kaspar."
"... Barron hit the high staccato notes…with grace and strength..." – Washington Classical Review
Der Freischütz – "Bass-baritone Joseph Barron made a snarling Kaspar, the doomed hunter who hopes to wiggle out of his own deal with the Devil by putting Max in his place. In his first aria, Barron hit the high staccato notes that punctuate the piece with grace and strength."
"... Joseph Barron was an audience favorite..." – Opera News
Don Giovanni – “As Leporello, bass-baritone Joseph Barron was an audience favorite, offering a portrayal as humorous as it was richly sung. It is a shame that his aria “Ah pietà signori miei” was omitted.”
"... one of the production’s many high points..." – New Orleans Times-Picayune
Don Giovanni – “Bass-baritone Joseph Barron gives Leporello a broadly physical performance that is so well acted comically that we nearly overlook his potently sonorous voice. His handling of the famous "Catalogue Aria," in which he lists his employer's many sexual conquests (2,065, if I added it all up correctly), was one of the production’s many high points.”
"... immaculate verbal clarity and vocal quality..." – Opera News
Peter Grimes – "Joseph Barron's Swallow also stood out for immaculate verbal clarity and vocal quality and steadiness."
"... stentorian tones and clear diction..." – Opera Today
Peter Grimes – “Bass-baritone Joseph Barron launched the evening with stentorian tones and clear diction as the lawyer Swallow.”
"... Barron lent his striking, buzzy vocals..." – Post-Gazette.com
Dark Sisters – "Bass-baritone Joseph Barron lent his striking, buzzy vocals to the double role of the Prophet and the television anchor, King. He demonstrated a full, dark vibrato . . . "
"... Joseph Barron was formidable as the Prophet..." – Triblive.com
Dark Sisters – "Joseph Barron was formidable as the Prophet, singing with impressive legato when presenting a vision. Although we see him hugging his wives, and speaking of family love, the Prophet is an opaque character."