"Jenufa" at Grange Park Opera, June 2017

 

 

"The miracle of Janáček's orchestration was beautifully realised by the BBC Concert Orchestra under William Lacey  

( . . . )

Both here and in Tosca the BBC Concert Orchtestra played like lions."

- What's On Stage, 18 June 2017 

 

 

"The BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by William Lacey, fulfils superbly the many roles given it by Janáček’s score.  Tension is sustained from the first bars of the overture and the appearance of the recurring waterwheel motif.  On the one hand, the voices float on the unifying current created by the instruments; on the other, the orchestra enables the voices’ individuality.  A violin may echo one voice; a horn underlines the horror of Kostelnička’s self-deception; two protagonists’ utterances may be linked by instrumental harmonies… More than in most operas, in Jenůfa the orchestra is often called upon to perform a role akin to that of the chorus in Greek tragedy.

Congratulations to Grange Park Opera on this outstanding revival – and on achieving the opening of its new opera house in the woods within a mere eleven months of commencing building." 

- Seen and Heard International, June 13 2017 

 

 

"Conductor William Lacey drew passionate and accurate playing from the BBC Concert Orchestra, driving action forward at the appropriate moments without being afraid to show a little languor when needed."

- Bachtrack, June 13 2017

 

 

"the BBC Concert Orchestra once again played at a level beyond expectations, directed by William Lacey with sympathetic skill."

- Music OMH, June 18 2017

 

 

"This fine cast performs under the baton of William Lacey conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra. The orchestra brings out the interesting textures of Janacek’s finely orchestrated score and the singers and orchestra are well balanced."

- British Theatre Guide, June 2017


 

"From the opening music of the mill wheel – the mill both sustains and confines the village – William Lacey makes sure that Janáček’s wiry, astringent music sounds with maximum force, enhanced by the BBC Concert Orchestra’s primary-colour immediacy."

- Classical Source, 13 June 2017

 

 

"William Lacey made sure that the BBC Concert Orchestra painted a colourful, sometimes biting, musical soundscape and if occasionally one might have wished for a little more Slavic warmth and fire this was more than made up for by the range of timbre and ceaseless energy of the playing."

- Opera Today, 19 June 2017

 

 

"Susan Bullock as the Kostelnička has to create, therefore, one of the most complex wome in opera – one who can kill a child and yet persuade us that she is justified in her role as the young mother's protector. The natural warmth of the very excellent BBC Concert Orchestra under William Lacey supports this more sympathetic interpretation of an often more alarming character.

This is an exceptional evening at so many levels, and a chance to be on the first page of a new chapter in the history of opera in Britain. Highly recommended."

- Culture Whisper, June 2017

 

 

The BBC Concert Orchestra under the baton of William Lacey gave bite to Janáček’s remarkable music that was based on his deep understanding of speech rhythms, and its harrowing power found expression most strikingly in Natalya Romaniw’s fine performance of the title role.

- Mark Ronan Theatre Reviews, June 24 2017

 


In the pit, William Lacey drew a strong performance from the BBC Concert Orchestra, ranging from moments of intense drama to the radiance of the end, in Janacek's magical scoring. The balance was excellent, and I never had any worries about the strongly characterised orchestral contribution overwhelming the singers.

- Planet Hugill, June 25 2017

 


Qué bueno escuchar a la Orquesta de Conciertos de la BBC en esta obra:  los sonidos fueron transparentes, pudiéndose escuchar los instrumentos solistas y los diversos ritmos cruzados bajo la experta y cuidadosa dirección de William Lacey.  

- Opera Actual (Spain), July 2017

 

 

  

 

  

"Billy Budd" at the Bolshoi in Moscow, November 2016

 

 

"Music director and conductor William Lacey, already familiar to Muscovites after the above mentioned "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Don Giovanni" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre, a concert performance of "Orpheus and Eurydice" and "Le Nozze di Figaro" at the Bolshoi, did a brilliant job, no exaggeration. The orchestra with its viscous, intricately changing harmonies was endearing and taking away the audience to the depths of the sea. Even when nothing was happening on stage (as the director preferred to limit the "livening up" of small symphonic intermezzos), the listeners’ ears and attention were focused as much as possible. Despite the fact that in general playing Britten at the Bolshoi, the most branded theatre of the country (where, as a consequence, there is a number of ‘tick the box’ spectators who need to visit the famous landmark but it is hard to get a ticket to “Giselle"), is obviously a difficult task, the way Lacey led the performance did not create the feeling that he was doing some extraordinary effort. The man was just doing his job perfectly but habitually, in a business-like manner, having everything under control; and this magic of professionalism captured even the most unskilled spectators.
The wonderfully built orchestra was matched by the male chorus (chief chorus master Valery Borisov). The massive choral scenes are a very important part of the opera, and given the fact that the director let the chorus sing facing out at the most important moments, in its current form the opera has acquired even some oratorio character. The chorus coped perfectly with the timbral and dynamic complexity and was nothing like the old traditional "theatrical choir" singing everything with a tedious dirty grey mezzo forte, there was precise, frightening and restrained piano and fortissimo in the heat of emotion. The tiny chorus of cabin boys kept pace with the adult one - who said that the New Stage has problems with acoustics? One could hear perfectly the ringing boyish voices."

- Opera News, December 12 2016

 

 

  

"Not for a bit does this production let the attention go or repel with theatrical falsehood. The chorus and extras perform the complex plastic score of the performance with a "Broadway" precision. The musical part of Britten’s score is reconciled with artistic scrupulousness, when each part is woven into a performing ensemble, the Russian soloists (Alexander Miminoshvili, Marat Gali, Stanislav Mostovoy, Nikolai Kazansky and others) are not inferior to their English colleagues, and the choruses are impressive with perfect unison, differentiated sound, clarity in polyphony and chorales.
All the musical work is headed by William Lacey, who managed to create a field of high voltage sound, magnetizing with Britten's florid vocal lines, never-ending rumble of timpani and tremolo of the strings, eerie chimes of the cymbals and icy shimmering of the harp, "stormy" rolling of tutti and songs of the British sailors. In the final scene the convicted sailors pull out a rope on which the “angel of light" Billy Budd is hung. But the meaning of this resolution is not a tragedy, but the fact that good, even being destroyed, still changes the world. And no one will stay the same after this story has happened."

- Rossiskaya gazeta, November 29 2016




"Britten's music, the great "fault in the angelic song", once heard, can never be forgotten. It has everything: the burden of responsibility, the test of spirit and the imperfection of the good. Dissonant recits, whimsical rhythms, both picturesque and "transcendent", enchantingly chilly and surprisingly fiery. Trills that melt in the haze of swirling sound. The power and intimacy. The polyphony of male and only male voices. Arioso fragments of confessions and impressive choruses as responses of the masses. "Everyday" songs and "vibrations" of the ocean, embodied by the orchestral interludes, as well as the whims of the human soul. The worrisome ambivalence of sentiments that keeps the listener at some last border that is not to be crossed.
 ( . . . ) 
The production is full of brilliant vocal work. The amazing John Daszak as Vere, the servant of the call of duty, is a unique actor, with trembling hands and a smart sorrowful face. Iurii Samoilov from the Frankfurt Opera (Billy) is so good at singing and so suitable for his character that it seems that he was the prototype for Budd. It is impossible not to mention Sir Robert Lloyd, the maître of European scene, who came to Moscow to sing at his advanced age - and sing brilliantly! – the role of the old sailor Dansker. The tenors from the Bolshoi Theatre, Marat Gali (Red Whiskers), Stanislav Mostovoi (Squeak) and Bogdan Volkov (Novice), courageously overcoming the difficulty of singing in English, amounted to more than compete with the British vocal team. ( . . . ) The Bolshoi Orchestra under the direction of William Lacey showed miracles in the interpretation of the music. And the chorus was unique: when the crew of the “Indomitable” chased the French ship, and when sang the sailor's song ( “We're towing to Malta, The rock of Gibraltar, With only a halter, And Davy Jones lying below, So pray to the Devil below "). In general, an undoubted success."
- Teatral, November 29 2016


"Stage director David Alden, set designer Paul Steinberg and music director and conductor William Lacey together with the singers created a striking, aesthetically impeccable performance, which opens new horizons of exploring unknown opera masterpieces to the audience. 
( . . . ) 
Inspired by the story written by the classic of American literature Herman Melville "Billy Budd, Foretopman", the composer created a powerful musical canvas. Maestro William Lacey with the orchestra managed to convey to the listeners the depth and originality of the music, thrilling to the chills. The music has everything: sea storms and cannon firing, the confrontation between the good and the evil, the hidden passion, remorse and repentance. "

- MosPravda, November 29 2016



           "Billy Budd", a great success of the Bolshoi Theatre

"The premiere of Benjamin Britten`s opera, made in co-production with the English, once again proves that the country's main theater is open to the world culture.
By the end of the three-hour opera, composed of two large acts (second edition, 1961), it seems that you have made a grand voyage and returned to yourself, having had accumulated a lifetime of spiritual experience.
This is the author`s intention: a story of a young sailor, beautiful and innocent as an angel, perhaps a little hot-tempered, who was hung on a yardarm due to harsh military laws, becomes part of the lives of everyone who knew him, and primarily, Captain Vere, who could have saved him. The key scene of the opera is the court scene. The military tribunal is desperately unwilling to condemn to death the sailor who accidentally sends to glory the slanderer, master-at-arms, and appeals to Captain`s wisdom, but he does not have it, he has only his duty. Before his death, the condemned forgives and blesses the captain, giving him for the salvation a part of not heavenly but poetic truth.
The warship sails the water in the absence of a clear goal: the enemy is shows only once, at the beginning of the second act mighty choruses sound, the cannon shoots, but the undershoot and the mist return the life to the usual course. The ship is a metaphor for the world; the story that unfolds on its board is the variations on the Gospel themes, in which there are roles of Jesus, Pilate and Judas. The incredible boldness of the opera is that Britten and his librettists, Morgan Forster and Eric Crozier come to explain how the world works, easily dispensing with women – there is not one female part in the opera. However, there is a love drama: demonic Claggart decides to destroy the boy for the luminescence that became painful for Claggart’s own existence. 
One needs to be Britten to give an artistic expression to such view of the world. Often, there is a feeling that the music played by the orchestra goes away from the story, forgets about it and tells its own stories. There is an explanation for it: Britten composed music of the sea, it is the element that carries the ship. However, the marine scenes in "Billy Budd" are more abstract than in the fisherman`s opera "Peter Grimes" while set designer Paul Steinberg goes further and locks the action in crew quarters and cabins, depriving the audience not only of marine views but even of salty splashes. Then it begins to seem that Britten`s orchestra plays the life of human nature itself, the soul traveling through complex paths.
In the new production of the Bolshoi, the orchestra is the most important element, which flows with precious sounds and changes colours, as deep-sea animals do. Under the direction of William Lacey, an old friend of Moscow audience, the orchestra is presented in many shades: marvellous solos of leading instruments, saxophone or bass clarinet, low strings and harp form fine groups, four flutes play together as gently as one - and conversely, seven drummers fill the theater with drumming in the membrane, the brass dings with tutti. The male chorus of five dozen singers is excellent as well, mastering both dashing shanties, sailors’ songs, multilayered polyphony, and the power of the battle.
The opera, made in co-production, was first shown in London on the stage of the English National Opera, then in Deutsche Oper Berlin. In Moscow, the cast of the singers is mostly different, but is dominated by guest soloists, whose art is an example of English prosody and possession of Britten's style. Captain Vere is sung by John Daszak, whom we remember from "Katerina Ismailova", his role begins with a prologue and finishes with an epilogue. The whole performance is his memories; the actor plays the whole lifetime, showing his character in the strength and weakness, in the blaze of captain`s glory and vanity of impotent old age. His voice is rich in intonation, though sometimes it swings. The captain`s antipode, obsessed with the destruction Claggart appears as a wildly powerful (voice and figure wise) villain played by Gidon Saks. Billy Budd`s name is Iurii Samoilov, but he is also a singer from Europe with beautiful baritone and stage charm: a ballad, written by Britten in a deliberately simple way, in which the protagonist says goodbye to life, efficiently plunges everyone into tears.
The special event of the evening is the appearance of the great world stage veteran Robert Lloyd in a small part of the old Dansker: his noble bass and theatrical charisma didn’t not dim in any way. Jonathan Summers and Jeffrey Darren sing the members of the tribunal, but our Oleg Tsybulko is not lost among them. The rest of the roles are sung beautifully by the singers of the Bolshoi. Particularly rich is the role of Novice, first whipped, and then forced to betray. It is emotionally and accurately performed by Bogdan Volkov, a recent Lensky.
The precision of all the roles from small to large is the credit of the director David Alden, who has worked with artists in detail on Moscow stage. Well-known for free interpretation, this time he respectfully stayed within the original outline, limiting himself to sparse but precise staging. Only once the director violates the line between the past and the present: Captain Vere supervises the preparation for the execution from the later memories already being a feeble old man. It proves to be enough to call forth for today's listener the story of the Foretopman."

- Vedomosti, November 28 2016
 

            
"Mastering the unusual opera style, the Bolshoi Theatre again used almost the same mechanism as that of last year with Handel's "Rodelinda". The performance, which, contrary to local tradition, had only one cast, is a co-production with the English National Opera (it premiered in London in 2012) and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The set is rented for the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. The orchestra and chorus are those of the Bolshoi. Western soloists are gently mixed with Russian ones, among which the most important discovery is a young and charming Minsk-Kiev-Frankfurt baritone Iurii Samoilov, a remarkable Billy Budd, the star of the production. From the soloists of the Bolshoi Theater the most notable one is Bogdan Volkov with excellent light, Britten-like tenor. He performs the role of a young sailor named Novice. The villain Claggart is enthusiastically sung by a bass-baritone Gidon Saks (born in Israel, grew up in South Africa, studied in London, works worldwide). Legendary British bass Robert Lloyd from the older generation wisely adorns the performance in the role of an old sailor, whose name is Dansker.
The male colouring of the opera does not lead to monotony. "Billy Budd" is one of the most beautiful and musically fascinating opera scores of the XX century with the utmost variety of timbres and textures, the finest chamber lyricism, the powerful choral scenes and charming orchestral interludes. The ship containing Britten`s music is confidently and tenderly controlled by maestro William Lacey, who is familiar to the Moscow audiences and beloved here (he made his Moscow debut in that "Midsummer Night's Dream"). And no matter how dark the conclusion of the director is, the musical part of the production gives pure happiness."

- Colta, November 29 2016


             Within the bounds of perfection

 

Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" at the Bolshoi Theatre.

"The series of premiere performances of Benjamin Britten's opera "Billy Budd" directed by David Alden and conducted by William Lacey on the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre is coming to the end. The co-production of the Bolshoi Theatre, English National Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as no other new production of the last seasons, looks and sounds in Moscow not only perfect but also a truly familiar. 
"Billy Budd" is based on novel by the author of "Moby Dick" Herman Melville. The opera was written after the Second World War in 1951 and tells of the events  of another war (the action takes place on the board of an English warship in 1797 when the revolutionary French Directory put the war to the endб but the United Kingdom disagreed with it) and it is one of those rare operatic masterpieces of the XX century that have, so to speak, lucky history in Russia. It is the second time over the past ten years that Billy Budd has been staged in Russia.The first one was the production by Willy Decker from Vienna State Opera revived at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in 2013, in the short time of its repertoire and directory heyday. The production, which moved to Saint Petersburg 12 years after the Vienna premiere, was beautiful, romantic in spirit, psychologically accurate to the text, serious in musical approach (conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov). The very fact of such an unexpected repertoire choice evoked a great response, it showed several casts and soon was out of the repertoire for the lack of demand from the public.
The new "Budd" at the Bolshoi (the time between the European premiere in 2012 and the Moscow version is shorter, but neither is counted by days) also has all chances not to become the box office hit of the repertoire. One can easily find the whole range of tickets even for the premiere series of the performance, not having to stand in queue. Even the first night tickets are widely available and can be purchased at ease.  During the intermission, part of the audience leaves the theater, however not because the performance is bad - this claim could not possibly be made. But because the theatrical and musical language was unexpectedly sparing of shiny effects and external staginess. Such show demands concentration, attention and patience, if not experience.
We must assume that, unlike the colleagues, The Bolshoi is consciously ready for possible box-office losses for the sake of a serious artistic success, a repertoire breakthrough and a reinforcement of its reputation as a theater that is ready to show perfect quality.
Perfect is the right word to describe the way the performance by Alden-Lacey looks and sounds on stage, although in the first monologue of one of the main characters, the old Captain Vere (magnificent John Daszak is on the stage of the Bolshoi again, he sang Sergey in the recent "Katerina Ismailova") discussing the fact that all the beauty in the world has some flaw and defect, Britten argues with the very idea of ​​perfection. Nevertheless, the only possible flaw of the new "Budd" might be only its perfect correctness with respect to the material with its human and musical sense. David Alden (brother of Christopher Alden, the director of another recent Britten`s production in Moscow, the brilliant "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre) is not one of those who turns upside down the semantic reality of the text, explodes all the connections and invents a new theatrical language. He is a tough virtuoso and he builds his "Budd" with the iron hand of a skilled modern expert, literally out of nothing, out of large-scale metal constructions, but no part or thread of the constructively simple and at the same time rich, sophisticated, internally complex musical drama of Britten is abandoned, unbalanced or unaccounted for.
The design is extremely uncluttered, is shows the upper and lower worlds of the ship, infinitely high dark wall of the lower holds and decks and, contrarily, flattened in shape dazzling white wall of the Captain`s cabin. The third element is black as pitch outside deck, but the outside world itself does not exist. The black board is looking at us as if with a blind eye, like "The Flying Dutchman", which has life and death inside it. Alden, like Britten, makes the closed universe of the ship not only the single site of action but also the only reality of the opera characters. The confrontation with the external enemy - the pursuit and brief moment of unsuccessful battle with the invisible French ship – is both illusory and real and is an event of public and private lives of the characters. Not only the subject but the feeling of the war, fear, expectation, desire are impregnated through the post-war opera by Britten with the harsh socio-critical pathos and poignant tenderness of Britten`s humanism.
The only thing that Alden adds to the events that happen on the board of the ship (love, loneliness, heroism, understanding, hatred, betrayal and suppression) after a clever, handsome and kind sailor William Budd is recruited from a merchant ship "The Rights o` Man" (he has only one flaw: he stammers, which, together with the mentioning of “The Rights o` Man”, becomes fatal for him), is just another dimension, one more war. His characters are dressed and moulded after Eisenstein's "Battleship" Potemkin”. It seemed that jackets and leather coats would never work on the opera stage, as they had been used so much in modern theater history. And yet, here they work perfectly, as if the familiar characters were newly born and appeared in the opera written as a psychological novel, passion music, warning and epitaph. Alden stages not only some scenes with the main characters but also the movements of mass scenes and choruses in the spirit of the early Soviet avant-garde art and this proves to be not only tragically strong but also very beautiful.
The premiere series of the Bolshoi Theatre (performances are shown every second day) is sung by one case headed by an expressive and precise both acting and music wise Daszak as Vere, Gidon Saks as chief of naval police Claggart (his being on the stage is the embodiment of absolute evil, at the first performance his great voice was lacking a bit of timbre and expression but at the next one everything fell into place) and the discovery of the production is Iurii Samoilov as Budd. A wonderful baritone, a brilliant actor with post-Soviet origins and European career (in Amsterdam "Kitezh" by Dmitry Chernyakov where extraordinary Daszak sang Grishka Kuterma Samoilov started his career totally unrecognizable with a glued beard), he is the most radiant star of this show. His Budd is passionate, gentle, loyal, not a poster-like and musically great. He simply cannot go down in history as not an outstanding one. The whole vocal ensemble of the performance, composed of Russian (Bogdan Volkov, Oleg Tsybulko, Marat Gali, Nikolai Kazansky, Stanislav Mostovoi) and European singers (Jonathan Summers, Darren Jeffrey, Robert Lloyd) is built and sounds with great expressiveness, balance and stylistic mastery.
The conductor William Lacey is in charge of the most important thing in this production: Britten`s music, sometimes depicting things that are not present onstage or present only as a hint, embodies the whole irreality and rigidity of the drama, all shades of meaning and sense, the depth and beauty of the boundless sea as a reality and metaphor and all the fatality of lack of choice, together with a unique humanity and infinite love, loneliness, life and death, filling the space of the theatre for three short hours. His interpretation of the score is pointedly correct and down-to-earth, but such a discrete, following the stage-direction bar-by-bar literalism only helps Britten grow larger, finer, more complex and convincing with each scene. Finally, the two protagonists of the Moscow performance are chorus and orchestra, whose work will be remembered as one of their most undoubted achievements, both in detail (the nuances of choral polyphony, dynamics, instrumentation, excellent solos in the orchestra, such as cello solo by Pyotr Kondrashin, which remains in the memory for a long time), and in the overall sound with virtuoso transparency, structural clarity, steady movement and scale. Music is the protagonist of this opera and this production. For the second time after the "Midsummer Night's Dream", together with the orchestra, chorus and soloists, Lacey makes Britten in Moscow a revelation and a great event."

- Kommersant, November 30 2016


"This background makes the music of Benjamin Britten sound more definitive, and of course, it is not only the credit of a perfectionist conductor William Lacey and the international team of singers led by the outstanding tenor, Dmitry Chernyakov`s favourite actor John Daszak. "Billy Budd" is performed at the Bolshoi in quite a spectacular way, it can be easily recorded on CDs, but far more impressive than the interpretation itself is its socio-cultural resonance in the acoustics of our time."

- Kommersant Weekend, December 2 2016




"The sound of the orchestra under the direction of maestro Lacey is similar to the movement of a many-masted vessel that sails in an impressive and fascinating way, without the slightest off-course deviation. It creates its own sea, by itself and made from itself. Folk themes roll in waves; violins scream as seagulls flying in smooth passages; the brass is heard de profundis, the scenes interlace like fish tails. The conductor here is not just a captain who directs, guides, drills and gives instructions. The orchestra becomes a true team of his allies who thoroughly know all the levers, details and particularities of the orchestration. They give signals to Debussy and Sibelius, symphonic interludes are worthy of Aivazovsky`s paintings, the changing of the dynamics passes without swell, and it seems that you are about to have a salty taste in your mouth."

- Portal Subkultura, December 2 2016



"The chorus, or rather its male part (directed by the chorus master Valery Borisov) and the Bolshoi orchestra received a major task, which was perfectly executed under the control of the British maestro William Lacey."

- Culture Newspaper, December 4 2016



" 'Billy Budd' is a very difficult material for the musicians of the orchestra. Despite the huge symphonic cast of the orchestra, the opera consists of a large number of episodes of the finest chamber music and solo pieces built into the vocal canvas. The solos in the orchestra were performed by the brilliant musicians of the Bolshoi Theatre: Petr Kondrashin (cello), Artur Arzumanov (broad horn solo in Vere and Budd's duet), Elizaveta Simonenko (harp); Anton Skiba played the saxophone in a fantastically academic and delicate way.

Conductor William Lacey built this huge harmonic canvas, which had the internal dynamics, drama and epic sea."

 - rewizor.ru

 


"It is hard to compare with something the richness of colours of the orchestra in 'Billy Budd'. This piece is created by a marine painter no less great than Melville. Here one can see and hear the rhythmical heaving of waves that accompanies old Vere's woeful story, the game of prickly sparks of light on ever-restless water and the disturbing roll call of war horns and trumpets. And what a marvelous description of Billy's execution…this rise of the loop on the yardarm and at the same time parting of the soul to the heaven with the sound of violins melting away at extremely high notes... Maestro William Lacey proves to be the true musical soul of the production, the fiery leader and the powerful master of the vast light-and-dark spectrum of the score."
- musicseasons.org


"Britten's music in "Billy Budd" has its own life, which does not always coincide with the action. It gives away the hidden thoughts and feelings of the characters despite the apparent logic of their behaviour. British conductor William Lacey leads this process with surgical precision. Orchestral interludes - the most delightful and mysterious element of the opera – are vividly picturesque. They have the fragility of life, the foggy daze of the sea chase and the glooming futility of Billy Budd`s life, which terminates with injustice. It was a real pleasure for those whose melancholic sense of life resonates with the complex beauty of this music, its tragic richness and its painful meaning concealed behind seven seals. Others could not handle it: there were considerably fewer people in the auditorium after the intermission." 
- Business gazeta


"The Bolshoi orchestra is very diverse in this opera and its various departments sound wonderful. The credit is due to the conductor William Lacey. All the power of the orchestra was revealed in the battle scene at the beginning of the second act. The orchestral interludes under his conducting were beautiful.  The chamber scenes, which happen mainly in Vere`s cabin, involve small groupings that eloquently reveal the human drama. It is worth mentioning the orchestral soloists Petr Kondrashin (cello) and Vasily Solovyov (piccolo flute)."

-musicseasons.org


"In the Bolshoi orchestra under the incomparable Mr. Lacey every instrument and motive sounds vivid and expressive."
 
- Screenstage (Moscow) 

 

 

 

 

 

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Hawaii Opera Theatre, February 2016


This was nonetheless a very fine, accomplished effort thanks to the inspired conducting of William Lacey. Maestro Lacey is a real find, and I always had the secure feeling that he knew how to confidently draw the very best from his players and his cast. He found just the right arc for each Act (not to mention the entire evening), and while he could certainly whip up a wickedly frenzied mosaic of sound when required, his greatest achievement may have been in allowing just the right amount of serenity to inform the introspective stretches, allowing them to “breathe.” He partnered the singers expertly, wrung every bit of color out of the score, and summoned up the comedic elements with gusto. Mr. Lacey would seem to have a great future and boy, do we need him!

 - Opera Today, February 22 2016 

 


"Le Nozze di Figaro" - new production at the Bolshoi, April 2015


"The orchestra conducted by William Lacey, the vocal parts, and especially the ensembles, which are famous in this opera, in sum, the entire musical component of the performance pleased the ear."

- MKRU


"Another remarkable advantage of the new "Figaro" is the work of the conductor William Lacey. The English maestro appeared in Moscow for the first time in the production of "Midsummer Night's Dream" by Britten in the Stanislavsky Music Theatre and became a sensation with his finest command of English style. Then Lacey worked on Mozart ("Don Giovanni" directed by Alexander Titel at the same theater of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko and a concert version of "Figaro" at the Bolshoi). And these works were also convincing. So Lacey became one of the favorite foreigners in Moscow of those who allow local singers and musicians to take new stylistic heights without stress and pressure. The score of "Figaro" in his hands is unusually dynamic and not lacking in flexibility. Lacey takes a rapid pace, twists the spring, but allows to relax and enjoy the ensembles, carefully aligned, although not successful in all ways. A new Mozart, stylistically not greasy, not ecstatically romantic, but transparent, painted with delicate colors, the one that appears in Moscow more and more often while it did not exist here not so long ago - that is a great success."

- Kommersant

 

"...Pisarev coped with the task perfectly under the musical direction of the brilliant William Lacey"

 - Rossiyskaya Gazeta


"Conductor William Lacey sets a pretty fast tempo, dynamics and moving forward are continuous, however, the music has not lost its lightness, ease, flexibility, its power and vitality, so the performance is vivid and true-to-life."

 - Nezavisimaya Gazeta


"The conductor William Lacey, starting with the overture, made Mozart sound cheerful and springy, rolling like a joyful wave, with clear accents and vocal climaxes." 

- Novie Izvestiya


"The orchestra under the direction of William Lacey sounds wonderful."

 - Vash Dosug


"Innovative directing solutions have found their solid and stylistically significant support in the English conductor and music director of the production William Lacey. The Maestro had plenty of time to rehearse with the orchestra and chorus of the Bolshoi Theater, having worked on a semi-staged production last year, so the orchestra pleased the audience with an exceptionally beautiful and psychologically accurate immersion in the extremely difficult and only seemingly simple music of Mozart. 
With its energetic, but finely balanced sensitive drive, William Lacey`s orchestral interpretation gave a firm and powerful thrill."

- Bel Canto

 

"Don Giovanni" in Moscow, June 2014

 

 

"The new work by William Lacey is a landmark for Moscow again. It is completely devoid of avant-garde, authenticist, pompous and deafening effects. Everything is done in a very moderate pace and subtle dynamics, but the music does not lose drama or beauty. It is exactly the opposite. Lacey paints with thin paints - at first they seem watery, but they are becoming clearer and clearer with each turn of the drama. His phrasing and colours are particularly plastic and at the same time are subject to very strict movement and plan. In this elegant frame of restraint there is a whole sea of subtleties and amazing details but none of them claims value in itself. This singing style, not so gallant as correct, which lets you can hear all the lighest and the saddest things in the music must be an individual conductor`s style as Britten sounded the same. But it suits Mozart more than any other. 

And again, as it was in 'Midsummer Night's Dream', the orchestra and soloists reveal themselves in a completely new way. They happily show skill for Mozart and they are surrounded by the conductor`s care so much that no vocal performance looks raw or lightweight. And if we know what to expect from Hibla Gerzmava as Donna Anna or, let us say, Anton Zaraev as Leporello (his character is also a composer and librettist: while the characters play out the comedy, he writes down everything neatly, so that it is clear that the future score is his work) seems to be good  in any part, then, for example, Maria Makeeva - another Donna Anna - becomes the discovery of the performance. And the whole ensemble is built so nicely and beautifully as it rarely happens. There used to be no good Mozart in Moscow. Now in the Bolshoi they sing a musically wonderful performance 'Cosi fan tutte', and in Stanislavsky they have 'Don Juan'. Now we can listen to Mozart here without pain. And this is the merit of both companies where there are many young voices and guest conductors, who are remarkable not so much because of their age or merit but with their fine ear, education, and a fresh perspective."
- Kommersant, June 16 2014

 

 

"The premiere at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre was astonishing, it was perfectly sung and played: with really rare sound accents and polished ensembles with elegant recitativi and an exemplary, detailed delivery of the famous arias. After having made friends with the cast during the infamous production of Benjamin Britten's opera "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" the British conductor William Lacey felt at home here: the strict rules without which you cannot play Mozart dictated by him did not affect the vivid intonation or the actors' freedom. Three soloists: Natalia Petrozhitskaya (Donna Elvira), Dmitriy Zuev (Don Giovanni) and Denis Makarov (Leporello) sung amazingly well and made miracles of voicing happen — interweaving the dryish recitativi of their heroes with the musical outline of their parts by a famous Italian tongue-twisting manner - so that then and there the characters came to life. The whole cast was on the level with them: starting from an opera diva Hibla Gerzmava who joined the premiere performances with her glamorous build and renowned experience of singing Donna Anna at the Covent Garden, up to not such a shy debutant Inna Klochko who has been invited for a part of Zerlina by the director straight from The Russian University of Theatre Arts." 

- Kultura, June 20 2014 



"Maestro William Lacey (according to the 18th-century tradition he played the cembalo part in the recitativi) on the contrary has a wide experience in performing this opera and a long list of Mozart's operas he has conducted in general. His challenge has been complicated by the fact that the premiere of "Don Giovanni" at the Bolshoi Theatre a few seasons ago has been accompanied by violent controversy not only about the scandalous production of Dmitry Chernyakov but also the ambiguous musical interpretation. The strive for the uniqueness of that experiment with the purchase of the authentic musical instruments, special education of the musicians and everything else that was supposed to initiate the intrigues around the production actually happened to be something disputable. William Lacey's approach didn't suggest anything close of the kind and proved to be a successful strategy. The orchestra conducted by him was very well-handled and obedient. It has played using ordinary instruments but no artificial romantization or theatralization of the music in this case happened. Lacey's classicism is a real classicism. The whole opera has been performed flexibly and compactly whithin Mozart's style, without  the slightest hint of excessive emission of the sound but still quite expressive. In general, conductor-wise the production went perfectly. 
So as a result after the premiere the only things we can see are the advantages: an amazing cast, a successful work of a European conductor with the orchestra, and a director's decision to find a compromise: a balance between the up-to-dateness and a traditional approach."

- Belcanto.Ru, June, 18, 2014



"After a Mozart premiere at the Bolshoi [of "Cosi fan Tutte"] the same event took place at the second (in terms of its status) Moscow theatre – the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. It was another masterpiece of the trilogy on Da Ponte's libretti -"Don Giovanni". Another intelligent and flawlessly precise young Western pro, both at the conductor’s stand and playing the cembalo, was an Englishman William Lacey, whose successful collaboration with the theatre has started two years ago at the production of Britten's 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'. " 

- Colta (Moscow), June 18 2014



"The famous opera has been musically performed better than it has been staged at the Stanislavsky theatre. After the Bolshoi's premiere of "Cosi fan Tutte", the theatre on Bolshaya Dmitrovka had a premiere of another opera by Mozart but with a different approach: a foreign conductor with the theatre’s soloists. William Lacey, a Brit,  also as his Italian colleague at the Bolshoi accompanies the recitativi by himself, and sometimes joins the orchestra which sounds quite fit and well-balanced. "Don Giovanni" is to a lesser extent an ensemble opera than "Cosi" but it cannot do without precise ensembles and here they are flawless. As at the Bolshoi there are two casts here but sometimes they swap: the main part is sung by the premier baritone of the theatre Dmitriy Zuev. The singers of the second cast seem to be on the same level: Donna Anna performed by Maria Makeeva is impulsive, passionate, with a flexible big voice. But Don Giovanni's production here seems quite plain compared to the exuberant one at the Bolshoi."

- Vedomosti, June 17 2014



"The orchestra with Lacey conducting sounds practically perfect and the vocal ensembles surprisingly polished. In general, "Don Giovanni" is a real victory of the Stanislavky's team. One of the most difficult Mozart operas which requires a wild expressivity and at the same time phenomenal technique has been conquered by them. And after the premiere (we are quite sure about that) it will become even better. And any minute now it will be on the international level." 

- Vash Dosug, June 16 2014



"Surprisingly enough, but the most complicated performance in terms of structure with its multilayered optics doesn't seem stodgy with Titel, on the contrary quite light and emphatically aesthetic. Every detail in the performance has be presented in a beautiful manner- starting from the mise en scene up to lighting, from the psychology of the characters up to the masks' game, disguising, symbolic dreams. But the most important thing is the fact that there is a connection with the Mozart's music which conducted by William Lacey has developed into a spectacular sound picture with mysterious tremoli and sinister unisons, with roaring timpani and soft cembalo recitativi, with love romances and passionate arias which sounded on a high level among all of the participants in the performance. That's the very case when you want to say: Bravo!"

- Rossiyskaya gazeta, June, 15, 2014



"The event that has taken place on the stage of the Stanislavsky theatre in the evening on the 10 of June can be pompously called a historical one: Mozart's “Don Giovanni" has been performed for the first time for many years in Moscow on an international level.
Mozart in general is a hard nut to crack and a really stern test for the theatres. You cannot succeed here only with expression, you cannot hide the lack of technique with the beauty or power of the sound. "Don Giovanni" is considered to be the most difficult one of all the masterpieces of Mozart. And so eight years after us seeing flawless Mozart in "Cosi fan tutte" on the small stage of the Stanislavsky, we see an almost perfect Don Giovanni appear on the big stage.
The nerve and the tension of the performance was provided by a British conductor William Lacey both at the conductor’s stand and by the cembalo. He managed to achieve a rare sensuality of the orchestra sound and ensembles in their almost sexual interlacing. 
The performance being a united musical system is an unapproachable ideal which all opera stages want to achieve but which always melts beyond the horizon and has out of sudden come to life. It will be quite difficult to remain on such a level or performing that is why the things happening on the opening night I would call a miracle. I do really hope that this will happen on a regular basis at this theatre. The audience didn't let the actors go for 15 minutes. I would not part with them at all."

- Rossiyskaya gazeta, June, 11, 2014



"And so finally about the orchestra conducted by William Lacey. It is obvious that a lot of work has been done here. The orchestra has sensitively performed the tasks set by the conductor, the sound was well-orchestrated and meaningful, also in numerous ensembles with the singers. And I would call the interpretation itself emotionally balanced, without extremes in tempi and colours - this can only meet with approval. And a very important comment is the fact that it is such a pleasure to hear Mozart without authentic experiments. You really can achieve a non-heavy, appropriate sound with quite standard orchestral means.

 ( . . . ) 

In this instance the result amazes - the interpretation of Mozart has been successful."

-  Opera News (Russia), June 16 2014

 

 

 

 

 

"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" has not been seen at the Bolshoi since a short-lived, but quite effective production of the mid-1990s. It returns April 24 in a staging by Moscow director Yevgeny Pisarev. ( . . . )

In the pit will be British conductor William Lacey, who seems on his way to establishing himself as an important figure on the Moscow operatic scene. Season before last, he drew rave reviews for his leadership of Benjamin Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko. He returns there on June 10 to conduct a new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," having just last week led Musica Viva chamber orchestra in an overwhelmingly beautiful concert performance at Tchaikovsky Hall of the French version of Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera "Orpheus and Eurydice."

 - The Moscow Times, June 1 2014

 


 

Britten's "Curlew River" at the Barbican Centre in London, November 2013

 

 

"The Britten Sinfonia's magically perfect rendering of Britten's church opera." 

(Rated number two of the top five operatic events of 2013) 

- The Daily Telegraph, December 30 2013

 

"William Lacey leads the Britten Sinfonia musicians in a hypnotically slow, thoughtful performance. For 75 minutes time moves at its own pace. As a centenary offering, this was worth waiting for."   (Five stars)

- Financial Times, November 17 2013 

 

"its lean lines played compellingly by members of the Britten Sinfonia under William Lacey"   (Five stars)

- The Guardian, November 15 2013

  

"Britten's richly inventive yet sparsely astringent score was wonderfully handled by William Lacey and the Britten Sinfonia"   (Five stars)

- The Observer, November 16 2013 

 

"William Lacey kept a discreet, firm hand on the music's pace, animated the layering of Britten's vocal and instrumental sounds with an easy, natural flow, and left one amazed at the grip this extraordinary musical and spiritual vision exerts."  

 - Classical Source, November 16 2013

 

"The Britten Sinfonia - blessings on its name - has got it triumphantly right, with a magnificent cast of musicians and a production by Netia Jones of eloquent simplicity ( . . . ) William Lacey is sensitive to all the score's batsqueak delicacies ( . . . ) Long and warm applause greeted this exceptional performance." (Five stars)

- The Daily Telegraph, November 15 2013

 

"The hauntingly unhinged music was brilliantly played by the Britten Sinfonia under William Lacey's fine direction and superbly sung"

- The Times, November 18 2013

 

 

Mozart's "Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail" at Garsington Opera, June 2013

 

"William Lacey, Kapellmeister at Leipzig Opera and infrequently heard in his native country, runs things with an excellent ear for both comic speed and lyrical intensity, followed at every turn by Garsington's lively house band." 

- The Times Literary Supplement, June 21 2013

 

"Each time the music resumes it brings relief from such silliness, especially since it is so well performed under the conductor William Lacey." 

- The New York Times, June 18 2013

 

 "The Garsington Opera Orchestra sounded punchy and fresh on the first night of the season. The position of the pit flatters the instruments, and William Lacey, in his Garsington debut, kept them bowling along in tight formation, enjoying the lyrical passages as well as the rustic dance-band numbers." 

- Opera magazine, August 2013

 

"There can be no denying the musical excellence of the production, under conductor William Lacey." 

- The Oxford Times, June 13 2013

 

"The orchestra plays beautifully under William Lacey, who conducts with refinement." 


 - The Catholic Herald, June 21 2013

 

 "The orchestra was superbly conducted by William Lacey."

- Spear's, June 10 2013

 

 

 "First among equals on the musical and sung front must be mentioned the conductor William Lacey. Under his direction the orchestra do full justice to the score's rhythmic vitality as well as bringing out its character and and supporting his singers in an exemplary manner."

 - Seen and Heard International, June 12 2013

 

"A feather-light account of the Overture proper (one of Mozart's most irresistible) announced both the superb modern instruments of the Garsington Opera Orchestra and William Lacey, a British conductor whose profile is higher in Leipzig and the USA than it is in his homeland, as ideal musical guides on this improbable journey. ( . . . ) It all adds up to a delightful evening of sublime music and inventive comedy." 

- Classical Source, June 18 2013

 

 

Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro": concert performances with the Bolshoi in Moscow and St Petersburg, January 2013

 

The Bolshoi theatre entrusted a foreigner, the Englishman William Lacey, with the interpretation of Mozart with the young cast. Nothing but sincere approval can greet his work, as his Mozart was precise, exact, but at the same time not sterile, quite entertaining and memorable. You could feel it from the very first bars of the overture - the music was captivating and convincing -  even in the the extremely familiar overture.  

- Opera News (Russia) 

 

The peculiarity of the historical moment was that the Bolshoi orchestra was led by a foreigner, William Lacey, a graduate of King's College, Cambridge. Already in the overture he attuned the audience the audience to a stylistically proper mood. 

 

The graceful, elegant, theatrical, diversified sound of the orchestra began to create a musical and poetical system of dramatic framework that throughout the two and a half hours of the show becomes a perfect home for the characters of the virtuosic and didactic musical comedy. 

 

- Isskustvo

 

 

 

  Strauss's "Die Fledermaus" in Leipzig, October 2012 

 

 

"Musically William Lacey does not emphasise effects, not the unctuous charm of the familiar, but rather structure. Already in the overture he shows where the journey is going. With loving details he illuminates the middle voices, he lets the rhythms bounce exquisitely, the harmonies bloom elegantly, the melodies compete in radiance - but nevertheless always as part of an organic whole. Lacey's symphonic approach makes audible, why this operetta asserts itself so far above the other works of its genre. He subtly balances the sensuously disciplined orchestra, he finely judges effects, he expertly holds the dynamics sometimes so far back, that he can carry the singers on his hands, without overshadowing the richness of the score. The result is a transparent sound, in which the singers are magnificently integrated." 

- Leipziger Volkszeitung, October 8 2012

 

 

Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Moscow, June 2012

 

"There is indeed a sensation: Moscow finally has an excellent performance of one of the most famous, beautiful and mysterious operas by Benjamin Britten, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  The only time the opera was previously staged in Moscow was in 1965 at the Bolshoi, five years after its British premiere. It ran for a short time.  Now the Musical Theatre Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko has co-produced an ENO production from last year. And in the mise-en-scene of Christopher Alden, one of the famous twin brothers (both opera directors with an international reputation and radical habits), the singers and the chorus of the Moscow Musical Theatre perform Britten's complex score with full dedication, stylistic virtuosity, precision and gusto. ( . . . ) 

 

It is conducted by an Englishman, William Lacey, and to him we owe the fact that Britten sounds so unexpectedly magnificent in Moscow. Subtly, intelligently, he conveys the slightly crazy stylistic palette at a glance and in each phrase, making every passage beautifully distinguished, including caustic Britten-esque irony, and piercing tenderness. It is this musical quality that makes the Moscow version of the opera wholly and unconditionally an event. In these sonic circumstances, one could just stand a pillar on the stage - and it would still be a sensation." 

 

- Moscow News, June 13 2012

 

 

 

"Wonder-conductor William Lacey achieved Britten-esque delicacy and clarity with the orchestra and soloists. The incredible result of his rehearsals was comparable only to that epoch-making work of Marc Minkowski in Debussy's opera "Pelleas et Melisande", performed under his leadership here five years ago." 

 

  - Open Space (Moscow), June 13 2012

 

 

 

"Alden trusted the music, and all of the magic is concentrated in the hands of British maestro William Lacey." 

 

- The Russian Gazette (Moscow), June 13 2012

 

 

"In short, this is a great success for the Musical Theatre.

British conductor William Lacey conducts a confident performance with tact and British reserve, but experiences the music profoundly, and leads the orchestra on a heightened level of performance. The singing was almost all excellent." 

 - Gazeta (Moscow), June 13 2012

 

 

"Britten's music began to play, performed by the distinctive colours of children's choir and orchestra, sounding fresh and transparent under William Lacey. The conductor and the performers gave an exquisite and fascinating account of Britten - one of the few composers of the twentieth century who knew how to make a gradation of joy and sadness as fine as could Mozart and Rossini." 

  

 - Vedomosti (Moscow), June 14 2012

 

"Even more satifying is the fact that the company is fully equal to the challenges of Britten. The amazing class orchestra is led by a guest from England, William Lacey." 

- Kommersant (Moscow), June 14 2012

 

 

 Jonathan Dove's "Life is a Dream" with Birmingham Opera Company, March 2012

 

"The orchestra is in the centre, circularly walled in: an expert body of professionals with the unflappable William Lacey in command."

- The Spectator, April 7 2012

 

"The music, conducted by William Lacey and excellently played by an orchestra sitting in a mini bullring, is burblingly melodic, with some impassioned arias and big-hearted, musical theatre-style lusty choruses." 

 - The Observer, 26 March 2012

 

"William Lacey conducts with brio."  

- Daily Telegraph, March 22 2012

 

"Dove's through-composed score is wonderfully lyrical and immediate. Played with verve under the baton of William Lacey,        ( . . . )  " 

- Birmingham Post, March 30 2012

 

Weill's "Mahagonny" in Leipzig 

 

"The orchestra is very well conducted, the sound is very round, the rhythm very well accentuated , like a real Berlin revue, and the cast of singers very good."  

- Le Monde (Paris) - Le Blog du Wanderer, May 13 2012

  

Verdi's "Macbeth" in Leipzig

"The Gewandhaus Orchestra sounds at home in the world of repetitive number-music, and the woodcut-style marches receive a noble hue under William Lacey; there is a colourful flickering here in the music, just as there is in the staging of Peter Konwitschny."

- Leipzig Almanach, December 26 2011

 

Prokofiev's "Cinderella" in Leipzig

"The real star of the evening is in the pit. And the premiere applause made that continually clear. William Lacey stands at the head of a Gewandhausorchester whose playing is phenomenal and well-balanced. One hears such pointed and precise Prokofiev seldom, and as a ballet accompaniment almost never."

 

 

- Leipziger Volkszeitung, November 7 2011

 

 

 

 

"The audience, however, erupts when the musicians of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the conductor William Lacey come on stage. The true high-flying achievement of this ballet evening takes place in the orchestra pit."

 

 

- Tanznetz, November 9 2011

 

 

"The dancing is given a heavenly accompaniment by the Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by William Lacey."

 

 

- Prinz, December 2011

 

 

 

"The evening is framed excellently and in a large format by the conductor William Lacey with the Gewandhaus Orchestra."

 

- Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, November 24 2011

 

 

 

 Tamerlano at the Liceu, July 2011

“There was a further miracle, which was that of Lacey, who appeared on this occasion and also conducted the piece with Domingo in Washingon, resulting in the members of the orchestra (in the pit) playing very stylishly and very well.” 

- Mundo Clasico (Spain), July 12 2011

 

“In the pit, the British conductor William Lacey delivered an accurate and precise accompaniment, and got a remarkable response from an effective and well-balanced orchestra, always leading with the sense of style and dramatic character that the score requires.”

- Ara Estiu (Barcelona), July 8 2011

 

"It was a great night of debuts and performances at the Liceu.       

 ( . . . )  

The musical result of the evening was outstanding. In the hands of Lacey the versatile orchestra of the Liceu achieved a considerably Baroque sound and adjusted to the style.  

( . . . )  

At the end, about a quarter of an hour of applause with the public on their feet, which is something really unusual in the case of a Handel opera."  

- El Pais, July 8 2011

 

 

 

“Gluck’s exquisite score emerged in telling detail at the Kennedy Center Opera House (May 9), guided with an elegant, unhurried, yet never sluggish touch by William Lacey, who had the orchestra playing with considerable finesse and feeling.

 - Opera magazine (London),  August 2011

 

“The orchestra played stylishly well under the superb conducting of Maestro William Lacey, who presented a performance which favored an elastic accompaniment of the singers. His knowledge of the musical style coupled with a solid baton technique, vividly brought this somewhat unfamiliar score to life (. . . ) There is indeed a great amount of choral singing in this opera, and the chorus responded well to Maestro Lacey’s direction.”

 - ConcertoNet, May 2011

 

“the Gewandhaus Orchestra under William Lacey: music like in heaven.”

- BILD Zeitung, November 3 2010 

 

“The Gewandhaus Orchestra played in a range from perfectly to brilliantly (sadly not always the case in ballet performances) and moved with stylistic security under William Lacey’s expert conducting through a compositional universe from Charlie Chaplin to Richard Wagner.” 

- Musik in Dresden, November 2 2010

 

“William Lacey conducted a performance of extraordinary sweetness, in which the pastoral and lyrical were always to the fore.”

- Opera News, February 2010

 

“Lacey, who conducted the alert orchestra with an expert’s consideration for the singers, incorporated a few short pieces from other Handel operas.”

 - Los Angeles Times, November 22 2009

 

“Credit ultimately must go to Lacey for such expert musical taste and judgment. He’s clearly a first-rate representative of the English choral tradition, and this meditative “Messiah” became two hours of heaven."

 - Orange County Register, December 14 2009”

 

“William Lacey conducted the precisely reacting Staatsorchester Braunschweig in a very concentrated manner, and developed a Puccini sound that never sank into sentimentality and avoided "avant-gardish" experiments; rather, he cultivated a modern Puccini-tone, and brilliantly used the specific situation's open-air possibilities.”

- Opernnetz, August 26 2009

 

“All this Frenchness cohered and fused under the baton of an English conductor, William Lacey, who manifestly not only cherishes and understands every delicious twist and surprise, but can translate such knowledge into actual sound, moment to moment and in the long view. (But then no one ever did Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, and indeed Chabrier, so well as the impeccably English Sir Thomas Beecham.)”

- The Spectator (London), May 27 2009

 

"Fortunately this "Nabucco" is of great musical class thanks to the emphatic stamp of the conductor William Lacey, who already demonstrated his enormous talent in "Les contes d'Hoffmann" during the previous Reisopera season.  The Maestro leads the Gelders Orchestra fantastically through the score with captivating and masterful tempi, and he gives enough space and freedom to the singers by listening to them outstandingly well. In each scene he knows how to create a nuanced atmosphere."

- Theater Centraal (Amsterdam), February 2 2009

 

"On Saturday night this renewal, a sense of the wet ink of the score, resounded in every measure. With a passionately playing Gelders Orchestra, conductor William Lacey magnificently contrasted the more noisy bombast against the ingenious details; details which Verdi genuinely hid in his score, but which one usually cannot hear in the rush."

- Trouw (Amsterdam), February 2 2009

 

"It is above all the musical quality that keeps this "Nabucco" intact. The young British conductor William Lacey (previously a guest at the Reisopera for "Les contes d'Hoffmann") displays fine craftsmanship, above all in a strikingly inward and refined-sounding "Va, pensiero". Nowhere does Lacey blunder noisily through the score. In every measure he is searching for nuance, clarity and intimacy."

- Algemeen Dagblad (Rotterdam), January 30 2009

 

"Verdi's wonderful music receives an explosively powerful vocal and musical portrayal under the direction of William Lacey. The playing of the Gelders Orchestra is lively and martial, but nevertheless even rather chamber-music-like nuances survive."

-  NRC Handelsblad (Rotterdam), January 31 2009

 

"The Gelders Orchestra interprets the exhalted early-Verdi sound with collective discipline, and William Lacey achieves controlled ensemble-playing, gives fluid directions and communicates sensitively with the stage."

- Opernnetz.de (Germany) 

 

"On the podium, conductor William Lacey led the Gelders Orchestra and the singers outstandingly well."

- Friesch Dagblad, February 4 2009

 

"The pit orchestra is one of the best around, especially as led right now by conductor William Lacey. This is the third Mozart opera presented at the new house, and never has the Austrian master's music sounded so fluid, flexible and vivid."

- Toronto Star, October 6 2008

 

"Under his assured hand, the orchestra proves to be the wings on which a truly impressive cast of singers soars"

- Toronto Sun, October 6 2008

 

"the instrumental interludes achieve new vitality under William Lacey's incisive beat"

- Independent on Sunday, August 24 2008

 

"world-class conductor William Lacey"

- Birmingham Post, July 7 2008

 

"Maestro William Lacey drew lively, expressive and exquisitely melodic playing from the orchestra"

- Opera Now, July/ August 2008

 

"William Lacey kept pit and stage firmly connected. His tempos had plenty of momentum but never sounded pushed.The orchestra demonstrated considerable sensitivity and litheness."

- Opera News,  July 2008

 

"Guided by the warm, fluid conducting of William Lacey, Friday’s initial performance at the Wortham Theater Center sped by (. . . ) The grace, elegance, and sharply delineated moods he got from the orchestra propelled the action while giving singers the vocal space to sing naturally. Throughout, the orchestra played with first-rate sound and musicality."

-The Houston Chronicle, January 20 2008

 

“The Nationale Reisopera presented the best “Les contes d’Hoffmann” I have attended anywhere (November 13th).  (. . . )   William Lacey conducted with energy, but never overwhelmed the singers or exaggerated the schmalz. A full audience rapturously greeted this glorious production: opera fantastique indeed.”

- Opera magazine (London), April 2008

 

" (. . . ) the excellent direction of William Lacey with the excellent Netherlands Symphony Orchestra ( . . . )  This is how “Les contes d'Hoffmann” was meant to be. "

- NRC Handelsblad (Rotterdam), November 5 2007

 

"In the orchestra pit, the Brit William Lacey made his debut. And how! He had the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra playing like an Italian opera-orchestra, with much schwung and drama."

- Algemeen Dagblad (Rottermdam), November 9 2007 

 

"That is thanks in first place to the British conductor William Lacey, who with a full sound from the orchestra pit lets one hear that he is at this moment one of the most promising opera-conductors in the world."

- Ik Hou Van Theater (Amsterdam), November 13 2007

 

 "Overall success was assured by conductor William Lacey and the eager-sounding SFO orchestra. Lacey’s exuberant yet clear beat drew forth radiant instrumental playing at every turn and confidently guided the singers, who ornamented their arias with exuberance mixed with taste. Tempos were peppy but workable and the pit-stage balance was impeccable. With such music-making at its heart, this Così couldn’t go wrong."

- Santa Fe New Mexican, July 1 2007

 

"William Lacey generated an impressive unity and vigorous momentum in the ensembles and finales."

- Opera News, November 2007

 

"William Lacey conducted with strong dramatic power and a good sense of what works and what doesn't, period practice-wise, in a big house."

- Los Angeles Times, April 11 2007

 

"A main interest of the evening lay in three company debuts, starting with the conductor William Lacey, who led a strong, lithe reading"

- New York Times, April 6 2007

 

"William Lacey makes a stunning company debut leading the reduced New York City Opera Orchestra"

- Classics Today, April 6 2007

 

"Conductor William Lacey from the start kept a quick pace with great lightness of texture and deft transitions of mood and colour. The Belfast Philharmonic had no choice but to keep pace which they did admirably and sometimes thrillingly (. . .)"

- News Letter (Belfast), December 18 2007

 

"Musically the whole evening was satisfying. Under the gifted conductor William Lacey, the usually unrefined GNO orchestra was thoroughly transformed, producing both the multilayered, now harsh now ethereal sound prescribed by Dallapiccola, and the unreservedly Spanish, Romantic signature of de Falla's score."

- Opera magazine (London), February 2007

 

"Both productions were musically excellent. Firstly, the biggest surprise was the unrecognisable sound of the orchestra in terms of quality under the capable direction of William Lacey."

- Eleftherotypia, November 22 2006

 

"The GNO orchestra did its job, thanks to the attentive and experienced conductor, William Lacey, who really tamed it."

- Adesmeytos Typos, November 30 2006

 

"This was Santa Fe operating at the highest international level . . . William Lacey conducted a fleet, quasi-authentic, 'magical' reading which happily banished memories of Daniel Harding's laboured effort in Aix. [...] "

- Opera magazine (London), November 2006

 

"conducted with authority by William Lacey, who established musical tension from the start and drew a glowing performance from the orchestra."

- The Sunday Telegraph, August 13 2006

 

"But it was the quality of the ensemble and William Lacey's fleet, airy, stylish conducting that made this Flute worth the detour."

- The Sunday Times, August 13 2006

 

" ( . . . ) the lithe and fluid playing that William Lacey had drawn from the orchestra the night before in Die Zauberfloete."

- The New York Times, August 5 2006

 

 "William Lacey's charged but flexible leadership."

- Opera magazine (London), August 2006

 

"Conductor William Lacey gets lovely, lilting playing from a period-instruments continuo group (harpsichord, organ and two theorbos) and modern strings (with minimal vibrato) and rotary-valve trumpets."

- Dallas Morning News, May 1 2006

 

"From their elevated position in a balcony overlooking the main action-area, the orchestra (reduced to forces probably closer in size to early performances of the score) gave an irresistibly energetic account under William Lacey's spirited direction."

- Opera Now, September 2006

 

"Musically too, this was a triumph. From the gallery, conductor William Lacey highlighted details I had never noticed before, while maintaining a propulsive journey to the terrible conclusion."

- The Independent on Sunday, March 26 2006

 

"The orchestra under William Lacey played with verve and real tenderness. ( . . . ) A breathtaking piece of music theatre ( . . . ) Everyone involved with this production can count it a triumph."

- The Birmingham Post, March 20 2006

 

"Vick is the most musically responsive of directors and he ensured that every note mattered, something confirmed in the line and propulsion of William Lacey's conducting. ( . . . ) I'm sure Mozart would have loved this edgy yet truthful production."

- The Sunday Telegraph, March 26 2006

 

"This enthralling adaptation of Mozart's Don Giovanni is BOC's best show yet - it is, in fact, a knockout. (. . .) And there's no compromise on musical standards either. William Lacey conducts the vivacious orchestra expertly from one of the balconies."

- The Daily Telegraph, March 24 2006

 

" . . .  Lacey's ability to draw ideal textual, musical, and interpretative balance from his artists."

- Santa Fe New Mexican, December 18 2005

 

 Mahler Symphony No. 5

" a great symphonic event . . .  The thunderous applause was fully deserved by the motivated and sensitive precision of the orchestra, and by the sovereign conducting of William Lacey, who led the enormous forces subtly and with clarity in every dynamic level."

- Oberbayerisches Volksblatt and in the Tiroler Wochenzeitung, August 19 and 17 2005 respectively.

 

"AN INSPIRED MAESTRO IN HANDEL'S OTTONE" (headline)

"The great triumph of the performance was the conducting of William Lacey (b. 1973) - a maestro who we don't identify solely with baroque music, but who belongs to a generation which doesn't ignore the lessons of historically informed performances - and the effective way in which the Remix Orchestra responded to the expressiveness of his gestures and to his elegant phrasings." 

- Publico (Lisbon), July 23 2005

 

"the superb British conductor William Lacey"

- The Toronto Globe and Mail, August 2 2004

 

"William Lacey conducts a lucid and spirited performance."

- The New York Times, August 3 2004

 

"The performance was musically flawless. As suggested, conductor William Lacey (. . . ) was scrupulous with the music, leading an energetic, urgent, witty performance"

- Classics Today, July 31 2004

 

"Saturday's opening performance was marked by the highest quality of music making, both onstage and in the pit…William Lacey's conducting was lively and completely flawless. The musical phrasing that began the last scene was pure inspiration . . ." 

- The Ithaca Journal, July 21 2004

 

"ideally supported by the remarkable young English conductor William Lacey"

- Le Monde de la Musique, July 2003

 

"William Lacey, who has been on the staff at San Francisco, obtained refined and fluent playing from the accomplished orchestra and seemed master of the score. I liked his no-nonsense interpretation very much."

- Opera magazine (London), June 2003

 

"William Lacey's conducting is first-rate; double-dotting in the opening bars made me dread an evening of authenticity, but on the whole tempi were traditional and flexible, and in one phrase after another it was clear that Lacey loves this music. "

- The Spectator, May 9 2003

 

"Full marks to conductor William Lacey; whose account of the distinctly unawkward score to The Magic Flute in Tim Supple's new production was light, fluent, rhythmically acute, textually aware, excellently structured, and confident enough to relax into Mozart's suspensions without wallowing in them."

- The Independent on Sunday, April 27 2003

 

 "Lacey conducted masterfully as one crystalline instrumental passage after another answered the proceedings onstage."

- San Francisco Chronicle, May 2000