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Robin Guarino
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THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, San Francisco Opera - Merola Program

"Sunday afternoon's superb performance of Benjamin Britten's rarely heard opera The Rape of Lucretia showed how much these artists can accomplish in more out-of-the-way material.

The result was a twofold thrill, offering an introduction to an impressive ensemble of singers as well as the chance to encounter Britten's early chamber work in a deft, theatrically powerful rendition."

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2004

"The Rape of Lucretia, A Problematic Opera Tellingly Rethought"
"The Merola Opera Program's new production directed by Robin Guarino, heard Friday night at San Francisco's Cowell Theater, reverses the cliché, risking lapses into gross sensuality, and certainly avoiding that deadly good taste commonly associated with the classical, yet emerging in triumph."

John Bender
San Francisco Classical Voice

MANFRED, American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall

"Exuberant and Somber, Both at Byron's Invitation"
"Robin Guarino found and directed actors who could tread the mountains of damnation with total authority. In particular John Kuether looking fully Byronic, with his dark curls, noble mien and loose white shirt - spoke with tremendous power and beauty throughout the long role. Since he was defying the universe, he certainly scared away any worry that the grand style of acting might have outlived its usefullness. Here was a Manfred, a blasted and burning soul."

Paul Griffiths
New York Times , May 18 2003

TRIPPLE BILL - ONE ACTS, San Francisco Opera Center
  "Opera Center's One-Act Wonders"
"Robin Guarino's stage direction - brought a measure of dramatic and musical life to the piece, the latter an especially daunting task. Guarino does something fascinating with the bridge from "Heidegger" to one of the quirkiest of mini-operas, the 11-minute Ernst Toch "Edgar & Emily" ... The cast takes a curtain bow turned upstage, then retire to an on-stage dressing room, and Alexander and DeAthos, singing the two characters, begin the Toch anti-opera. These are not operas that audiences are likely to be familiar with, so there's a third showcasing going on as well. And between conductor Sara Jobin's expertly fluid and responsive musical leadership and director Robin Guarino's imaginative but understated staging, the production offers a powerful account of all of them."

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, April 28, 2003

"First, Second and Third Times a Charm"
"The productions are smartly staged by Guarino on Donald Eastman's raked unit set inside a huge gilt frame, attractively lit by Christopher Maravich. Eastman also designed the excellent costumes. Jobin conducted the chamber group with sensitivity and precision, eliciting crisp, articulate performances in each opera. The entire evening runs approximately two hours, 15 minutes, and the time seems to fly by. If you have friends who still think opera is long and dull, get them to the Cowell Theatre before Sunday. They'll be in for quite a surprise."

Georgia Rowe
San Francisco Times Correspondent, April 28, 2003

"Stage Director Robin Guarino made a sexy tour de force out of all three operas, reminding us that opera is theater as well as song. Guarino also enkindled the flashy display piece for a scenery-chewing coloratura, "Edgar & Emily" (1928) by Ernst Toch, the Austrian who spent his later decades toiling at the Univ. of Southern California. Here the setting was moved from the theater dressing room to the main stage, where the exuberant Emily rolls and writhes compulsively to convey her devotion (to say nothing of pelvic urges) to Edgar, while the latter stays mute and inert on the side. (Austrians may not recognize poor Edgar at all; the original was entitled "Egon und Emilie.")

Paul Hertelendy
The Independent Observer of San Francisco Bay Area Music, May 5, 2003

"Bright New Talents"
"San Francisco Opera Center's Adler Fellow Showcase often stretches the repertory in beneficial ways. And while this season's selection of twentieth-century one-act comedies, which concluded its run on Sunday afternoon at the Cowell Theater, is not likely to challenge Cav/Pag or Il trittico in popularity, two of them are wonderful pieces and all of them were confidently performed, the ebullience of the young cast matched by Robin Guarino's staging and Sara Jobin's superior musical direction. Donald Eastman's set was littered with reminders of Popova's husband, including his correspondence - love letters to other women. In just one of many clever touches, director Guarino used them to intensify Popova's anger at Smirnov's intrusion. In a gesture that symbolized both frustration and liberation, Popova ended up tearing the letters into pieces, paving the way, (though she doesn't realize it) for her reconciliation with Smirnov."

Michael Zwiebach
San Francisco Classical Voice, May 5, 2003
LITTLE WOMEN, Chautauqua Opera
  "Little Women is a true jewel. Director Robin Guarino used visual clues to the emotional and intellectual content of the scenes, making the production a work of art, simple yet changing in moments and always creating moments worthy of old master paintings"

Robert W. Plyer
The Post-Journal,New York August 1, 2002

"Guarino and scenic designer Conklin, inspired by the muse of Luigi Pirandello, have mined the conflict between appearance and reality to stage the two one-act operas as a single oeuvre, two plays within the rehearsal process for a third work that wavers unpredictably between staged drama and real life. Most of the time it works. This is no Euro-trash production or loose "concept" with gratuitous accretions thrown in. It is carefully thought out and relentlessly pursued to highly theatrical - if at times somewhat disconcerting conclusions. Unwavering traditionalists will probably hate this show, but more adventurous opera-goers will find it absorbing, challenging and the subject of repeated scrutiny."

Stephen Landesman
The Ithaca Journal, July 10, 2002

"Robin Guarino presented the Leoncavallo-Mascagni double bill, on Friday, as episodes in a continuing story, tempered with a touch of Pirandello-like shifting reality. The stories are wound around each other: Pagliacci opens with Turridu and Alfio, from the Mascagni work, miming the finale of "Cavalleria Rusticana". When the Mascagni begins, the characters from "Pagliacci" file in to watch a mimed repeat of the same scene and to reenact their own tragedy, slightly skewed, on the sidelines during Mascagn's orchestral interludes. As provocative as the staging was the real news here was John MacMaster's portrayal of Canio. He summoned up every bit of pathos and violence that the role demands."

Allan Kozinn
The New York Times, July 30th, 2002

"What are summer festivals for if not to put a fresh perspective on classics long dulled by routine. That I suppose, justifies Glimmerglass's unsettling new take on opera's favorite twin Bill, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leon Cavallo's Pagliacci. For starters the traditional order has been reversed, and Pag now precedes Cav, a necessary step in Robin Guarino's rethinking of the two operas and how they relate to one another. In this production the blur between playacting and real life in Pagliacci is extended to Cavalleria as well. The characters of each opera wander freely from one tragedy to another within John Conklin's arena-and-bleachers set while Tonio the clown acts like our Pirandello guide. Its an intriguing approach."

Peter G. Davis
New York Magazine, July 2002

"Pagliacci and Cavalleria overlap in a daring production -A bold directorial rethinking of a double bill of Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" and Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" opened the Glimmerglass Opera's 28th season."

Chuck Klaus
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, July 10, 2002

"Friday nights opening of the new season of Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown presented the classic Italian double-bill of "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci" in boldly imaginative new stagings. That these classics come from the Italian school of verismo, or realism, was finally and fully realized in the bloody murder that ended the night and left the audience gasping"

Joseph Dalton
Times Union, Albany New York, July 7, 2002

"Guarino moves her singers - both principals and chorus members beautifully"

Bill Rice
The Sunday Gazette, Schenectady July 7, 2002

"The Marriage of Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana to Pirandello's "Six Characters In Search Of An Author". The Wedding, arranged by Glimmerglasss Opera, was a courageous and brilliant attempt by the director Robin Guarino that had a vibrant reception, thanks to the vocals and the acting."

Jonas Kover
Observer-Dispatch, July 7, 2002

"There have been some smashing debuts at Glimmerglass opera but rarely one as stunning as John MacMaster's in "Pagliacci" Robin Guarino in her directing debut with the Cooperstown company has created a highly intriguing concept, one that energizes the pair of operas. She inter links the two lovelorn tragedies in a Pirandello-esque setting, mounting them in a theatrical setting, complete with audience who also double as characters."

Joan E. Vadeboncoeur
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, July 9, 2002

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Metropolitan Opera
  "Letting 'Figaro' be itself so subtlety can shine. Robin Guarino who has taken over the stage direction, has maintained the elegance of this conception."

Allan Kozinn
The New York Times, January 28, 2002

"Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Donald Runnicles, is cause for joy. The concept behind the 1998 production, nimbly restaged by Robin Guarino, is essentially simple: make the characters seem in every way alive, and let Mozart's themes of class conflict and sexual indiscretion take care of themselves."

Thomas Libetti
The New Yorker Magazine, February 11, 2002

"The Metropolitan Opera's season premiere of Figaro was almost four hours that flew by surprisingly fast, thanks to the combined efforts of conductor Leopold Hager and director Robin Guarino....While Hager sets the pace, Guarino maintains momentum on the stage; she keeps the cast in constant motion and - a most unusual move in the opera world - forces them to act."

Stacy Kors
New York Press, January 1997

"Mozart's Nozze di Figaro is a work of precision-tooled machinery. If everything is as well oiled as Monday's performance at the Metropolitan Opera, then the show glides along as if on a cushion of air. The two master lubricators in this conductor were Leopold Hager and stage director Robin Guarino, who kept the cast in constant, but controlled movement around the stage."

Justin Davidson
Newsday, January 1, 1997

"Nozze di Figaro with has returned to the as good a reminder as any that these stagings evolve as new singers, stage directors and conductors come to them with fresh ideas. Robin Guarino, the current director, has a swept away much of the burlesque, and while a few Ponnelle-Koenig idiosyncrasies remain, they are far less distracting that the once were."

Allan Kozinn
New York Times, January 23, 1997
ROMAN FEVER / AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL, Manhattan School of Music
  "Manhattan School of Music put their students to good use in the first part of December...presenting an operatic double bill of the Young Gian Carlo Menotti's first hit from 1937, "Amelia Goes To The Ball" and a recent tragicomedy "Roman Fever" written by the venerable Robert Ward. The Operas have three points in common...For good measure, director Robin Guarino has discovered other similarities, some of which she has invented herself."

Bill Zakaraisen
The Westsider, December 20, 2001
  "Director Robin Guarino found consistently imaginative solutions to the opera's inherent staging difficulties, aided by the fine choreographic touch of Renata Celichowska and the well-tailored work of Roger Hanna (scenic design), Kenneth L. Schutz (lights) and Loren Bevans (costumes)."

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, July 1, 2001
COSI FAN TUTTE, The Metropolitan Opera
  "Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte is a true ensemble work. Performed without the arias, the opera would lose some sublime music but still make sense. Ensemble dominate the score and the stage action. So above all a good production requires the cast and the orchestra to work together. And collaboration was the strongest aspect of the Metropolitan Opera's Cosi Fan Tutte, conducted by Patrick Summers which opened last Saturday Night. ... The Director, Robin Guarino, has brought some fresh comic touches to the staging and has worked well with this youthful and attractive cast. .... Mr. Summers got the big things right. The pacing was supple and the structure always clear. Most important, a sense of ensemble, of everyone working in sympathy, came through. And that's what matters most in "Cosi."

Anthony Tommasini
The New York Times, February 19, 2001
DON GIOVANNI, Berkshire Opera, MA
  "Guarino who set the tongues of operaphiles wagging anew over her 1998 revival of the Robert Wilson production of "Lohengrin" at the Metropolitan Opera, has likewise invested this "Giovanni" with some unlikely turns that might astonish some, but do not depart from the sanctity of the score or the libretto."

Richard Houdek
Berkshire Eagle, August 22, 2000

"For the last 20 minutes or so, a respectable effort becomes superb, thanks to an exciting and disturbing staging of the libertine's last supper by Robin Guarino. Guarino's efforts here are mostly conventional, although well executed and enlivened by horseplay. But when the stakes get higher, at the end, her work becomes compelling and terrifying. For the company, this "Don Giovanni" is a breakthrough event."

Richard Dyer
The Boston Globe, August 23, 2000
SIX TEN MINUTE OPERAS I and II, EOS Orchestra, New York City
  "A varied and delightful program of works ranging from Samuel Barber to Jonathan Sheffer, well performed and modestly but smartly staged by Robin Guarino. The only shames was that this presentation, with so much good preparation and imagination lavished on it, was not staying for an extended run. Miss Guarino's direction, with a few chairs as props, and occasional lighting effects, gave point and purpose to the activity."

James R. Ostreich
The New York Times, April 21, 1999

"Director Robin Guarino worked with the pieces rather than theorizing around or blithely ignoring words and music. Such inventive successes could make EOS as indispensable to our cultural life as its bigger siblings across Broadway. And they could bring in the fresh audiences opera often misses (City Opera still dreams of luring such listeners; the Met, fat with grand-opera-starved-tourists, has probably forgotten they exist). May many more evenings of EOS opera follow."

Patrick Giles
Newsday, April, 17, 1999

"Using Sexual Themes to Unify Six 10-Minute Operas:” "Six 10-Minute Operas II....With Robin Guarino Directing, the works were presented virtually without pause, as if they were vignettes in a revue. That might seem a risky notion, given the variety of styles involved, but Ms. Guarino and the singers made it work".

Allan Kozinn
The New York Times, May 10, 2000
DRACULA, EOS Orchestra , New York City World Premier
  "A fine balance of energy, drama and faux-macabre humor."

Allan Kozinn
The New York Times, March 6, 1999

Under the direction of Robin Guarino, "Soprano Wendy Hill spoke and sang and moaned the text, and was, to put it mildly, staggering, breaking through the typically timid boundaries of classical music to embody a not-so-helpless woman who embraces her own downfall."

Greg Sandow
The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1999
TROUBLE IN TAHITI / ROMULUS HUNT, Opera Company of North Carolina
  "Well paired, well sung, well done. It started with the highest-profile talent, with Carly Simon in the audience, and continued with the performers, the musicians, the directoral team and the organizers, providing a stellar example of what 'professional' means. Adding to the connections [between Trouble in Tahiti and Romulus Hunt ] were shared scenic devises (a stunning, floating view of the New York City skyline and directoral devises, adding the boy from Romulus Hunt to the family in Trouble in Tahiti, having the couples in both works played by the same singers)... making the pairing seem preordained."

Roy C. Dicks
Raleigh News & Observer, January , 1999
DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Metropolitan Opera
  "It was heartening to see the house brimming with remarkably well behaved youngsters having a wonderful time, thanks to Met titles and to a cast that performed for director Robin Guarino with polish and commitment."

Barrymore Laurence Scherer
Opera News, May 1999
LOHENGRIN, Metropolitan Opera
  "Robert Wilson's controversial, minimalist Lohengrin returned from its last-season premiere with a strengthened cast and a new tone to the staging [directed by Robin Guarino]. Mr. Wilson's riveting dramatic vision, with its bars of light, stylized movement, was still in place, but this time the singers humanized their characters vocally and physically, adding some emotional reaction within the austere Wilsonian frame...This was the real opening night, showing what the Met can do when the stars are properly aligned."

Heidi Waleson
Wall Street Journal, October 7, 1998

"The production returned to the house on Wednesday night. But this time, when Mr. Wilson, with understandable trepidation, took a curtain call, he was greeted with lusty bravos. What changed? Mr. Wilson's direction [stage directed by Robin Guarino] has been simplified, it seemed...and if the singers still do not look at all natural, they at least seem more relaxed."

Anthony Tommasini
The New York Times, October 3, 1998

"Six months after its premiere, Robert Wilson's Lohengrin [ stage directed by Robin Guarino] is like a brand-new garment that's gone through the wash for the first time - its sharp creases and crisp lines are gone, but it's also gotten more comfortable, even more flattering. With this year's cast changes, it may be one of the Met's best outfits at the moment."

Anne Midgette
Opera News, December 1998
  "The Marriage of Figaro was stunningly directed by Metropolitan Opera stage director Robin Guarino."

Philip Marcus
Times - Observer, May 5, 1999
  File updated: 06/28/13, 05:47 PM EDT
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