Cinderella (La Cenerentola, Opera Vivente) (2009)

But the real hero of the production is conductor Philip Lauriat, who has forged a pert and stylish Rossini orchestra out of a fifteen-piece pick-up group, and has insured that the composer’s effervescent vocal ensembles are balanced to lighter-than-air perfection.

  • The Washington Post/The Classical Beat

Conductor Philip Lauriat drew from the small orchestra enough skill and color to honor Rossini’s brilliant score.

  • The Baltimore Sun/Clef Notes

La Traviata (Granite State Opera, 2008)

Phil Lauriat’s orchestra would have delighted Verdi with its emphasis on the brass section, in particular Thomas Haggerty’s tuba.  The string section handled the ethereal music well.  Once again, Granite State Opera mounted a fine production. Their last three operas –Lucia, Cosi fan Tutte, and now La Traviata have been a viewer’s delight.  I look forward to their Macbeth next spring.

  • Seen and Heard International (UK)

Cosi fan Tutte (Granite State Opera, 2008)

Smart and sassy and slick—that’s the kind of “Cosi Fan Tutte” staged this past weekend by Granite State Opera in Portsmouth and Concord.

And those were key qualities that made the Sunday matinee performance at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts consistently entertaining. At times it was laugh-out-loud funny, and throughout was a worthy showcase for one of opera’s best scores.

Strong singing, a tight orchestra, and excellent production values were the foundation for this superb home-grown edition that played Mozart’s classic 1790 farce for laughs, and got plenty of them by virtue of the professionalism on display everywhere.

  • Hippopress, Manchester, NH

Cosi is a long opera replete with dialogue. As such it poses a major production problem, particularly in the second act.  If the acting is relatively static, the result can be tedium and boredom.  But if the pace is picked up and embellished with activity the opera can turn into a superficial comedy. I felt that Lauriat and Bowen achieved the appropriate balance.

The orchestra performed admirably under Lauriat’s direction with major kudos to the french horns and trumpets.

  • Seen and Heard International (UK)

Lucia di Lammermoor (Granite State Opera, 2007)

Philip Lauriat directed a delightful traditional production complete with the Wolf’s Crag Scene at the beginning of Act 3.   The costumes were period perfect and the scenery consisted primarily of huge painted backdrops.  In the beautiful intimate 19th century Music Hall the audience was propelled physically and emotionally back into the first half of the 19th century.

Granite State Opera was founded in 1998. In its short life it has won many awards and attracted singers with national reputations.  With Philip Lauriat as both Music and Stage Director it is well positioned to provide excellent opera to the residents of northern New England.  If its future productions are as beautiful and powerful as Lucia it should go from strength to strength.

  • Seen and Heard International (UK)

Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci (Granite State Opera, 2007)

BEST OPERA (2006-2007): The winner is, GRANITE STATE OPERA, for its production of “I Pagliacci.”

This writer attended twenty operas last season and observed and heard some truly outstanding performances. Of all the shows, however, one stood our for its sheer power and impact overall, and it is to that one that we award our “Best Of” for the 2006-2007 season. The opera is Granite State Opera’s “I Pagliacci,” viewed on May 13, 2007. Of that show, I wrote: “This Pagliacci was, perhaps, one of the most emotionally moving opera experiences I have had in a long time. It was delivered with perfection by an impressive ensemble cast, accompanied by an orchestral performance that transformed each musical moment into a deeply personal and highly charged experience. It was that good. As I sat watching and listening, I kept thinking to myself just how lucky this audience was. This is what opera is all about; this is the beauty of the musical line and the power of a strong, involved delivery from a cast that is at the top of its game, every one.”

  • Previous winner – Turandot, Kirov Opera

BEST PERFORMANCE OF AN ORCHESTRA (2006-2007): The winner is, GRANITE STATE OPERA, for its dual performance of “Cavalleri Rusticana/I Pagliacci.”

For the reason that we awarded this year’s, “Best Opera” to Granite State Opera, we award the “Best Performance by an Orchestra.” The selections for this category were difficult because we heard some amazing performances, not the least of which was Gil Rose, leading Opera Boston and Keith Lockhart, leading the Boston Lyric Opera, but when it came to the performance that visibly captivated the audience the prize has to go to Phil Lauriat’s conducting of the Granite State Opera in its brilliant rendition of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleri Rusticana” and Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” Of its performance in both I wrote: “The orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Philip Lauriat, who also doubled as stage director, actually spoke to the words, melding music and story line into one seamless tapestry, drawing out all the energy and talent of this amazing cast and fine orchestra.”

  • Previous winners – Valery Gergiev, Washington Opera, Willie Anthony Waters, CT Opera

Madama Butterfly (Granite State Opera, 2006)

Musically, this Butterfly held together liked a bureau made with dovetail joints. From the pit, Lauriat guided the orchestra as a full partner in the production, but which at no point overwhelmed the singers on stage. Heard from the balcony, the balance was impeccable — you could hear everything clearly, and there was always a sense of purpose to the music.

  • HippoPress, Manchester, NH
  • Chosen Best Classical Performance of the Year in New Hampshire

Artistic Director Philip Lauriat stands at the head of it all. He conducted the production and its 31-member orchestra. What a wonder. Note for note they moved through the piece, an enthralling voice that spoke poetically and directly to the gamut of feelings.

  • The Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH

The Marriages of Mozart (Boston Midsummer Opera)  (2006)

Conductor Philip Lauriat led the professional orchestra in a spiffy performance.

  • Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

Rigoletto (Granite State Opera, 2005)

First, the orchestra. Maestro Lauriat has assembled a solid 38 piece orchestra, which we have come to expect, that is full in sound, even in its presentation and measured in its delivery. The orchestra provided a wonderful accompaniment to what was going on on stage and delivered the score with polish and style. Well done, Maestro.


Le Nozze di Figaro (Granite State Opera, 2004)

Tip of the hat to conductor and artistic director Philip Lauriat for making a thirty piece orchestra sound like sixty, and for delivering a solid three hours of truly enjoyable music that came off without a hitch. Well done!


La Bohème (Granite State Opera, 2002)

Lauriat a master in Granite State Opera’s La Bohème.

  • HippoPress, Manchester, NH (Headline)

Passion, Peril and Pandemonium:  A Wild Night at the Opera (Granite State Opera, 2000)

Right from the downbeat of Lauriat’s baton, I was captivated.

  • New Hampshire Magazine

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