MAN OF LA MANCHA
Don Quixote: a poet, a man of illusion or a lunatic? Central City Opera answers the question about the Man of La Mancha in a splendid performance of the 1965 musical that seems to have been written for its star Robert Orth. The CCO veteran baritone brilliantly transforms between playwright Miguel de Cervantes and his quixotic other half, the 16th century romantic knight Don Quixote. While in a Spanish prison, Cervantes engages other prisoners to take part in a storytelling about Quixote’s quest to right all wrongs in order to save his manuscript and his life. Orth is alternately funny (oh, that goofy grin!) and serious, happy and sad, and always the hopeless romantic. His rendition of the signature song “The Impossible Dream” is a riveting moment in La Mancha, akin to Jean Valjean’s “Bring Him Home” in Les Miz. The Examiner
"Central City Opera was fortunate to bring back the marvelous Robert Orth, an always-welcome guest to the Opera House stage. In both of his roles, Orth brought humanity and depth to his characterizations and an effortlessly warm baritone to all those wonderful hit songs." Classical Voice North America
The show requires a singer with a big presence and a story-telling sensibility who can really fill out and occupy this all-encompassing role. Central City found just such a performer in baritone Robert Orth, a veteran singer who has appeared with the company since the 1980s... Orth is an expressive, multifaceted singer who delivered more than enough oomph when it mattered, as in the musical’s most famous song, “The Impossible Dream.” Opera News
Picasso (baritone Robert Orth, in a tour de force of singing and acting). Seattle Gay News
Picasso (sung by the infinitely versatile baritone Robert Orth). Oregon Arts Watch
Picasso, sung with remarkable fervour by the baritone Robert Orth. Bachtrack online
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Baritone Robert Orth proves his versatility in moving from the tortured father of a murdered teenager to the broad tragicomedy of Max Detweiler. Orth's characterization of the befuddled culture minister is pure perfection, and his interactions with the children are great highlights. Daily Camera
But this performance also featured Robert Orth as the Austrian cultural entrepreneur Max Detweiler. The role was putty in the hands of this consummate singing actor who stole nearly every scene he was in. Orth also managed the single most hilarious moment of the show when he mockingly imitated the Nazi salute only to have his hand go limp as they marched away. The Gazette 2014
"Robert Orth y’all! Robert…. Orth…. stole the show as Max Detweiler! He filled out the character with so much sass and his comedic timing was impeccable! I just wanted to put him in my pocket and go out for martinis afterward!" Operagasm
"Robert Orth managed to steal each of his scenes as Max Detweiler, exhibiting an impressive baritone and impeccable dramatic timing, as he has regularly done in his many CCO appearances." Opera News
"The star of the show was the agile Robert Orth as Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty, whom Josephine’s father wanted her to marry. A fine operatic baritone, Orth’s patter was machine gun fast, crisp, and completely understandable." Opera Today
DEATH AND THE POWERS
"Robert Orth gives a powerhouse performance as Simon Powers, his sinewy baritone capturing the character’s arrogance as well as his charisma." Dallas Morning News
"Orth’s portrayal of Powers was just thunderous; a stomping, garish, wonderfully obnoxious character who served as a perfect counterpoint to Joélle Harvey’s earnest Miranda. Once inside The System, his solo describing the transition was particularly compelling, though it’s a challenge to have that solo without the singer onstage. This was one of the instances in which Orth’s face does not materialize on the screen, so his work was really cut out for him. Running the gamut from bellowing bombast to a gentle nostalgia for his past, his performance here was even more impressive in that it occurred without his physical presence." newmusicbox
"Both seen and video-processed, Robert Orth is a tour de force as Simon." DALLAS MORNING NEWS
"Baritone Robert Orth, as Simon Powers, is one of the most versatile singing actors working today.” TheaterJones
"In Robert Orth’s experienced hands, Howie, who sees the potential in Emile’s powerful physique and turns him into a champ, becomes a complex character." St. Louis Post Dispatch
"The innocent ebullience the young Griffith brings to his relationship with his tough-as-nails trainer (Robert Orth, whose bitter aria is one of several showstoppers) is repeatedly shot down." Chicago Tribune
"Robert Orth brought his wealth of experience to bear as the trainer, and he sang with real fire and commitment." Opera Today
"Although the singers in "Champion" are all worthy of praise, two more seemed to these ears worthy of particular note. The great mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, as Emile's mother, was grand, flirtatious and forgetful when need be, forceful as required. And baritone Robert Orth, who played hat manufacturer/trainer Howie Albert, seemed appropriately like a character out of "Guys and Dolls," except with more depth and a much stronger voice." STL Beacon
"Robert Orth makes Howie Albert, Emile's trainer, pushy but compassionate." Wall Street Journal
"Robert Orth gives a powerful performance as Howie- who becomes his manager and mentor on his road to fame and fortune." Stage Door St. Louis
"Robert Orth used both modes to create a sharply etched portrayal of a man balancing opportunism with compassion.” Opera News
"As the puffed-up Mayor, Robert Orth dominated the stage. He seemed to have been inspired by character actor Fred Clark's portrayal of Mr. Babcock in the film classic AUNTIE MAME: the effect was terrifically colorful and amusing. The baritone's astute acting was matched with a solid, vibrant voice." - Opera News
"The plum role went to Robert Orth, as Mayor Fazzobaldi (say it out loud to get the joke). The stereotype of the greedy local potentate with delusions of grandeur is a comedic standby, and the veteran Orth was able to mine it with just the right tone and a great deal of enjoyment. Indeed, he may have been the deepest character in the whole opera and certainly had the most face time. He was onstage right through the end, when this shaggy-dog story of an opera concluded, to everyone’s credit, with an unexpected and genuinely funny punch line." Washington Post
"As Mayor Fazzobaldi, baritone Robert Orth seemed to be having the time of his life, making the most of ample opportunities for mugging, preening, and hogging the stage—just like a real politician. His brusquely comic voice was perfect for the part and every one of his entrances enlivened the proceedings." Washington Times
"It would be hard to improve on the cast, many of them alumni of the Wolf Trap Opera Company training program. As Mayor Fazzobaldi (subtlety is not the hallmark of this opera) baritone Robert Orth creates a marvelous caricature of small-minded, self-satisfied officialdom." ABC News online
"Orth is well-cast as Fazzobaldi, capable of delivering Musto's lively and engaging music and also capable of delivering the considerable humor of Campbell's libretto." Washington Examiner
THE BALLAD OF bABY dOE
Central City Opera production hits jackpot with Horace No. 4
Our Rating A
ShowTime: Continues in repertory through Aug. 6
Location: Central City Opera House
Price: $22 to $122
Ticket Info: 303-292-6700
By Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News
July 24, 2006
CENTRAL CITY - Here's a future opera trivia question: Name the four Horace Tabors in the 2006 Central City Opera production of Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe.
Wholesale substitutions resulted from a throat ailment that finally forced Jake Gardner (Horace No. 1) to leave the show - but only after being replaced opening night by Timothy Noble (No. 2) and, after a brief run, by apprentice artist Jason Richard Plourde (No. 3), who subbed for 1 1/2 performances.
All this may seem to suggest a stretch of bad luck for the company - but, as we saw on Saturday, it led to an all-time lucky break for Central City Opera and its audiences.
Enter Horace No. 4: Robert Orth.
A frequent visitor to the Opera House in Central City, the renowned baritone stepped in with barely a week to prepare. We've come to expect superb vocal and dramatic work from this marvelous singing actor, but this was special. His energy simply lit up the theater.
The baritone created a captivating character who was equal parts Horace, Orth and Everyman - a captivating figure of great depth.
As this heart-breaking story unfolded, Orth's Tabor aged in stunning fashion (his final appearance was a shocker). Yet the portrayal remained appropriately consistent: A man of tragic, unfailing pride.
That last scene was extraordinary. What had previously been a tiresome pastiche, on Saturday proved devastating - enhanced by those grimaces of sharp chest pains. Orth's emotional range was enormous, his interactions with the apparitions behind the scrim believable and touching. Unforgettable.
No surprise that the cast seemed energized on Saturday. Joyce Castle's Augusta emerged even more intense, the chemistry with Orth palpable (they had sung the work together recently in Indianapolis). Joanna Mongiardo's Baby Doe was as exquisite and intriguing as ever.
The quartet of Horace Tabors may make for a great trivia question - but there is nothing trivial about this production. Not with the force of nature that is Robert Orth. By the way, he'll sing the title role in Opera Colorado's NIXON IN CHINA in 2008. What a treat that should be.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
NIXON IN CHINA
"The star of the show was for me baritone Robert Orth as President Richard Nixon. Orth sang superbly well displaying a most distinctive American accent with crystal clear diction. Decked out in a business suit and tie it felt as if Orth was living the role and at times it was easy to imagine that he actually was the President himself."
Music Web International
"Robert Orth is an experienced Nixon and it showed. He was completely inside his character, expressing his keen sense of anticipation at the start of the historic visit and the false bonhomie perfected by future generations of politicians. Whether Adams and Goodman meant the portrayal of Richard Nixon to be satirical or not is difficult to gauge; there are moments when he seems an object of fun, the mopping of his brow a neat reference to his predicament in the first televised presidential debates of 1960. Vocally, he was in robust voice and clear diction, his ‘News’ monologue relishing the near-rhymes."
"This Nixon was extremely well cast, with Robert Orth using his stage experience of the title role to tremendous effect."
"Robert Orth’s Nixon sat just the right side of caricature, balancing his folksy artifice with beauty of vocal tone."
"Baritone Robert Orth in the title role deserves special mention: His voice seems made for Adams’s music. His physical characterization is unnervingly accurate; his clear and unaffected diction perfectly conveys Goodman’s wordy but rich texts."
"From the first moments of baritone Robert Orth’s descent down the steps of designer Erhard Rom’s life-sized (albeit stylized) Air Force One jet, he is Richard Nixon: The hunched shoulders, used-car salesman’s smile; the fawning, dog-like efforts to impress; and the paranoid facial mannerisms all ring true. So does Orth’s singing. His diction was immaculate, and each syllable was masterfully inflected.
Dissimulation, weakness, pride and, ultimately, pathos: All co- existed uneasily in Orth’s multifaceted characterization."
The Globe and Mail
"Driven by baritone Robert Orth's sensational portrayal of Richard Nixon, the St. Louis production revels in the intimate, deeply human side of Nixon. Orth delivers an almost frightfully detailed portrayal. The baritone has the gestures and tics down.Orth sings lyrically and passionately. He makes Nixon likable in this definitive musical portrayal."
"The supremely talented Robert Orth captured Nixon's high-strung, self-satisfied character with beautiful command of the physical and poetic language of the role, as Nixon struggled to find points of contact with the impenetrable Asians."
“The superb Robert Orth, a very human Nixon.”
The Wall Street Journal
The cast could hardly be improved upon. Orth had Nixon's forced smile and hunched-shoulder posture down pat — so to speak — and he sang and acted splendidly.
The Chicago Tribune
"Baritone Robert Orth's Nixon was complex and sympathetic. There was no hint of caricature in his portrayal."
The Financial Times
"Robert Orth's Nixon validated St. Louis's all-English-language policy with singing that began with words, and used music to give them life."
The New York Times
"Muscular-voiced Robert Orth had neatly mastered Nixon's jowly declamation."
The Kansas City Star
"Nixon's the one in baritone Robert Orth's clear-voiced and likable interpretation."
St. Louis Post Dispatch
"...Robert Orth's glowingly nerdish Nixon. Orth artfully balances Tricky Dick's ungainliness and physical eccentricities against his seriousness of purpose and concern for the practical work he hopes to accomplish. His singing (characterized on his Web site as "the best baritone in his price range") is crisp and to the point."
The Riverfront Times
"Your flight was smooth, I hope?'' became an insightful character study, thanks to Orth's zesty self-confidence as Nixon and Yuan's impenetrably urbane Chou. Orth's body language--the folded arms, the rocking on his heels, the cocky, uplifted chin--evoked the former president without a hint of caricature. In the extended aria, "News has a kind of mystery,'' Orth was gripping as a savvy Nixon well aware of his place in history. Using all the resources of his rich, flexible baritone, he hammered away at Adams' repetitious phrases, repeating the words as if Nixon's brilliant mind could barely contain his myriad thoughts.
The Chicago Sun Times
"Robert Orth's portrayal of Nixon is stunning in its perfection – the body language, the head movements, the attitude are so on-target as to be chilling. At times, I thought I was seeing the former president, and it was a little frightening."
"Baritone Robert Orth has put his stamp firmly on the title role; a carefully crafted performance like his doesn’t come along too often. He may not look much like Nixon, but he inhabited the character so completely, singing and acting so compellingly, that we forgot that minor detail."
St. Louis Post Dispatch
“Best of the soloists was Orth, the ever-reliable Chicago baritone who penetrated the texts with deep musicality and expressive involvement--’Estuans interius’ burned with dramatic intensity.”
Chicago Tribune, March 4, 2002
“The other principals in the cast expertly interpreted two or more roles, making versatility look like second nature. But the evening belonged to Robert Orth, who gave a tour de force performance as a declamatory Voltaire, a slippery Pangloss, a trustworthy Cacambo, and a cantankerous Martin. It was fascinating to watch Orth as he cast aside Pangloss’s academic garb, donned a serape, and changed his accent, gait and mannerisms to become instantly a believable Cacambo.”
Opera (U.K.), November 2002
“Robert Orth set the tone of the evening with a wickedly pompous Dr. Pangloss, the philosopher who argues that because this is the only world, it follows that this is the best of all possible worlds. He was the best of all possible mimics, too, donning accents and props with lightning speed. For a final trick, he brought a splendid growl to Martin's guttural aria.”
Opera News, September 2002
DEAD MAN WALKING
“Robert Orth, as the tortured father of the slain girl, gives a brilliant performance.”
Star-Ledger (N.J.), September 16, 2002
“The parents of the murdered teenagers (led by the superb Robert Orth), who are pushing for De Rocher’s execution, anchor a spare, haunting sextet.”
Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2002
The venerable baritone Robert Orth re-created his performance for the San Francisco Opera's world premiere as Owen Hart, the father of one of the teenage murder victims. His heartfelt performance brought to illumination one of the piece's most troubling themes: We are all victims of and responsible for the violent crimes committed in our society. The Gazette (CO) 2014
Baritone Robert Orth stands out as the murdered girl's father, a role that could be thankless, but whose perspective is absolutely necessary. Daily Camera (CO) 2014
Robert Orth, as Owen Hart, the grieving father of the murdered teenage girl, held the distinction of unleashing the first heart-wrenching outburst of the production. …also setting off the struggle to maintain my well-applied eye makeup… Operagasm, 2014
“Man cannot live by champagne alone -- he also needs the music of Emmanuel Chabrier, which is the aesthetic equivalent of a chilled split of Dom Perignon. If that sounds good to you, it's not too late to catch New York City Opera's divinely silly production of Chabrier's "L'Etoile," an operetta full of surreal happenings and sparkling tunes. Mark Lamos's dizzy staging is as slapsticky as a Chaplin short, and Robert Orth, the star of the evening, not only mugs like a trouper but also does a cartwheel and a split, an event almost certainly unique in the annals of opera. Alas, there is only one performance left, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., so drop everything, pack your funny bone and head for the New York State Theater. You will return refreshed.”
The Washington Post, November 3, 2002
“True to its title,Chabrier’s opera bouffe “L’etoile”(directed by Mark Lamos) has become the star of City Opera’s adventurous but uneven fall season. The end rhymes of Jeremy Sam’s English translation may bring a touch of D’Oyly Carte to the libretto, but there is no masking the Gallic insouciance (both sexual and political) of this rarely performed gem, giddily magnified by Constance Hoffman’s costumes, with their bold colors out of Toulouse-Lautrec, and the zany space-age sets and lighting of Andrew Lieberman and Robert Wierzel. Everybody sings and everybody dances, and everybody does it well, especially the versatile baritone Robert Orth, who, complete with padded rump, renders the ridiculous King Ouf as a very fey variation on Mike Myer’s Dr. Evil.”
THE NEW YORKER, November 4, 2002
"In the case of L'Etoile's leading man, baritone Robert Orth, singer-friendliness hardly mattered. Orth was a daffy, lovably supercilious Ouf, delivering his lines crisply and with unerring comic timing. What's more, he can dance the can-can, do a split, gracefully mimic Tchaikovsky's dying swan and turn in a wicked Maurice Chevalier imitation."
Opera News, February 2003
A WATERBIRD TALK
Robert Orth scored a huge success Jan. 12 with Dominick Argento's comic "A Water Bird Talk" as he talked, sang, sputtered, argued, regaled his audience with piano playing, and all but tore the roof off the historic-landmark hall in his tour de force.
The performer has to be versatile to the core, and Orth was all of that---in addition to confirming again his skills as an accomplished actor of the opera stage (no mean feat!).