Reviews

Baritone Michael Chioldi, a local favorite, has appeared in major roles in five Austin Opera productions since 2013, and should be appearing regularly in all the leading houses in North America and Europe. A commanding figure on stage, his voice is enormous; he was totally credible as Iago, the very incarnation of evil.

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Paul E. Robinson, myscena.org

Desdemona’s infidelity is a lie sold to Otello by his venomous ensign, Iago. Michael Chioldi, a familiar face and voice with Austin Opera, embraced the character’s malevolence with a macho swagger – feet set apart, arms thrown open, smile broad.

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Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle.com

Red faced and evil-eyed Iago, played by Michael Chioldi, was venomous - much to the audience's delight. With Verdi's thematic focus of Catholicism, Iago's motivation differed from classical vengeance and more so as if our antagonist wore a friendship bracelet with the devil. A highlight BWW Review: Austin Opera Festively Reimagines Verdi's OTELLO in Austin, TXfrom Chioldi's performance was his rendition of "Inaffia l'ugola" or for the average audience member, "the drinking song from OTELLO". The coloratura Chioldi delivered was catchy and invited the audience to revel in his wickedness.

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Amy Tarver, Broadway World.com

In a pleasing return, baritone Michael Chioldi’s voice has grown and ripened into something quite powerful since his appearance in WNO’s Lucia in 2011. Tall and ramrod straight of spine, he growled and threatened as Germont.

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Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review

The villainous "Baron Scarpia" was superbly played by the baritone Michael Chioldi, who - in a powerful and well-modulated voice – matched the histrionic demands of the evil police chief who devises a Machiavellian intrigue to subdue to his lascivious deliriums the desperate Tosca who is willing to do anything to save her Cavaradossi from the scaffold . During the second act, Chioldi took hold of the audience's hatred; and the thunderous ovation he received at the end was a just recognition of his carats.

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Mario Alegre-Barrios, www.estoeselagua.com

Baritone Michael Chioldi was extremely impressive in his portrayal of what is lowest in a human being. He took on Scarpia with absolute commitment: he abused his power, cursed, lied and tried to rape Tosca, dying by her knife in his attempt. His performance in the demented sequence of scenes during the second act, shares the masterful capacity to sing and embody evil that brought international fame to Justino Díaz.

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Louis Enrique Juliá, El Nuovo Dia

American baritone Michael Chioldi scored a triumph as Gérard. His is a fine-grained instrument, wielded with power and finesse. Excellent not only in his singing but in his acting, he relished the chance to explore the contradictions of Gerard, certainly a character of greater complexity than many of opera’s baritone antagonists.

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Eric Myers, Opera News

My personal favorite of the evening is Michael Chioldi as Germont, Alfredo's father. Chioldi wrings every ounce of feeling from every note he sings and brought tears to my eyes with his forgiveness and grace.

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Lynn Beaver, Broadway World

American Baritone, Michael Chioldi also had a double debut, who sang his first Carlo Gérard at the Liceu. His voice pleasantly surprised from its first moment having great dimensions and with generous harmonics, complex timbre and a dark color ideal for the role. Here his verismo voice sounded ideal for the performances, equaling the orchestral grandiosity with ease, a homogeneous and unalterable tessitura and a facility in the upper register of great power. With correct diction, Chioldi can only be reproached for improving the fluency of phrasing, he has a tendency to sing on the granite of the instrument that at times can remind one of the mythical Sherrill Milnes.

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Jordi Maddaleno, Platea Magazine

Chioldi became more comfortable as the opera progressed and “Lacrime e sangue dà la Francia!” justifiably deserved the donations from the ostensibly impoverished cittadine. There was powerful singing in the pivotal “Nemico della patria” aria with some robust marcato top E naturals on “e mentre uccido io piango!” The burst of lyricism on “La coscienza nei cuor ridestar delle genti” built to a wonderful climax with a rock-solid sustained F sharp on “un sol bacio.” By the fff top F sharp on “saprò” before the trial scene, Chioldi was very much on vocal terra firma.

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Jonathan Sutherland, Operawire.com

The baritone role claims centre stage right from the start which Michael Chioldi ably achieves; he also received a fine ovation for «Nemico de la patria». As far as I can tell this was his European debut in a staged opera - he seemed pleased with his reception as well he should be.

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Michael Johnson, ConcertoNet.com

Baritone Michael Chioldi was the star of the evening in this production. Of the principals, his was the most realistic portrayal, with a baritone which was plangent and multi-layered. There was a feeling of sorrow that I felt for his Baron which I have never felt for Milnes, Morris, MacNeil, or any of the other Scarpia's of my generation. His ardor and lust for Tosca was obvious, but he managed to convey a loneliness and tenderness that heretofore has been missing in many portrayals of my experience. His singing of his act two aria, "Ha piu forte sapore" was a highlight.

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Jeffrey Bruce, Talkin' Broadway

Michael Chioldi’s Scarpia commands the stage and infuses the chief of police with the evil that he acknowledges when he compares himself with Shakespeare’s arch-villain, Iago, a portrayal distinguished by vocal power that rages over the excellent chorus and orchestra without compromising timbre or intonation, yet is sweetly lyrical when Scarpia feigns civility.

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David M. Rice, Classical Source

Even more fully-shaped and masterfully depicted was the Scarpia of Michael Chioldi, a favorite with this company – and justly so. Chioldi is the complete artist: a genuine singing actor with a large gorgeous baritone sound, expert musicianship and stage savvy that makes every one of his portrayals a believable human being. In this case, the “human” element was appropriately lacking. Chioldi’s Scarpia was the personification of evil, stentorian in sound but also subtly nuanced and quite terrifying.

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Robert Croan, Palm Beach Daily News

Baron Scarpia, the police chief of Rome, appears on most opera lovers’ lists of favorite villains, with his effortless hypocrisy and Dracula-like pleasure in his own evil. His black cape swirling as strutted around the stage, a leather riding quirt in his hand, the baritone Michael Chioldi gave a convincing portrait of a man wholly untroubled by conscience as he used spies and torture to pursue a sexual obsession.

Chioldi made a strong and aptly villainous impression. He brought lusty relish to his voice as he described Cavaradossi’s torture to Tosca, alternately bullying and cajoling her as her pursued his true goal.

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David Flesher, South Florida Classical Review

Michael Chioldi’s clear diction and strong projection left the audience wishing that Abimélech did not have to meet his demise so early in the plot.

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Rebecca Dowd Geoffroy-Schwinden, Opera News
Samson and Delilah - Virginia Opera

As the High Priest, Michael Chioldi delivered a robust, muscular tone and kinetic phrasing, while conveying the character’s slimy side with extra flair...

Opera News

As an example of luxury casting, the Dallas Opera engaged the impressive American baritone Michael Chioldi for the relatively brief role of Abimelech.

Chioldi, who is usually entrusted with lead roles [see Michael Chioldi, Micaela Oeste Enrich Washington National Opera’s Theatrically Absorbing “Hamlet” – May 22, 2010] gave a solid performance as the embattled Philistine.

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William, Operawarhorses.com

The rest of the cast is equally strong (as Borodina and Forbis).  Michael Chioldi brings Abimélech to life.

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Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones

Michael Chioldi, in the role of the vicious Abimelech, gives a spirited and naturalistic performance, but is dead by the middle of Act 1.

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Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice

A very strong supporting cast matched the vocal qualities of Borodina and Forbis with baritone Michael Chioldi as Abimelech.

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Wayne Lee Gay, Texas Classical Review

Similarly did baritone Michael Chioldi (High Priest of Dagon)....... deliver impressively strong singing and solidly dramatic performance, helping direct adversarial thoughts about power and religion.

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John Shulson, The Virginia Gazette

Michael Chioldi as the Priest offers an earth-rumbling baritone with peals of power and an artist’s precision.

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Andy Garrigue, Richmond Times - Dispatch

Michael Chioldi’s High Priest, by contrast, oozed confidence and vocal power to match Goeldner, giving the listener no doubts about who was really in love with whom.

 

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Charles T. Downey, Washington Post

Notables from the supporting cast include Michael Chioldi as the High Priest of Dagon and Stefan Szkafarowsky’s portrayal of an Old Hebrew. Chioldi is sonorous and strong like a trombone with a commanding presence.

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Brett Dodson, MD Theatre Guide.com

The baritone Michael Chioldi as the High Priest of Dagon has a powerful Act II show-down with Delilah and makes the character straightforward and unwavering.

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Mal Vincent, The Virginian-Pilot

Michael Chioldi gave the High Priest of Dagon a lecherous interpretation with his commanding voice.

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Paul Kuritz, Paul Kuritz, Theatre and Film

Lending a great voice to tragedy -

Wednesday’s dress rehearsal at the Marble Museum proved a beautiful and deeply powerful experience, up close and personal.

But it was the storytelling that was most impressive. Chioldi, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1996 in “Andrea Chenier” with Luciano Pavarotti, is a big-voiced baritone with a broad palette of colors at his disposal.

Although this work is sometimes performed by three singers, Chioldi moved from one character to another. The text ranges from commentary by Knut Fraenkel, who chastises the leader’s ego, credited with the expedition’s demise. Much more personal are Strindberg’s letters to his beloved wife, Anna, from excitement to loneliness. And Andrée’s are more factual and, in their own way, more haunting.

Argento and, in turn, Chioldi created a dramatic and emotional arc that drew the audience into this intimate storytelling. Although the baritone was suffering a cold Wednesday, his expression delivered the intensity of the drama and the depth of the characters’ experience. It didn’t hurt that Chioldi’s diction was outstanding, making it very easy to follow.

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Jim Lowe, Rutland Herald
Falstaff - Opera Saratoga

Craig Colclough—also Arizona Opera’s Falstaff—repeated his grandly vocalized, specific and convincing portrait. His strong baritone was matched by the idiomatic, incisively sung Ford of Michael Chioldi. Chioldi and the wonderfully enjoyable Caroline Worra made a sexy couple, well matched in refulgent sound and pointed word painting.

David Shengold, Opera News

Baritone Michael Chioldi as Ford belted out arias in the second act that were memorable for their passionate intensity.

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Geraldine Freedman, The Daily Gazette
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