Zingari, Opera Rara studio recording (recorded November 2021, released September 2022)

Presto Music Recordings of the Year 2022 - Our Top 100
(Chris O’Reilly, www.prestomusic.com, November 25, 2022)

“...[the equally magisterial Stephen] Gaertner commands a rock-solid technique which, in true bel canto style, allows him to gloriously spin the line in Tamar’s ‘Canto Notturno’ and reach notes above the staff with no seeming effort.”
(Bob Dieschburg, www.operawire.com, November 16, 2022)

“Stephen Gaertner’s firm, virile baritone...really is the only one of the four principals with a proper, pharyngeal core to his tone. He provides by far the best singing and it [is] his contribution I most enjoy; his ‘Canto notturno’, rightly encored at the premiere, is a highlight...”
(Ralph Moore, www.musicweb-international.com, November 1, 2022)

“Stephen Gaertner – a latish replacement for the originally schedule Carlos Álvarez – lends his firm baritone to the role of Tamar (having sung Cascart in Opera Rara’s 2015 Zazà)...”
(Mark Pullinger, Gramophone, November, 2022)

“El rol de Tamar tiene una tesitura muy aguda para el barítono y, a la vez, le pide cuerpo en el registro central para los momentos más dramáticos. Gaertner canta con una voz imponente y sin problema aborda el registro agudo, como en su aria ‘Ah, taci! Non lo dir!’ La música que Leoncavallo le asigna recuerda mucho a la que este mismo compositor le escribió a Silvio en su Pagliacci, por lo apasionada y bella. Tiene una balada preciosa al final del primer episodio: ‘Ah! Canto notturno’, que Gaertner canta con elegante línea de canto.”
(Ingrid Haas, www.proopera.org.mx, October 21, 2022)

“American baritone Stephen Gaertner completes the fatal love triangle as Tamar, the brooding Roma poet in love with Fleana. A highlight is Tamar’s early aria Ah! taci! non lo dir!…his expression is striking…and his high notes are splendid. Distraught at the prospect of Fleana’s forthcoming marriage to Radu, in the aria Ah! Canto notturno Gaertner empathises convincingly with Tamar’s fears and anxieties.”
(Michael Cookson, www.musicweb-international.com, October 6, 2022)

“Der amerikanische Bariton Stephen Gaertner ist für den erotischen Verführer Tamar goldrichtig gecastet, weil er mit der nötigen viril samtigen Stimme ausgestattet für eine mächtig aufgeheizte Dramaturgie mit dem verzehrend eifersüchtigen Rivalen Radu sorgt. Auch er ist mit Rollen wie Rigoletto, Jago, Scarpia oder Escamillo auf der Bühne längst in heldischen Gefilden zu Hause. In ‘Zingari’ kann er die Wandlung vom unbeachteten Mauerblümchen zum das ‘Spiel’ entscheidenden Lover glaubhaft und stimmlich ausreichend wandelbar vollziehen.”
(Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger, www.onlinemerker.com, October 6, 2022)

“Wonderfully vivid of voice and personality as Cascart in Opera Rara’s 2015 recording of Zazà...baritone Stephen Gaertner ignites this Zingari with his charismatic portrayal of the Roma poet Tamar...Gaertner voices ‘C’è uno straniero che s’aggira a notte’ mysteriously, passion for Fleana already saturating his tones. The composer’s Lamento angoscioso sostenuto instruction is meticulously heeded in ‘Ah! taci! non lo dir,’ in which the baritone’s repeated top E♭s evoke the desperation of Tamar’s desire. Intruding on Fleana and Radu, Gaertner hurls Tamar’s Fs and G♭ at the lovers with extraordinary force and vocal confidence. The delicate ‘Ah! Canto notturno nel firmamento,’ heard from afar as Fleana and Radu celebrate their union, is bewitchingly sung, the song’s disquieting effect on Fleana wholly credible...at the beginning of Episode Two, Tamar is no longer the idealist scorned by Fleana earlier in the opera. Proving himself to be a man of decisive action, he has kindled Fleana’s love, and Gaertner sings Tamar’s lines in their scene with bracing bravado. The fateful reprise of ‘Canto notturo nel firmamento’ is sung as mesmerizingly as its first incarnation, and ‘Bella! Bella! Sei qui tutta fremente!’ bristles with infatuation. Throughout the duet with Fleana, Gaertner’s vocalism smolders with sensuality, his singing of ‘Sono il rogo che s’accende’ suffused with longing...The dramatic immediacy of Gaertner’s unflappably secure, bronzed singing is consistently galvanizing, but the opera’s verismo intensity never goads him into shouting and snarling.”
(Joseph Newsome, www.voix-des-arts.com, October 4, 2022)

“Den düsteren Poeten Tamar gestaltet Stephen Gaertner angemessen diabolisch, bietet aber im Liebeswerben auch sanftere Töne, um Fleana von seinen Qualitäten zu überzeugen.”
(Uwe Friedrich, OPER!, October 2022)

“Van de drie hoofdpersonen is de dichter Tamar het meest romantische personage, binnen het drama, maar ook als karakter. Het blijkt een kolfje naar de hand van de Amerikaanse bariton Stephen Gaertner die we nog niet zolang geleden bij Opera Rara hoorden als Cascart in Leoncavallo’s Zazà...hier overtuigt hij volledig als jonge dichter die eerst moet toezien hoe zijn geliefde door een ander wordt weggekaapt, maar die haar tenslotte toch in zijn armen mag sluiten.”
(translation from Dutch to English: “Of the three main characters, the poet Tamar is the most romantic character, within the drama, but also as a character. It appears to be right up the alley of the American baritone Stephen Gaertner, whom we heard not so long ago at Opera Rara as Cascart in Leoncavallo’s Zazà...here he completely convinces as a young poet who first has to see how his beloved is stolen by someone else, but who is finally allowed to take her in his arms.”)
(Paul Korenhof, www.opusklassiek.nl, October 2022)

Gramophone magazine Official Specialist Classical Chart Top 20 (September 30, 2022)

“Der amerikanische Bariton Stephen Gaertner ist ein viriler Tamar...”
(Bernd Hoppe, www.operalounge.de, September 30, 2022)

“American baritone Stephen Gaertner acquits himself splendidly...rendering Tamar’s transition from spurned suitor to illicit love-interest (in Pagliacci terms, from Tonio to Silvio) more convincing than it looks on paper, and investing the ‘Canto Notturno’ which recurs in both ‘episodes’ with real poetry.”
(Katherine Cooper, www.prestomusic.com [Recording of the Week], September 23, 2022)

“Stephen Gaertner ist mit einer gut artikulierenden, dunkel-warmen Stimme ein sehr guter Tamar.”
(Remy Franck, www.pizzicato.lu [Supersonic Award], September 23, 2022)

“Dritter im Bunde ist der amerikanische Bariton Stephen Gaertner, der mit mächtig auftrumpfendem Bariton der Figur des Tamar das erforderliche Gewicht gibt.”
(Peter Sommeregger, www.klassik-begeistert.de, September 23, 2022)

“Tamar, Stephen Gaertner est un beau baryton, L’émission est sonore, au timbre séduisant, les aigus sont mordants. Sa souffrance du début (‘ah, taci...’) se mue en un chant rayonnant dans le ‘Canto notturno’ du second épisode.”
(Yvan Beuvard, www.forumopera.com, September 21, 2022)

“...with the viscerally exciting American baritone Stephen Gaertner singing the role of Tamar...”
(William Charlton-Perkins, www.newslink.co.za, September 12, 2022)

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soloist

Copland: Old American Songs

October 1, 2022 (canceled due to weather)

New Jersey Festival Orchestra