Below you will find all reviews for Matthew Kofi Waldren. Please use the drop-down menu to navigate to a reviews of a particular production.
La boheme; Opera North, Newcastle Theatre Royal
"Music from the pit, under the baton of Matthew Kofi Waldren, was perfectly married with action on stage."
The Northern Echo; October 2019
"It is an incredible delight to hear the huge group of musicians filling the room with their swirling yet precise sound. Tonight's conductor was Matthew Kofi Waldren and he kept a tight ship throughout."
North East Theatre Guide; October 2019
Opera Magazine (October 2019)
'The comedy was built around a heroine of substance - this Angelina showed some spiritfrom the start - leaving space for tension, sentiment and tightlychoreographed knockabout. Similarly, Matthew Kofi Waldren's conducting consistently achieved the fundamental Rossinian balance of exhilarating dynamism and bouyant grace.'
The Stage (July 2019)
'conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren consistently achieves the essential Rossinian balance of exhilarating dynamism and buoyant grace.'
Opera Today (July 2019)
'Giving support to those above stage was the West Green House Opera Orchestra skilfully directed by Matthew Kofi-Waldren. He secured stylish playing throughout and steered well-judged tempi that brought buoyancy and plenty of excitement without compromising ensemble. Altogether, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.'
Classical Source (July 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts a sensitively paced account of the score, not driving the rhythms too hard, and timing the comedy well.'
Planet Hughill (July 2019)
'In the pit, Matthew Kofi Waldren acted the necessary role of traffic policeman admirably, keeping the complex ensembles on track, yet he also ensured that everything fizzed with excitement. With such a small orchestra (16 strings, single woodwind and horn) this was a very lithe performance, which suited the young voices and Waldren tailored his approach to this. But there was also plenty that was expressive, and having the music zip along did not preclude some beautifully touching moments, with plenty of space for the singers.'
Music OMH (August 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren’s conducting is highly accomplished as he elicits an extremely smooth and balanced sound from the West Green House Orchestra, which plays Jonathan Lyness’ reduced orchestration, and effectively captures not only the rhythms of the music but of the piece as a whole in terms of its overarching momentum, themes and humour.'
Un ballo in maschera
Opera Now (September 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren's conducting built the tension superbly, marshaling his excellent cast and orchestra with an aggresive elegance that suited the opera.'
Opera (August 2019)
'Yet this sterling cast and orchestra remained unfazed – especially the orchestra. Matthew Kofi Waldren kept the City of London Sinfonia on a very tight rein and it responded with a the tautest ensemble imaginable. Here was a conductor with a very clear idea of what he wanted and determined to get it. Not that he was relentless with his singers: he allowed Anne Sophie Duprels plenty of leeway with Verdi’s rest in Amellia’s ‘Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa’, while keeping the orchestral interjections tidy. Quite how the orchestra managed to continue playing in this vein, finger numb with cold, remained a mystery, but the strings were full-bodied and the brass, complete with cimbasso, gleamed.'
The Times (June 2019)
'That's four stars for fortitude as well as finesse...Almost from first note to last the rain pelted on that canvas roof, creating a din that obliterated anything under mezzo-forte. That the rapport between the singers and the excellent City of London Sinfonia didn’t waver for a moment is a tribute to the admirable conductor, Matthew Kofi Waldren.'
The Independent (June 2019)
'The ball scene with its bloody denouement, powered with tremendous verve by Matthew Kofi Waldren in the pit…'
The Sunday Times (June 2019)
'Musically, this challenging middle-period Verdi left little to be desired, thanks to Matthew Kofi Waldren’s superb conducting'
The Guardian (June 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren, meanwhile, conducts with passion and sensitivity.'
Bachtrack (June 2019)
'The City of London Sinfonia played Verdi’s epic score with effervescent brightness and a full-bodied bloom under Matthew Kofi Waldren...'
The Arts desk (June 2019)
'Conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren puts the City of London Sinfonia absolutely at the heart of Verdi’s scheming and yearning. There’s a spare, skeletal beauty to his Prelude, icy violin broken chords chilling the warmth of the cellos, and this spiky unease runs right through the performance, the music never fully surrendering or releasing into amorous comfort. The opening chords of Act I Scene II ring out like gunshots, and the chorus achieve a subtler menace in a magnificent final scene.'
Seen & Heard International (June 2019)
'Waldren is a fine conductor, as his La rondine, the season opener in 2017, indicated, and he clearly has a very good feeling for Verdi, both in the felicities of scoring and in the larger picture.'
Classical Source (June 2019)
'Orchestrally much of the distinct qualities of this score are evident. Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts a spirited and detailed account, and, in tandem with the cohesive staging, this is one of Opera Holland Park’s successful Verdian ventures.'
Culture Whisper (June 2019)
'Waldren has his finger on the pulse of Verdi and an unerring feeling for the music's inner beats and rhythms. Walking that tightrope between dragging and rushing is a gift and a skill that the audience can relax into, carried along at a rate that is as right and natural as your own heartbeat. Luckily, he has the City of London Sinfonia and the Opera Holland Park Chorus at his beck and call. There was such lovely solo playing from the pit on opening night , notably from the principal cellist, flautist and clarinet. Oh and all the rest...As for that chorus. You just want to take them all home...this is an outstanding production, musically, visually and theatrically.'
Opera Today (June 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren, who impressed so much with his Traviata last year, exercises acute control over the pacing and ensures that we're enthalled. The musical temperature of each moment is brilliantly judged, and varied; and the passion is as much driven by rhythm as it is by melody or colour.'
The Spectator (June 2019)
'Musically it's exemplary... Underpinning it all is Matthew Kofi Waldren’s restless orchestra, an unsettling, Hitchcockian engine for this stylish tragedy.'
Gianni Schicchi & Les mamelles de Tiresias
Opera (April 2019)
'Anyone doubting whether a conservatoire could summon the necessary style and fluency would have been quickly disabused by these performances. Standards of singing‚ acting and orchestral playing were uniformly high‚ with production values to match. So hats off first to Matthew Kofi Waldren for eliciting such alert and idiomatic responses from his musicians...'
Bachtrack (Jamuary 2019)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren conducted a lively orchestra‚ the students taking the tricky pacing and balance in the Puccini in their stride. I have only seen the two-piano version by Britten of the Poulenc‚ so the full orchestration was a revelation with its lush harmonies (premonition of Carmélites)‚ sweeping phrases and many vignettes including a polka for the gamblers and a waltz for Thérèse.'
The Scotsman (January 2019)
'What connects the two performances is an unstoppable sense of entertainment... Les Mamelles de Tirésias is spectacular in every sense‚ with outstanding performances across the board... Conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren’s orchestra comes fully to life in the Poulenc‚ as does everything.'
Opera Scotland (January 2019), Schicchi
'Central to the enterprise was the excellent student orchestra under the dedicated control of a new guest conductor‚ Matthew Kofi Waldren. On opening night his pacing was just right.'
Opera Scotland (January 2019), Les mamelles
'Having previously heard the light‚ slightly brittle‚ piano reduction‚ it was fascinating to hear Poulenc’s original thoughts for the orchestra. Just in the opening minutes‚ during the Theatre Director’s prologue‚ we heard from the orchestra phrases and colours reminiscent of the Organ Concerto and Gloria‚ which were followed by a foretaste of that wonderful opera Dialogues des Carmélites. All these lovely colours were projected quite beautifully by the student orchestra under guest conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren.'
Paul Bunyan, ENO at WIlton's Music Hall
Mail on Sunday (September 2018)
'But perhaps the biggest potential star of all is the conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren.I have been impressed with him at Opera Holland Park‚ and even more so here.'
Opera Magazine (November 2018)
'...the score sounded sumptuous under the baton of Matthew Kofi Waldren. '
BachTrack.com (September 2018)
'The pacing‚ musical preparation and orchestral playing were exemplary under ENO’s Mackerras Fellow Matthew Kofi Waldren.'
Classical Source (September 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren – Mackerras Fellow at ENO – conducts with finesse...'
Culture Whisper (September 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts his admirable players with calm assurance...'
Opera Canada (September 2018)
'The ENO musicians played marvellously for conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren.'
Opera Today (September 2018)
'Conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren stitched together the eclectic idioms with fluency and brightly coloured zest‚ the orchestra (Britten’s revised instrumentation was used) tiered on stage and spilling into the side-aisles.'
Seen & Heard International (September 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren had perfect control between band and stage; unobtrusive‚ but most effectively judged.'
The Arts Desk (September 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren‚ a deserving former beneficiary of the company’s Mackerras Conducting Fellowship‚ is a perfect choice to draw a company together. '
The Guardian (September 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts with neat efficiency. '
The Observer (September 2018)
' Musical standards‚ under the baton of Matthew Kofi Waldren‚ were excellent...'
The Spectator (September 2018)
'Under the immaculate direction of Matthew Kofi Waldren — the straight man to Manton’s joker — the chorus gives it the full Broadway‚ triple threats to a man...It all adds up to a fine evening’s entertainment. '
The Stage (September 2018)
'...while Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts a spick and span performance.'
The Telegraph (September 2018)
'...Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts the band with warm affection. '
The Times (September 2018)
'With the band in front‚ percussion to the right‚ singers behind and chorus all around‚ the conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren keeps it all moving as tightly as he can.'
What’s on Stage (September 2018)
'The dynamic young conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren energises an ENO orchestra that’s been splattered over the Wilton’s walls...'
La traviata - Opera Holland Park
BachTrack.com (May 2018)
'a real ensemble effort that combined sensitivity of direction with strong singing on stage and spirited playing from the pit. The Opera Holland Park Chorus gave a lively performance and conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren drew a sensitive and balanced performance from the City of London Sinfonia.'
Classical Source (May 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren has become an OHP regular‚ and with good reason. He has an innate sense of Verdian style‚ keeping momentum simmering and very clear about nuance and colour. He is very attentive to the singers’ needs‚ and is as persuasive in detail as he is in the big ensembles and Finales. This is Opera Holland Park at the top of its game.'
The Guardian (May 2018)
'Musically‚ it’s extremely strong. Matthew Kofi Waldren‚ conducting the City of London Sinfonia‚ propels the score urgently forward‚ admirably avoiding sentimentality. '
The Independent (May 2018)
'...Flora’s party goes like the wind‚ with its gypsy women straight out of a Toulouse-Lautrec poster‚ and powered by top-notch orchestral playing under Matthew Kofi Waldren’s direction.'
The Stage (May 2018)
'Having risen through the ranks to enjoy a burgeoning career‚ Anglo-Ghanaian conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren shows a keen appreciation of the drama inherent in Verdi’s music.'
The Times (May 2018)
'Matthew Kofi Waldren‚ once a member of OHP’s chorus‚ has found his metier as a conductor and paints Verdi’s tensile phrases in particularly vivid colours. '
What’s on Stage (May 2018)
'Cards on Flora Bervoix’ table‚ this is the most distinguished new Traviata to reach London in years. Not only is it radiantly sung and splendidly played by the City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Kofi Waldren...'
Music OMH (May 2018)
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts the City of London Sinfonia with immense vigour and skill, and the result is an extremely strong and moving opening to Opera Holland Park’s 2018 season’
Planet Hugill (May 2018)
‘In the pit Matthew Kofi Waldren drew a lithely expressive performance from the City of London Sinfonia. This was an admirably paced account of the opera, one which breathed and flowed but also had urgency to it…this production of La traviata made an engaging, sophisticated and musically satisfying start to the season, complete with vocal fireworks.’
Culture Whisper (May 2018)
‘La traviata is conducted with spirit and sensitivity by Matthew Kofi Waldren’
Opera Today (May 2018)
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren encouraged ever more responsive playing from the City of London Sinfonia and the precision in the final act was complemented by impassioned warmth. Waldren doesn’t hang about and that only serves to enhance the sure dramatic thrust established by Gaitanou and Chisholm.’
The Marriage of Figaro - English National Opera
Plays to See (April 2018)
'It should be noted that he [Matthew Kofi Waldren] is one of the winners of the Charles Mackerras Fellowship and that he is clearly a deserving winner. Note his name and watch out for him...leading a splendid performance musically'
Don Giovanni - Opera North
Nottingham Post (March 2018)
'Add in Matthew Kofi Waldren's incisive conducting, high-octane singing and dancing from the Chorus and much fizzy playing by the Orchestra - and you have a night at the opera to remember.'
Rondine - Opera Holland Park
‘And yet in many ways the night belongs to conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren, spinning a sparkling City of London Sinfonia like a top. One swallow may not make a summer, but this Rondine has certainly made mine.’
Claudia Pritchard; Culture Whisper; June 2017
‘This swallow soars thanks to their stylish work on stage…as well as to an idiomatic conductor, Matthew Kofi Waldren, who gets the City of London Sinfonia to wallow in Puccini’s lush, glittering orchestrations…A huge OHP hit’
Hugh Canning; The Sunday Times; June 2017
‘I don’t expect to see anything much better this summer than OHP’s opener… idiomatic conducting by Matthew Kofi Waldren – this a great start to what promises to be an exceptional season.’
David Mellor; The Mail on Sunday; June 2017
‘a production that is wholly idiomatic and satisfying both musically and dramatically…The City of London Sinfonia is clearly in fine form this season. The brisk tempi and flexible rubato set by regular conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren kept things moving without putting the singers under unreasonable pressure in their most exposed moments…some exquisite points of solo detail from the harp, woodwind and percussion that serve to remind us how much of a pointillist craftsman Puccini was in his layered orchestration.’
Tim Hochstrasser; Live Theatre UK; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren is excellent at steering the deft mood-changes and easy lilt of the score’
David Nice; The Arts Desk; June 2017
‘The ever-splendid City of London Sinfonia, whose annual residence is one of the company’s outstanding boasts, played the score for all its worth under Matthew Kofi Waldren’s elegantly energised baton.’
Mark Valencia; What’s on Stage; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren’s conducting is lithe and bright.’
Anna Pickard; The Times; June 2017
‘The chorus was on soaring form, the City of London Sinfonia – brass especially – spirited and infectiously enthusiastic. Conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren kept the tempi fluid and well paced. This was a buoyant start to a varied season.’
Fiona Maddox; The Observer; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren shows a fine Italian hand in the pit. With the chorus on fabulous form in the big set-piece ensembles, it all adds up to a glorious season opener.’
Warwick Thompson; Metro; June 2017
‘Also, the orchestration is magnificent and all credit to Matthew Kofi Waldren for coaxing the orchestra to its best…the evening was a triumph. Dance rhythms were infectious; elsewhere, one heard a level of detail one might have considered unlikely given the quasi-outdoors setting. Without doubt, Puccini’s orchestration is as sophisticated as his writing for voices, especially his calibrated way of writing in the final act, matching music to drama impeccably. A special mention, too, for the leader Martin Burgess and his various solos, all magical.’
Colin Clarke; Seen and Heard International; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren drew a first-class performance from the City of London Sinfonia, revelling in the glorious froth and whimsy of the score, occasionally threatening to overpower the singers early on in the performance, but highlighting so much of the sweeping beauty and orchestral detail of Puccini’s writing that one could sit there and wallow in that alone. As an opening to Opera Holland Park’s 2017 season, this was a resounding success.’
Dominic Lowe; Bachtrack; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren demonstrated a superior empathy for Puccini’s late style and an easy command of the City of London Sinfonia in the pit.’
George Hall; Opera News; June 2017
‘The City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Kofi Waldren gives a fine performance of Puccini’s evocative score.’
Clare Colvin; The Sunday Express; June 2017
‘With Matthew Kofi Waldren conducting the City of London Sinfonia with warm affection and Martin Lloyd-Evans presenting a likeable staging…this is an operatic confection that can be warmly recommended to anyone with a sweet-tooth and a soft heart.’
Rupert Christiansen; The Daily Telegraph; June 2017
‘There’s lush support from the City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Kofi Waldren and the energetic Opera Holland Park Chorus.’
Inge Kjemtrup; The Stage; June 2017
‘Super musical direction of the City of London Sinfonia by Matthew Kofi Waldren brought the score fully to life. This fun start to the 2017 season packs a musical punch as soon as the orchestra strikes up, a swallow heralding a summer of opera to come.’
Mark Ronan; Mark Ronan Theatre Reviews; June 2017
‘With two strong voices, conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren allows the City of London Sinfonia to raise its decibel levels above the average at Holland Park, and La rondine comes across as more full-blooded as a result.’
Richard Fairman; Financial Times; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren kept the ensemble scenes in the first two acts moving with vivid impetus, encouraging the orchestra to provide characterful, full-blooded drama which complemented the stage…in the duets he showed that he could balance things, allowing the singers to shape Puccini’s melodies. This wasn’t the most luxuriant account of the score, but the playing of the City of London Sinfonia brought out the vibrant colours and details of Puccini’s writing.’
Robert Hugill; Opera Today; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren, who has with good reason been nurtured by Opera Holland Park, has a clear idea of the score’s show-time versus high-opera inclinations…there was plenty of warmth, detail and attention to the singers.’
Peter Reed; Classical Source; June 2017
‘The City of London Sinfonia makes the most of Puccini’s score, ably conducted by Matthew Kofi Waldren.’
Sebastian Taylor; Camden New Journal; June 2017
‘Direction by Matthew Kofi Waldren is sure-footed’
Michael Church; The Independent; June 2017
‘Matthew Kofi Waldren’s conducting is excellent’
Sam Smith; Music OMH; June 2017
'Matthew Waldren, conducting the City of London Sinfonia, led a full-blooded, big-hearted, open-air performance'
Yehuda Shapiro; Opera; August 2016
'Beautifully conducted by Matthew Waldren...beautifully played, too...so much detail and engagement from the City of London Sinfonia.'
Anna Pickard; June 2016
'Superbly conducted by Matthew Waldren...[he] made the orchestra sound double its size, and the instrumental detail reminded me of Serafin'
Hugh Canning; June 2016
'The whole thing rattles along under the brisk conducting of Matthew Waldren, who draws some fine playing from the CLS, particularly in the heartbreaking closing pages'
Stephen Pritchard; The Observer; June 2016
'The crisp playing of the City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Waldren is arrestingly good'
Mark Valencia; What's On Stage, June 2016
'Waldren conducts with real passion'
Tim Ashley; The Guardian; June 2016
'Matthew Waldren conducts an account that is as perceptive in realising the detail of Puccini's score as it is surefooted in its overview. He energises the alert musicians of the City of London Sinfonia. The company's chorus and children's chorus, too, are in top gear.'
George Hall; The Stage; June 2016
'The musical performance is also first rate - Matthew Waldren conducting a fine and loving account of the score with verve and the City of London Sinfonia responding in kind.'
Alexander Campbell; Classical Source; June 2016
'Matthew Waldren led a boistrous account of Puccini's score, springy rhythms to the fore, the City of London Sinfonia responding warmly.'
Mark Pullinger; Bachtrack; June 2016
'In general this is a vigorous show, driven by firm voices, a conductor, Matthew Waldren, with a clear grip, and a very crisp City of London Sinfonia.'
Geoff Brown; The Times; June 2016
'Good work too from the City of London Sinfonia under conductor Matthew Waldren and the massed OHP Chorus.'
Clare Colvin; Sunday Express; June 2016
'Matthew Waldren's conducting doubtless helped greatly...There was never the slightest danger of sentimentalisation, in a sharp-edged account, which kept the excellent City of London Sinfonia on its toes throughout. It was not all so driven, though; where the music needed, wanted to dance, it could do so happily, not least during Musetta's second-act 'show'...a great deal to savour, here. OHP's Puccini Midas touch works its magic once again.'
Mark Berry; Boulezian/Opera Today; June 2016
'The conducting of Matthew Waldren, who was recently awarded an ENO Charles Mackerras Fellowship, reveals a keen eye for detail and balance while still capturing something of the sweeping nature of Puccini's enigmatic score.'
Sam Smith; Music OMH; June 2016
'Matthew Waldren conducts an account that's brisk rather than indulgent...The OHP Chorus sing superbly for him - further proof that this year's line-up is an exceptionally strong one.'
Alexandra Coghlan; The Arts Desk; June 2016
'Matthew Waldren provided assured direction to the cast, orchestra and chorus throughout. The Chorus entries in the crowd scene in Act 2 were exceptionally well coordinated and the children in the Chorus delivered their contributions with enormous flair. Waldren and the City of London Sinfonia provided a flexible and richly coloured accompaniment... The final few bars of the opera were particularly impressive as brass and strings created powerful, tragic and portentous sonorities as Rodolfo finally realised he had lost his Mimi.'
Robert Beattie; Seen and Heard; June 2016
'With conductor Matthew Waldren pushing the the whole thing along at a refreshingly bracing and decidedly unsentimental speed...I like my Puccini operasas the composer himself did - something to canter through at a decent lick.'
Claudia Pritchard; Culture Whisper; June 2016
'In the pit‚ the City of London Sinfonia played the well-crafted score for all it was worth‚ while conductor Matthew Waldren explored and extolled its many subtle French niceties'
George Hall; Opera News; November 2015
'Matthew Waldren got the orchestra in the right zone of ethereal foofla‚ and any longueurs were certainly down to Delibes'
Robert Thicknesse; Opera Now; October 2015
'That the evening hung together so well was down to Matthew Waldren's conducting, which brought out the score's well-mannered colours, its nudges into drama and its sensuousness, with excellent playing from the City of London Sinfonia. Even Waldren, though, has his work cut out keeping our attention in the two-hour stretch of Acts 1 and 2, but he kept his cool in a style that drifts from ballet prettiness into bel canto and dabs of Impressionism'
Opera; September 2015
'Matthew Waldren led a vivid account of Delibes’ colourful score, sparkling nicely in the Opéra Comique style choruses and the quintet for the Brits in Act II...The ballet bristled with vigour – especially the lively timpani – and harp and glockenspiel were perfectly in time in the Bell Song.'
Mark Pullinger' Bachtrack; July 2015
'The excellence of the performance is rounded out by elegant and sensitive singing from the Opera Holland Park Chorus, and an assured contribution from the City of London Sinfonia that responds ably to Matthew Waldren – the pathos of that ‘Flower Duet’ owing in no small part to the alertness of his conducting.'
Richard Whitehouse; Classical Source; July 2015
'Matthew Waldren gets clean playing from the orchestra.'
Richard Fairman; Financial Times; July 2015
'Under conductor Matthew Waldren, City of London Sinfonia manages a convincing French accent. '
Nick Kimberley; London Evening Standard; July 2015
'This opera is full of wonderful moments to which Matthew Waldren in the orchestra pit gave great effect with a mix of liveliness, charm and solemnity'
Mark Ronan; Mark Ronan Theatre Reviews; July 2015
'Matthew Waldren conducts superbly, keeping everything balanced and precise, which is not easy given both the tented area’s acoustic and the specific demands of this opera.'
Sam Smith; MusicOMH, July 2015
'Matthew Waldren and the City of London Sinfonia played Delibes’ fragrant orchestrations to the manner born.'
Sebastian Petit; Opera Brittania; July 2015
'There was certainly considerable attention to the detail, and a sustained, thoughtful expressiveness to the instrumentalists’ phrasing; the individual voices could be clearly heard, as if characters in the opera — and it certainly sounded as if the players cared about the music...conductor Matthew Waldren was in full command of the details.'
Claire Seymour; Opera Today; July 2015
'Musically, the opera works beautifully. The City of London Sinfonia under conductor Matthew Waldren captures the lushness of the score.'
Clare Colvin; Sunday Express; July 2015
'[the] expert baton of Matthew Waldren, conducting a very fine City of London Sinfonia with some first-rate wind solos and wacky timpani playing from Tristan Fry in the Act Two divertissement.'
David Nice; The Arts Desk; July 2015
'Here is a rare opportunity to hear a gem of the French operatic repertory, beautifully sung and sensitively played...Its scene-painting is atmospheric, its melodies are sensuous, its orchestration lush, its pace languorous – and it is to the credit of Matthew Waldren that his shapely conducting doesn’t soup or whip it up factitiously. The City of London Sinfonia plays every note lovingly.'
Rupert Christiansen; The Daily Telegraph; July 2015
'Musically, everything is at a consistently high level. Matthew Waldren conducts crisply and the City of London Sinfonia’s playing is full of good things.'
Martin Kettle; The Guardian; July 2015
'the superb playing of the City of London Sinfonia under conductor Matthew Waldren.'
Alexandra Coghlan; The Independent; July 2015
'Delibes’s Lakmé – the opera about the Hindu priestess and her intoxicated lover, the British officer Gerald – almost flew by on the second night of Opera Holland Park’s new staging, thanks to terrific musical standards...Given that the first two acts before the interval at Opera Holland Park last exactly two hours, any sense of lift-off was some achievement on the part of all involved: Matthew Waldren conducting, with zestful, finely shaped playing from the City of London Sinfonia.'
Fiona Maddox; The Observer; July 2015
'The City of London Sinfonia, conducted by Matthew Waldren, lap up every woodwind caress and piquant phrase.'
Geoff Brown; The Spectator; July 2015
'There’s consistently impressive playing from the City of London Sinfonia, while conductor Matthew Waldren maintains a focused eye on the music’s expressive aims...Verdict: Conducted with distinction by Matthew Waldren.'
George Hall; The Stage; July 2015
'Under Mathew Waldren the City of London Sinfonia played remarkably well.'
Hugh Canning; The Sunday Times; August 2015
'Matthew Waldren conducts a handsome account of this heavily upholstered score.'
Anna Pickard; The Times; July 2015
'Derivative hokum though it is, those ravishing melodies carry it along and this crisp, hurtling account by Matthew Waldren and the City of London Sinfonia runs an electric charge through Delibes' score.'
Mark Valencia; What's On Stage; July 2015
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
'From the first attention-grabbing chord, the City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Waldren revelled in every jokey phrase and bouncy rhythm. Nicholas Lester's Figaro and Nico Darmanin's Count's double act was funny visually and musically.'
Amanda Holloway; Opera; July 2014
'Matthew Waldren did a great job in keeping the arias and big set piece numbers on track. I loved the orchestra’s mock heroics, playfulness and winning exuberance in the overture (the woodwind section were particularly good). Waldren provided a very attentive accompaniment to the principals and set piece numbers were superb – I loved the way the the Act 1 finale was allowed to build nicely into a frothy, riotous piece of high camp.'
Robert Beattie; Seen & Heard International; June 2014
'The City of London Sinfonia responded well to Matthew Waldren's baton, his apt tempo choices and a persuasive musical momentum. The strings were on gleaming form.'
Mark Valencia; What's on Stage; June 2014
'Matthew Waldren’s conducting is highly intelligent and controlled, and generates some beautiful playing from the City of London Sinfonia...the cleanness and balance of sound he achieves goes a long way to generating excitement in its own right.'
Sam Smith; Music OMH; June 2014
'[The overture] zipped along vivaciously with raucous woodwinds and spirited percussion contributions'
Mark Pullinger; Bachtrack; June 2014
'The musical directing [is] superb and the performance provides all the hilarity you could expect from Rossini, and sometimes more'
S.A. McCracken; Plays to See; June 2014
'Conductor Matthew Waldren led the City of London Sinfonia through a sparkling overture...there was much attention to detail...the string ensemble was good, and the woodwind and horn solos sang warmly'
Claire Seymour; Opera Today; June 2014
'The Overture was generously shaped and fully anticipated all the mischief waiting in the wings...he looked after the singers well and built up a fine Act one finale.'
Peter Reed; Classical Source; June 2014
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
ALBUM REVIEW: 'There is strong support from...the tightly-knit contribution of the makeshift band under the lightly-worn authority of Matthew Waldren’s baton'
Michael Quinn; Opera; December 2015
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE REVIEW: 'The twelve-piece orchestra – under conductor Matthew Waldren – does what it has to do well starting with the fairly traditional musical overture‚ then embracing all the changes of style and effectively accompanying the solos and ensembles‚ as well as‚ keeping everything moving forward'
Jim Pritchard; Seen & Heard International; November 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'commendation of the playing under Matthew Waldren, clearly and crisply delivered with every strand clear.'
Paul Corfield Godfrey; Music Web international; November 2015
'The live orchestra sparks a bit of outdoor magic into the performance'
Camilla Gurtler; A Younger Theatre; July 2015
'The ‘Alice band’ delivers a rich soundscape'
Andrea White; Bargain Theatre; July 2015
'It is no easy task for conductor Matthew Waldren to manage these disparate forces in the open air and on the move, but he set lively tempi and managed to keep everyone together without any visible problems.'
Tim Hochstrasser; British Theatre; August 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'The cast...and orchestra, conducted by Matthew Waldren, put on a good show.
Richard Fairman; Gramophone; July 2015
'Matthew Waldren conducts his roving 11 piece orchestra perfectly'
Jonathan Baz; Jonathan Baz Reviews; July 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'Conductor Matthew Waldren draws bright, breezy playing from his orchestra.'
Dan Morgan; Music Web International; August 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'Matthew Waldren conducts the 11 piece orchestra with aplomb, and recorded in the studio we get to appreciate far more of the detail in Will Todd's orchestration'
Robert Hughill; Planet Hughill; July 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'Conductor Matthew Waldren holds the 11-piece ensemble together with panache and fizz.'
Warwick Thomson; Sinfini Music; August 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'It has bags of energy and colour'
Rupert Christiansen; The Telegraph; July 2015
ALBUM REVIEW: 'you can admit to yourself, at home with a drink-me glass of merlot or two, that it's not just toddlers who'll enjoy Todd's music...On record, all words are crystal clear, supported by a small but colouful orchestra that includes an accordian and sax.'
Neil Fisher; The Times; July 2015
'A thoughtfully selected and wonderfully conducted (Matthew Waldren) 11 piece musical group (strings, some brass and wind, percussion and the addition of a valuable, and unusual, accordion) we’re at the usual standard of music an audience can expect from this company.'
Karl O'Doherty; The Public Reviews; July 2014
'The 11-piece orchestra of glorious strings knit together with more unusual sounds from the accordion, saxophone and flute.'
Alexandra Sims; The Upcoming; July 2014
'Conductor Matthew Waldren and his 11-strong orchestra do a sterling job in the heat, the music always delivered with gusto and skill'
Views from the Gods; July 2014
Strekosa i Muravej
"The orchestra was the highlight of the evening. The music, composed by Brian Hosefros, ws absolutely fantastic; a breath-taking blend of mainly strings and woodwind, resulting in haunting melodies which were very tense at times. The strings were plucked, macabre and insect-like...Conductor Matthew Waldren was captivating to watch [displaying] confidence with the chillingly evocative pieces."
Tamara Stanton, Plays to See, August 2013
"Matthew Waldren was ably in control, getting a fine performance from the instrumental ensemble and ensuring the whole show ran without a hitch."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, August 2013
Les Pecheurs de Perles
"Matthew Waldren's sympathetic music direction went a considerable distance in making this a very cultivated Pecheurs...The conductor Matthew Waldren did well to avoid the saccharine in a score with such a penchant for prettiness, and I much admired the way in which he folded in the reappearances of the the big duet tune to give the drama an unexpected sense of direction and psychological truth. The City of London Sinfonia's playing was responsive and stylish."
Peter Reed, Opera, September 2013
"The City of London Sinfonia...under Matthew Waldren, a dynamic musician who won his spurs at OHP as an exceptional chorus-master between 2009 and 2011. It is typical of this company to keep faith with its home-grown talent and the young conductor repaid the investment handsomely. He shaped Bizet's score with great sensitivity, alive to its exotic colours, and keen to display the melodic orchestrations to their best advantage. The players responded with style....Pace and dynamics were ideal: Waldren is a talent to watch."
Mark Valencia, Classical Source, June 2013
"Matthew Waldren extracts some very fine singing and playing from his chorus and orchestra, whose violist, oboist and harpist rise nobly to their respective challenges...musically it's pretty much the biz."
Michael Church, The Independent, June 2013
"In the pit, the conductor Matthew Waldren...has an ear for Bizet's silky textures and is a steady hand."
Neil Fisher, The Times, June 2013
"Matthew Waldren takes it all very seriously and draws attractive playing from the City of London Sinfonia"
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph, June 2013
"But it’s conductor Matthew Waldren and the City of London Sinfonia who best exploit the score’s lush sonorities and provide the evening’s richest pleasures."
Jason Best, Time Out, July 2013
"Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, which closed last weekend, was a musical delight from start to finish, conducted by young Matthew Waldren"
Michael Coveney, What's on Stage, July 2013
"Les Pecheurs de Perles, a musical treat under the baton of Matthew Waldren"
Chris Gray, Oxford Times, July 2014
"The music provides a host of situations in which to display some of the fondest harmonic and orchestral subtleties - all of which are nicely brought to the fore in the current Opera Holland Park production by the City of London Sinfonia under the young baton of Matthew Waldren...By any measure, the best performance came from the orchestra. It was there, in the pit, that Bizet's eclectic score tried hardest to come out fully in all its various, intermingling, contrasting facets, supplying...musical cunning."
Francesca Vella, Bach Track, June 2013
"Throughout the evening Matthew Waldren drew lovely playing from the City of London Sinfonia."
Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, June 2013
"Conductor Matthew Waldren directs an efficient reading, getting lovely clarity from the strings and some beautifully blended work from the horns, and musically this is an enjoyable evening...Meantime, it's a show worth hearing."
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, June 2013
"Conductor Matthew Waldren was highly sympathetic accompanist. He didn't drag things out and allow the big tunes to become self-indulgent, but he allowed the singers great flexibility which counted a lot towards our enjoyment. Hearing a fine singer shaping a line and bringing small rubatos to phrases is one of life's pleasures in this sort of music. Waldren was aided and abetted by the City of London Sinfonia, who brought great style to their performance. Les Pecheurs is [an] opera which critics love to chunter about. But here, Waldren and Platt [dir.] paid it the compliment of taking the work seriously. They and their cast performed it with winning directness which was rightly popular with the audience."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, July 2013
"It would be disastrously bad form to not mention the evocative playing of the City of London Sinfonia, conducted by Matthew Waldren. The young conductor brought out the subtleties of Bizet’s score with aptitude seemingly beyond his years: tempi were well chosen--especially for that oh-so-famous duet/theme that runs rampant throughout--and he led the chorus through their difficult moments with style."
Mike Migliore, Musical Criticism, July 2013
"The City of London Sinfonia summoned up a surprisingly rich array of tints and shades under the proficient baton of Matthew Waldren. The woodwind and string soloists rose admirably to their respective challenges and there was some wonderfully soft playing from the horns."
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, June 2013
"charming lyricism…the music swelled forth…superb conducting by young Associate Conductor Matthew Waldren"
Mark Ronan Theatre Reviews, July 2012
‘Under conductor Matthew Waldren, the City of London Sinfonia sang their way through Mascagni's score, giving the long breathed melodies life.’
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, July 2012
"Matthew Waldren encouraged the City of London Sinfonia to deliver its contribution to the coruscating humour as well as to the sentimentality of the piece."
Classical Source, July 2012
"The changes of mood in the musical paragraphs and the instrumental colourings which accompanied them were allowed to register without undue haste...Matthew Waldren conducted what amounted to a chamber orchestra with restraint and refinement."
Classical Source, July 2012
Fantastic Mr Fox
"Matthew Waldren excels in leading a fiercely talented medley of musicians; the entire troop work in harmony with one another to create a brilliant sound which fleets across stage to each scene."
Melissa Rynn, StageWon, July 2012
Chorus Master Reviews
"Lindsay Posner’s tight direction provides finely attuned central performances, with some exemplary work from the chorus, who are in ringing voice."
Rigoletto; The Stage, George Hall, 2011
"and the chorus excelled – no more so than their suitably eerie off-stage contribution to the storm in the last act"
Rigoletto; What’s on Stage, Mark Valencia, 2011
"The Opera Holland Park Chorus was wonderful, injecting tremendous flair into Verdi’s various choral scenes and granting repellant life to the depraved world of the Duke’s court. The power of the chorus’s singing was bolstered by the playing of the City of London Sinfonia"
Rigoletto; Opera Brittania, John E De Wald
"the chorus…was utterly resounding in the 2nd Act Café scene."
La Rondine; Opera Brittania, John E de Wald, 2011
"the outstanding Opera Holland Park Chorus sings its climactic moment with heart-churning brilliance."
La Rondine; What’s on Stage, Mark Valencia, 2011
"the Holland Park chorus, which has sounded wonderful this season (chorus master: Matthew Waldren), was on exciting form"
Fidelio; Opera, George Hall, 2010
"This transcendent scene is conceived and realised with impeccable stagecraft, the OHP Chorus superbly prepared here and throughout the opera by Matthew Waldren, and the impact of this moment amid Jamie Vartan’s stark designs is quite overwhelming."
Fidelio; What’s on Stage, Mark Valencia, 2010
"the chorus was one of OHP's best."
Fidelio; The Telegraph, Rupert Christianson, 2010
"Happily, the prisoners themselves were on fine form, and contributed some of the…genuinely poignant scenes in the performance. The Opera Holland Park Chorus effected a resounding ode to humanity with their prisoner’s chorus…the singing itself was swelling and radiant. The scene made a strong impression, as it should."
Fidelio; Opera Brittanica, John E de Wald, 2010
"The razor-sharp precision of the chorus – as impressive dramatically as musically – contributed greatly to the tautness of the stage action"
La Forza del Destino; Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 2010
"a production…held together by a searing performance from the City of London Sinfonia and the Chorus"
La Forza del Destino; The Independent, Anna Pickard, 2010