AZO Cast Members & Creatives
With performances that have been called poetic, earthy, vigorous and highly individual, Ari Pelto is in demand in opera houses and with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. He made a highly-praised debut in 2004 at New York City Opera with La traviata, and become their regular guest conductor returning for Madama Butterfly, La bohème, Carmen as well as the world premiere of Jennifer Griffith’s Dream President at VOX, NYCO’s Contemporary American Opera Lab. In 2013 Mr. Pelto was appointed Artistic Advisor at Opera Colorado following an acclaimed debut conducting Don Giovanni for the company. Future productions in Denver include Madama Butterfly, Aida and the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. Other upcoming engagements include La rondine in Cortona (Italy), Salome at Virginia Opera, The Rake’s Progress at Portland Opera, and Don Giovanni at Opera Memphis where he serves as Principal Guest Conductor.
Recent successes include at A Streetcar Named Desire at Virginia Opera, where The Washington Times described ”…under the insightful direction of Maestro Ari Pelto, added just the right slippery, jazzy underbelly… infusing it with a kind of decadent but pulsating life that we’re now convinced the composer had actually been thinking of all along”, Rigoletto, Don Pasquale and The Barber of Seville at Opera Memphis, La bohème at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Cunning Little Vixen at Chautauqua (where he “led a taut, rakish and, at the right times, sentimental reading of this tricky score,” noted Opera Today), Rusalka and La bohème at Boston Lyric Opera, Roméo et Juliette at Minnesota Opera, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro at Portland Opera and Hansel and Gretel at Utah Opera.
Ari Pelto conducts on main stages world-wide, and recently premiered new productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Falstaff at New National Theatre of Tokyo and Faust at the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. A frequent guest with the Florida Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony, he was assistant conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony (now Sarasota Orchestra) from 2000-2002 during which time he conducted over 30 concert performances as well as leading tours of Western Opera Theatre (the touring company of San Francisco Opera) conducting La bohème and Così fan tutte in over 20 states.
For San Francisco’s Opera Merola showcase, he conducted Così fan tutte and The Rape of Lucretia in which he “evoked superb vigor and stylish beauty of playing” according to the San Francisco Classical Voice. At Wolf Trap Opera, he inaugurated a new production of The Marriage of Figaro and led Don Giovanni “shaped and paced with consummate skill” said the Washington Post.
A masterful collaborator with dancers, Maestro Pelto has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the Atlanta Ballet. He recently conducted Jean-Christophe Maillot’s groundbreaking production of Roméo et Juliette with the company and in 2012, he partnered with Twyla Tharp, conducting the world premiere of her first story ballet The Princess and the Goblin. Previously, he conducted the Atlanta Ballet’s production of Prokofiev’s Cinderella, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote “Under Ari Pelto’s baton, the orchestra has never sounded better, nor the chemistry between the pit and the stage been quite so palpable.”