Anthony Barrese, hailed by South Florida Classical Review as conducting “with passion and idiomatic fluency,” has earned accolades as both a composer and a conductor. He is the recipient of the 2007 Georg Solti Foundation U.S. award for young conductors. His original works have won numerous awards, and he is regularly engaged by opera companies in North America and Italy.

Currently serving as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Southwest, Mr. Barrese will lead the company productions of L’occasione fa il ladro and Bluebeard’s Castle this season. Barrese also serves as Music Director of OperaDelaware, a role he assumed in 2017. Additional conducting engagements this season will include L’infedeltà delusa at Sarasota Opera and Zorro at Opera Santa Barbara. Last season, he conducted Zorro, Le comte Ory, and Turandot with Opera Southwest, as well as Florida Grand Opera’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia.

In recent seasons, the Maestro has conducted La scala di seta, La Traviata, Pelleas et Melisande, Ali Baba, Tosca, Maria de Buenos Aires, La cambiale di matrimonio, Lohengrin, Guillaume Tell, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, La Cenerentola, Rossini’s Otello with the American staged première of the finale lieto, and a “Return of Rossini” festival, all with Opera Southwest; Korngold’s rarely heard opera Die Kathrin with Folks Operetta; Il barbiere di Siviglia and Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Delaware; Sarasota Opera’s production of Roméo et Juliette; La bohéme with Opera Tampa; Kurt Weill’s operetta Johnny Johnson with Chicago Folks Operetta; The Merry Widow for Opera Saratoga; Suor Angelica and Il Tabarro with Opera Delaware; and Orfeo ed Euridice in a return to Florida Grand Opera.

Mo. Barrese has made débuts at Florida Grand Opera conducting Les pêcheurs de perles and Norma, Opera Theatre of St. Louis conducting The Kiss, Opera North conducting L’elisir d’amore, and Boston Lyric Opera conducting Don Giovanni. In 2014, Mr. Barrese held the prestigious honor of leading the world première of Franco Faccio’s little-known opera Amleto with Opera Southwest, not heard anywhere since 1871. With his background as a musicologist, Barrese worked vigorously for nearly ten years to rediscover, prepare, and edit the critical edition of Amleto, in conjunction with Casa Ricordi, for American audiences. In the following years, Amleto premièred on the east coast with Opera Delaware (under Barrese’s baton) and as a part of the Bregenz Festival in Austria (conducted by Paolo Carignani).

Mr. Barrese made his operatic conducting début in Milan with La bohème and made his début in France conducting Turandot at the Opéra de Massy. He led several productions with Sarasota Opera including, Lakmé, Le nozze di Figaro, and Hansel and Gretel; and a new production of Turandot in the historic Teatro Ventidio Basso, with a cast that included Nicola Martinucci as Caláf. Barrese was the Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Opera in 2006-2007 and later returned there as Guest Conductor for a production of Tosca, and La Wally. He also recorded Roberto Andreoni’s “quattro luci sul lago” with I Solisti della Scala, a chamber group made up of the first chair musicians of the La Scala Philharmonic, for broadcast on Italian National Radio (RAI 3).

Other notable highlights include being the recipient of numerous composition awards including a N.E.C. Contemporary Ensemble Composition Competition Award for his “Madrigale a 3 voci femminili,” The Sir Georg Solti Conducting award, and two B.M.I. Student Composers Awards.

Praised by the Westdeutsche Zeitung for his “exceptional combination of passion, elegance and well‐timed pacing”, Darko Butorac has established himself as a conductor in demand with orchestras both in Europe and the Americas. He currently serves as the Music Director of the Asheville Symphony and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra

Following his debut with the Belgrade Philharmonic in January 2011, Butorac was reengaged to conduct both the season finale and the opening concert of the 2012 season. Other notable guest conducting engagements include performances with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Neuss and the Georgische Kammerorchester Ingolstadt (Germany), the Rubinstein Philharmonic of Lodz (Poland), the Xiamen Symphony (China), the Tallinn Sinfonietta (Estonia), and the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Gran Teatro Nacional of Lima, Belgrade’s Kolarac Hall, the Teatro Magnani in Italy, and the Tartu, Aspen and St. Olav summer music festivals. From 2009 to 2013 he served as the principal conductor of the Fidenza Opera Festival.

Distinguished collaborations include soprano Renee Fleming, pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Jon Kimura Parker, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, cellist Colin Carr, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons, among others. Recent highlights include performances with Béla Fleck, Ben Folds, Kishi Bashi, pianists Aaron Diehl and Stewart Goodyear, violinists William Hagen and Blake Pouliot, cellist Jamal Aliyev, and a New Year’s Eve gala with vocalists Morgan James and Erica Gabriel. The 2023-2024 season includes collaborations with Olga Kern, Jon Kimora Parker, Noah Bendix Balgley, and Sterling Elliot.

Butorac helped his orchestras emerge from the pandemic by creating programs featuring over 75 short works for chamber orchestra formations, with a focus on presenting works by underperformed composers and minorities. The Tallahassee Symphony was one of the first orchestras in the United States to move to a fully virtual format, by committing to webcasting live performances in April of 2020. 

As the Grand Prix Laureate and Gold Medalist of the Fourth International Vakhtang Jordania Conducting Competition, Butorac was invited to conduct orchestras across four continents and was was also selected to participate at the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, hosted by the League of American Orchestras and the Jacksonville Symphony

Butorac served as the Music Director of the Missoula Symphony from 2007-2019, marking a period of tremendous artistic growth of the orchestra. He challenged the ensemble with a broader repertoire, leading to greater engagement with the community and frequently sold-out performances. 

Butorac is also in demand as a public speaker on leadership. His TEDx Montana talk on the “Language of Conducting” has over 185K views on YouTube. He has appeared as a speaker on behalf of Brighthouse, a division of BCG, and was the headline speaker at the Birla Carbon International Leadership Summit in Bangkok in 2018. 

Darko is an avid traveler, having visited almost seventy countries, and is passionate about discovering the world and bringing people together through the beauty of music.

All photographs are copyright © Dario Acosta, 2023

American conductor Cody Martin was recently named Music Director at Pensacola Opera, where he was previously the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program since 2017.  During the 2023-24 season, he leads a production of Lucia di Lammermoor and serves as associate conductor and chorus director for Die Fledermaus, in addition to continuing his work with the company’s nationally respected Jan Miller Studio Artist Program. He also appears as guest conductor for Florida State Opera‘s The Cunning Little Vixen. Recent seasons have seen Cody leading productions of CarouselDie ZauberflöteDon GiovanniAs OneFlorencia en el AmazonasMan of La Mancha and María de Buenos Aires in Pensacola, in addition to various concert appearances. He made his debut with Fargo-Moorhead Opera conducting Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers in 2019.

Cody was on the music staff of Des Moines Metro Opera for three seasons, most recently serving as associate conductor for Rusalka. He previously worked on productions of A Little Night MusicOrphée et Eurydice, and Falstaff in Des Moines. He was also on the music staff at Arizona Opera for two seasons, working most recently on productions of RusalkaMadama ButterflyRiders of the Purple Sage (world premiere), and La Cenerentola. Other companies Cody has enjoyed working with include Opera BirminghamVirginia Opera, and the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center.

An avid proponent of new opera, Martin has worked on multiple premieres, including Arizona Opera’s first world premiere, Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, with a libretto by Steven Mark Kohn; two workshops of The Copper Queen by Clint Borzoni, with a libretto by John de los Santos; a 2014 workshop of Robert Aldridge’s Sister Carrie, and the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight! at Brevard Music Center.

Cody holds degrees from Murray State University and Florida State University. He lives in Pensacola with his former shelter dog, Rosina, a corgi/dachshund mix (@rosinathelongdog).