Barbara Quintiliani

Hailed as “the Verdi soprano the world has been waiting for” by the Boston Globe, in 2007 Barbara Quintiliani was the first American woman in twenty-five years to be awarded First Prize in the prestigious Francisco Viñas Singing Competition in Barcelona, Spain.

In that same competition, she was also awarded the coveted Verdi Prize from the great Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe and the Prize of the Public. Ms. Quintiliani then immediately made an auspicious European debut at the Gran Teatro del Liceu as Elettra in Mozart’s fiendishly difficult incarnation of the storied Greek princess in Idomeneo. She has since garnered a reputation for taking on the most difficult roles in the dramatic Italian repertory with ease and aplomb. Recent triumphs have included the title role in Wexford Festival Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Padilla, gathering unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Several more productions of Maria Padilla soon followed and her vocal skill and personal mettle were tested as she added to her schedule and repertoire roles such as Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Elvira in Ernani, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Gulnara in Il Corsaro, and Lina in Stiffelio; Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Anna Bolena; Cherunini’s Medea; Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine; and Bellini’s perilous Norma among others. And whether she is sharing the beauty and excitement of well known works of titanic proportions such as Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Mahler’s Second Symphony, or of lesser known works for soprano and orchestra including Samuel Barber’s heart wrenching concert aria Andromache’s Farewell, Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ Three Poems of Fiona McLeod, and Hector Berlioz’s “La Mort de Cleopatre”, Ms. Quintiliani is equally at home on the concert stage.

From the very beginning of her musical studies, the most intimate of interchanges between vocal artist and audience, the song recital, has held a place of honor for Ms. Quintiliani. She is proud to be an alumna of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. The great mezzo-soprano herself saw to Ms. Quintiliani’s development as a recital artist, and under the auspices of her foundation, Ms.Quintiliani made her Weill Recital Hall debut in the “As The Song Continues” series in New York, NY. As a member of the distinguished roster of recital artists, she and her collaborative pianist traveled extensively throughout the country leading intense outreach programs to public school children grades K-12. They were charged with being the catalyst to ignite a spark of interest and love of this great musical form. Ms. Quintiliani was broadcast nationally in recital by WQXR and NPR stations nationwide as a part of the prestigious “On Wings of Song” series. She has the great honor of sharing many concerts at national and international classical music festivals including The Bank of America Celebrity Series, The Dame Myra Hess Foundation Recital Series, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Virginia Waterfront Arts Festival, the Phillips Collection, the Harvard Music Club, the Wexford International Opera Festival and many, many more.

Ms. Quintiliani has been the recipient of several of the most prestigious awards for her work. These include the Grand Prize in the National Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, First Place in the Marian Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition, First Place in the Eleanor McCollum Competition at The Houston Grand Opera, First Place of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition in New York, and a Sarah Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. Having been recognized for her talent, Ms. Quintiliani was recruited to participate in America’s most renowned young artist training program such as the Santa Fe Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, and the Washington National Opera. Ms. Quintiliani is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she received a B.A. and A.D. in Vocal Performance in Boston, Massachusetts.

She has performed under the batons of some of the greatest conductors in the world including David Agler, Stephen Lord, Robert Moody, John DeMain, Joseph Colaneri, Patrick Summers, Benjamin Zander, Placido Domingo, Alan Gilbert, John Fiore, Martin Pearlman, Evelino Pido, Hans Graf, Sebastian Weigle, Leonard Slatkin, Jose Serebrier, Claire Gibault, Valery Gergiev, JoAnn Falletta, Ascher Fisch, Eduardo Mueller and Heinz Fricke.

Ms. Quintiliani can be heard on recording for Naxos, The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Kahn with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro JoAnn Faletta, and Albany Records, Becoming a Redwood performing the eponymous song cycle with renowned collaborative pianist Craig Terry.

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Current & Upcoming Performances

3:30 pm
Poulenc's Stabat Mater
Arlington Philharmonic Society
Arlington, MA
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Arlington

Past Performances

Libiamo! A Musical Gala Celebration of BSR
Guest Artist
Boston Singer's Resource
Taylor House
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9
Hawaii Symphony Orchestra
Honolulu, HI
Blaisdell Concert Hall

Maria Padilla with Wexford Festival Opera
“BARBARA QUINTILIANI earned every superlative. QUINTILIANI needed all the resources of her formidable technique for this incredibly demanding role; and she positively relished the fiendish coloratura, while descending easily into a dark chest register. Her varied palette was equaled by a full emotional range… totally at ease throughout, spinning a stream of golden sound, effortlessly negotiating leaps and extremes, and demonstrating superhuman stamina and breath control. QUINTILIANI deserves superstar status.” — Opera Today

“Maria Padilla is a brilliant vehicle for a fire-snorting bel canto diva, and Wexford found one in the American soprano BARBARA QUINTILIANI. She relished the flashes of vindictive coloratura brilliance and menacing descents into the chest register required by Donizetti for Maria. If there is any justice in the opera world, QUINTILIANI should be heading for superstardom… she has the vocal hardware to become a cult figure outside the glamorous opera circuit, with her gleaming timbre, fearless leaps between the extremes of registers and apparently bottomless reserves of breath.” — The London Times

“The evening belonged, thrillingly and unequivocally, to BARBARA QUINTILIANI as Maria. With the current dominance of light-voiced bel canto singers, it was wonderful to hear a soprano with a voice of substantial size dig into Donizetti’s fiendish music. QUINTILIANI’s voice has a rock-solid core and a warm, slightly dark tone — a refreshing change from so many of the piping sopranos who specialize in this repertory. She has a remarkable range of colors at her disposal, her coloratura is superbly executed, and she possesses an immaculate trill. She also has one of the rarest qualities: an innate understanding of how to build this music to a thrilling climax, with fearless high notes. She proved a confident actress despite the handicap of…rather schizoid costuming. There’s always one performer who scores a sizable hit at the Wexford Festival, and this year, it was QUINTILIANI.” — Opera News

Luisa Miller with Opera Boston
“BARBARA QUINTILIANI sang the title role with a voice which reached powerfully over the very large orchestra without seeming effort, to the back of the giant performing space, and beyond. She demonstrated surgical control, whether nearly silent or making the rafters ring, and she made us feel what her character was feeling, from passionate love to betrayal and anguish.” — The Post Journal

“BARBARA QUINTILIANI, last year’s imposing Norma, here gave the best performance. She offers a big, aptly Italianate sound that dominated the ensembles but could also float delicate pianissimi. QUINTILIANI handled the tricky entrance coloratura quite well and she can certainly soar; the voice has not only power and shine but weight at the bottom. Her Luisa was an impressive feat – plus a sympathetic presence.” — Opera News

In Concert with Boston Baroque
“The betrayal and vengeance came courtesy of soprano BARBARA QUINTILIANI, who was in excellent form. QUINTILIANI’s voice gleams, all brushed steel from top to bottom, with a finely-honed edge even in the headiest down. If she erred on the side of caution in the all-or-nothing-at-all, doleful-or-damning whiplashes of Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah! perfido,’’ the shimmer and spin never wavered. And two arias from Cherubini’s “Medée,’’ in its original French version, were superbly sung. “Du trouble affreux’’ was all escalating zeal, reserves of power welling up from within phrases, cresting in high, bright drama; “Vous voyez de vos fils’’ was a particular knockout, a silky plea laced with danger, the effortless legato, without warning, detonating with ringing incriminations. Her pacing, especially in the Cherubini, was scrupulous — intelligent, overlapping arcs — though the polished accompaniment consistently hung just behind the vocal line, rather than urging it on. The orchestra seemed to defer to QUINTILIANI’s sheer resonance, leaving her to provide the necessary impetus with timbre alone. Most of the time, it was enough.” — The Boston Globe

““Norma’’ by Vincenzo Bellini is well known by opera lovers as a one-woman show, and BARBARA QUINTILIANI was in splendid voice. Performing the title role, in the open-sided Amphitheater, competing with crickets, barking dogs, audience members with bathroom problems and the occasional cell phone, she twined her powerful soprano around Felice Romani’s powerful words and touched hearts, without benefit of a microphone, all the way to the back row. She did it even in her gentlest, most poignant tones. But, she didn’t just sing well. This is opera and opera can appear larger than life to a contemporary audience, used to sarcasm and ultra-realism. Here was a Druid priestess, preparing to murder her own children for love of a Roman general, and I believed it. I cared about her decisions. She brought outstanding singing and outstanding acting together and made it seem natural.” — The Post Journal

“BARBARA QUINTILIANI [is] a real dramatic soprano with a fiery timbre apt for the role, plus lovely control of floated pianissimos… she was formidable.” — Opera News

Il Trovatore
“BARBARA QUINTILIANI had a giant, beautifully governed soprano in the role of Leonora. She could release a full orchestra of sound, entirely in her voice, then draw it down to a whisper, even at the highest of pitches. It was a bravura performance.” — The Post Journal

“With her performance as Elvira, BARBARA QUINTILIANI showed that the brilliant potential of her early years has ripened, and the fruit is now rich, juicy and delicious. The shimmer of her high notes and her deep, sexy chest voice are more resplendent, and with every note she brings underlying dramatic intent and conviction. All the major companies should be scrambling to sign her.” — Opera News

Lucrezia Borgia
“Lucrezia…requires power, depth and personality. BARBARA QUINTILIANI brings all of these qualities to her performance. When all is said and done, this production is about QUINTILIANI as Lucrezia. Not long ago QUINTILIANI received an international vocal prize from the hands of legendary diva Montserrat Caballé, who, 41 years ago, became an international star overnight when she sang this role. If QUINTILIANI had sung last night’s performance for the opera fanatics of New York, the same phenomenon would have repeated itself.”— The Boston Globe

“What QUINTILIANI does with the role is almost unheard of these days: with her rich, dark-toned but surprisingly agile soprano, she fills every note and every word with such honest commitment and almost superhuman passion that she becomes her character and makes you believe her against all odds.”
— Boston Herald