Opera Theater of Saint Louis – 2024 New Works Collective

Conductor Darwin Aquino draws perfection from his orchestra. Magically they sound much larger.

– Steve Callahan (Broadway World – St. Louis)
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Opera Theater of Saint Louis - 2024 New Works Collective

Opera Review: New stars are born at Opera Theatre’s New Works Collective

Stage direction by Kimille Howard was perfection and Darwin Aquino led the orchestra in exceptional performances of three very different scores.

– Chuck Lavazzi (KDHX)
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Opera Review: New stars are born at Opera Theatre's New Works Collective

Symphony Review: The Saint Louis Philharmonic delivers power and pathos on opening night

A work that seemed almost tailor-made for conductor Darwin Aquino [the Prelude to “Tristan and Isolde” by Richard Wagner] brought the concert to its thunderous conclusion. Energy has a way of begetting more energy, and thirteen percussionists brought their mastery to life–tympani, bongos, gong, bass drum, xylophone and more–in the Suite in Four Movements for Orchestra from the movie “La Noche de los Mayas” by Silvestre Revueltas, arranged by Jose Ives Limantour. (…) A veritable fireworks–yet always rhythmically controlled–enabled the audience to envision the panorama of the Mayan empire. Darwin Aquino has earned a solid reputation for his energy and passion, and this concert highlighted his skills brilliantly. Additionally, Aquino has done yeoman’s work to highlight the contributions of Latin American composers, to the delight of the St. Louis community and beyond.

– Gary Liam Scott (KDHX)
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Darwin’s conducting debut with OTSL

Opera Theater of St. Louis – 2023 New Works Collective

Darwin’s conducting debut with OTSL

D. Cimarosa “Il Matrimonio Segreto”

Version in Spanish by the Florida Grand Opera
“Darwin Aquino, a former FGO Assistant Conductor, led a lively, fast-paced reading of Cimarosa’s elegant work. Benedetta Orsi and Aquino’s Spanish libretto works remarkably well with Cimarosa’s bubbly score. Many Spanish-speaking members of the audience found the adaptation amusing and entertaining”.
– Laurence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
D. Cimarosa “Il Matrimonio Segreto”
D. Cimarosa “Il Matrimonio Segreto”
D. Cimarosa “Il Matrimonio Segreto”

V. Bellini “Norma”

“Conductor Darwin Aquino had the orchestra sounding great from the first measures of the overture and generally maintained a good balance between stage and pit. He has a fine feel for the nuances of the bel canto style, and knows to breathe with the singers”.
— Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Maestro Darwin Aquino again draws wonderful work from his large orchestra, always maintaining perfect balance with the voices”.
— Steven Callahan, Broadway World Opera

“Conductor Darwin Aquino elicits a moving and absorbing performance of Bellini’s stirring music by the polished Winter Opera orchestra”.
— Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Conductor Darwin Aquino delivers another robust performance from the mighty Winter Opera orchestra. I don’t know whether it’s the Viragh Center acoustics, the quality of the players, or a bit of both, but the orchestra at Winter Opera always seems to sound larger than its size suggests”.
— Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX

Neujahrskonzert, Germany

“The young Dominican conductor Darwin Aquino led the orchestra this time and made great work, giving the orchestra three encores as a result”
Allgemeine Zeitung

G. Rossini “L’Italiana in Algeria”

The performance features a delightful interpretation of the composer’s score by conductor Darwin Aquino and his orchestra.
— Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Maestro Darwin Aquino keeps a blazing pace, which is very right for this piece”.
— Steven Callahan, Broadway World Opera


Orchestre Philharmonique Radio France, Festival Presences “Le Deux Amériques” – Maison de la Radio

“Aquino in his work “Espacio Ritual” has very well listened to the French composers, Boulez or Varese, developing in this piece a deeply personal language and an inventive mastery for writing to the orchestra”
— La Musique au Jour le Jour

Espacio ritual

G. Donizetti “Elisir D’Amore”

“The music is light and spirited, especially when given such a splendid reading by the Winter Opera orchestra under the smart, stylish conducting of Darwin Aquino, who keeps the tempo brisk and upbeat throughout”
— Ladue News, St. Louis

Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz, Germany

“These extraordinary concerts had an enormous reception, which has risen the expectations to continuously program this international repertoire with the Mainz Philharmonic Orchestra”
— Mainzer Kultur

G. Bizet “Les Pecheurs de Perles”

“As he has in previous Winter Opera productions, Darwin Aquino led the orchestra in an authoritative account of the score. The ensemble always project a large sound in the acoustics of the Viragh Center”
— KDHK Theater Reviews, USA

“Lyricism of the score emerges with great beauty from the orchestra conducted by Darwin Aquino. As usual the balance between the voices and the orchestra was ideal”
— Two on the Aisle, St. Louis

“Maestro Aquino draws lovely work from his musicians throughout the opera”
— BWW Opera World, USA

G. Bizet “Carmen”

“The orchestra, under the direction of Darwin Aquino, gives the finest performance I’ve heard in any of the many productions I’ve seen at Winter Opera. With the opening phrases of the overture it simply bursts out of the gate. It snatches us up and carries us away like a robber bridegroom whisking his love up onto his galloping steed. The tempo is almost alarming. Such energy! Such excitement! Such precision!”
— BWW Opera World, USA

“Conductor Darwin Aquino kept them and the rest of the cast on track, with brisk tempos. The orchestra and the children’s chorus did solid work”
— St. LouisPost – Dispatch, USA

“Down in the pit, conductor Darwin Aquino leads the orchestra in a very polished interpretation of the score”
— Stage Left, USA

Santo Domingo Music Festival, Dominican Republic

“It was not a surprise the work of the orchestra conducted by Darwin Aquino, who led Vivaldi without baton, Piazzola with impressive energy and Kuusisto with the concentration that requires such a difficult and strange piece for an audience not familiar with contemporary music”
— Diario Libre Newspaper

“The success of the concert rested in the quality of the orchestra under the precise and passionate baton of Darwin Aquino
— HOY Newspaper

G. Verdi “Il Trovatore”

Aquino’s conducting was rousing and dominant, carrying Verdi’s rich score in the capable hands of the Winter Opera orchestra” / “Bizet’s music is captivating and enthralling, especially when performed as lushly as it was in Winter Opera’s presentation under the steady influence and keen ear of conductor Darwin Aquino, who kept the orchestra on a high level of performance throughout”
— Ladue News, Missouri

“Congratulations to Aquino, who brought all this together in a manner to do justice to Verdi
— BWW Opera World, USA

Il Trovatore