Coach echoes bravos for baritone

Review by Ann Gresham     

As said in Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a Heaven for?” I found the latter words so true recently when I drove two white-knuckled hours through LA’s Friday rush-hour traffic in the rain to hear the senior recital of young Baritone José Maldonado in Anaheim.

It was wonderful to hear him sing at this level, poised for success, bursting with warmth and the joy of singing. Having seen his evolution from a beginning voice student at Rio Hondo College to an engaging, polished, young emerging artist who commands immediate audience attention (he had them at “hello”), one can easily imagine him on the stage of any major opera house or concert hall very, very soon.


The program required him to sing in four languages and demonstrate knowledge of style and performance practice from the Baroque era to the 20th century. Selections ranged from art song to opera, lieder to musical theater, and included the famous “Largo al factotum” (“Fi-ga-ro!”) by Rossini.  His diction was virtually flawless, the patter quick and easy to understand. A stylish “Granada” was sung in Spanish with great flair and elegance. A bright red handkerchief even made a brief appearance at the end of the first half.

It was a lovely, vibrant musical evening, with a packed house of enthusiastic fans from all over Southern California, present and former teachers, professors and faculty of various colleges, Opera Buffs and colleagues from L.A. Opera, with friends, family and frat boys galore.

Through it all, Mr. Maldonado created colors with his voice and a new atmosphere for each and every selection, some with well-gauged surprises, like entering from the back of the hall through the audience onto the stage, as the Barber of Seville.  He is to the manner born, a natural recitalist, warmly-received with an honest, spontaneous standing ovation at the end.

Born in Montebello, California in 1989 and grew up in Whittier, California, attending local schools through community college, graduating from Cal State University with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance, Jose Maldonado, Jr. made his European debut in an international summer opera program in Assisi, Italy, in 2015, and counts his five years of experience touring in musical outreach programs for students k-12 with the award-winning singing ensemble, project ERANOS, among his personal favorites.

The baritone has just been accepted into the Master’s of Music Program at Manhattan School of Music and will join the MSM Opera Studio in New York this coming Fall. He says, “I am very excited as I embark on my new journey to New York. Los Angeles has been my home all my life, and I will miss it dearly. I plan to return upon the completion of my Master’s degree and collaborate with artists and corporations to introduce more classical singing and opera to the general public…”

For more information, see:

Published by on July 2016. Filed under Art-in-Performance Section, Reviews-other. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Comments for “Coach echoes bravos for baritone”

  1. Chantal

    Amazing show!!

  2. Joe is such a beautiful musician and charismatic performer! Never a dull moment on stage. Can’t wait to hear more of him in the future!

  3. Joseph Michaels

    What’s an inspiring article! A kid from East LA is going East Ciast. Wow!
    Best wishes for Jose in NY and I hope he accomplishes his dreams and builds LA up like Placido Domingo has in opera!

  4. Ann Gresham

    What a wonderful opportunity to read about this young artist from East L.A.

    I’ve had the great pleasure of working closely with Jose for several years as a teacher of singing and want to wish him the very best for the future. Onward and upward!

  5. Ann Gresham

    Wonderful! Onward and upward, with best wishes.

  6. Ann Gresham

    Onward and upward!

Comments are closed