reviews

OPERA

Albert Herring, Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria

"What POV did with this immensely clever piece of comic fluff was outstanding from top to bottom: from the singers, who were uniformly well cast, through the staging, which was wonderfully over the top, to the 13 musicians in the pit, who followed conductor Leslie Dala's clear, precise direction to produce sparkling and defined instrumental detail throughout." Robin J. Miller, Opera Canada, 2013

"Herring was a co-production with Vancouver Opera, whose associate conductor Leslie Dala conducted it in Victoria and did so very well, drawing polished and sensitive playing from the 15-strong ensemble—members of the Victoria Symphony—called for in the score of this chamber opera."  Bernard JacobsonSeen and Heard International, 2013

"Conductor Leslie Dala (in his POV debut) expertly led the 13-person orchestra through Britten’s picky and plucky score – creating a space for the music itself to really shine even in a sea of exaggerated characters, big voices and attention-grabbing set design."  Melanie Tromp Hoover, CW Magazine, 2013

"Leslie Dala superbly led the twelve-piece chamber orchestra, consisting of a string quintet and a woodwind quintet, through Britten's demanding score."  John Jane, Vancouver Review, 2013

"This production features a delightful cast directed by Glynis Leyshon, with a tight chamber orchestra led by conductor Leslie Dala." Jay CattersonThe Charlebois Post Canada, 2013

La Bohème, Vancouver Opera

"It was an intimate and gentle Bohème, without huge voices, grandiose scenes or gut-wrenching climaxes, and conductor Leslie Dala underpinned it all with appropriately tender, voluptuous sounds from the orchestra.”  Robert Jordan, Opera Canada, 2012

"The orchestra under the guidance of Leslie Dala too is wonderfully modulated against the action on the stage, conveying sprightly, shimmering tones during the playful scenes – especially in the children’s chorus with Parpignol during Act 2 – and displaying a proper amount of restraint and equipoise for the final death scene."  Arman Kazemi, Vancouver Weekly, 2012

"Conductor Leslie Dala mines the score’s emotional heart, and the conversational-yet-melodic duets for the two pairs of lovers merit a pocket full of hankies."
Louise Phillips, Georgia Straight, 2012

Madama Butterfly, Vancouver Opera

"The tragic nature of the story is amplified by the orchestra’s magnificent accompaniment. Led by conductor Leslie Dala, the ensemble moves from luscious to fragile while intensifying on the monumental climaxes. Amongst the most striking is “The Humming Chorus” and the heartbreaking interlude that partners Butterfly’s nightlong vigil as she waits for Pinkerton once he’s finally made his return to the port."
Yasmine Shemesh, VanCity Buzz, 2016

"The orchestra, under Leslie Dala, supports..by finding the full range of Puccini's dynamics, from whispering strings to the pounding horns of doom." Janet Smith, Georgia Straight, 2016

"Conductor Leslie Dala gets a fine sound out of the VO orchestra, which played with the range of delicacy, sweep, and even brutality that Puccini demands." David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun, 2016

"The orchestra under the baton of Maestro Leslie Dala plays with calenture and shines with affecting precision in the atmospheric Prelude to the first act, while the chorus, never better, delivered a superb vocal performance."  John Jane, Review Vancouver, 2016

The Magic Flute, Vancouver Opera and Edmonton Opera

"The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra led by Vancouver Opera Associate conductor Leslie Dala, gave the singers the musical underlay they needed and contributed impressively to this night of Mozartian singspiel."   Bill Rankin, Opera Canada Spring, 2015

"The quality of Dala’s leadership was happily consistent throughout the performance, with fine orchestral playing well balanced with the vocal parts."  Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International, 2013

"As spectacle, it’s immaculate. As music, under the direction of conductor Leslie Dala, it’s impeccably played." Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight, 2013.

Julie, Canadian Stage and Soundstreams Co-Production, Toronto

"Boesmans’s score for Julie is masterful and clever, using the timbre of his 19 instruments to sometimes predict, sometimes comment on, and sometimes supplement the action on stage….Leslie Dala led the 19 musicians with a deft hand." Robert Harris, Globe and Mail, 2015

"Conductor Leslie Dala draws exquisitely precise playing from the orchestral ensemble that relishes the tart sonorities of the score and its alternation of periods of growing tension and periods where that tension shatters into skittering fragments only to regather." Christopher Hoile, Stage Door, 2015

Musically, most of the interest comes from the pit.  Boesmans uses an eighteen piece band, ably directed here by Les Dala, to produce an atonal but colourful and atmospheric sound picture which is very much at one with the drama." John Gilks, Operaramblings, 2015

Stickboy, Vancouver Opera

"The Vancouver Opera Orchestra under Leslie Dala played with verve, giving good service to the music.  Altogether, an exhilarating evening..."  Harvey de RooVancouver Classical Music, 2014

"The orchestra is conducted by Leslie Dala, associate director at the Vancouver Opera, whose fine leadership delivers a memorable performance."  Konstantin BozhinovClassical Voice North America, 2014

West Side Story, Vancouver Opera

"Leslie Dala drew superb eloquent and focused playing from the orchestra, pacing the score intelligently."  Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International, 2011

Rigoletto, Vancouver Opera

"The Vancouver Opera Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Leslie Dala is note-perfect and especially compelling in their interpretation of the harrowing thunderstorm in the final act."  John Jane, Vancouver Review, 2009

“Under the assured  baton of Leslie Dala, the VO orchestra and chorus produce a fine and consistent Verdi sound, with plenty of passion and lots of drama.” David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream, UBC Opera

"None of the artistry on stage would be properly valued without the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and conductor, Leslie Dala who gave Britten’s spiky, changeable, wide-ranging music a moving, satisfying understanding.
“It is a sweet comedy”, as Quince says, and sweetly done."  Elizabeth Paterson, Review Vancouver, 2016

 

CONCERTS

Masterworks Concert with Katherine Chi, piano:  Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Thunder Bay, Ontario

"These great piano concertos (Grieg A minor piano concerto) , because they are familiar to our ears and readily engage our emotions, can seem simple or old fashioned when we hear them. But, matched to the right orchestra and conductor, they become fresh, alive and vibrant. Add a superior soloist and the music will move you profoundly. That is what Katherine Chi, conductor Leslie Dala and our TBSO musicians did on Thursday evening."

"Dala brought out all the colours and challenges in Schumann's (Symphony No 2) orchestration."

"Guest conductor Leslie Dala led the TBSO with careful pacing and clear focus."  Michael Sobota, The Chronicle Journal, 2016

Ancient Voices of Children, Soundstreams Canada, Toronto

"Backed by a superb ensemble led by Leslie Dala, Pieczonka delivered a stunning, passionate, deeply committed performance of a taxing, and still startlingly original work." Robert Harris, Globe and Mail, 2015

"The ensemble was extremely tight, led by conductor Leslie Dala." Leslie Barcza, Barczablog, 2015

"So it was a pretty sure bet for Soundstreams Canada to open its 2015-16 season on Tuesday evening with a Crumb-heavy program fronted by these two singers (Krisztina Szabo and Adrianne Pieczonka). And another suitable choice was conductor Leslie Dala, who deftly held the whole kit and caboodle together." Colin Eatok, colineatok.com, 2015

Steve Reich at 80, Soundstreams Canada, Toronto

"With so much happening at all times, and with the piece in such irregular timing, it required incredible communication between the musicians and, especially, between conductor Dala and the orchestra, and they pulled it off with aplomb." Stephen Carlick, Exclaim, 2016

Damnation of Faust, Vancouver Bach Choir and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
"The importance of the conductor as commanding general can't be overstated: Dala performed with courage and theatrical panache, ending his inaugural year in triumph— and with an implicit promise of further excitement to come." David Gordon Duke, The Vancouver Sun, 2013

"...a wonderful rendition Saturday night at the Orpheum by the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and a set of splendid soloists with conductor Leslie Dala. The performance of this epic work drew cheers that were long and loud and deserved." Lloyd Dykk, The Georgia Straight, 2013

The Nutcracker, Goh Ballet, Vancouver B.C. 

"Maestro Leslie Dala led the musicians in perfect renditions of the well-known music of The Nutcracker." 
Andrea Loewen, Vancouver Presents, 2014

"The Vancouver Opera Orchestra under the direction of conductor Leslie Dala hold nothing back to deliver a rousing, satisfying work."  John Jane, Review Vancouver, 2012

El Niño, Vancouver Bach Choir and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

"Coupled with Adams’s shimmering, elegant, and sometimes surprisingly forceful music, the strategy works: as performed by the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus, all under Leslie Dala’s confident baton, El Niño is clearly a modern-day masterpiece."  Alexander Varty, Georgia Straight, 2012

Handel's Messiah, Vancouver Bach Choir and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

“...the overall style of the interpretation respected the spirit of the Baroque with clarity and a lithe, dance-like approach to rhythm....The result? A fresh, inspiring performance of an inspired work."  David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun, 2010