Les Troyens at San Francisco Opera (2015)

“René Barbera impressed as Iopas with a fertile-rich quality to his tenor ” – Bachtrack

“In an example of luxury casting, the role of the poet Iopas was assigned to the estimable lyric tenor René Barbera.

Barbera performed Iopas’ principal aria with a finesse that persuaded the San Francisco audience, that had observed the tradition not to interrupt the music with applause throughout virtually the entire performance, to break into the quiet orchestral postlude with an ovation for Barbera.” – Opera Warhorses

“Dido now asked for a simple song of the fields, which was beautifully delivered by tenor René Barbera as Iopas in the aria, “O blonde Ceres.” In fact, this tenor aria was one of the highlights of the opera” – Berkeley Daily Planet

“Tenor Rene Barbera, whom Los Angeles audiences saw earlier this year as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, was luxury casting as the poet Iopas, but he brought the house down with his singing of the aria “O blonde Cérès.” – Arts Beat LA

“René Barbera as Iopas, Didon’s court poet, had a show-stopping song that preceded Act IV’s big Didon-Énée love duet.” – Seen and Heard International

“The role of Iopas, who entertains Dido’s court with an aria hailing Dido as a blonde Ceres, found Rene Barbera completely in command of the difficult piece, singing with grace and polish. It was an outstanding performance.” – Opera Sleuth

“…an irresistible cameo as the poet Iopas by tenor René Barbera (a thoroughly ingratiating Nemorino in Opera Theatre’s “Elixir of Love” last summer). Berlioz has given the character one enchanting little number—a hymn to the goddess Ceres—and Mr. Barbera sang it in a clear, fluid, and utterly lovely way that produced spontaneous shouts of “bravo” as soon as the last note died out.” – KDHX

50th Anniversary Gala Concert at San Diego Opera (2015)

“Making his company debut, René Barbera was one of the most highly animated and charismatic singers of the evening. Notwithstanding other pieces, La Fille du régiment’s “Ah! Mes amis” was the definitive crowd-pleaser. Following the ebullient Men’s chorus and Scott Sikon’s uneventful role as the Corporal, Mr Barbera easily tackled the famous nine high Cs flawlessly with his steely tenor timbre.” – Bachtrack

“The evening’s most thrilling moments were delivered in Italian in the company debut of fast-rising, Texas-born bel canto tenor René Barbera, whose charm and effortless string of high Cs for Luciano Pavarotti’s breakthrough number “Ah! mes amis” from “The Daughter of the Regiment” elicited roars of excitement. And his Figaro/Almaviva duet from “The Barber of Seville” with powerhouse baritone Stephen Powell was a second-act highlight.” – San Diego Union Tribune

“Tenor René Barbera, the only guest soloist making a company debut, came close to stealing the show. Early in the program in that oft-excerpted tenor-baritone duet from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (according to some, the only reason to attend that silly opera), he revealed a bright, Italianate tenor color and the ability to land those climactic stratospheric cadences with utter confidence.

But it was his comic opera arias, his spirited stage presence and active engagement with the audience that made us temporarily forget we were attending a concert and conjured the illusion that an actual opera was taking place on stage. In his “Ah! mes amis” form Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, he turned to the men of the chorus standing on risers behind the orchestra and bantered jovially with them as if they were the platoon of soldiers standing around him stage center. Yes, he hit all nine high C’s, but he had the audience in the palm of his hand before he started knocking them off.” – San Diego Story

Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Los Angeles Opera (2015)

“Texas-born René Barbera sang the lovesick Almaviva with a perfect timbre for the role, high and bright but with lower and fuller resonance, and moving with ease and agility through Rossini’s killer ornamentation. In his final aria in the opera, Barbera cut loose, taking the audience on a wild ride of vocal acrobatics, but never losing control of those headlong dashing notes.” – Bachtrack

“As Il Conte Almaviva, he sang the legato lines of serenade to Rosina stylishly and dashed off the Olympian feat of the treacherous aria Cessa di piu resisters with seeming effortlessness.

In between, he did what all Almavivas must do, he engaged in the wacky antics that Almaviva disguised a poor student, as a drunken soldier and as a faux music teacher is expected to perform.” – Opera Warhorses

“The opera’s principal role is arguably not the barber himself, but indeed the romantic lead, Almaviva. Tenor René Barbera is a canny comedic presence, especially when Almaviva takes to wearing disguises in the second act, as well as an impassioned suitor, delivering both of the Count’s romantic arias with unusual bravura in a voice a shade richer than typical for the role.” –

“Barbera, meanwhile, shows off why he won Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition in 2011; his punchy tenor and easy top notes sound crisp and full. ” – LA Downtown News

“Tenor René Barbera plays an unusually likable Count Almaviva, sweet-toned, elegantly phrased and gentle in manner.” – OC Register

“René Barbera, last heard here two seasons ago as Prince Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, possesses a gleaming tenore di grazia which has a brilliant top…He sang the role of Count Almaviva complete, including the difficult second act aria “Cessa di più resistere,” — which even in Rossini’s day was frequently cut to spare lesser singers embarrassment. Barbera sang the aria very well; it proved his best singing of the evening and a high point of the performance.” – Arts Beat LA

“Barbera and DeShong are perfectly matched. He has just the right style of fresh, light tenor voice for bel canto. And when the moment calls for it, he can rise to the challenge of an impressive high C.” – Daily News

“René Barbera was convincing in his ardor as Lindoro/Count Almaviva, particularly touching in his first act aria, “Ecco ridente in cielo,” putting me in mind of the lyric tenor of Alfredo Kraus.” – The International Review of Music

“René Barbera, whose excellent 2013 LA Opera debut as Cenerentola’s prince I remember well, was an endearing Count Almaviva, with a piercing, magnificently agile tenor that thrilled in “Cessa di piu resistere.” – Pamina’s Opera

La Fille du Regiment at Greensboro Opera (2015)

“At Tonio’s entrance in Act One, Mr. Barbera made it clear that being a country boy is not the same as being an unsophisticated yokel. It is Tonio’s cavatine ‘Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête’ that audiences eagerly anticipate in any performance of La fille du régiment, and Mr. Barbera’s singing of it justified the expectations. He rose to the aria’s top B♭ with panache…. but the real fireworks were reserved for the famed ‘Pour mon âme quel destin,’ in which he sailed through the infamous nine top Cs as comfortably as though he were singing his solfège exercises. … the pinnacle of his performance was his singing of the gorgeous romance ‘Pour me rapprocher de Marie,’ crowned by a superb interpolated top D. How is it possible that this piece has so often been omitted from performances of La fille du régiment?… Mr. Barbera’s tone was unfailingly focused and beautiful, and his was a portrayal of Tonio that would have been a credit to any of the world’s greatest stages.” – Voix Des Arts

“Her suitor, René Barbera, has a lovely high tenor voice with a sweet vibrato and an incredible range, uniformly colored from bottom to top. His aria “Ah, mes amis, quel jour de fête,” celebrating his induction into the French army, brought down the house with nine perfect high C’s (eight in the score, the glorious ninth added by tradition).” – Classical Voice of North Carolina

La Cenerentola at San Francisco Opera (2014)

“The role of “Don Ramiro” fits tenor René Barbera like nobody else in the kingdom. His voice is beautiful and appealing. Backed by a look-alike men’s chorus in the Act 2, scene 1 aria, “Si, ritrovaria io giuro” (Yes, I swear I will find you) – Barbera’s High Cs are full and effortless, his crowning High D above it completely secure and radiant. Barbera is the ideal voice in one of the composer’s best-ever tenor roles.” – The Examiner

“She was handsomely partnered by yet a third debuting artist, tenor René Barbera as Don Ramiro, a.k.a. Prince Charming. Barbera deployed a bright, elegant sound that was clear but not too piercing, and he brought star power to his Act 2 aria while still blending impeccably in the ensembles.” – SF Gate

“She is well paired with tenor René Barbera as Prince Don Ramiro, also making his company debut. Barbera’s voice is free and even in its mastery of the intricate coloratura aria blooming in complete control with thrilling high notes.” – Theatre Storm

“ The comic chemistry between Solis and rising local star Rene Barbera was a highlight of what you have already gathered was a somewhat clunky afternoon. Rossini tenors now suffer from endless comparisons to you-know-who, but let’s evaluate him on his own terms and say that the sound is a bright and pingy one, he appears perfectly at ease popping every wheelie imaginable, and the upper extension is happily freakish. I kept wanting a pitch pipe to see how far north of C we had ventured.” – Parterre Box (La Cieca)

“The vocal fireworks come largely from our charming Prince, Don Ramiro, tenor Rene Barbera, who showed some telling sparks in the first act, then opened the second by tearing down the house with the electric cadenzas of “Si, ritrovarla io guiro.” (A handy bonus is Barbera’s relative resemblance to his “double,” Solis.) An alumnus of SFO’s Merola Opera Program, Barbera is making his company debut with this role. I say, bring him back as often as possible.” – Operaville (blog)

La Cenerentola at Opera National de Paris (2014)

“For Barbera, particularly in the “Si, ritrovarla io giuro” aria, his perpetually elegant, milky, yet rather restrained voice finally swelled with a more compelling energy into powerful high Cs, and as a duet with Deshayes, in “Un soave non so che,” blended beautifully in the tender ensemble, painting a sweet picture of young love.” – Peninsula Reviews

Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Teatro dell’opera di Roma  (2014)

“René Barbera è il Conte di Almaviva/Lindoro, da poco inserito nello star system e già con posto di primazia.

Voce sognante, barocca e romantica quanto occorre, che si riempie di miele nella serenata con la quale si presenta a Rosina: “Se il mio nome d’udir voi bramate”, lindore e pulizia nelle note acute, perfettamente poggiate sul diaframma, divertente e caricaturale quando si traveste da soldato e inscena la sua ubriacatura.” – Attualitalia

” René Barbera is Count Almaviva / Lindoro, recently entered the star system already in place and primacy.

Dreamy voice, baroque and romantic as it should be, which is filled with the honey serenade with which you are submitting to Rosina: “If you are craving to hear my name,” neatness and cleanliness in high notes perfectly resting on the diaphragm, and fun caricature when he disguises himself as a soldier and staged his intoxication.” – Attualitalia

The Elixir of Love at Opera Theatre of St. Louis  (2014)

“What to say of Rene Barbera as Nemorino, except that he may arguably be the most effortlessly endearing, lovably bumbling, beguilingly boyish Nemorino since the great Pavarotti. I know, I know, we are always looking to anoint someone as “The Next (fill-in-the-blank).” I don’t make the comparison lighting. I saw lovable Luciano in it. Mr. Barbera has that same charisma, that star power, that indefinable magnetism that cannot be manufactured. When his round face beams in delight, we want to spread him on a cracker and eat him. When his is in despair, we want to hold him and comfort him. He makes us care to ‘connect.’

Happily, his shining, pointed lyric tenor easily fills the hall with no sign of strain. Mr. Barbera presented a flawless, wondrous Una furtive lagrima that had us so bewitched we scarcely dared breathe, lest any sound break the honeyed perfection. It was one of “those moments” that we opera freaks live for. It is why we keep going and going, sitting through lots of “good” performances, and a few not-so-good. We keep going because we know that every so often, there is a moment like this. When Rene released that perfectly rendered final note, thep lace went nuts. I mean, Word Cup soccer nuts. It was though ‘the Pav’ had been on stage with him and passed the torch, the ovation was no less rapturous than for that legendary predecessor. Rene Barbera is now the Nemorino by which I will judge future interpreters. – Opera Today

“The cast’s standout was René Barbera, a sweet, ardent, clarion-voiced Nemorino, and the afternoon’s musical highlight, naturally enough, was “Una furtiva lagrima” — here rendered as “One tear she tried to hide from me.” The English translation (credited to Kelley Rourke), rather than impeding the bel canto line, made the aria’s emotions visceral; at its climax, when Barbera came to the foot of the stage, arms spread wide, and sang of his passion, music and meaning became one. The ovation that followed was not only a recognition of Barbera’s superb rendition but a celebration of Nemorino’s victory in love.” – Opera News

“When I first saw tenor René Barbera (our Nemorino) three years ago in OTSL’s “Daughter of the Regiment,” I observed that his voice was clear, powerful, and pretty much seamless throughout the wide range called for in the role. It still is. His little aria of despair, “A furtive tear” (“Una furtiva lagirma”) in the second act was such a thing of beauty that shouts of “bravo” followed hard upon it. From the moment he appeared on stage, Mr. Barbera’s Nemorino was an instantly appealing mix of passion and vulnerability. He means well, but he’s shy and easily bullied. He’s sympathetic from the get-go—which he must be if the opera is going to work.” –

“Tenor René Barbera, born to sing bel canto, has gone far since his 2011 OTSL debut in “The Daughter of the Regiment,” performing all over the world. He’s lost weight and gained assurance. On Saturday night he brought out Nemorino’s innate lovability while singing with melting beauty and an effortless high range. It’s no wonder Adina comes around.” – St. Louis Today

“Rene Barbera—with his clean, award-winning tenor voice—plays ice cream man and lovesick suitor Nemorino to perfection… Barbera appeared in “Daughter of the Regiment” at OTSL in 2011 and has since grown in experience and stature, and it shows. His high notes come easily, and he can move the audience with his vocal tenderness.” – Alive Magazine

“…the real revelation here is René Barbera, a tenor who’s clearly coming into his own. Barbera makes for a charming Nemorino. Not only is Barbera a fine actor, playing the role with both an impetuous desire for the woman he adores and a melancholy resignation at the impossibility of winning her highborn heart, but his supple voice brims with passion. His is a rich, powerful voice. It’s capable of filling the Loretto-Hilton Center with the faintest whisper, and by the time he delivers the wonderful “Una furtiva lagrima,” it’s clear that — elixir or no — Adina, like the rest of us, has no choice in the matter: She is smitten.” – Riverfront Times

“Three years ago tenor Rene Barbera thrilled St. Louis audiences in Opera Theatre’s production of Donizetti’sDaughter of the Regiment… last night he triumphed again as Nemorino. Barbera’s voice is simply perfect for this role–strong and true, fluid and agile, it soars gloriously, yet it can be wonderfully expressive in even the softest passages. Those pure high notes seem to come so very easily. And such dynamics: his gentle crescendo from pianissimo to double-forte is done with a creamy, immaculate smoothness. At one point, when Nemorino is a little tipsy from doses of his eighty-proof elixir, he gives the most charming little hiccup–and it seems to be precisely on pitch. As an actor Barbera conveys the innocence and charm of this simple, good man. With his lush, lyrical voice and joyous delivery, Texas tenor Rene Barbera added an exclamation point to the “beautiful singing” promise of the bel canto opera, “The Elixir of Love,” on opening night. Barbera’s winsome personality helped Gaetano Donizetti’s 1832 romantic comedy opera capture the St. Louis audience’s fancy Saturday. He’s a natural, graceful entertainer with a sweet smile and an exuberance that comes from those high notes reaching the heavens.” – Belleville News-Democrat

L’elisir D’amore at Austin Lyric Opera  (2014)

“The Austin Lyric Opera’s opening night performance of The Elixir of Love featured Rene Barbera as Nemorino in a performance that may be one of the best I’ve seen. The audience fell in love with Barbera’s outstanding tenor command and joyful antics. Not only was Barbera the funniest person on stage, but his singing was beautiful. His rendition of the famous aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima” was the best I’ve heard; he had complete command and the audience was enraptured.” – Austin Post

“And as Nemorino, Barbera is a revelation. The thirty year old performer makes everything look so easy, and his voice is so electric that I was surprised that his aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima” did not receive a standing ovation at the performance I attended. Barbera gives the role his all. Whether the moment calls for him to be a lovesick puppy or a joyous drunk, every choice Barbera makes is perfect.” – Broadway World

“Luckily, our hero is played by Rene Barbera, the San Antonio native with a world-class tenor (and a budding world-class career). He’s a special singer, the sort whose golden tone follows him in his entire range, even in his quietest moments. No slouch as an actor either, with good physicality and well-timed looks and movements. The crowd approved.” – Austin 360

Rigoletto at Opera Colorado  (2014)

“They went wild for tenor Rene Barbera, too, who sang Verdi’s selfish Duke of Mantua. He gets the opera’s most familiar tune, “La donna e mobile,” and delivered the ironic bit about the fickleness of women with a charismatic cockiness.” – Denver Post

“Tenor Rene Barbera gives a spine-chilling performance as the lecherous Duke of Mantua” – Daily Camera

“Rene Barbera plays the Duke who gets to sing one of the most well-known arias in Italian opera, “La Donna e mobile” in the third act. He sings it just right, with a cavalier attitude and lively voice.” – The Examiner

Los Cancionces de Lorca at Pacific Symphony  (2013)

At first I thought Barbera’s beautiful, smooth tenor was too placid for “Canciones,” but then I came to liking his way – biding his time, avoiding exaggeration and allowing the music to unfurl and bloom.

Donna Del Lago at Santa Fe Opera  (2013)

The surprise of the evening was René Barbera’s Rodrigo di Dhu (Roderick). As he first opened his mouth it was clear we had a real Rossini tenor on stage. He sang voice placed forward to achieve a penetrating sound but was never strident.” – Culture Spectator

“René Barbera sings an authoritative Rodrigo, another high-flying tenor-busting role, with aplomb.” – Santa Fe Reporter

“Tenor René Barbera, with his fine acting skills and intensely strong and projecting voice, is perfect as Rodrigo.” – El Paso Times

Los Angeles Opera’s La Cenerentola (2013)

“René Barbera as Prince Ramiro made his LA Opera debut. His warm tenor soared, navigating Rossini’s highs and lows with bravura coloratura technique, a firm legato line, and reaching the back of the hall without a hint of strain, as if the house were an intimate toy theater.” Seen and Heard International – Jane Rosenberg

“Tenor René Barbera is sensational as Don Ramiro. He negotiates his intricate fioratura with a golden elegance, never forcing, and suddenly pounces on a phrase or high note with an added vibrancy.” Orange County Register – Timothy Mangan

“Barbera certainly knows what he is doing in this role. Though Don Ramiro is a prince, Barbera  has a certain sweet, sympathetic quality about him that makes the audience root for his character to end up with Cinderella. Their romance feels like a slow burn, which is a notable task to accomplish in an opera that moves at a piano forte pace.” Daily Trojan – Jackie Mansky

“Trained in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Young Artists’ program, Barbera proved to be a leggiero tenor with both power and flexibility, ready for recognition as among the first rank of international leggiero tenors.” Opera Warhorses – William

“Also making his debut with the company, was Rene Barbera as Cenerentola’s Prince. He has the reedy quality and the ample high notes necessary for a Rossini tenor, but there is a surprising edge to his tone which can more easily portray dramatic tension and which distinguishes him from his sweeter-sounding peers.” Stage Happenings – Michael Van Duzer

“Her prince is Don Ramiro (Rene Barbera, making his L.A. Opera debut), who appears at first in disguise as his manservant Dandini, but you know from the power and clarity of his voice (even if you haven’t been following the program) who he is.” Daily News Los Angeles – John Farrell

“René Barbera, a fine bravura tenor with powerful high notes, embodied as ‘prince charming’ the glory and fame of the tale.” Opera Magazine – Mary Nockin

“René Barbera, the 2011 Operalia winner making his LA Opera debut with these performances, is an appealingly earnest Prince Ramiro.  His moderately-weighted tenor suits Rossini well, while having more than enough technique and heft to impress with the tricky “Principe più non se” in Act 2.” All is Yar – CK Dexter Haven

“The whole first section of the play seemed a bit tentative until the arrival of Barbera as a disguised Don Ramiro. His wonderfully strong tenor voice lifted the energy and brought more vitality.” LA Splash – Georja Umano

“René Barbera, another American, took on the role of Prince Ramiro in his LA Opera debut. Barbera’s strong, clear tenor voice filled the theatre, and he was believable as a Prince Charming, even in the guise of a servant. His comedic timing was impeccable as well, as he balanced singing with interacting with the comedic, histrionic antics of Dandini, his valet.” Edge Los Angeles – Brenna Smith

“…René Barbera, offering a piercing, hall-filling tenor as Don Ramiro…” Culture Spot LA – David Maurer

Palm Beach Opera’s La Cenerentola (2013)

“Prince Ramiro was the young American René Barbera, and he has the kind of muscular spinto that’s ideal for this music. In the Act II set piece, Si, ritrovarla io guiro, he had strong high Cs to spare (surely there is a Fille du Régiment in his future), and showed how big a voice he really has when he needs to command the action. It’s a voice with an attractive color.” Palm Beach Arts Paper – Greg Stepanich

“As Prince Ramiro, tenor René Barbera displayed a most beautiful golden tone… his bravura passages sounded effortless, his lyric arias full of warmth. From time to time, whenever we think bel canto tenors are a species doomed for extinction, someone such as Barbera appears to give us hope for the future.” Palm Beach Daily News – Márcio Bezerra

Seattle Opera’s La Cenerentola (2013) 

“…this Cinderella gets an appropriately excellent Prince: tenor René Barbera, whose high Cs and Ds are as viscerally exciting as his bravura coloratura technique, and who also can caress a vocal line with smooth, easy intimacy.

“The tenor who was to sing Sunday, was indisposed, and Barbera returned in his stead, with a performance that was if anything even more assured and energetic than on the night before. What stamina!” Seattle Times – Melinda Bargreen

“The production’s real find is René Barbera, making his Seattle Opera debut as Prince Ramiro. The brightness and effortlessness of his tenor, especially his sparkling high notes, make it clear just how good it is to be the Prince; it’s privilege embodied in sound. A character who never hears the word “no” sings like he’s never thought the word ‘can’t.’” Seattle Weekly – Gavin Borchert

“…René Barbera—making his company debut as the prince who is by the opera’s end perhaps beginning to realize what an amazing stroke of good fortune it has been for him to find this sterling life-partner—was by no means unworthy of her. This is a tenor who can project a powerful top note without yelling. The technique in this case was excellent … the tone attractive, and the dramatic aspect of his performance thoroughly convincing.” Seen and Heard International – Bernard Jacobson

“Tenor René Barbera, also a Seattle Opera debut, was equally impressive as Prince Ramiro, including some breathtaking lyrical moments at the top Ramiro’s range.” Queen Anne News – Maggie Larrick

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Don Pasquale (2012) 

“As Ernesto, René Barbera’s voice is my favorite in the show – warm, emotive, and perfect for serenading Norina with “Come’è gentil”. Their duet (“Tornami a dir”) is nothing short of stunning. Throughout the show, both Barbera and Petersen keep their characters from slipping into the realm of unsympathetic schemers.” Chicago Now – Jasleen Jaswal Vines

“Tenor René Barbera, a Ryan Center alum, is an alluring Ernesto, singing with flair and confidence in his role debut. His winning smile and natural charm convince you immediately that Norina cannot help but love him.” Hyde Park Herald – M.L. Rantala

“…his disappointment is unleashed in the aria “Sogno soave e casto.” Barbera demonstrated a sure sense of legato in his approach…At the start of Act Two Ernesto’s well-known scene beginning “Povero Ernesto” was touchingly sung by Barbera. He invested his line with a graceful piano on “sorte,” then sang his cabaletta with a spirit of determination. Petersen and Barbera sang an especially moving duet, “Tornami a dir,” in which their voices combined in a rush of emotional commitment.” Opera Today – Salvatore Calmonio

“Most crucial, however, proved Ryan Center alumnus René Barbera as Ernesto – whose gorgeous, floating tenor voice and youthful presence elicited torrents of “Bravos” from the audience during curtain calls.” – Kristina Powers

“Just one year out of the Ryan Center, René Barbera is already launched on an impressive career. Barbera — who from certain angles is a ringer for the young Caruso — has a notably big and vibrant lyric tenor … floating a lovely account of Ernesto’s canzonetta (com’e gentil) and blending nicely with Petersen in the duet Tornami a dir.” Chicago Classical Review – Lawrence A. Johnson

“Barbera, who has been winning competitions left and right, here has his first real leading role at Lyric, and he both rises to the occasion and never milks the part or the high notes.” Chicago Sun Times – Andrew Patner

“Barbera’s performance, in particular, was one of the production’s most memorable; his expressive and tonal range ran the gamut from gentle intimacy to power with total commitment throughout.” Chicago Critic – Samual Wigutow

“Ryan Center alum and rising tenor René Barbera was stunning as Ernesto with a crystal timbre and delicate yet passionate tone, which culminated in the outstanding duet in Act III with Norina.” Splash Magazines – Jonathan Rayfield

“Ernesto’s music is a logical step in Barbera’s development as a fine exponent of the Italian tenore di grazia (tenor of grace) roles. He delivered the hero’s serenade and his part of the subsequent Ernesto-Norina duet with a bright, suave, healthy tenor, caressing the cantabile with stylish assurance. If ever there was a breakout role for Barbera at Lyric, this was it.” Chicago Tribune – John Von Rhein

Michigan Opera Theater’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2012) 

“Barbera’s Count is terrific, especially in scenes where he is wearing a disguise inside Bartolo’s house, first as soldier and then priest.”The Huffington Post – David Kiley

“Barbera’s pure tenor and gift for theatricality lend itself to this role, and we especially enjoyed his serenade to Rosina, “Se il mio nome,” accompanied simply by an onstage guitarist. Lovely.” The Examiner – Patty Nolan

“As her wooer and tenor in disguise, René Barbera stoked up his shining voice with all the support needed to loft his notes across the orchestra pit. He didn’t fool anyone in his guise as regular guy Lindoro or substitute music teacher because he sang like royalty, giving away his real persona as Count Almaviva.” Encore Michigan – Michael H. Margolin

“René Barbera in the role of Count Almaviva is delightful. The tenor has a lovely vibrato that accentuates the lyrics of the music. His comedic timing and performance sensibilities make him fun to watch.” The Oakland Press – Samantha White

Washington Concert Opera’s La Sonnambula (2012)

“As Elvino, Mr. Barbera was most impressive, boasting a clarion tenor whose authority was unmistakable at every entrance. Clean and unencumbered by any affectation, his instrument always rang true and his vocal lines were remarkable for their precise and gracious phrasing.” Washington Times – Terry Ponkick

“René Barbera found the character’s inner appeal, with an assured, warm voice, lusty high Cs, and a stage presence evoking familiar tenor tropes (the solid body, the dark beard, the sense of humor).” Washington Post – Anne Midgette

Ravinia Music Festival’s Die Zauberflöte (2012) 

“René Barbera offered a technically assured Tamino in superb, ringing sound, with admirably clear German diction. Barbera’s verbal clarity, musical rectitude and virtually flawless intonation….” Opera – David Shengold

“Barbera flung robust, clarion tones to the farthest reaches of the theater, always singing with lyrical refinement.” Chicago Tribune –John von Rhein

“A star member of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center training program, Barbera has a muscular tenor, with open top notes and a dusky undercurrent. Even without the benefit of sets and costumes, his Tamino was a convincingly courageous prince.” Chicago Sun Times –Wynne Delacoma

“Barbera was in splendid vocal form bringing transparency and lyricism to the role of Tamino” Chicago Classical Review – Dennis Polkow

“René Barbera (who stepped into the role of Tamino) was golden voiced and empathetic. He smoothly acted and sang his heart out.Chicago Critic – Tom Williams

Grant Park Music Festival – Rossini’s Stabat Mater (2012) 

“Barbera continues to make good on the thorough training and experience he received during his apprentice years in Lyric Opera’s Ryan young artist program. He’s now an established star just about everywhere, returning to Lyric’s mainstage season this fall as Ernesto in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale.” He brought a sweet, healthy, ringing sound to Rossini’s famous aria, “Cujus animam,” with its high D flat.” Chicago Tribune – John Von Rhein

“René Barbera provided first-class vocalism throughout. Rossini’s melody for the Cujus Animam gementem is a strangely jaunty tune considering the tragic text, yet Barbera delivered the aria with a ripe and vibrant tenor and an easily produced high D flat.” Chicago Classical Review – Lawrence A. Johnson

Canadian Opera Company’s Gianni Schicchi (2012) 

“Gianni Schicchi also featured a fine performance from tenor René Barbera, as a sincere and ardent Rinuccio. His clear, ringing voice makes him the perfect fellow to get the girl in an Italian opera.” The Globe and Mail – Colin Eatock

Vancouver Opera’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2012) 

“René Barbera as the lovesick Count Almaviva played up his character’s various disguises to the hilt; his slightly off-key take on a drunken soldier, and his obnoxious music teacher were inspired—that he possesses a sweet, flexible, and clear tenor voice only added to his appeal.” – Jessica Werb

“Allegro was immediately captivated by the rich, easy tenor voice of René Barbera, who hails from San Antonio. When so many tenors seem to have to work hard to produce their sound, especially at the upper levels of their register, Barbera made it seem effortless. Even at a high C he gave the impression that he could have sung several tones higher without any difficulty. Vancouver Opera has heard many very good tenors, but few to match Rene Barbera.” Allegro

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lucia di Lammermoor (2011)

“Barbera’s Edgardo blended well with Phillips in their subsequent duet, his voice taking on a more declamatory tone when he sang solo lines. The exchange of rings and promise of future letters was sworn by both singers with lyrically believable tenderness. Mr. Barbera’s stylish delivery of the famous tenor aria (“Fra poco a me ricovero”) showed a supple approach with a welcome ring to high notes, as he ended the piece by taking the opportunity for introspective singing piano. Barbera inflected his cabaletta with wrenching emotion before stabbing himself to join his beloved in death.” Opera Today – Salvatore Calomino
“Barbera has a ringing sound – ideal for this role – which he used with conviction. Barbera’s performance was appleaing, such as in the first-act duet with Lucia, “Verrano a te sull’aure,” and the Act II sextet. He was best in the third act, both in the duet with Enrico “Qui del padre” and the final scene’s cavatina-cabaletta. All in all, the effort had a polish that made him seem naturally cast.” Seen and Heard International – James L. Zychowicz

Grant Park Music Festival’s Ryan Opera Center Concert (2011)

“Rene Barbera, a third-year tenor from San Antonio, Texas, is already well on his way to wider attention; his natural high tenor brought him three top awards, best male singer, best “zarzuela” interpreter and audience favorite in Placido Domingo’s annual Operalia competition, held last month in Moscow, Russia. A natural bel canto tenor, he made “Povero Ernesto!” his own to open the Donizetti.”Chicago Sun Times – Andrew Patner

“One breakout star already has triumphed outside Chicago, and that is Rene Barbera, the splendid lyric tenor from Texas, now in his third year at the center, who took top honors in all three male categories at Placido Domingo’s Operalia vocal competition last month in Moscow. Barbera’s plangent, stylish and beautiful singing on Friday, as Ernesto in Act 2 of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale,” amply justified his sweeping the prestigious global contest.”  Chicago Tribune – John Von Rhein

“The crowd favorite (and mine) was René Barbera as Ernesto, a true bel canto tenor who has progressed rapidly in a few short years. His bright clarion tone rang true throughout the punishing Povero Ernesto!, eliciting a boisterous response from a packed house.” Chicago Classical Review – Michael Cameron

Opera Theater of St. Louis’ The Daughter of the Regiment (2011)

“Tenor Rene Barbera handled Tonio’s music with genuine flair (the notorious high Cs of “Ah! mes amis” sounded so easy one expected a cadenza reaching even higher), and his confident, stand-and-sing style was a relief.” Opera News – Judith Malafronte

“As Tonio, Marie’s peasant lover, the charming tenor René Barbera hit his notorious nine high C’s and considerably more, securely and seemingly effortlessly.” New York Times – Steve Smith

“Rene Barbera, another promising member of the Ryan Center, was endearing as the ardent Tonio in Donizetti’s bel canto comedy; his plangent tenor nailed the nine high C’s of his aria effortlessly.” Chicago Tribune – John Von Rhein

“…One of Tonio’s arias calls for the tenor to sing a series of nine high C’s — a difficult and punishing feat. So utterly effortlessly did René Barbera render this section that if you weren’t on the lookout for it, it was just another patch of gorgeous melody. Barbera’s velvety, facile voice danced through the rest of the score with equal ease.” River Front Times – Lew Prince

“…tenor Rene Barbera … has a thrilling voice, rich in what the Italians call squillo, the ringing, trumpet-like sound that so excites the ear. His account of “Ah! mes amis” – the one with the famous nine high C’s – was tossed off with such apparent ease that some might wonder what all the fuss is about. Barbera… projected a thoroughly endearing persona.” St. Louis Today – Sarah Bryan Miller

“René Barbera as Tonio is the standout voice in this production and is bound for a great career. Barbera’s strong yet flexible tenor voice sounds at home in Donizetti music. Even with the opera being performed in English his Ah! My good friends (Ah! mes amis) was impeccable.” Opera Pulse