Press for The Rape of Lucretia:

“The result is a viscerally overwhelming performance of an intimate work, written for eight singers and a 13-piece orchestra. That these college-age singers throw themselves into it with such uninhibited emotion and physicality makes this spare, modern-dress production unsettlingly immediate.”

–– Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times

Press for Eugene Onegin:

“This is a different kind of Onegin, more personal and rawer.”

–– James Oestreich in The New York Times

“Mary Birnbaum's thoughtful direction was rich with imaginative touches.”

–– George Loomis in Opera Magazine

Press for Hänsel und Gretel:

#2 of Houston's Best Operas of the Year List in Houstonia Magazine

“Perfect for the kids and immensely satisfying for any grownup operaphile, Hänsel und Gretel is a stunner, perhaps OH's most perfect realization. OH has found a director of real quality in Mary Birnbaum, whose eye for the telling gesture, the perfect comic effect, or visual snap brings the fairy tale into our laps.”

–– D.L. Groover in Houston Press

Press for The Classical Style:

“Absurdly funny yet genuinely insightful...a vibrant performance of the piece, directed by Mary Birnbaum.”

–– Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times


“It's not the sort of material that lends itself easily to the stage. Yet Friday's superb performance in
Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley –– the headline event in a long weekend's worth of music that constituted the Ojai North festival –– was a dazzling display of inventiveness and broad comical delight.”

–– Joshua Kosman in San Francisco Gate, 6/23/2014


“The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)
is an opera for real. Friday at the Ojai North Music Festival, it also proved to be an unexpectedly witty, illuminating and all-around delightful 70 minutes of entertainment. The Classical Style is gorgeous to hear, and filled with laughs. And the opera is deep.”

–– Richard Scheinin in Mercury News, 6/20/14


“...the result of their work, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), in seven scenes and 75 minutes, definitely flies, and its first audience in Libbey Bowl certainly enjoyed it. It’s a comedy, of course, of the inside baseball variety, tongue firmly in cheek; the more you knew about its subject matter the funnier it was, but the farcical proceedings are lively enough that even the uninitiated are allowed in [...] The end even manages to touch, as Rosen and Robert Schumann contemplate the miracle of the style and the mysteries of its birth, life and death...Director Mary Birnbaum made it all work with a minimum of props and costumes.”

–– Timonthy Mangan in O.C. Register, 6/15/14

Distinctions:

Mary's team won the Opera America Director/Designer Grant

Mary was nominated for the International Opera Awards "Best Newcomer" of 2015

Other Press Clippings:

Profile for Oklahoma! feat. neckerchief in Cville, July 2017 from Cville Weekly

Great review of KEPT in Norfolk VA, May 2017 from The Virginian Pilot

Review of A MOUTH IS NOT FOR TALKING: La Voix Humaine at National Sawdust, March 2017 by Entertainment Hour

Thoughtful blog post about Otello at the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra from Fugue for Thought

Die Zauberflöte at Juilliard, April 2016 in Opera News and Q on Stage

And a rave for L'elisir d'amore at the Teatro Nacional, Costa Rica, July 2015