“Despite the considerable dramatic intensity, effective comedy and beautiful singing happening onstage during the production, it is music director Ari Pelto’s breathtaking wizardry in the pit that most distinguishes this staging of “Bohème”...Pelto’s incredible gift for interpreting operatic scores and for getting the most out of his orchestra was one of the reasons Opera Colorado named him to the post in 2015. On Saturday, his focus never wavered. Not only did he place Puccini’s orchestral mastery on full display, he also demonstrated incredible focus, always making his intentions clear to the singers. And each of the opera’s four acts came across as the contrasting staged tone poems that they are.” —The Denver Post
Opera Colorado — La Bohème
“In his Lyric Opera debut, conductor Ari Pelto drew the best from the pit orchestra, composed of musicians from the Kansas City Symphony. Aided by the embracing acoustics of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the ensemble delivered an involving, full-bodied take on Tchaikovsky’s fetching score, with plenty of instrumental highlights, such as the handsome woodwind solos during Tatyana’s letter scene.” — Opera News
Lyric Opera of Kansas City — Eugene Onegin
"Under the baton of Ari Pelto, the Kansas City Symphony proved both bold and sensitive, as necessary, the individual voices of the orchestra threading with the singers in a rich cloth, all savoring Tchaikovsky’s melodies." — The Kansas City Star
Lyric Opera of Kansas City — Eugene Onegin
"Several stories can be told about the artistic and organizational resurgence of Opera Colorado, but arguably no development was more consequential than the naming of Ari Pelto as music director. There is no way to overstate it: Pelto is a wizard in the pit!” —The Daily Camera
Opera Colorado — La Fanciulla del West
“Conductor Ari Pelto led his forces with his usual sensitivity to the singers on the stage, and the sounds from the pit were a gorgeous background to the action.” — The Daily Camera
Opera Colorado — Scarlet Letter
“Conductor Ari Pelto honors Laitman’s democratic approach to composing and reaches deep into every section to pull the most out of the orchestra. He knows when to put on the brakes and when to pump up the volume.” — Opera News
Opera Colorado — Scarlet Letter
“Conductor Ari Pelto deftly captured the disparate emotional worlds of the two pieces.” — Opera News
Chicago Opera Theater — La Voix Humaine & Gianni Schicchi
"In the pit for Aida, Pelto showed a firm command of the orchestra, a distinct communication with the singers and a solid knowledge of Verdi's four-act 1871 score." — The Daily Camera
Opera Colorado — Aida
“One of the hottest tickets in town this cold January is Utah Opera’s “Carmen,” a vibrant production that’s a welcome respite from the dreary gray of a Salt Lake City winter. Saturday’s sold-out opener would have been worth attending just for the fiercely committed performances of the two leads; happily, they were surrounded by top-notch singing, acting and playing in a strikingly handsome physical production…Pelto made it clear from the first brisk bars of the famed overture this was going to be an exciting ride. The orchestra and singers rolled out tune after glorious tune, yet the action never felt rushed.” -- Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Opera – Carmen
“Conductor Ari Pelto led a taut, rakish, and (at the right times) sentimental reading of this tricky score”--James Sohre, Opera Today
Chautauqua — The Cunning Little Vixen
“Under Ari Pelto’s baton, the orchestra has never sounded better, nor the chemistry between pit and stage been quite so palpable.” -- Susan Elliot, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Atlanta Ballet – Cinderella
“City Opera’s performance of Madama Butterfly on Sunday afternoon was conducted by a newcomer, Ari Pelto, who led an extremely well paced realization. The first act was crisp and biting, impressive not just as no-nonsense music making, but also setting the stage for highly romantic slower sections in the midst of the second act and a “vigil theme” to die for. The NYCO orchestra was in top form, their coloration as subtle as the cherry blossoms that fall…in this production.” – Fred Kirshnit, New York Sun
New York City Opera – Madama Butterfly
"Ari Pelto evoked superb vigor and stylish beauty of playing from the thirteen instrumentalists. Much of the credit for this forceful and surprising evening of musical theater must go to them.” -- John Bender, San Francisco Classical Voice
San Francisco Opera, Merola Program – The Rape of Lucretia
“Mr. Pelto is a fine Mozartean.” – Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard Internationa
Portland Opera — Le Nozze di Figaro
“Don Giovanni… is shaped and paced with consummate skill by conductor Ari Pelto….” -- Joseph McLellan, Washington Post
Wolf Trap Opera – Don Giovanni
“The extra excitement of Merola Operas performance of Mozart’s Così fan tutte could be felt on both sides of the metaphorical footlights…Much responsibility for the afternoon's success lay with conductor Ari Pelto. He was ever alive to the moment. His orchestra consistently highlighted the contrasting instrumental lines that convey how deeply Mozart understood what the characters feel but don‘t sing.” -- San Francisco Classical Voice
San Francisco Opera Center – Così fan tutte
Everyone connected to this production is world-class: Richard Burke, who arranged and orchestrated and wrote original music, to add to the music of Franz Schubert; the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, lush and large and exquisite, conducted by Ari Pelto … -- Manning Harris, Atlanta In Town
Atlanta Ballet — Twyla Tharp The Princess and the Goblin, World Premiere
“Ari Pelto led the orchestra in a voluptuous, emotionally eloquent reading of one of Dvorák’s most beautiful scores… There was a special alchemy at work in this performance, one that is uncommon in even the greatest houses: the whole became greater than the sum of its parts, revealing something profound and true.” -- Opera News
Boston Lyric Opera – Rusalka
“Can the world, particularly New York, use another “Carmen”? Yes, the same way we can use another pepperoni pizza. As long as it’s good . . . And City Opera has a good “Carmen,” as proven Thursday night. Bizet’s opera can’t fail to appeal, if done faithfully, attentively, and full-heartedly…Who is the most important performer in a “Carmen”? The gypsy girl herself, right? No, the conductor, always — he is “the straw that stirs the drink,” as someone once said. On him, more than anyone else, depends the success or failure of a “Carmen” (and of most operas)…City Opera has a good one in Ari Pelto, a Yankee from Connecticut. The overture was reassuring: crisp, vigorous, un-perfunctory. After the final note, someone in the audience whooped, and the audience in general cheered. Quite right. Mr. Pelto knows “Carmen” musically, and that made all the difference. -- The New York Sun
New York City Opera – Carmen
“Ari Pelto led the orchestra in a voluptuous, emotionally eloquent reading of one of Dvorak’s most beautiful scores…There was alchemy at work in this performance, one that is uncommon in even the greatest houses: the whole became greater than the sum of its parts, revealing something profound and true.” Opera News  
Opera News
“I spent a great deal of time watching Ari work with our artists, director, staff and orchestra during our recent production of Don Giovanni and was so impressed with his ability to bring out the subtleties and nuances of Mozart’s score which contributed so greatly to the overarching drama of the staging.”  
General Director of Opera Colorado, Denver Journal
“Conductor Ari Pelto evoked superb vigor and stylish beauty of playing from the thirteen Instrumentalists. Much of the credit for this forceful and surprising evening of musical theater must go to them.”  
San Francisco Classical Voice, John Bender
“The extra excitement of Merola Opera’s performance of Mozart’s Così fan tutte could be felt on both sides of the metaphorical footlights...Much responsibility for the afternoon’s success lay with conductor Ari Pelto. He was ever alive to the moment. His orchestra consistently highlighted the contrasting instrumental lines that convey how deeply Mozart understood what the characters feel but don‘t sing.”  
San Francisco Classical Voice