Christopher Alden - Stage Director
Previously at Portland Opera:
The Flying Dutchman (2007)
For the past three decades, Christopher Alden has been busy producing opera around the globe, consistently committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.
Mr. Alden will open the 2010-2011 season with Bernstein's "A Quiet Place" for New York City Opera followed by Lully's Phaeton for Staatstheater Saarbruecken. In the winter, he will direct Turandot for Portland Opera and will return to Opera Australia to mount his production of Handel's Partenope. Mr. Alden will then direct Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the English National Opera in the spring of 2011, followed by Turandot at Welsh National Opera.
Last season’s highlights include his highly acclaimed new production of Don Giovanni at New York City Opera, Tosca for his Opera Australia debut, Der Fliegende Hollaender for the Canadian Opera Company, and a new production of Les Contes D’Hoffmann for the Santa Fe Opera. Previously for ENO: Turandot and Handel’s Partenope (which received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best 2008/2009 UK opera production)
At the opening of the 2008/09 season, Mr. Alden will revive his successful production of Tosca at Opera North in Leeds, followed by three new productions; Handel’s Partenope at English National Opera in London, The Makropulos Affair at the Prague National Theater in the Czech Republic, as well as Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito for the Chicago Opera Theater.
In the 2007/08 season, after a production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Glimmerglass Opera, he directed Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Basel Opera followed by the New York premiere of Elliot Carter’s What Next? at the Miller Theatre (in celebration of Mr. Carter’s 100th birthday). He debuted at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein with Verdi’s Nabucco and directed a new production of Aïda for the Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Renato Palumbo followed by Monteverdi’s Orfeo in Oslo.
His 2006-2007 season included a double bill of Falla's La Vida Breve and Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero with the Greek National Opera, inaugurating Stefan Lazaridis' first season as Artistic Director. He then traveled to the UK for a new production of Monteverdi's Orfeo with Opera North, followed by Der Fliegende Holländer with the Portland Opera, Bizet's Djamileh with Opera de Lyon and Gluck's L'Ile de Merlin with the Spoleto Festival USA.
Born in New York City, Mr. Alden began his professional career with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the Tony Award winning rock musical, Two Gentlemen of Verona. After apprenticing in opera as assistant to Jean-Pierre Ponnelle in Houston, Paris and Salzburg, he first attracted international attention with his own productions through his ground-breaking work with the Long Beach Opera. Beginning with an acclaimed Death in Venice in 1982, he subsequently directed Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Il Turco in Italia, Monteverdi's Orfeo, The Coronation of Poppea and The Return of Ulysses, Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Barbe-Bleue, in addition to Eugene Onegin, The Abduction from the Seraglio, the original version of Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Carlo, The Rape of Lucretia, the world premiere of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie's Hopper's Wife and The Threepenny Opera. Throughout the ‘80's, Mr. Alden also served as Associate Director of Opera at the Academy, a non-traditional training center for opera singers, where he directed innovative productions of Dido and Aeneas and La Vie Parisienne.
Mr. Alden has worked with the most distinguished companies in the United States. For The Dallas Opera he directed Der Fliegende Hollander, Le Nozze di Figaro and Wozzeck, while his work with Houston Grand Opera includes stagings of La Traviata, Madama Butterfly and the world premiere of Wallace and Korie's Harvey Milk. For The Washington Opera he directed L'Incoronazione di Poppea and created a new I Capuleti ed i Montecchi starring Tatiana Troyanos. In Chicago he directed a new production of Rigoletto for Lyric Opera, as well as co-directing, with his twin brother David Alden, Le nozze di Figaro, Così Fan Tutte, and Don Giovanni with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim
Mr. Alden has maintained particularly close relationships with several American opera companies. His history with San Francisco Opera includes new productions of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, I Vespri Siciliani, Thomson's The Mother of Us All, Harvey Milk and the American premieres of Reimann's Ghost Sonata and Henze's Das Verratene Meer. He made his New York City Opera debut in 1979 with Rossini's Le Comte Ory, which he had previously staged for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and The Santa Fe Opera. For New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Christopher Alden has created productions of L'Italiana in Algeri, Sousa's The Glassblowers, The Rape of Lucretia and The Mother of Us All. Mr. Alden returned to Glimmerglass to direct Offenbach's Barbe-bleue and Handel's Imeneo. He has staged multiple works for New York's Eos Orchestra, including the Jonathan Dove reductions of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Das Lied von der Erde, and Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat and Renard. In 2001, he directed Gotham Chamber Opera's inaugural production, Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione, and returned in 2005 to stage Handel's Arianna in Creta.
For Pittsburgh Opera, Mr. Alden has produced Hansel and Gretel, Der Fliegende Hollander and Le Nozze di Figaro. He has also worked closely with Opera Omaha, where he has staged new productions of La traviata, Aïda, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, Don Pasquale and The Barber of Seville. Mr. Alden has enjoyed great success with L'Opéra Français de New York, where his collaborations with Yves Abel included Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias and La Dame de Monte Carlo, Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, Orfee aux Enfers and La Perichole, Chabrier's L'Etoile, and Gounod's La Colombe.
Mr. Alden's long and varied career has included many more directorial engagements in North America: Hansel and Gretel and Stewart Copeland's Holy Blood and Crescent Moon for Fort Worth Opera; Anthony Davis' Tania in its world premiere at Philadelphia's American Music Theater Festival; Don Pasquale, Count Ory and Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; La Traviata and Il barbiere di Siviglia for Michigan Opera Theatre; La bohème, Don Giovanni, La Navarraise, and Djamileh for Connecticut Grand Opera; Don Giovanni with Seattle Opera; La Boheme for Los Angeles Opera; Così Fan Tutte with Wolf Trap Opera; Carmen, The Mikado and a double bill of A Water-Bird Talk and The Medium for the opera companies of Syracuse, Memphis and Indianapolis; Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci for Opera Columbus; Luisa Miller for the Spoleto Festival USA; Lucia di Lammermoor for Boston Lyric Opera; La Cenerentola for Minnesota Opera; Der Fliegende Holländer for the Canadian Opera Company; and Count Ory and The Beggar's Opera for The Santa Fe Opera.
Christopher Alden has also enjoyed great success in his work overseas. He made his European debut in 1980 directing Don Giovanni in Basel. In the United Kingdom his production of Turandot, first created for the Welsh National Opera in 1994, has since been seen at Scottish Opera (where he also staged the world premiere of David Horne's Friend of the People) and English National Opera (where he directed The Makropulos Case, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, in 2006). For Opera North, Mr. Alden's success with a new Tosca was followed by his productions of half of the award-winning Eight Little Greats season, La Vida Breve, Djamileh, Pagliacci and Rossini's L'Occasione Fa il Ladro. Mr. Alden also directed Idomeneo at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, La Fanciulla del West and L'Etoile for Opera Zuid in the Netherlands, Il trovatore for de Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Madama Butterfly in Bilbao and a triple bill of Bizet's Djamileh, Le Docteur Miracle, and Don Procopio with the Opéra Comique in Paris. The 2002-2003 season took him twice to Germany, where he directed Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Cologne Opera, and a new production of Carmen for the Mannheim National Theater. With The New Israeli Opera, Mr. Alden has directed La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria rusticana, and Pagliacci.