Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director
As a member of San Francisco Opera since 1990, Sandra Bernhard has served as an assistant director for over 30 productions and as a coach and instructor of acting for the Merola Opera Program. At the San Francisco Opera, she has directed Tosca (2001/2002/2004), Samson et Dalilah (2001), Carmen (1998), Madama Butterfly (1995), L'elisir d'amore (1992/2000), a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor (1994/1999), and a new production of La Bohème (1993), which led the San Francisco Chronicle to remark, "Finally, we had a La Bohème with a jolting and satisfactory blend of comedic detail and pathos, of romance, poetry and realism." She also staged concert presentations of Ermione, Lucia Silla, and Daphne, as well as the Merola Program's Grand Finals from 1991 through 1995, and the San Francisco Opera Guild and San Francisco Opera Center's production of Hänsel und Gretel (1996).
Highlights from recent seasons include her return engagements to San Francisco Opera for Tosca, Florida Grand Opera for Un Ballo in Maschera, and Dayton Opera to direct Little Women. Ms. Bernhard's recent productions include Don Pasquale at Florida Grand Opera, La Bohème at Washington Opera, Midsummer Night's Dream at Louisiana State University, and a workshop of The Memory Game - a new opera by Joel Hoffmann at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In the 2003-04 season, she was appointed holder of the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and directed Le Nozze di Figaro with Portland Opera, as well as Samson et Dalila with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In addition to Ms. Bernhard's many San Francisco Opera credits, she has directed: the world premiere of The Dreamers, a new opera composed by David Conte with a libretto by Philip Littell; performance workshops of The Gift of the Magi, a new opera by David Conte with a libretto by Nicholas Giardini; and Wuornos, a new opera by Carla Lucero. She has also directed productions at the Pittsburgh Opera (Street Scene, Postcard from Morocco), Minnesota Opera (Der Rosenkavalier), Cincinnati Opera (La Bohème), Portland Opera (Don Giovanni, La Bohème), Baltimore Opera (Mother of Us All), Opera Pacific (La Bohème), Florida Grand Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto), Central City Opera (La Bohème), Fort Worth Opera (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Utah Opera (La Traviata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Manitoba Opera (Faust), Opera Hamilton (Così fan tutte), and Chautauqua Opera (Postage Due, original productions of Harold who?).
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Ms. Bernhard has had additional teaching assignments at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Utah Opera, the Greater Miami Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Louisiana State University. Ms. Bernhard has also written several educational outreach productions and student/teacher handbooks through the San Francisco Opera Education department, including Opera Inside/Out, Interactive Opera!, and Opera Out!