Mary Zimmerman

Mary Zimmerman wrote the libretto for GALILEO GALILEI, with Philip Glass and Arnold Weinstein.  She also directed the opera's world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, June 24, 2002 as well as productions at the Barbican in London and at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).


Mary Zimmerman is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play, and 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards (including Best Production and Best Direction).  She is a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company of Chicago, an Artistic Associate of both the Goodman Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.  Works which she has adapted and directed include Argonautika (Lookingglass, Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Co, McCarter Theatre), Mirror of the Invisible World (Goodman), The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (Goodman, BAM, Seattle Rep, Second Stage), The Odyssey (Lookingglass, Goodman, McCarter, Seattle Rep), Arabian Nights (Lookingglass, MTC, BAM, Berkeley Rep, Kansas City Rep), Journey To The West (Goodman, Huntington, Berkeley Rep), Metamorphoses (Lookingglass, Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep, Mark Taper Forum, Second Stage), Secret in the Wings (Lookingglass, Berkeley Rep, McCarter, Seattle Rep), S/M (Lookingglass), Eleven Rooms of Proust (Lookingglass, About Face) and a new opera with Philip Glass called Galileo Galilei (Goodman, the Barbican in London, and BAM.)  She made her Metropolitan Opera directorial debut with Lucia di Lammermoor in the fall of 2007, and returned to direct La Sonnambula and Rossini's Armida.




Mary Zimmerman on GALILEO GALILEI

"My own feeling is that scientific inquiry into the ways of the world is an act of sustained, intense attention, which is another way of saying an act of love.  Like all great scientists, Galileo was overawed by the complexity and elegance of nature, and his work can be seen as a long hymn to its unfathomable beauty."


"When I learned that Galileo's father, Vincenzio Galilei, was a famous musician and composer and one who is sometimes credited with the invention of the opera form, I felt that our opera should move back far enough to include this fact ... thus moving towards its own origin, as the character of Galileo moves towards his."

- Mary Zimmerman, "Director's Note: A Note on the Libretto" Program notes, Goodman Theatre, 2002



Mary Zimmerman on directing opera

Mary Zimmerman speaks about what attracted her to directing opera in this interview with Natalie Dessay, who performed the title role when Zimmerman directed Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera.



Mary Zimmerman on working with Philip Glass

Mary Zimmerman spoke about the groundbreaking career of composer Philip Glass, when he received a 2010 Opera Honors Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.



Mary Zimmerman on the value of theatre

Mary Zimmerman sat down to speak about the value of theatre while she was directing Candide at Huntington Theatre.



Learn more about Portland Opera's upcoming production of GALILEO GALILEI here.