For the past several decades, Christopher Alden has been directing operas around the globe, committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.
Mr. Alden began the 2014-2015 season by bringing his award-winning staging of Handel’s Partenope to the San Francisco Opera; then he staged a new production of The Rake’s Progress in Braunschweig. Next comes a new Gianni Schichi for Opera North, paired with a revival of his staging of La vida breve, originally presented as part of Opera North’s acclaimed “Eight Little Greats” season. In the spring, Mr. Alden makes his Italian debut at the Teatro Regio di Torino with Il Turco in Italia, after which he revives his production of Norma for the Opera National de Bordeaux.Last season's projects included Die Fledermaus and Rigoletto for the English National Opera, Lizzie Borden at the Boston Lyric Opera and the Tanglewood Festival, Norma for the Städtische Theater Chemnitz, as well as Cosi fan tutte for the L.A. Philharmonic. The season ended with Il Turco in Italia at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
In recent seasons Mr. Alden created a new Norma for Opera North, which won the "Achievement in Opera" award at the Theater Awards UK 2012. He also produced Handel's Partenope at English National Opera in London which received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best UK opera production of 2008/09. Also for ENO, he produced A Midsummer Night's Dream, which then travelled to Moscow where it won the Golden Mask award for best opera production of the year. For the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Christopher directed all three Mozart/Da Ponte operas, each one designed by a famous architect and fashion designer. Other recent highlights include La Pericholefor the New York City Opera, Peter Grimes for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, The Makropulos Affair at the Prague National Theater in the Czech Republic, Mozart's La clemenza di Tito for the Chicago Opera Theater, Salome and Lully's Phaeton at the Saarländisches Staatstheater in Saarbrücken, Monteverdi's Orfeo at Glimmerglass Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for the Basel Opera, Elliot Carter's What Next? at the Miller Theatre (in celebration of Mr. Carter's 100th birthday), Verdi's Nabucco at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Aïda for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Monteverdi's Orfeo in Oslo and Bernstein's A Quiet Place for the New York City Opera.
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 1980'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 maintained 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. 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. He has staged multiple works for New York's Eos Orchestra, including the Jonathan Dove reductions of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure, 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 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.
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 same de Monte Carlo, Offenbach's La grande duchesse de Gerolstein, Orfee aux enfers and La Perichole, Chabrier's L'étoile, 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 and Gluck's L'ile de Merlin 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, and A Midsummer Night's Dream). For Opera North, Mr. Alden's success with a new Tosca was followed by his productions of Monteverdi's Orfeo, and 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'étoile for Opera Zuid in the Netherlands, Il trovatore for de Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Madama Butterfly in Bilbao, Bizet's Djamileh with Opera de Lyon, 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. For the Greek National Opera, he produced a double bill of Falla's La Vida Breve and Dallapiccola's Il Prigionera.