An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Francesca Zambello’s American debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio in 1984. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda in 1987 and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe and the USA. Collaborating with outstanding artists and designers and promoting emerging talent, she takes a special interest in new music theater works, innovative productions, and in producing theater and opera for wider audiences.
Francesca Zambello has recently been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture and the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture. Other honors for her work include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theaters and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical and Best Opera. She has also received the award for Best Company Achievement. The French Grand Prix des Critiques was awarded to her twice for her work at the Paris Opera. Other awards include Best Production in Japan, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia and the Helpmann Award in Australia.
Francesca Zambello most recently developed and directed the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier for the San Francisco Opera, where she served as Artistic Advisor from
2006-2011. Other recent opera projects have included the production of Carmen at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the world premiere of An American Tragedy, Cyrano and Les Troyens for the Metropolitan Opera, Carmen and Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Boris Godunov, War and Peace, Billy Budd and William Tell at the Paris Opera, and The Ring for the San Francisco Opera.
Recent theater projects have included Show Boat in London at the Royal Albert Hall; a new musical, Rebecca, for Vienna’s Raimund Theater, Stuttgart’s Palladium Theater (presented by Stage Entertainment), and in St. Gallen, Switzerland; Tibet Through the Red Box, a new play by David Henry Hwang for the Seattle Children’s Theatre; The Little Prince with Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman; Napoleon in the West End; The Little Mermaid for Disney on Broadway; the musical of The Little House on the Prairie and The Master Butchers at the Guthrie Theater, and Aladdin in Disneyland. Other recent works have included a film of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors for BBC Television, as well as a new film for the BBC, Sony and PBS of The Little Prince, and, West Side Story for the floating stage in Bregenz.
Ms. Zambello has also served as a guest professor at Yale University and The Juilliard School. She is the Artistic & General Director of Glimmerglass in Cooperstown, and was recently named Artistic Advisor to the Washington National Opera.
An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She began her career as an Assistant Director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From 1984-1991 she was the Artistic Director of the Skylight Music Theater. She has been guest professor at Harvard and Berkeley Universities.
Francesca Zambello lives in New York and London.