Newton Symphony Orchestra

January Concert Guest Artist: Richard Harrell, Stage Director

Richard Harrell is Director of the Opera Program for the San Francisco Conservatory. An internationally recognized leader in the field of opera training and production, Mr. Harrell previously held positions as Artistic Advisor and Head of Faculty for the Opera Training Program of the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, including the Merola Opera Program, Western Opera Theatre National Tour and the Adler Fellowship Program, and as Administrative Director of the Juilliard Opera Center and Department of Vocal Arts, where he was also on the faculty as a stage director and acting teacher. Currently, he also serves as Artistic Advisor and Principal Stage Director for the Bangkok Opera and as visiting faculty for the International Opera Center Netherlands.

As a stage director, his recent productions include Aida and Don Giovanni for the Bangkok Opera, The Merry Widow for Opera Company of North Carolina, Don Giovanni and La Traviata for the Sacramento Opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Gold Coast Opera, Cosí fan tutte for the Hawaii Opera Theatre,and Cavalli’s La Calisto for the San Francisco Opera Center. Upcoming directing projects include Cosí fan tutte for the Bangkok Opera.

A frequent judge for vocal competitions, he annually adjudicates for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. His essays on artist training and the business of opera appear in many Opera America publications, and he was also a member of the “Singer’s Services Committee” for Opera America. He has been a stage director, voice teacher, and guest Master Class instructor at universities and training programs including Yale, Indiana University, Chautauqua Institution, Hawaii Opera Theater, Loyola University, Mannes School of Music, and the University of Florida. Other teaching credentials include acting, voice, and music history at the Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond, Virginia State University, and Montclair State University.

Mr. Harrell has performed with such companies as the Baltimore Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre Company, Opera Omaha, Washington Opera, Oratorio Society of Washington, Richmond Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He recorded the role of Bernardo on the Deutsche Grammophon album of West Side Story, which the composer conducted.

A native of Oklahoma, he holds a Master of Fine Arts in opera stage direction from the State University of New York, at Purchase. He also studied opera performance in the graduate program of the Manhattan School of Music, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance is from the Catholic University of America.

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