French conductor Emmanuel Villaume has been a regular guest at Washington National Opera since his debut with La Rondine in 1998, including productions of Le Cid (1999), Les contes d'Hoffman (2001), Lucia di Lammermoor (2002), Norma (2003), The Golden Gala (2006), L'elisir d'amore (2006), and La bohème (2007). He is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava. He served as the Spoleto Festival USA's Music Director for Opera & Orchestra from 2001 to 2010. During that time he led numerous symphonic concerts and opera performances for the festival, including a noted Mahler symphony cycle, the American première of Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg, and acclaimed productions of Manon Lescaut, Der fliegende Holländer, Lakme, Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni, and Louise. In November 2011, he conducted the prestigious annual Richard Tucker Gala with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. He began his musical education at the Strasbourg Conservatory and continued his studies in Paris, where he received degrees in literature, philosophy, and musicology. The author of noted musicological articles and research papers, he was appointed Dramaturg of the Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg at the age of 21. He has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, and EMI, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Indianapolis.