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About the Washington National Opera


  • Making of Opera: The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me - Costumes and Puppets

  • Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 2/4 (Choreography)

  • Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 1/4 (Overview)

  • Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 3/4 (Music)

  • Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 4/4 (Sets)

  • Washington National Opera - 2014-2015 Season Annoucement


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Francesca Zambello Francesca Zambello

Artistic Director

Francesca Zambello is the Artistic Director of Washington National Opera. Previously she has served as its Artistic Advisor. She has directed many WNO productions, including Of Mice and Men (debut in 2001), Fidelio (2003), Die Walküre (2003 and 2007), Billy Budd (2004), Porgy and Bess (2005 and 2010), Das Rheingold (2006), Siegfried (2009), Salome (2010), and Show Boat (2013). Since September 2010 she has also been the Artistic and General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York.

An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Zambello's work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi, Royal Opera House, Munich State Opera, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and English National Opera. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, BAM, the Guthrie Theater, Vienna's Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, Sydney Festival, Disneyland, Berlin's Theater des Westens, and at the Kennedy Center.

She began her career as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Juilliard, and Yale. An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She is a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

She recently developed and directed the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis' Heart of a Soldier for San Francisco Opera, where she served as Artistic Advisor from 2006-2011. Her acclaimed production of Show Boat opened at Lyric Opera of Chicago in February 2012 and will open at WNO on May 4, 2013. Other recent directing highlights include a new production of La traviata for Opera on Sydney Harbor in March 2012 and a new production of Aida at the Glimmerglass Festival in July 2012.

She has 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. Her theatrical honors include three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French Grand Prix des Critiques, Helpmann Award, Green Room Award, Palme d'Or in Germany, and the Golden Mask in Russia.

June 2013

Francesca Zambello's Twitter Feed
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