Born in New York City, Christopher Alden has been directing operas around the globe for the past several decades, committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.
Christopher Alden begins the 2016-17 season by staging the Antonia Act from Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann as part of the opening night gala production of the Wuppertaler Bühnen. Later in the season he returns to the English National Opera to revive his Olivier Award-winning staging of Handel's Partenope, before traveling to Warsaw to remount his production of Rossini's Il Turco in Italia, which originated at the Festival d'Aix en Provence. He finishes the season with a new staging of Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo at National Sawdust in Brooklyn.
In the 2015-16 season, Christopher Alden directed the world premiere of Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe at the Canadian Opera Company. He then revived his production of Norma for the English National Opera, followed by a new Tristan und Isolde at Staatstheater Karlsruhe. He then returned to Seattle Opera to remount his production of Der fliegende Holländer, followed by a new production of Sweeney Todd for the Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2016.
Previously, Mr. Alden returned to San Francisco Opera for Handel's Partenope, Opera North in Leeds for a double-bill of La vida breve/Gianni Schicchi, and Opéra National de Bordeaux for Norma. He also directed a new production of The Rake's Progress at Theater Braunschweig.
In recent seasons Mr. Alden produced Norma for Opera North, which won the "Achievement in Opera" award at the Theater Awards UK 2012. Norma was also presented in Chemnitz and in Bordeaux. His production of Handel's Partenope at English National Opera in London received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best UK opera production of 2008/09. Partenope was subsequently revived for both the San Francisco Opera and for Opera Australia, where it won the Helpmann award for best opera production of the year. 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. At the Aix-en-Provence festival, Il Turco in Italia was presented as a co-production with Torino, Dijon, and Warsaw. For the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Christopher directed all three Mozart/Da Ponte operas, each designed by a prominent architect and fashion designer. Other recent highlights include La Perichole for 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.