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For the past few decades, CHRISTOPHER ALDEN (director) has been directing operas around the globe, committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.
Alden began his 2013/14 season with Die Fledermaus at English National Opera, followed by Beeson’s Lizzie Borden with Boston Lyric Opera. After returning to ENO for Rigoletto, he brought his award-winning production of Norma to the Städtische Theater Chemnitz. He then completes his Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel with Così fan tutte. He finishes the season at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence with Il turco in Italia.
In recent seasons Alden created a new Norma for Opera North, which won the Achievement in Opera award at the Theater Awards U.K. 2012. He also produced Handel’s Partenope at English National Opera in London (which received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best U.K. opera production of 2008/09). 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.
Born in New York City, Alden began his professional career with Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the Tony-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 groundbreaking work with Long Beach Opera.
Alden has worked with the most distinguished companies in the United States. For the Dallas Opera he directed Der fliegende Holländer, 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.
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. Alden returned to Glimmerglass to direct Offenbach’s Barbe-bleue and Handel’s Imeneo.
For Pittsburgh Opera, Alden has produced Hansel and Gretel, Der fliegende Holländer, 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. 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, Orfée aux enfers, and La Périchole, Chabrier’s L'étoile, and Gounod’s La Colombe.
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, 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. 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 Opéra de Lyon, and a triple bill of Bizet’s Djamileh, Le Docteur Miracle, and Don Procopio with the Opéra Comique in Paris. The 2002/03 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, 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 prigioniero.