Los Angeles based director, designer and visual artist JAMES DARRAH is committed to collaborative projects within theater, music and film and has quickly become recognized as “the newest discovery; a gifted young American director delivering fresh and stimulating productions" (Chicago Tribune). Recent work includes his San Francisco Symphony debut with direction and design for an experimental multimedia production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, a radical site-specific Così fan tutte in Hawaii, a short film to accompany Schoenberg’s Book of the Hanging Gardens for Boston Court, and two critically acclaimed new productions for Chicago Opera Theater with Handel's Teseo (lauded as one of Chicago's Top Ten Events by Chicago Classical Review) and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée.
He made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in 2012 directing Berio's Recital I (for Cathy) and collaborated with Peter Sellars in staging Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Christopher Alden for the first two installments of the LA Phil’s Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy. He trained as a director/designer with the Croatian National Theater and the Split Summer Festival and his theater work ranges from adaptations and translations of Aeschylus' Oresteia to new productions of the plays of Caryl Churchill.
Upcoming projects include his Lincoln Center debut directing Handel’s Radamisto for The Juilliard School, Handel's Agrippina for Opera Omaha with frequent collaborator Stephen Stubbs, a debut with Pacific MusicWorks in Seattle for Handel's Semele, a new Peter Grimes with San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and a new production of Don Giovanni for the Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera.
He has taught performance and theater for the Adler Fellowship program of San Francisco Opera, Cornish College of the Arts, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and Cal State Long Beach and has directed and designed six new productions for the University of California, Los Angeles and Opera UCLA. He received his MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he was the recipient of the George Burns/Gracie Allen Directing Award and has been awarded the James Pendleton Foundation Grant and national Princess Grace Award (Princess Grace Foundation, USA) in Theater.