James Darrah is an award-winning director and designer whose enchanting works intersect theater, opera, and film. His visual productions are known for virtuosic, visceral elegance—which “injects real drama” (New York Times) by merging innovative designs, unexpected movement, grace, and powerful narrative. A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television and The Julliard School, he skillfully creates musically, cinematic works—crafted with “enigmatic twists” (NPR)—like music videos for Joyce DiDonato, Jakub Józef Orlinski, and for Missy Mazzoli’s Vespers.
His current opera and theater productions include new works with The Kennedy Center and Theatro Nacional São Paolo in Brazil. This year, he created an art installation with composer Ellen Reid, filmmaker Adam Larsen, and LA Opera and continues works with Opera Philadelphia and the San Francisco Symphony, among others. He is in development of the new opera Dante with composer Patrick Cassidy and film producer Martha De Laurentiis and has recently produced works like Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, Proving Up, and the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Prism. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with distinguished operas and orchestras worldwide, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, and more. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the ONE Festival.
Director: Beethoven Symphony No. 5 and Respighi Pines of the Appian Way
Adam Larsen is a documentary filmmaker and projection designer for live performances. His works includes the direction and design of semi-staged productions with esteemed classical performance organizations worldwide, including the Houston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Canadian Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Opera Philadelphia; in addition to creations for the Athens, Edinburgh, and Spoleto festivals and for Broadway, Lincoln Center, and the SoundBox at San Francisco Symphony. His productions have brought works to life like Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, David Lang’s Prisoner of the State, Hal Prince’s LoveMusik, Lee Breuer’s The Gospel at Colonus, Esperanza Spalding’s 12 Little Spells, Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, and Bernstein’s Mass. Mr. Larsen’s documentary films include the inaugural Neurotypical, which premiered on the PBS series POV and explores autism from the perspective of the autistic, followed by Undersung, which is available on Amazon and gives accounts from caregivers of severely disabled family members.
Melanie Bacaling is a Chicago-born director, stage manager, and producer for opera productions. In the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, she was named an Emerging Artist for Boston Lyric Opera. They later appointed her as Company Intimacy Advocate, where she develops protocols for safety, equity, and ethical conduct in the opera rehearsal room. She worked on productions with Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Omaha, Washington Concert Opera, Aspen Opera Center, and Longy School of Music. Her upcoming engagements include joining the staging staff at LA Opera for the 2020-21 season. A vocalist and pedagogue, Ms. Bacaling holds a masters degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory.
Josiah Davis is a director, choreographer, and actor who strives to blend expression, music, technology, and tradition to breathe new life into storytelling. His methods implore “how do we create space for people to be in sync when we are pulled apart by invisible systems?” He serves as Associate Artistic Director of On The Verge Theatre Company in Santa Barbara, is a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow, and a Theatre Lumina company member. Mr. Davis’ directing credits include Marie Antoinette, Kemps, and How We Got On with Brown University; Intimate Apparel with Theater at Monmouth; and Trouble In Kind and From White Plains with On The Verge Theatre Company. He is a graduate of Brown University’s Theatre Arts & Performance Studies and earned a master of fine arts degree in directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, & Television.
Alexander V Nichols
Director: Tchaikovsky and Co-Director: Bates Mothership
San Francisco Bay Area native Alexander Nichols designs lighting, scenery, and projections for theater, opera, music, and dance. His works have been featured on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, and in opera houses, concert halls, and theaters across the United States and abroad. His upcoming projects include Fidelio at San Francisco Opera, Nixon In China at Washington National Opera, Parsifal at the Cleveland Orchestra, Salome at Opera San Jose, and a new work by Choreographer Danielle Rowe at San Francisco Ballet.
Director: Vespers and Co-Director: Bates Mothership
As Creative Director and Stage Director for Opera Parallèle, Brian Staufenbiel has conceptualized, directed, and spearheaded the company’s productions since its founding in 2010. Specializing in immersive multimedia productions which span many artistic disciplines, he collaborates with film and media designers, choreographers and dancers, circus and fabric artists, and many other creative performers. His progressive stagecraft has drawn critical acclaim for many of the company’s productions, including Dead Man Walking, Orphée, Les Enfant Terribles, Ainadamar, Wozzeck, The Lighthouse, and more. Mr. Staufenbiel’s recent productions include Elektra and Das Rheingold with the Minnesota Opera, the latter awarded a Star Tribune Classical Music pick of the decade and subsequent reprises at Arizona Opera and at L’Opéra de Montréal. Upcoming projects include creations with Fort Worth Opera and Seattle Opera and directing a documentary about Frederica Von Stade’s life with Paper Wings Films.