Francesca Zambello is the Artistic and General Director of the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown NY. An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Zambello’s work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi, Covent Garden, the Munich Staatsoper, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National 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. In May 2011, Zambello was appointed Artistic Advisor to Washington National Opera, and became Washington National Opera’s Artistic Director January 1, 2013. She received the San Francisco Opera Medal for Artistic Excellence for her more than 30 years of artistic contributions to the company, including serving as Artistic Advisor from 2006-2011.
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. 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.
Her directing work at Glimmerglass includes: Iphigénie en Tauride (1997); the world premiere production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck and Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun (2011); Verdi’s Aida (2012); Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and David Lang’s the little match girl passion (2013); Strauss’ Ariadne in Naxos and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (2014); Bernstein’s Candide (2015); Robert Ward’s The Crucible (2016); Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais.
She opened the complete Ring Cycle at Washington National Opera April 2016 and a new production of Aida at the San Francisco Opera in November. In February 2017, she opened a new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Washington National Opera, and in May she directed Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera. Also during the 2017-18 season, her Ring Cycle premieres at San Francisco Opera, and her production of Candide premieres at Washington National Opera and LA Opera.
Francesca Zambello lives in New York with her wife, Faith Gay, a founding partner at Selendy and Gay, and step-son, Jackson.