James Darrah

Working at the convergence of opera, theater, and film, Los Angeles-based artist James Darrah (director) brings together disparate artists and mediums for community-focused collaborations that pair narrative heft and intimate character studies with abstracted, enigmatic realizations of time and space. He is Artistic Director of Opera Omaha’s ONE Festival and directed the premiere of a new production of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s latest opera Proving Up in the ONE Festival; he will direct the New York premiere at the Miller Theater in fall 2018. Mr. Darrah premieres Mazzoli’s VESPERS, a film featuring violinist Olivia DePrato, for NPR’s First Watch, which will debut live with violinist Jennifer Koh at National Sawdust in Brooklyn this spring. This marks the latest chapter in a collaboration that began in 2016, when Mr. Darrah directed the world premiere of Mazzoli and Vavrek’s operatic adaptation of Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves with Opera Philadelphia and the work’s New York premiere with the Prototype Festival in 2017; the opera was subsequently nominated for Best World Premiere at the 2016 International Opera Awards, and won Best New Opera for 2016 from the Musical Critics Association of North America. He directs the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s new opera Prism in his LA Opera debut and at the Prototype Festival in fall 2018. Mr. Darrah returns to Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, reviving his production of Handel’s Alcina for the 2019 International Handel Festspiele; directs a new production of Philip Glass’s Les enfants terribles for the Opera Omaha ONE Festival 2019; develops Hecate House, a new play by Christopher Adams Cohen in Berlin; and creates and directs Ne quittez pas: A reimagined La voix humaine to be staged and then filmed on location as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O18 Festival. Mr. Darrah is recipient of the National Princess Grace Award in Theater, the James Pendelton Foundation Grant, was a directing nominee in the 2015 International Opera Awards, and was named Musical America’s New Artist of the Month in December 2015. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he received the George Burns/Gracie Allen Directing Scholarship. He has taught acting and performance in the Adler Fellowship Program of San Francisco Opera, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Cornish College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach, and the University of California, Los Angeles.