Photo by John Bauerlein
Jonathan Eaton has served as Artistic & General Director of the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh since 1999. In that time, he has led the company in presenting varied and unusual repertoire, featuring a number of American operas. These have included a historic revival of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday, Porgy and Bess, Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars conducted by Julius Rudel, and the world premiere of Matthew Rosenblum’s multi-media opera RedDust. His production for the company of Philip Glass’s Sound of a Voice was invited to tour to the Royal Opera Covent Garden. Other American operas include the world premiere of Nathan Davis’s Jazzopera Just Above My Head, and the Pittsburgh premieres of William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge and Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke.
In 2006, Jonathan directed a complete Ring Cycle in Jonathan Dove’s reduced orchestration for Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera. In his first year with the company he presented a major festival of works by Kurt Weill; his production of Weill’s Die Bürgschaft/The Bond was chosen to open the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau Germany in 2002 and 2003. Other productions ranged from Bartok’s modern masterpiece Bluebeard’s Castle presented in a National Guard armory, to the world premiere of Jay Bolotin’s jazz and sculpture opera Limbus--a mechanical opera. The company has continued to garner critical accolades and has won the WQED Harry Schwalb Award for artistic excellence and a number of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette top-ten musical events awards.
Jonathan Eaton has directed widely in opera houses throughout North America and Europe. In America his work has been seen at New York City Opera with Turandot, Carmen, and Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, which were televised for nationwide broadcast on “Great Performances Live from Lincoln Center.” He has also directed for the Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Memphis opera companies, and the Santa Fe and Spoleto festivals. In Canada he has directed for the Canadian Opera Company and Vancouver Opera; in Britain, he has directed at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera and Opera North; in Germany, he has directed for the Hannover State Opera, the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, the Bochumer Symphoniker and the Würzburg and Bielefeld operas. Elsewhere in Europe he has directed at the Netherlands Opera and the operas of Nantes, Lyons and Nancy.
In addition to continuing his work for Opera Theater, Jonathan Eaton served from 2008 to 2010 as Artistic and Stage Director of !SING - DAY OF SONG for Ruhr 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe. He led a series of projects related to singing and the human voice which climaxed on June 5, 2010 with more than a million people in 53 cities singing the same song simultaneously. Hundreds of additional concerts were sung throughout the day by more than 700 choirs from 16 countries, in public spaces, on ships, in canal locks, in a gasometer, in shopping precincts and churches and concert halls. The day culminated in the biggest mixed voice choral concert in human history which Jonathan staged with 58,000 singers in the Schalke football stadium. This project was televised by WDR and webstreamed across the world.