Bernard Uzan has dedicated his life to the development of the performing arts industry for the past 50 years. His extensive background in the Performing Arts includes great achievement as a General Director, Artistic Director, Stage Director, Artist Manager, Set Designer, Librettist, Educator, Actor, and published Novelist and Internet Journalist. This season, Mr. Uzan receives a lifetime achievement award from the Giulio Gari Foundation, directs Nabucco at Pittsburgh Opera, Macbeth at Michigan Opera Theatre, then directs and mounts a massive co-production of Roméo et Juliette that will travel to Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Lyric Opera of Baltimore
Spending his formative years in France, Mr. Uzan graduated of the University of Paris with advanced degrees in Literature, Theatrical Studies, and Philosophy. He began his career in the theater as an actor and director in 1963, earning recognition and receiving awards as the Best Young Actor, Best Young Director, and Best Director by the Concours des Jeunes Compagnies during a ten year run in some of the most prestigious French theatres. He also lent his voice to the French dubs of 60 movies including The Graduate, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon.
He immigrated to the U.S. in 1972, when he established “French Theater in America,” a company that toured for a decade giving 100 performances per year of classic French plays. On television, he starred in a special series dramatizing the lives and careers of famous musicians and as a special guest on the soap opera, Search for Tomorrow. He also directed the Interactive Language Learning CD-ROM Who is Oscar Lake? in four languages.
In 1982, he directed his first operas with Lake George Opera (Pagliacci), Opera Company of Philadelphia (La rondine), and Michigan Opera Theatre (La traviata and Faust). In 1984, he directed Carmen for the Tulsa Opera, returning the following year for Faust with Neil Shicoff, Samuel Ramey, and Diana Soviero. He was subsequently appointed General Director. In 1986, he directed a new production of Roméo et Juliette for Opéra de Montréal.
Two years later, he was appointed General and Artistic Director of Opéra de Montréal, and remained from 1988 to 2002. He brought the company great financial success and international artistic renown. He supplemented the standard operatic canon by programming lesser known and contemporary pieces, and world premières such as Thérèse Raquin by Tobias Picker and Nelligan by Andre Gagnon.
As a stage director and producer, his 400 productions have won numerous awards and appeared on the stages of more than 100 opera companies throughout the world in such cities as Buenos Aires, Caracas, Catania, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Mexico City, Miami, Monte Carlo, Palermo, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Zurich, Toronto, Vancouver, and Erfurt, where his recent production of Carmen was voted Best Production of the Year.
Committed to nurturing the artists of tomorrow, Mr. Uzan has kept teaching courses, classes, and workshops as an integral part of his busy schedule. He served on the faculties of Wellesley College, Middlebury College, Sarah Lawrence University, and Mount Holyoke College, in addition to directing Young Artist Programs at companies such as Florida Grand Opera. He is also co-founder and Director of Uzan International Artists, a leader in international artist management, with a diverse roster including classical singers for opera and concert, actors for stage and screen, directors, designers, and conductors.
Mr. Uzan added the title of librettist to his ever growing and impressive history with opera and the arts. Based upon the original play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, Uzan wrote the libretto for Cyrano, which premièred in the fall of 2007 at Michigan Opera Theatre to great acclaim, and had subsequent performances at Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Florida Grand Opera. The production is scheduled to be revived in multiple cities in the next two seasons.
In 2008, his novel The Shattered Sky was published in both French and English by Enigma Books, and became Mr. Uzan’s first English language published work. His blog, The Wooden Sword, has an avid fan base, and will soon be collated to create his second published novel.