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. Last year, Mr. Uzan received a lifetime achievement award from the Giulio Gari Foundation and made an appearance on the Emmy Award winning Amazon show Mozart in the Jungle, for which he was named one of the “9 ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ Scene-Stealing Cameos” by WQXR. He also recently took the position of Artistic Director of Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists Program. This season, Uzan directs Les pêcheurs de perles at Toledo Opera, Salome at Florida Grand Opera, Le nozze di Figaro at Opera Tampa, and Turandot at Tulsa Opera, as well as returning to his remounting of Cyrano, the opera he wrote the libretto to with an original score by Dr. David DiChiera, at Opera Carolina.
Last season, Uzan helmed his remount of Cyrano at Michigan Opera Theatre, directed Il barbiere de Siviglia at Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina, Carmen at Florida Grand Opera, and Roméo et Juliette at Opera Tampa following its massive co-production across five cities the previous season.
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, as well as world premières such as Thérèse Raquin by Tobias Picker and Nelligan by Andre Gagnon.
As a stage director and producer, his 415 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 continues 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, with a score composed by David DiChiera, 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.