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Bernard Uzan

Director

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

 

Sep
2015

Sep-20
Lifetime Achievement Award
Giulio Gari Foundation
New York, NY
Oct
2015

Oct-10
Nabucco
Pittsburgh Opera
Pittsburgh, PA
Jan
2016

Jan-24
Roméo et Juliette
Opera Carolina
Charlotte, NC
Feb
2016

Feb-05
Roméo et Juliette
Virginia Opera
Norfolk, VA
Apr
2016

Apr-08
Roméo et Juliette
Toledo Opera
Toledo, OH
Apr-16
Macbeth
Michigan Opera Theatre
Detroit, MI
Apr-29
Roméo et Juliette
Opera Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI
May
2016

May-01
Roméo et Juliette
Lyric Opera Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
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…the production is both gripping and moving…
 Nabucco “the production is both gripping and moving, telling the tale of false idols and faith thriving in the face of adversity. Directed by Bernard Uzan, the performance blends the classic appearance and sound of Opera with new media technology and projections. Serving as the show’s Co-Scenic Projection Designer alongside Michael Baumgarten, Uzan transforms the scenes with the digital images. Their projection design work allows for the temple to burn to the ground in a burst of flames that floods the stage, and idols can easily shatter apart while still looking realistic. .” DC Metro Theater Arts
…a must-see production…
Faust  “Don’t miss Director Bernard Uzan’s creative, contemporary spin on this classic storyThe result is something incredibly relatable and very chilling. Uzan’s production has had two previous and very successful performances at Arizona Opera and Lyric Opera Baltimore before making its way to the stage in Dell Hall. Bernard Uzan’s production intensifies each character’s development, making this a must-see production.” The Long Center
…conceived by veteran director Bernard Uzan…
Faust  “Lyric Opera Baltimore hit its highest musical peak in the final production of its inaugural season, an updating of Faust conceived by veteran director Bernard Uzan (co-designed with Eric Stroud) and originally staged in the fall by Arizona Opera. Uzan placed the opera in the present day, with Faust, perched in an office, starting on the road to ruin as youthful carousers filled a Las Vegasy-nightclub below…some scenes had terrific impact, notably the sight of the fallen Marguerite spurned by her old friends beneath the glare of unforgiving street lamps. ” Opera News
…kudos to director Bernard Uzan…
 Pagliacci  “Kudos to director Bernard Uzan who has tinkered with the oft-performed opera to give it some new energy. There is a 10-minute pantomime at the start of the second act, a device Uzan first tried at The Seattle Opera in 2008, that is meant to be a flashback scene telling the backstory of how Canio discovered Nedda as a starving orphan. It shows the sort of Pygmalion relationship between the two. Uzan borrowed the music for the scene from Leoncavallo’s “Zaza” to keep it true to the author/composer’s own hand.” The Huffington Post
…testament to the difficulty of putting this work onstage…
Attila “That the production’s director, Bernard Uzan, felt it necessary to interpolate the scene — which helpfully clarifies the reasons for that young woman’s vengeful rage throughout the rest of the opera — is a testament to the difficulty of putting this work onstage. ” The New York Times
…perceptive treatment of the drama…
Macbeth “Startlingly, blood begins to ooze from the walls during the sleepwalking scene of Bernard Uzan’s production of Macbeth in Seattle…This one sensational moment is effective because of Uzan’s perceptive treatment of the drama elsewhere.”Financial Times
…brough efficiency and humanity…
 Così fan tutte “Stage director Bernard Uzan brought efficiency and humanity — and telling subtle touches — to the plot in which two men foolishly bet to test the constancy of their fiancees.”– The Los Angeles Times
…strong sense of momentum and comic timing…
Le nozze di Figaro “The greatest strength in Saturday’s performances was theatrical. Directed by Bernard Uzan with a strong sense of momentum and comic timing (not to mention a keen eye for the occasional bit of bawdy stage business), the cast offered uniformly crisp, assured acting.”The Baltimore Sun
…deserves great credit…
La bohème “Bernard Uzan’s stage direction deserves great credit, as do the atmospheric set designs of Allen Charles Klein and the subtle lighting of John Steven Hoey. All worked together for a focused, concentrated impact.”Opera News
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, 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.

 

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