Bernard Uzan’s extensive background in the Performing Arts includes great achievement as a General Director, Artistic Director, Stage Director, Artist Manager, Set Designer, Librettist, Actor, and most recently, published Novelist and Internet Journalist. As a stage director and producer, his 390 productions have 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 Diego, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Zurich, Toronto, Vancouver, Erfurt, among many others.
In 1982, he directed his first operas with Lake George Opera (Faust), Opera Company of Philadelphia (La rondine), and Michigan Opera Theatre (La traviata and Faust). In 1984, he directed Carmen for the Tulsa Opera with Fiorenza Cossotto and Veriano Luchetti, 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 and returned the following year for La Cenerentola before joining the company’s administration.
He served as General and Artistic Director of Opéra de Montréal from 1988 to 2002. During his tenure, he brought the company great financial success and international artistic renown. In addition to the more traditional works of Puccini, Mozart, and Verdi, he extended the repertoire to include more obscure pieces by composers such as Menotti and Britten, and even brought in new works such as Therese Raquin by Tobias Picker and Nelligan by Andre Gagnon. While in this post, he created 45 new productions including: Káťa Kabanová, Fedora, Jenůfa, Carmina Burana, Don Carlo, Andrea Chenier, Manon Lescaut, Faust, Massenet’s Manon, Peter Grimes, Suor Angelica, Pagliacci and Mefistofele. These productions have travelled to such companies as Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Florida Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Baltimore Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Pacific, and Opera Company of Philadelphia.
His new production of Le nozze di Figaro has been seen at Opéra de Montréal, Opera Carolina, Michigan Opera Theatre, Baltimore Opera, and Florida Grand Opera. He also co-designed productions of Manon, Faust, Don Carlo, Andrea Chenier, Manon Lescaut, Faust, Don Carlo, Boito’s Mefistofele, Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, Pagliacci, Fedora, Aïda,and Suor Angelica that continue to be seen throughout North America. Additional new productions by Uzan include Macbeth for Seattle Opera and Dallas Opera, La fanciulla del West for Seattle Opera, Cherubin for Opéra de Monte-Carlo, The Threepenny Opera for Arizona Opera, Samson et Dalila for Michigan Opera Theater, L’elisir d’amore for the Florida Grand Opera, and Aïda for Pittsburgh Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
In the last few seasons alone, he has directed a critically acclaimed new production of a modern day take on Faust for Arizona Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Austin Lyric Opera, and Toledo Opera; a new production of Der fliegende Holländer at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Arizona Opera; a new production of Les pêcheurs de perles for Opera Carolina; his new production of Madama Butterfly with Atlanta Opera and Florida Grand Opera; a new production of Nabucco for Lyric Opera Baltimore; and his Carmen with Opera Lyra Ottawa, Opera Carolina, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well as a new production of Carmen with Theatre Erfurt in Germany which won Theatre Erfurt’s Audience Favorite award for “Best Production of the Year.”
In addition he returned to Seattle Opera for Attila, Carmen, Suor Angelica, and La voix humaine, which he also directed for Opera Cleveland; Turandot, Tosca and Il barbiere di Siviglia at Arizona Opera; Il trovatore and Roméo et Juliette at the New Orleans Opera; Macbeth, Otello and Rigoletto with Palm Beach Opera; Rigoletto with Opera Colorado, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Palm Beach Opera; Faust at Opera Carolina and Madison Opera; Otello for Cincinnati Opera; Così fan tutte at Opera Carolina; La bohème and Le nozze di Figaro for Lyric Opera Baltimore; and returned to Michigan Opera Theatre for additional productions of Tosca and Pagliacci. This production was named “Best Performing Arts Production of the Year” by Detroit newspapers.
This season, Mr. Uzan returns to Opera Carolina for Nabucco; Michigan Opera Theatre for Madama Butterfly and Faust; Florida Grand Opera for Così fan tutte; Theater Erfurt in Germany for Rigoletto; and directs a new joint production of Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera Carolina and Toledo Opera.
Mr. Uzan added the title of librettist to his ever growing and impressive history with opera and the arts. Based upon the original play by Edmond Rostand, which premièred in 1897 in Paris, Mr. Uzan wrote all the prose and storyline in French, maintaining the heart and soul of the original text of Cyrano de Bergerac, while Dr. David DiChiera to composed the music of the piece. Their opera, Cyrano, premièred in the fall of 2007 at Michigan Opera Theatre to great acclaim, and enjoyed subsequent performances at Opera Company of Philadelphia in 2009, and Florida Grand Opera in 2011. Michigan Opera Theatre will mount the production again in the 2015/2016 season.
A native of France, Mr. Uzan is a graduate of the University of Paris, with Ph.D.’s in Literature, Theatrical Studies, and Philosophy. He began his career in the theater as an actor and director, earning recognition and receiving awards as the Best Young Actor, Best Young Director, and Best Director by the Concours des Jeunes Compagnies. While in France, he lent his voice to the French dubs of several movies including The Graduate, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon.
He immigrated to the U.S.A. in 1972, when he established “French Theater in America,” a company that toured for ten years giving 100 performances per year of classic French plays. He also pursued an academic career as Professor of Literature, Acting, and Directing at Wellesley College, Middlebury College, Sarah Lawrence University, and Mount Holyoke College. On television, he starred in a special series dramatizing the lives and careers of famous musicians and as a special guest on the popular soap opera, Search for Tomorrow. He also directed the Interactive Language Learning CD-ROM Who is Oscar Lake? for English as a Second Language students, also produced in French, Italian, and German.
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.