resume | pressMichael McConnell
At age twenty-nine, as the youngest general director of an opera company in the United States, Michael McConnell
began a ten-year creative and administrative association with Lyric Opera Cleveland.During his
tenure the Company achieved national prominence for its innovative profile in opera and music theater.He
and the Company came to international attention during the 1993-94 season for the commission and subsequent production of Mrs. Dalloway, an opera by Libby Larsen and Bonnie Grice based upon the Virginia Woolf novel.Long-praised by local audiences and critics for his
strong insights and keen theatricality, Mr. McConnell
reaped additional praise for Mrs. Dalloway in Opera News
and The Village Voice for work of "strong focus" and "theatrical urgency.""The work made its intimate, probing points thanks to Michael McConnell's urgent production," wrote Opera (UK). A North Carolina native, he received his musical training as a pianist at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he was a student of the renowned Olga Conus.He
was an honors graduate in musicology, later studying opera styles and production with Roger Brunyate and Italo Tajo.
In addition to much work in the standard repertory, his
professional directing credits include numerous productions of lesser-known and world premiere pieces such as Berlioz's Beatrice & Benedict
, Agatha Christie's Black Coffee
, Cavalli's Callisto
, Gershwin's Girl Crazy; Monteverdi's The Coronation Of Poppea and The Return Of Ulysses, Larry Baker's Haydn's Head, Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphee, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, Britten's The Turn Of The Screw and Zelman Bokser's The Woman Who Dared.Mr. McConnell's work has been succssfully mounted by Skylight Opera Theatre, Opera Memphis, Dayton Opera, The Mississippi Opera, The City Musick, Rochester Opera Theatre and Pittsburgh Opera Theater.He directed educational programs and tours for Opera Theater of Saint Louis, The Cleveland Orchestra, Opera Memphis and the Cincinnati Opera. He began his career on the production staffs of the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the Cincinnati Opera, assisting such stage directors as Gian Carlo Menotti, Lou Galterio, Frank Corsaro, James de Blasis and Colin Graham.As a music journalist, he has written numerous articles and reviews for Opera News, The Music Journal, Northern Ohio Live And The Charlotte Observer. University and conservatory teaching credits include the University of Cincinnati's College- Conservatory of Music, The Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, and The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was Director of Opera from 1991-1995.Currently he is Associate Professor of Opera at Florida State University.
Recent directing credits include highly-acclaimed productions of Bellini's Norma for Opera Memphis, Luciano Chailly's Procedura Penale and Donizetti's Il Giovedi Grasso for Opera Theatre of Lucca, Tosca for the Mississippi Opera and Sweeney Todd for The Theater of the Human Race in Dayton, Ohio.Last season he
directed Hansel & Gretel
for Dayton Opera and Don Giovanni and Orpheus In The Underworld for Florida State University
.Following a production of Argento's Postcard From Morocco for Florida State University
in June, he
returned to Opera Theatre of Lucca for Rossini's La Cenerentola, he
then went on to Dayton Opera for Lucia Di Lammermoor.
2000, 2001, 2002 highlights include: Falstaff with New Jersey Opera Festival; Madame Butterfly at Opera Grand Rapids; Manon Lescaut at Opera Memphis; Rake's Progress Pirates of Penzanze and Candide at Florida State Opera; La Traviata and Candide with Dayton Opera; Agrippina with Opera Theatre of Lucca; Falstaff with Opera San Jose; Magic Flute with Opera Grand Rapids. Michael McConnell
is listed in The Who's Who In America and Who's Who In American Music
is the recipient of a Cleveland Critic's Award (1981-- The Mikado) and Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement Nominiations for his
production of The Turn Of The Screw (1989), for Lyric Opera's Mozart Cycle (1991) an for Lyric Opera's 20th Anniversary Season (1993).A regular judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he is also a frequent panelist for the Opera/Music Theater Program of The National Endowment for the Arts, and has served on the Board of Directors of OPERA America.His
master classes and lectures have been heard at The Cleveland Orchestra
, Kent State University, University of Akron, Opera San Jose
, Wright State University and University of Memphis
.Michael McConnell is a member of Actor's Equity Association.