West Side Story


It’s a timeless tale of love at first sight.

Two teenagers are drawn together across a crowded dance floor, believing love can conquer all, including differing backgrounds, languages, warring gangs, and miscommunication. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story has captivated audiences since its debut in 1957. Our version is in keeping with the original vision of Broadway legends Bernstein, Sondheim and Robbins.

“Tonight, tonight, I’ll see my love tonight.
And for us, stars will stop where they are.”

A co-production of The Glimmerglass Festival, Houston Grand Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago

Performed in English with English subtitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre



All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
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$42.40 for Sun brunch

Opera’s Night Out

Friday, November 9: Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
$40 for Under 40

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All Performances: Students with ID may purchase discount tickets two hours in advance at the Cobb Energy Centre
$25 – 35 per seat


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Get the Feeling

Photos by Lynn Lane

Approximate runtime: 2 hours 20 minutes


Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Book: Arthur Laurents

Music: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Original production directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins

Premiere Date: September 26, 1957


The opening is a carefully choreographed, half-danced/half-mimed ballet of sorts. It shows the growing tensions between the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang, and the Jets, a gang made up of “American” boys. An incident between the Jets and Shark leader, Bernardo, escalates into an all out fight between the two gangs. Officers Schrank and Krupke arrive to break up the fight.

Act One

Detective Schrank, the senior cop on the beat, tries to get the Jets to tell him which Puerto Ricans are starting trouble in the neighborhood, as he claims he is on their side. The Jets, however, are not stool pigeons and won’t tell him anything. Frustrated, Schrank threatens to beat the crap out of the Jets unless they make nice. When the police leave, the Jets bemoan the Sharks coming onto their turf. They decide that they need to have one big rumble to settle the matter once and for all – even if winning requires fighting with knives and guns. Riff plans to have a war council with Bernardo to decide on weapons. Action wants to be his second, but Riff says that Tony is always his second. The other boys complain that Tony hasn’t been around for a month, but Riff doesn’t care; once you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet for life (“Jet Song”).

Riff goes to see Tony, who is now working at Doc’s drugstore. Riff presses him to come to the school dance for the war council, but Tony resists; he’s lost the thrill of being a Jet. He explains that, every night for a month, he’s had a strange feeling that something important is just around the corner. Nevertheless, Riff convinces Tony to come to the dance. Riff leaves Tony to wonder about this strange feeling that he’s been having (“Something’s Coming”).

In a bridal shop, Anita remakes Maria’s communion dress into a party dress. They are both Puerto Rican. Anita is knowing, sexual and sharp. Maria is excited, enthusiastic and childlike, but also growing into an adult. Maria complains that the dress is too young-looking, but Anita explains that Bernardo, her boyfriend and Maria’s brother, made her promise not to make the dress too short. It turns out that the dress is for the dance, which Maria is attending with Chino, whom she is expected to marry, despite the fact that she does not have any feelings for him.

At the dance in the local gym, the group is divided: Jets and their girls on one side and Sharks and their girls on the othe. Riff and his lieutenants move to challenge Bernardo and his lieutenants, but they are interrupted by Glad Hand, the chaperone who is overseeing the dance, and Officer Krupke. The two initiate some dances to get the kids to dance together, across the gang lines. In the promenade leading up to the dance, though, the girls and boys end up facing each other at random, Jet girls across from Shark boys and vice versa. Bernardo reaches across the Jet girl in front of him to take Anita’s hand, and Riff does the same with his girlfriend, Velma. Everyone dances with their own group as Tony enters (“Mambo”). During the dance, Maria and Tony spot each other. There is an instant connection. Bernardo interrupts them, telling Tony to stay away from his sister and asking Chino to take her home. Riff and Bernardo agree to meet at Doc’s in half an hour for the war council. As everyone else disappears, Tony is overcome with the feeling of having met the most beautiful girl ever (“Maria”).

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Later, Tony finds the fire escape outside of Maria’s apartment and calls up to her. She appears in the window, but is nervous that they will get caught. Her parents call her inside, but she stays. She and Tony profess their love to each other (“Tonight”). He agrees to meet her at the bridal shop the next day. Bernardo calls Maria inside. Anita admonishes him, saying that Maria already has a mother and father to take care of her. Bernardo insists that they, like Maria, don’t understand this country. Bernardo, Anita, Chino and their friends discuss the unfairness of America – they are treated like foreigners, while “Polacks” like Tony are treated like real Americans, paid twice as much for their jobs. Anita tries to lure Bernardo inside and away from the war council, but he refuses. As the boys leave for the council, one of Anita’s friends, Rosalia, claims to be homesick for Puerto Rico. Anita scoffs at this. While Rosalia expounds on the beauties of the country, Anita responds with why she prefers her new home (“America”).

At the drugstore, the Jets wait for the Sharks. discussing what weapons they might have to use. Doc is upset that the boys are planning to fight at all. Anybodys, a tomboy who is trying to join the Jets, asks Riff if she can participate in the rumble, but he says no. Doc doesn’t understand why the boys are making trouble for the Puerto Ricans, and the boys respond that the Sharks make trouble for them. Doc calls them hoodlums and Action and A-rab get very upset. Riff tells them that they have to save their steam for the rumble and keep cool, rather than freaking out (“Cool”).

Bernardo arrives at the drugstore and he and Riff begin laying out the terms of the rumble. Tony arrives and convinces them all to agree to a fair fight – just skin, no weapons. The Sharks’ best man fights the Jets’ best man; Bernardo agrees, thinking that means he will get to fight Tony, but the Jets say they get to pick their fighter. Schrank arrives and breaks up the council. He tells the Puerto Ricans to get out. Bernardo and his gang exit. Schrank tries to get the Jets to reveal the location of the rumble and becomes increasingly frustrated when they refuse. He insults them and leaves. As Tony and Doc close up the shop, Tony reveals that he’s in love with a Puerto Rican. Doc is worried.

The next day at the bridal shop, Maria tells Anita that she can leave, that Maria will clean up. Anita is about to go when Tony arrives. She suddenly understands and promises not to tell on them. When she leaves, Tony tells Maria that the rumble will be a fair fight, but even that’s no acceptable for her, so she asks him to go to the rumble and stop it. He agrees. He’ll do anything for her. They fantasize about being together and getting married (“One Hand, One Heart”). Later, the members of the ensemble wait expectantly for the fight, all for different reasons (“Tonight Quintet”).

At the rumble, Diesel and Bernardo prepare to fight, with Chino and Riff as their seconds. Tony enters and tries to break up the fight, but provokes Bernardo against him instead. Bernardo calls Tony a chicken for not fighting him. Riff punches Bernardo and the fight escalates quickly until Riff and Bernardo pull out knives. Bernardo kills Riff and, in response, Tony kills Bernardo, instantly horrified by what he’s done. The police arrive as everyone scatters; Anybodys pulls Tony away just in time.

Act Two

In Maria’s apartment, she gushes to her friends about how it is her wedding night and she is so excited (“I Feel Pretty”). Chino interrupts her reverie to tell her that Tony has killed Bernardo. She refuses to believe him, but when Tony arrives on her fire escape, he confesses. He offers to turn himself in, but she begs him to stay with her. She says that, although they are together, everyone is against them. Tony says they’ll find a place where they can be together (“Somewhere”).

In a back alley, the Jets regroup in shock. No one has seen Tony. Officer Krupke comes by, threatening to take them to the station house. The boys chase him away for the moment and then release some tension by play-acting the scenario of what would happen if Krupke actually did take them to the station house (“Gee, Officer Krupke”). Anybodys shows up with information about Tony and the fact that Chino is looking for him. She uses this information to get the boys to treat her like one of the gang. The Jets agree that they need to find Tony and warn him about Chino.

Meanwhile, Anita comes into Maria’s room and finds her with Tony. Tony and Maria are planning to run away. Tony knows that Doc will give him money, so he goes to the drugstore and tells Maria to meet him there. She agrees. When he leaves, Anita explodes at her for loving the boy who killed her brother. Maria acknowledges that it’s not smart, but she can’t help it (“A Boy Like That / I Have a Love”). Anita tells Maria that Chino has a gun and is looking for Tony. Schrank arrives and detains Maria for questioning. Maria covertly asks Anita to go to Doc’s and tell Tony that she has been delayed. Reluctantly, Anita agrees.

The Jets arrive at Doc’s, learning that Tony and Doc are in the basement. Anita arrives and asks to speak to Doc. The Jets, recognizing her as Bernardo’s girl and thinking that she is there to betray Tony to Chino, won’t let her go down to the basement to talk to Doc. Instead, they harass and attack her. Doc arrives to find them ganging up on her; he breaks it up, but Anita, disgusted and hurt, lies to Doc and tells him to relay a message to Tony: Chino has shot Maria, and he will never see her again.

When Doc returns to Tony in the basement, he delivers Anita’s message. Tony is distraught and heartbroken. He runs out into the streets and calls Chino to come for him. Anybodys tries to stop him, but Tony doesn’t care. He yells to Chino that he should come out and shoot him, too. Maria appears in the street – much to Tony’s surprise – and they run towards each other. In that moment, Chino steps out of the shadows and shoots Tony, who falls into Maria’s arms, gravely wounded.

The Jets, Sharks and Doc appear on the street. Maria picks up the gun and points it all of them, asking Chino if there are enough bullets to kill all of them and herself, as well. The depths of her sadness and anger move everyone as she breaks down over Tony’s body. Officers Krupke and Schrank arrive. They stand with Doc, watching as two boys from each gang pick up Tony’s body and form a processional. The rest follow the processional, with Baby John picking up Maria’s shawl, giving it to her and helping her up. As Maria follows the others, the adults continue to bear silent witness (“Finale”).

Synopsis courtesy of Music Theatre International

Characters & Cast


Sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks, who falls for Tony

Vanessa Becerra

Soprano Vanessa Becerra is a recent graduate of the Domingo-Colburn Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera, and has been hailed for her “vibrant presence” and “lilting radiance” (Opera Today).

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Sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks, who falls for Tony

Amanda Castro

Actor and dancer Amanda Castro is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts. She has danced with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Limon Dance Company, and recently finished In the Heights at Geva Theater (Rochester, NY).


Former member of the Jets who falls for Maria

Andrew Bidlack

Featured in Opera News as one of the ‘top 25 brilliant young artists,’ tenor Andrew Bidlack makes his Atlanta Opera debut as Tony.



Leader of the Jets

Brian Vu

Described as “debonair” by The Washington Post, baritone Brian Vu is an up-and-coming young artist from Los Angeles.



Leader of the Sharks

DJ Petrosino

DJ Petrosino makes his Atlanta Opera debut as Bernardo. He recently performed the role with Houston Grand Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

A First Timer’s Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.


Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?


Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.


Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.


Leonard Bernstein

Few composers capture their time and become the iconic voice of their age. Leonard Bernstein found his “voice” in the early 1940s and projected the sound of urban and urbane America from the period of World War II to the anti-war movements of the 1970s and the restoration of freedom in Europe, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet communism.

Writing for small ensembles, symphony orchestras, Broadway, film and opera houses, Leonard Bernstein projected a simple message of understanding and hope employing both complex and simple forms and styles – yet always sounding like “Bernstein,” a voice best known in his score to West Side Story.

Exploring his output, one finds the famous and obscure — works that both are reflective of their times and somehow also preserve and encapsulate them. Everywhere one hears his internal struggle to sound inevitable as the tumultuous era of the second half of the 20th century unfolded itself. He is as once linked with the music of Benjamin Britten and Dimitri Shostakovich, as well as George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

While his music finds its spiritual home in his world view, his music speaks with a New York accent, even though he was born in Massachusetts. His love affair with Europe and his sensitivity to his Russian and Jewish roots are never far from his lyrical expressivity, with its fragile sense of optimism, its loneliness, its humor and its demand for acceptance. All of this is wrapped in the rhythmic propulsion of a great American urban landscape. He has left us an aural image of his time and place and, at the same time, an eternal voice of humanity.

By John Mauceri



Stephen Sondheim

American composer Stephen Sondheim was born on March 22, 1930, in New York City. After early practice at songwriting, his knowledge of musical theater was influenced by master lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, who served as a mentor. Sondheim’s contributions to West Side Story and Gypsy in the 1950s brought him recognition as a rising star of Broadway. Known for the startling complexity of his lyricism and music, his major works for the theater also include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumSweeney ToddSunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods.

His parents, Herbert and Janet (née Fox) Sondheim, worked in New York’s garment industry; his father was a dress manufacturer and his mother was a designer. They divorced in 1942 and Sondheim moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania with his mother. He began studying piano and organ at a young age, and he was already practicing songwriting as a student at the George School.

In Pennsylvania, Sondheim became friends with the son of Broadway lyricist and producer Oscar Hammerstein II, who gave the young Sondheim advice and tutelage in musical theater, and served as a surrogate father during a time of tumult. In his teens, Sondheim had penned a satire about his school, the musical By George!, which he thought his mentor would love and thus asked for feedback. Hammerstein in fact thought the project needed tons of work and offered honest criticism, which Sondheim would later see as invaluable. Sondheim also worked as an assistant on 1947’s Allegro, one of Hammerstein’s theater collaborations with composer Richard Rodgers, with the experience having long-lasting implications on the young composer’s approach to his work.

Sondheim attended Williams College, where he majored in music. After graduating from the school in 1950, he studied further with avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt and moved to New York City.

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In the early 1950s, Stephen Sondheim moved to Los Angeles, California, and wrote scripts for the television series Topper and The Last Word. Returning to New York, he composed background music for the play The Girls of Summer in 1956. An acquaintance with director Arthur Laurents brought Sondheim into contact with composer Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins, who were looking for a lyricist for a contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Writing the song lyrics for West Side Story, which opened in 1957, Sondheim thus became part of one of Broadway’s most successful productions of all time.

Sondheim’s next theater project was similarly high profile: He teamed up with composer Jule Styne to write the lyrics for Gypsy, which opened in 1959 with Ethel Merman as its star. After musical contributions to 1960’s Invitation to a March, Sondheim then wrote both lyrics and music for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a Zero Mostel farce based on comedies by ancient playwright Plautus. It opened in 1962, ran for nearly 1,000 performances and won a Tony Award for best musical.

Sondheim won several more Tony Awards in the 1970s for his collaborations with producer/director Harold Prince, including the musicals Company (1970), a meditation on contemporary marriage and commitment; Follies (1971), an homage to the Ziegfeld Follies and early Broadway; A Little Night Music (1973), a period comedy-drama that included the hit song “Send in the Clowns”; and Sweeney Todd (1979), a gory melodrama set in Victorian London destined to become a 2007 Tim Burton film.

Sondheim became known for his witty, conversational lyrics, his seamless merging of words with music and the variety of his source materials. Pacific Overtures (1976) was partially inspired by haiku poetry and Japanese Kabuki theater, and 1981’s Merrily We Roll Along was adapted from a 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

In the 1980s, Sondheim collaborated several times with playwright/director James Lapine. Their Sunday in the Park with George, which opened in 1984, was inspired by the iconic painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat, and 1987’s Into the Woods was a collage of plots from classic fairy tales. (The latter was eventually made into a 2014 film starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Anna Kendrick, among an ensemble cast.)

Sondheim continued to combine various musical genres with sharp lyrical writing and unexpected subject matter in the 1990s, though some of his work of that decade received less critical and popular acclaim. Assassins (1990) told the tales of nine presidential assassins in American history; and Passion, a 1994 collaboration with Lapine, was a melodramatic romance based on the Italian film Passione d’Amore.

Sondheim also wrote five songs for the 1990 film Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna, and won an Academy Award for “Sooner or Later.”

Sondheim’s work has also been the subject of several revues, including Side by Side by Sondheim in 1976, Putting It Together in 1992 and Sondheim on Sondheim in 2010. Broadway has continued to host Sondheim classics as well, including the 2009 revivals of West Side Story and A Little Night Music, with the latter starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. In 2011, Follies was revived, starring Bernadette Peters.

Sondheim was honored as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2015. In 2017, Sondheim became the first composer-lyricist to win the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. The annual prize is given to a “critically acclaimed writer whose body of work helps us understand and interpret the human condition,” and has previously been awarded to novelists Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison.

Courtesy biography.com



David Neely

In 2012 Opera News wrote, “The happy news of David Neely’s appointment as Des Moines Metro Opera’s first-ever music director portends some exciting operatic growth at Des Moines in years to come.” Since then, Neely has elevated the company’s musical profile with acclaimed performances of a wide range of repertoire such as Turandot, Billy Budd, Manon, Falstaff, Elektra, Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, and La Fanciulla del West. Neely’s recent performances of Turandot and Britten’s epic masterwork Billy Budd garnered high praise in major publications Opera News in the Chicago Tribune, and Neely’s televised Manon, produced by Iowa Public Television for DMMO, was awarded an Emmy by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Neely is equally at home in concert and opera settings. Internationally, he has appeared as a conductor with the Bochumer Symphoniker, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, and numerous European opera houses including Bonn, Halle, Dortmund, and St. Gallen. In the United States, he has appeared for concerts and opera at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and Sarasota Opera, where he has led numerous productions including their American Classics series of 20th-century operas. He has collaborated with such soloists as Joshua Roman, Bella Hristova, Benjamin Beilman, Rainer Honeck, Nicholas Daniel, Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillippe Cuper, Ben Lulich, and Ricardo Morales. Neely has conducted the German premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie, the North American premiere of Robert Orledge’s reconstruction of Debussy’s The Fall of the House of Usher, and recently, world premieres of Arthur Gottschalk’s Four New Brothers, Billy Childs’ Concerto for Horn and Strings, and Alexandre Rydin’s Clarinet Concerto.

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Currently Visiting Associate Professor in Orchestral Conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Neely headed Orchestral Activities at the University of Kansas for nine years, where he brought distinction and greater community visibility to the orchestra program. Achievements at Kansas include an orchestral partnership with the Eutiner Festspiele in Germany in 2011, annual family-oriented Halloween concerts, summer Sinfonietta concerts in Lawrence, and a regular partnership between the KU Symphony Orchestra members and Lawrence Arts Center for staged performances of Peter and the Wolf. The KU Symphony Orchestra also partnered with Reach Out Kansas Inc. on free statewide performances for underserved communities. The Kansas Federation of Music Clubs named him Kansas Artist-Educator of the Year for 2016-17.

He holds a B.M. in Piano Performance and an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University, where his teachers were Zadel Skolovsky and Leonard Hokanson (piano), and Thomas Baldner and Bryan Balkwill (conducting). He received post-graduate study in orchestral conducting with Gerhard Samuel at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. 



Francesca Zambello

An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Francesca Zambello’s American debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio in 1984. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda in 1987 and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe and the USA. Collaborating with outstanding artists and designers and promoting emerging talent, she takes a special interest in new music theater works, innovative productions, and in producing theater and opera for wider audiences.

Ms. Zambello has been the General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival since 2010, and the Artistic Director of The Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. She also served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2011, and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater from 1987-1992. In her current roles at the Kennedy Center and the Glimmerglass Festival she is responsible for producing 12 productions annually. She has begun major commissioning programs for new works in both companies that have resulted in productions of many large and small-scaled new works. During her tenure both companies have increased their national and international profiles.

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Francesca Zambello has recently been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture and the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture. Other honors for her work include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theaters and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical and Best Opera. She has also received the award for Best Company Achievement. The French Grand Prix des Critiques was awarded to her twice for her work at the Paris Opera. Other awards include Best Production in Japan, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia and the Helpmann Award in Australia.

Francesca Zambello most recently developed and directed the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier for the San Francisco Opera, where she served as Artistic Advisor from 2006-2011. Other recent opera projects have included the first international production of Carmen to ever be presented at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the world premiere of An American TragedyCyrano and Les Troyens for the Metropolitan Opera, Carmen and Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Boris GodunovWar and PeaceBilly Budd and William Tell at the Paris Opera, and The Ring for the San Francisco Opera.

Recent theater projects have included Aida at San Francisco Opera; Washington National Opera’s Ring Cycle; Show Boat in London at the Royal Albert Hall; a new musical, Rebecca, for Vienna’s Raimund Theater, Stuttgart’s Palladium Theater (presented by Stage Entertainment), and in St. Gallen, Switzerland; Tibet Through the Red Box, a new play by David Henry Hwang for the Seattle Children’s Theatre; The Little Prince with Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman; Napoleon in the West End; The Little Mermaid for Disney on Broadway; the musical of The Little House on the Prairie and The Master Butchers at the Guthrie Theater, and Aladdin in Disneyland. Other recent works have included a film of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors for BBC Television, as well as a new film for the BBC, Sony and PBS of The Little Prince, and, West Side Story for the floating stage in Bregenz.

Ms. Zambello has also served as a guest professor at Yale University and The Juilliard School.

An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She began her career as an Assistant Director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From 1984-1991 she was the Artistic Director of the Skylight Music Theater. She has been guest professor at Harvard and Berkeley Universities.

Francesca Zambello lives in New York and London.


Associate Director

Eric Sean Fogel

In the 2018-19 season, Eric’s work will be seen in Porgy and Bess, Seattle Opera; Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare Theatre Company;  Marriage of Figaro, San Diego Opera; The Lion, Unicorn and Me, Kennedy Center; and Florencia en el Amazonas and The Pearl Fishers at Houston Grand Opera.

He has collaborated with Francesca Zambello and The Glimmerglass Festival for the past eight seasons and in 2019 will choreograph Showboat and Ghosts of Versailles. Eric has also created new productions for Atlantic Theatre II, Opera Bordeaux, Chicago Lyric Opera,  Chicago Opera Theatre, Hawaii Opera Theatre,  Lyric Opera Kansas City,  Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Théâtre du Capitole, and Washington National Opera. Eric is on staff at the Glimmerglass Festival as the Head of Stage Movement and Choreography.



Julio Monge

Julio Monge is an actor, choreographer, and director. His performance credits on Broadway include On Your Feet, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Lincoln Center’s Twelfth Night, Man of La Mancha, Fosse, Victor/Victoria, and Paul Simon’s The Capeman. Choreography works include West Side Story: The Somewhere Project, celebrating Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary; and Tony Kushner’s translation of Mother Courage and Her Children, starring Meryl Streep, and the musical Radiant Baby, both directed by George C. Wolfe. Other choreography credits include The Threepenny Opera at Williamstown Theater Festival, starring Betty Buckley; José Rivera’s premiere of References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, starring Rosie Pérez; and the revival of Pablo Cabrera’s La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Directing credits include Putting Out by Laura E. Bray at New York Venus Theater Festival and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (also producer and translator) at the Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival in Puerto Rico (Best Production Award 2010). During 2018-19, he will be resetting Jerome Robbins’ original West Side Story choreography for Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.