Brian Staufenbiel

Brian Staufenbiel, Stage Director, Designer

Brian Staufenbiel is the creative director and stage director for Opera Parallèle where he has directed and spearheaded the conceptual designs of the company’s productions since it was founded in 2010. Specializing in multimedia, immersive, and interdisciplinary productions, he actively works across a wide range of artistic disciplines collaborating with film and media designers, choreographers and dancers, circus and fabric artists, and designer fabricators. His progressive approach to stagecraft has garnered critical acclaim for many of the company’s productions, including Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness, Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, Glass’ Orphée and Les Enfant Terribles, Golijov’s Ainadamar, Gorb’s Anya 17, Berg’s Wozzeck, Davies’ The Lighthouse, Blanchard’s Champion, and Dove’s Flight. Upcoming projects with Opera Parallèle include Glass’ La Belle et La Bête, which will complete the company’s’ presentation of the Cocteau trilogy, and Lembit Beecher’s Sophia’s Forest.

In the unique times in which we find ourselves, Staufenbiel recently directed productions for the online festival season of the Sun Valley Music Festival. Other upcoming projects include the rescheduled premiere of Miguel Zenon’s Golden City Suite with SF JAZZ, the creation of a new work for Fort Worth Opera, Dove’s Flight with Seattle Opera, and a documentary about the life of Frederica Von Stade with Paper Wings Films.

Staufenbiel recently created a new production of Elektra for Minnesota Opera. His 2016 production of Das Rheingold for Minnesota Opera was reprised at Arizona Opera and at L’Opéra de Montréal and was named a Star Tribune Classical Pick of the Decade. He also recently created a new production of Gordon Getty’s Usher House and Canterville Ghost for the Center of Contemporary Opera in NY and LA Opera.

Staufenbiel enjoys working as a dramaturge for dance companies and he has curated and created several art installations to accompany and enhance his productions with audience immersive experiences. An upcoming project in this arena is Ikkai, a dance installation about Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II which he is co-directing with Yayoi Kambara.

Staufenbiel’s interdisciplinary approach to opera extends to his academic activity. He recently left his position after seventeen years as the director of the opera program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he has mounted a wide spectrum of award-winning productions ranging from traditional operas to original works by contemporary composers. Staufenbiel holds degrees in Philosophy and Music including a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music and currently resides in San Francisco.

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