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. Last season he directed new productions of Glass’ In the Penal Colony and was director and dramaturge for the world premiere of Today it Rains by Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed.
Upcoming engagements include a new production of Strauss’ Elektra for Minneapolis Opera, Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk with Opera Parallèle, Miguel Zenon’s Golden City Suite (an immersive design project) with the SF Jazz Center and the creation of a new work for Fort Worth Opera.
Mr. Staufenbiel recently created a new production of Das Rheingold for Minnesota Opera, which was reprised at Arizona Opera and at L’Opéra de Montréal. 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. He directed and was dramaturge for the world premiere production of Sophia’s Forest by composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch performed in Philadelphia in Fall 2017.
Staufenbiel directed the World Premiere of Angel Heart by Luna Pearl Woolf which was performed at Cal Performances in Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and Festival del Sole in Sonoma. In addition to opera, Staufenbiel also brings his unique brand of experimental staging to theater, and has shared a residency at Banff with composer Luna Pearl Woolf to create an original theater piece – Mélange à Trois- premiered in Montréal.
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.
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.