Meet the Artist: Director, James de Blasis

Sep 27, 2012

How many people can say that they’ve directed opera for more than 40 years? How many of those individuals are still directing world-class, professional opera? How many of those still have new ideas that inject excitement into the classics? After narrowing that down, you’ve got a short list of people that includes our La traviata Director, James de Blasis.

Mr. de Blasis does all of those things and more. He is a force of nature in the rehearsal hall creating moods and scenes for the audience that few others could devise. Opera Omaha is thrilled to welcome Mr. de Blasis for a repeat appearance with the company.

Please take a few moments to read Mr. de Blasis’ biography and get to know a little more about this incredible artist

James de Blasis has been an active Producer, Stage Director and Dramatic Operatic Role Coach all over the United States. After a professional debut starring Richard Tucker in La Boheme his career flourished with a New York City Opera debut in Carmen, starring Placido Domingo and Beverly Wolff. After that came came debuts in San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia, Hawaii, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach, Tulsa, San Diego, Portland, Memphis, Harford, The Schubert Opera and Opera Canada.
Jim took over the Cincinnati Opera as both General and Artistic Director leading that company to international acclaim with productions of rarities like Zaza and Risurrezione, a US premiere, repertoire of vast diversity and discovery of young artists who made major international careers. He received the Post Corbett Award in Cincinnati as Artist of the Year, The Ohio Governors award for Artistic Administration, served on both the Opera and National Panels for the National Arts Endowment and received the Opera America Citation for 25 years of Outstanding Leadership of Cincinnati Opera.
Recommended by Beverly Sills and Norman Treigle, Jim became National Consultant to The Corbett Foundation giving financial assistance to28 Opera Companies in America, including the first grants to the then OMAHA OPERA in the early 1970’s. He is also remembered locally having directed Beverly Sills in Lucia di Lammermoorwhich opened the restored Orpheum Theater in 1975.

His operatic repertoire consists of 64 differing operas from L’Incoronazione di Poppea to Boris Godonov. Jim has a special affinity for French repertoire scoring huge successes in Faust, Manon, Romeo et Juliette, Werther, Carmen and Pearl Fishers.
His famous Wild West Elixir has been seen all over the U.S. to great acclaim, and shown on National Television along with his Hansel & Gretel.

Jim says his favorite work is the “one-on-one” coaching of artists with special emphasis on character discovery thru the score and constant work on meaning of the music thru the bel-canto emphasis on text.

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