Acclaimed by The San Francisco Chronicle as an "imaginative" director of "particular ingenuity," director Jennifer Williams recently directed new productions for Beth Morrison Projects, Michigan Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, and Center for Contemporary Opera. An innovator in multimedia, immersive and site-specific approaches to opera, she has created performance installations for New Camerata Opera, New York's immersive opera company, and in public spaces throughout Washington, DC. In addition to serving as a Drama Coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio, she recently directed acclaimed new productions of Mohammed Fairouz's Sumeida's Song and Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek's 27 for Pittsburgh Opera; BMP: Next Generation, a double-bill of world premieres for Beth Morrison Projects at National Sawdust; the world premiere of Backwards from Winter for soprano, electric cello and electronics (Center for Contemporary Opera, New York); a new production of Amahl and the Night Visitors for Michigan Opera Theatre; "consistently imaginative" and "extraordinarily beautiful" new productions with video projections of Ainadamar, Dark Sisters, Les contes d'Hoffmann, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and La bohème for Miami Music Festival; and Ariadne auf Naxos at Austin Opera. Upcoming new productions include directing the world premiere of Carmen | Hong Kong, a new immersive multimedia adaptation of Bizet’s opera set amidst the Triad gangs of Hong Kong for More Than Musical (Hong Kong) at West Kowloon Culture District’s new Box Freespace; a new production of The Crucible for Berlin Opera Academy in the Theater im Delphi, Berlin’s landmark silent film theater recently revived as an interdisciplinary performance space; a new production of Libby Larsen's Barnum's Bird as an immersive circus installation for New Camerata Opera in New York; and directing the revival tour of the new Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, p r i s m.
Ms. Williams was the Apprentice Stage Director for the San Francisco Opera Merola Opera Program, directing a critically acclaimed Merola Grand Finale at the War Memorial Opera House conducted by maestro Nicholas McGegan. Other recent directing engagements include immersive, site-specific installations of The Turn of the Screw (featuring an aerialist-soprano performing the role of Miss Jessel from a trapeze and interactive video projections), Don Giovanni (The Mayflower Hotel, set in present-day Washington), Così fan tutte (a Warhol-inspired production in DC's waterfront art gallery, The Torpedo Factory), La bohème (DC's historic 19th-century market, Eastern Market Hall), and Schubert's Goethe-Lieder (staged in the round in the Austrian Embassy); new productions of Three Decembers, Le nozze di Figaro, La clemenza di Tito, Rigoletto, La Cenerentola, a fully staged Saint Matthew Passion, L'île de Tulipatan, Slow Dusk, and The Offshore Pirate (world premiere); a gala concert featuring Carl Tanner, Marianne Cornetti and Angela Meade led by maestro Antony Walker; and bel canto scenes at The Glimmerglass Festival's Alice Busch Opera Theater led by maestro Joseph Colaneri.
A sought-after acting teacher and dramatic coach, she has served as a Drama Coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Other recent work includes serving on the faculties of CCM Spoleto in Italy, Berlin Opera Academy (upcoming), Miami Music Festival Opera Institute, and Seagle Music Colony and working with the young artist programs of the San Francisco Opera Center, Wolf Trap Opera Company, The Glimmerglass Festival, Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera North, Tri-Cities Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater.
Ms. Williams trained in the Viewpoints with Anne Bogart at the SITI Company in her inaugural series of masterclasses in Viewpoints for Directors. As an associate and assistant director, she has worked with directors such as David Alden, Barrie Kosky, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, James Robinson, Sir Thomas Allen, Francesca Zambello, Paul Curran, and Seán Curran. She apprenticed as a Regiehospitantin at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, and Oper Frankfurt and was a staff director at Houston Grand Opera and associate director at Washington National Opera.
Her research in opera and theater history has been published by Musical Quarterly (Oxford University Press - forthcoming), Text and Performance Quarterly (Routledge), Women in German Yearbook (Nebraska University Press), Nineteenth-Century Music Review (Cambridge University Press), and Journal of Religion and Theatre (ATHE).
A Fulbright Scholar, Ms. Williams holds an Artist Diploma in Opera Stage Directing from CCM, a Ph.D. in Theatre Theory and Criticism from Cornell University and an A.B. with honors in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago.
Jennifer Williams lives in Brooklyn and is represented by Quarterline Artist Management.