Jonathan Eaton

Artistic Director

Jonathan Eaton headshot

Jonathan Eaton has served as Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera since 1999 and has led the company in presenting varied and unusual repertoire as well as reimagined classics. Notable productions have included the world’s first Eco-opera A New Kind of Fallout by Gilda Lyons and Tammy Ryan, Weill’s Lost in the Stars conducted by Julius Rudel, a historic revival of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday, and Daron Hagen's Shining Brow performed on the terraces of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, Fallingwater. Among the forty or more productions he has directed for PFO are Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle in Jonathan Dove’s reduced orchestration with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and at Long Beach Opera, and Weill’s Die Bürgschaft/The Bond, which was chosen to open the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, Germany, in 2003. In 2010 he spearheaded the company’s transition into becoming a summer festival, also founding a summer Young Artists Program and International Voice Competition.

Jonathan has directed widely in opera houses throughout North America and Europe. His work was was seen at Lincoln Center every year for fifteen years at New York City Opera with Turandot, Carmen, and a celebrated production of Cavalleria Rusticana and
I Pagliacci, which was televised for nationwide broadcast on “Great Performances Live from Lincoln Center.” He has also directed for the Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego, Kentucky, Indianapolis, and Memphis opera companies, and the Santa Fe and Spoleto festivals. In Canada he has directed for the Canadian Opera and Vancouver Opera; in Britain, he has directed at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, and Opera North; in Germany, he has directed for the Hannover, Würzburg, and Bielefeld operas and the Bochumer Symphoniker. He has also directed at the Netherlands Opera, and in France for the operas of Nantes, Lyons, and Nancy.

Jonathan has directed plays and musicals at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Actors Theater Louisville, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, and the Pittsburgh Playhouse. He has enjoyed an extended teaching career giving masterclasses at many universities and conservatories around America, and served as Professor of Opera at CCM in Cincinnati, and Director of Opera at Carnegie Mellon University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Jonathan has been appointed as Professor of Music and Winspear Chair in Opera Studies at the University of North Texas in Dallas, while he continues in the role of Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera.