Jonathan Eaton

General and Artistic Director

Jonathan Eaton headshot

Jonathan Eaton has served as Artistic and General 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 Weill’s Lost in the Stars conducted by Julius Rudel, a historic revival of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday, and Shining Brow performed on the terraces at 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 Professional Artists Program and International Voice Competition.

Jonathan has also directed widely in opera houses throughout North America and Europe. His work was seen at the 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 were 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.

In addition to his work for Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Jonathan served as Artistic and Stage Director of !SING - DAY OF SONG for Ruhr 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe. He led a series of projects over three years related to singing, which culminated in June 2010 with more than a million people singing in 53 cities simultaneously, and a fully-staged staged mega-concert with 58,000 singers in the Schalke football stadium in Gelsenkirchen. This project was televised by WDR and broadcast across Europe.

Jonathan has also 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.