Artistic Director & Opera Director

Ella Marchment Opera Director

About

Ella Marchment is widely acclaimed as one of opera’s most original auteur artistic directors and directors. Her productions have been staged across the United Kingdom, Europe, Scandinavia, America, and Russia, as well as broadcast internationally by Opera VisionBBC Radio 3, and Channel 4.

Ella is currently the Artistic Director of Opera in the Rock (Arkansas), and has previously served as the Artistic Director of Opera Festival of Chicago, Helios Collective, Constella OperaBallet, Theatre N16, and the internationally celebrated Opera Harmony movement.

Since 2017 Ella has directed the International Opera Awards, hosting opera’s version of the Oscars at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, ENO’s London Coliseum, and Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.

As well as directing productions worldwide, Ella is also Director of Opera and Associate Professor at Shenandoah Conservatory (Shenandoah University), and a co-founder of the opera charity SWAP’ra.

Artistic Director

Ella is currently the Artistic Director of Opera in the Rock (Arkansas), and has previously served as the Artistic Director of Opera Festival of Chicago, Helios Collective, Constella OperaBallet, Theatre N16, and the internationally celebrated Opera Harmony movement.

Ella’s innovatory projects and productions have included new opera commissions; masterclasses led by internationally renowned directors, composers, conductors, and singers; opera club nights and festivals; a new operatic format that combines opera arias with theatrical scripts; an operatic short film for Channel 4; interactive animated opera productions; research-driven rescoring and restaging of canonical works; operas programmed alongside plays; international competitions for new compositions; and operas combined with ballet and modern dance.

As a highly experienced and inventive artistic director, Ella’s exceptional vision and creative prowess have made a significant impact on the industry.

With a deep passion for the arts and a commitment to excellence, Ella has curated a diverse repertoire of productions that have captivated audiences around the globe. Whether classic opera, contemporary performances, or groundbreaking experimental pieces, Ella consistently brings fresh, innovative, and engrossing works to the stage.

Ella’s extensive experience and expertize extend beyond stage directing. She is also a skilled designer, movement director, and producer, adding depth and dynamism to her artistic endeavours. Her ability to seamlessly blend visual aesthetics with powerful storytelling allows her to create unforgettable and immersive theatrical experiences.

As an artistic director, Ella thrives on collaboration and seeks to bring the best out of the artists she works with. She has an astute and discerning eye for talent and is dedicated to nurturing emerging artists while also expanding the skills of world-renowned performers. Her guiding hand and meticulous attention to detail ensure that every production under her direction is a resounding success.

Ella’s contributions to the performing arts have earned high praise from reviewers and peers around the world, and she continues to push boundaries, challenge norms, and redefine what is possible in the world of opera.

As a successful artistic director who has made a profound impact on the performing arts, Ella’s unmatched creativity, collaborative spirit, and dedication to artistic excellence combine to inspire and shape the future of opera.

Barnum’s Bird directed by Ella Marchment for The Royal College of Music July 2023 Photo copyright Chris Christodoulou

Opera Director

Ella Marchment is an internationally renowned opera director, lauded for the innovation and originality she brings to the staging of operatic works. With a deep passion for opera and a profound understanding of its intricacies, she has earned a reputation for creating captivating and thought-provoking productions. Ella believes that opera should be thrilling to make, enthralling to watch, and accessible to everyone. Her works have been staged by companies and theatres across the United Kingdom, Europe, Scandinavia, America, and Russia, as well as broadcast internationally by Opera VisionBBC Radio 3, and Channel 4.

Ella’s vocation as an opera director is founded on both academic study and years of pioneering work in music and theatre, and what sets her apart is her ability to breathe new life into classic works while staying true to their essence. She brings fresh perspectives to well-known operas, challenging traditional interpretations and injecting works with her own creative flair. Her productions are characterized by imaginative staging concepts, novel set designs, and striking visual aesthetics.

Throughout her career, Ella has collaborated with exceptional singers, gifted musicians, and highly skilled production creatives to bring her artistic vision to the stage. Her keen attention to detail and meticulous approach to character development ensure that every production tells a compelling story and evokes genuine emotions.

Ella’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of works, spanning different time periods and subgenres. From beloved classics to contemporary masterpieces, she fearlessly explores the vast landscape of the operatic repertoire, constantly pushing boundaries and redefining what opera can be.

Tremendously enjoyable and accomplished…what a delightful operatic experience

– Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Recognized for her achievements, Ella has received numerous accolades and invitations to direct productions for prestigious opera companies and festivals worldwide. Her work has left a lasting impact on audiences, inspiring both opera enthusiasts and newcomers to experience the magic of the art form.

In Ella’s hands, opera becomes a transformative experience, where the power of music, drama, and visual art converge to create an unforgettable journey for the audience. Her capacity to connect with the essence of music and translate it into a compelling narrative is a testament to her exceptional abilities as an opera director.

In bringing fresh ideas to canonical works and commissioning numerous new operas and operettas, Ella’s critically lauded productions appeal to both new and established audiences alike. With Ella at the helm, opera continues to evolve, staying relevant and captivating in the modern world. Her dedication to pushing boundaries, fostering creativity, and preserving the legacy of this timeless art form cements her status as a visionary opera director.

For more information about Ella’s opera productions and directing credits, click here.

Ella is represented professionally by Day Macaskill of Cruickshank Cazenove.

Latest Productions

Ella Marchment’s recent and future productions include:

For a full list of productions, click here.

INTERNATIONAL OPERA AWARDS 2022 directed by Ella Marchment

Speaker

As an artistic director, a film and stage director, and a professor of opera, Ella has spoken and lectured at world-renowned companies and conservatoires.

Ella has addressed events held at Opera Europa in the Netherlands and Italy; The Royal Opera House, The Southbank Centre, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and The Wiener Holocaust Library in London; Arts Council England in Bristol; Welsh National Opera in Cardiff; and The Dallas Opera and Opera in the Rock in America. Ella has also featured in broadcasts hosted by BBC Woman’s Hour, OperaCast and Resonance FM.

Ella’s engagements have covered topics such as the art of stage directing, the role of women in opera, diversity in theatre and the arts, opera management, the future of opera, and arts funding.

Click here to contact Ella about a speaking or lecturing engagement.

Professor & Writer

Ella Marchment is an Associate Professor and the Director of Opera at Shenandoah Conservatory, one of America’s most eminent universities for music.

From 2021 to 2022 Ella worked as a guest director at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. From 2019 to 2021 Ella was a member of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama vocal faculty in London, and from 2020 to 2021 she was the Director of Opera at Northern Illinois University in the USA.

Ella has also directed productions for the Royal College of Music in London, and worked as an Associate Director and an Assistant Director for The Juilliard School in New York.

Ella has been commissioned by publishers in London to write a book on arts management.

Tryl – The Magic Flute Copenhagen Opera Festival 2018 Directed by Ella Marchment Photos by Olafur Gestsson
International Opera Awards 2019 Directed by Ella Marchment

Awards

In both 2018 and 2022 Ella was a semi-finalist in the European Opera-Directing Prize, and in 2018 she was shortlisted for the Women of the Future Awards in the arts and culture category. In 2015 Ella became the first opera director to receive an International Opera Awards bursary.

Ella has a first-class honours degree in music – with German and Italian – from King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music, as well as a scholarship for academic excellence awarded by King’s College London. Ella also has postgraduate qualifications in set design from Central St Martins in London, and in teaching drama from City Lit in London.

International Opera Awards, Director

Since 2017 Ella has directed the International Opera Awards, hosting opera’s version of the Oscars at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, ENO’s London Coliseum, and Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.

As a highlight of the opera calendar, the ceremony brings together artists and producers to recognize excellence in opera worldwide and to promote opera as a thriving and progressive art form.

Since its foundation in 2012 the International Opera Awards has raised funds for the Opera Awards Foundation, providing bursaries for aspiring artists, including singers, directors, conductors, répétiteurs, and accompanists.

International Opera Awards 2019 Directed by Ella Marchment
Il segreto di Susanna directed by Ella Marchment Opera Festival of Chicago USA July 2021 (c) Elliot Mandel

The Opera Festival of Chicago, Artistic Director and Co-founder

The Opera Festival of Chicago presents world-class productions of Italian masterpieces that are seldom performed in the United States. The company aspires to generate an appetite for opera within the Chicago demographic; to make operatic works and their cultural contexts accessible to a wide audience; and to highlight and celebrate the immense artistic talent of the Chicagoland area.

Ella worked for several years on the planning and fundraising needed to establish The Opera Festival of Chicago, and she was the company’s Artistic Director from 2019 to 2023.

Something great here rises

Chicago Tribune

Opera Harmony, Artistic Director and Founder

In direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ella founded Opera Harmony, a global arts collective of more than 100 composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, designers, musicians, singers, actors, dancers, sound engineers and film-makers.

While isolated on different continents and in different time zones, the artists wrote and filmed twenty original short operas, developing a range of trailblazing production techniques while they worked.

The internationally acclaimed operas attracted record-breaking viewing numbers worldwide when they premiered on OperaVision in the summer of 2020

A genuinely imaginative fusion of sound and screen that manages to say something worthwhile

The Guardian

SWAP’ra, Co-founder

In 2018 Ella co-founded SWAP’ra (Supporting Women and Parents in Opera), a charity that strives to provide opportunities and resources for female and parent performers, composers, conductors, directors, and other professionals in the field of opera. Through mentorship programmes, workshops, and networking events, SWAP’ra aims to connect, inspire, and empower artists to thrive in their careers.

Swap’ra also actively advocates for gender balance on and off the stage, working with opera companies, festivals, and institutions to address the gender gap in the industry. SWAP’ra champions equal representation, fair opportunities, and recognition of the talent and contributions made by all artists, helping opera companies to realize the long-term benefits of making talent-based gender-indiscriminate appointments.

Ella is currently a SWAP’ra Creative Associate.

Working with SWAP’ra points to a new way of looking at working practices in opera, while being realistic about the unusual nature of the business itself

Opera Holland Park

Helios Collective, Artistic Director and Founder

In 2012 Ella founded Helios Collective, a pioneering opera company that commissioned and staged new compositions, reimagined works from the canon, and provided opportunities for emerging artists to work alongside pre-eminent opera performers and producers.

Ella was the Artistic Director of Helios Collective from 2012 to 2021.

Helios Collective is something to be excited about: our music is in their hands

Broadway Baby

Constella OperaBallet, Artistic Director and Director of Productions

Constella OperaBallet has given numerous extensively acclaimed performances across the UK, including broadcasts on national radio and television. It has established a reputation for showcasing exceptionally talented artists in exhilarating and experimental productions.

Ella was the Artistic Director and the Director of Productions of Constella OperaBallet from 2016 to 2018.

Fun, fizzing, and contemporary

Suzy Klein, BBC Radio 3

Theatre N16, Artistic Director and Co-founder

Co-founded by Jamie Eastlake and Ella Marchment, Theatre N16 promotes and stages cutting-edge productions across both theatre and opera.

Ella was the Artistic Director of Theatre N16 from 2015 to 2016.

Ella Marchment’s directing focuses on the multilayers of the story, bringing freshness to the writing

TOP LONDON THEATRE REVIEW
Little Women directed by Ella Marchment at Opera Holland Park 2022 all photos (c) Ali Wright

Contact

Ella is represented professionally by Day Macaskill of Cruickshank Cazenove.

Day Macaskill
Cruickshank Cazenove Ltd
97 Old South Lambeth Road
London, SW8 1XU
United Kingdom