Acclaimed by The San Francisco Chronicle as an “imaginative” director of “particular ingenuity,” director Jennifer Williams works throughout the U.S. and internationally, including at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Houston Grand Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and the San Francisco Opera Center. She is the founding Artistic Director of DC Public Opera, an experimental company that creates opera installations in site-specific spaces in Washington, DC. 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 and “consistently imaginative” and “extraordinarily beautiful” new productions of Les contes d’Hoffmann and La bohème for Miami Music Festival. Recent and upcoming engagements include directing Ariadne auf Naxos at Austin Opera and a world premiere for Center for Contemporary Opera, as well as serving as a Drama Coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio. In 2018, she makes her Kennedy Center debut as Associate Director for Francesca Zambello on a new production of La traviata.
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), 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, Amahl and the Night Visitors, 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 Glimmerglass’s Alice Busch Opera Theater led by maestro Joseph Colaneri.
A sought-after acting teacher and dramatic coach, she is currently a Drama Coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Other recent work includes serving on the faculties of CCM Spoleto in Italy, Seagle Music Colony and Miami Music Festival Opera Institute and working with the young artist programs of the San Francisco Opera Center, The Glimmerglass Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera North, Tri-Cities Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater.
As an assistant director, she has worked with internationally renowned directors, including Francesca Zambello, Paul Curran, David Alden, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, Barrie Kosky, James Robinson, Seán Curran, Sir Thomas Allen, Peter Kazaras, Thaddeus Strassberger, and Bernard Uzan.
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/Ashgate), and Journal of Religion and Theatre (ATHE).
A Fulbright Scholar, Ms. Williams holds an Artist Diploma in Opera Stage Directing from CCM, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Theatre History 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.