From: Los Angeles, California. LA Opera: The Death of Orpheus (2020, debut); livestream director of Il Trovatore (2021).
Stage director Sara E. Widzer continues to produce exceptional operatic and theater works at companies across the United States and abroad.
Currently serving on faculty at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles, her guest engagements for the 2019/20 season included as director of La Morte d’Orfeo in her directorial debut at LA Opera, in addition to serving as assistant director to Sir David McVicar for the mainstage production of Pelleas and Melisande at the same company. She returned to the Kennedy Center in March of 2020 as assistant director to Peter Kazaras for a new production of Samson and Delilah with the Washington National Opera.
Her 2018/19 season included engagements as assistant director for Putz’s and Campbell’s Silent Night at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., as well as her debut with Beth Morrison Projects as associate director to Michael Counts for Madame White Snake in Hong Kong. She was also assistant director to Jorge Torres Medina for El Gato Montes: The Wildcat.
A frequent collaborator at summer opera festivals across the United States, Ms. Widzer made her debut with the Chautauqua Opera Company as associate director to Eric Einhorn for ¡Figaro! 90210 as well as assistant director to Peter Kazaras for The Ghosts of Versailles and as stage director for the Young Artist Scenes Program. She spent the previous summer at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West where she directed OperaFest: Campus Takeover alongside the festival’s creative director James Darrah. She made her debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018 directing a semi-staged production of Carmen.
Widzer directed the world premiere of Woman of Salt, a new chamber opera by Anice Thigpen for the Wildish Theatre in Eugene Oregon, and served as director of the National Opera Association’s new productions of Joseph Turin’s The Scarecrow, Tom Cipullo’s After Life, and Jeremy Gill’s Letters to Quebec from Providence in the Rain in Santa Barbara, California. She assisted director Robert Longbottom on The Daughter of the Regiment at Washington National Opera in 2017, serving as acting coach to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She also assisted on the first incarnation of Jon Robin Baitz’s new play Vicuña at the Ojai Playwrights Festival. She returned to the Kennedy Center in 2017 as assistant director to Francesca Zambello’s new production of Aida at Washington National Opera, in addition to co-writing and directing the production’s education performances. She debuted in 2018 as assistant director to Peter Kazaras on a new production of Korngold’s Der Ring des Polykrates for her debut at the Dallas Opera.
Other engagements feature multiple company debuts including Pasadena Opera for a new production of Floyd’s Susannah, about which the Huffington Post praised her “brisk and lively stage direction;” Following her successful debut during the 2014/15 season with Hawaii Opera Theatre mounting Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed production of The Flying Dutchman, Widzer remounted the same production in 2016 for her mainstage debut with Virginia Opera. She led Virginia Opera’s touring company earlier in the season directing the world premiere of Deep River, a tribute to the life and career of Marian Anderson. Additional engagements that season included guest director for the opera scenes program at Cal State Long Beach, guest director for a devised opera piece at UCLA, and a new production with the Ojai Playwrights Conference in the summer of 2016.
Additional operatic engagements include with the Royal Opera House, Muscat for The Music Man; the Glimmerglass Festival for A Celebration of Benjamin Britten; Opera in the Ozarks for Don Giovanni, Tosca, Pagliacci and Hansel and Gretel; Celestial Opera for Faust and Giulio Cesare; and the Florida State Opera for Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame and an original adaptation of L’elisir d’amore. Widzer has served as Assistant Director with Portland Opera for Showboat; the Glimmerglass Festival for The Flying Dutchman, The Music Man, and King for a Day; and UCLA Opera for L'enfant et les sortilèges and Il segreto de Susanna.
An active theater director, Ms. Widzer is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio-Playright and Director’s unit. She has recently served as director for Reasons to be Pretty at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center, Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale at Art Works in Cherry Valley New York, and In Their Own Words: Verdi, Wilson, & Weill, an original piece that debuted at the Glimmerglass Festival. Other credits include Bury the Dead, Zoo Story, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Shakespeare’s As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Lee Strasberg Creative Center; Dinner and a Funeral and Bootleggers with The Actors’ Studio, Los Angeles; Spring Awakening with Connecticut College; The Case of the Golden Rose/Shakespeare is Dead at The Actors Gang; and Based on True Events at The Complex Theatre.
As an educator, Ms. Widzer is currently on faculty as acting coach and stage director at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles, CA where she has been on staff for over 15 years. (SaraEWidzer.com)