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Stage Director for Fresh Squeezed Opera’s Production of Artwork of the Future

Job Overview: 

In coordination with the other members of the production team, the Stage Director provides the overarching vision for the production’s set, lighting, costumes, blocking/movement, and other theatrical effects as needed. A successful director will have a detailed concept for the overall feel and experience of the production at least 7 months in advance of the opening performance. The director will work with the Production Manager (PM) of Fresh Squeezed Opera and members of its board of directors to put together a production team at least four months ahead of tech week and opening performance. The director is responsible for planning and communicating all blocking/movement to performers as well as providing insight into dramatic motivations of the singers. 


FSO is committed to telling new stories and that means having people with a new perspective working both on and off-stage. We want to hear from people who may not have ever thought of themselves as a director, or those who have experienced difficulty breaking into the sometimes rarified world of theater and opera. If you have a vision, an interest in opera, and a commitment to story-telling, we want to hear from you. It is our promise to those who share their vision with us to review all applications with open, curious minds, and it is the intention of the FSO Board to fully support the selected Stage Director in this adventure.


About the Opera:

A lighthearted science-fiction opera about robot-loving artists and art-loving robots; about obsession and distraction, fame and obscurity, human and machine, change and end, the last days of humankind.


Rob Handel (libretto) and Eric Moe (music) got their feet wet as a collaborative team with Valkyrie Suite (2012). Given their common interests in comedy and science fiction — combined with an amused obsession with the grandiosity of Richard Wagner  - they settled on THE ARTWORK OF THE FUTURE, with themes of apocalypse, time travel, artificial intelligence and their intersection with high art. Time travel itself is a subject that music, of all the arts, is exquisitely equipped to handle. (Plus there’s the challenge of creating a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk der Zukunft, an appealing prospect for any composer).


With its efficient performance forces - four singers, a flexible number of instrumentalists (4-6), electroacoustic tech and video - ARTWORK portrays six characters and a sweep of 300 years. The first half was presented in a highly successful May 2015 workshop at New Dramatists (NYC) with Sharon Harms, soprano, Mary Nessinger, mezzo, Karim Sulayman, tenor, and Tom Meglioranza, baritone, with stage direction by Ken Rus Schmoll, music direction by Jeremy Gill with Eric Wubbels, piano.

About Fresh Squeezed Opera:

Fresh Squeezed Opera is a small ensemble-based opera company focused on presenting only new music with intimate and impactful productions. Eric Simpson of New York Classical Review states, “New York is rich in tiny upstart companies working to find ways to make opera engaging for new audiences. Fresh-Squeezed Opera stands out among these for its impressive commitment to championing new works.” Our mission is to present genre-pushing new works of the highest caliber that explore the depths of operatic music. 


FSO focuses on producing works that not only are new, but resonate with contemporary audiences. As a result, we have consistently sold-out houses to a young population (average age of 30) who are oftentimes first-time opera goers. In our eight-season history, we have presented over 50 composers’ works through our various programs, including our annual Showcase of Vocal Chamber Music, our Main Stage Summer Operas, and our commissioning series. And the composer workshop?


Fee: Between $1,000 - $2,000


Time Commitment:


  • 6 months prior: hone production vision, assemble design team and cast, lead production meetings (approx. 20 hours)

  • 1 month prior: rigorous rehearsal schedule (approx. 80 hours)

  • 1 week prior: rigorous tech week and dress rehearsals (approx. 60 hours)

  • Broad strokes, this production will occur in May or June 2023, so plan on an April - June rehearsal/performance commitment


Responsibilities and Duties: 


  • Offer dramatic guidance and oversight during musical rehearsals. Share vision with performers to inform their interpretation of the music.

  • Develop and Communicate blocking/stage movements to performers.

  • Provide feedback on the performer’s delivery to help them achieve the agreed upon vision for the production.

  • Offer guidance for costume, set  and lighting designs. Work in tandem with other members of the production team to achieve the agreed upon vision, within the means of the production's budget.

  • Work with the Executive Director and Production Manager to keep spending on costumes, set, and light designs within the agreed upon budget. Get approval from the ED/ PM before making any purchases. No purchases should be made without approval from the ED/PM.


Rehearsal Commitment (plan to be present at key rehearsals, such as the following):

  • Initial design and production meetings with the board/design team

  • Initial sing/play through (Piano/Vocal) rehearsal

  • Additional musical rehearsals as needed

  • All blocking rehearsals

  • Tech rehearsals + Dress

  • Opening Night




  • No previous directing experience is required.

  • Previous operatic, theatrical, or musical experience preferred. 

  • Musical knowledge and performance experience preferred.

  • Demonstrated understanding of music and acting required.

  • Respectful and supportive communication style.

  • Flexibility and adaptability required.

To apply, please send along a CV/Resume, artistic statement or cover letter (if you would like to, you can include links/photos to past work in your statement) and respond to the following (email to Application Deadline Dec. 31

Project Prompt:


Please write a brief summary (no more than 600 words) of your approach to directing a live theatrical performance (if you have never done so before, share what you imagine your process will be). Share the broad strokes of how you will create a cohesive concept for the production.


If it’s helpful, answer the following questions:

  • How would you begin to create your vision for the production? (e.g. read the libretto, sing/play through the score, etc.)

  • Do you want to be involved in casting calls?

  • Can you build a rehearsal schedule and organize multiple performers' schedules in order to identify everyone’s availability?

  • Specifically, can you outline an 8-hour rehearsal period -- what are your priorities? How will you manage time?

  • How do you imagine collaborating with a design team?

  • How will you respond to financial and time constraints when they arise? Can you be flexible if there isn’t sufficient funding or rehearsal time to execute your vision? Can you describe a time you had to work within a budget?

  • What logistical skills do you bring to the table? OR Can you describe a time you had to manage several logistical constraints for a project?

  • How would you describe your style as a leader? What is your leadership style?

  • How would a friend/colleague of yours describe your style as a collaborator? OR What do you value most in your collaborative working relationships?

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