The podcast is back for the summer and I'm delighted to share this very interesting interview!
Having attended a lot of opera and theatre myself, this was a wonderful opportunity to learn about what being a director entails, particularly, within music theatre. We also talked about how one manages and interacts with not only the creatives and production team but one's fellow singers - Tom is a singer himself and very much comes from directing at a performer's perspective. However, we do discuss being "on the other side of the fence", to so speak. Tom was keen, too, to advocate the importance of previews in opera, which are commonplace in other performance-based art forms such as musicals and plays.
Many thanks to:
Kathryn Hare at Orchid Media for arranging this interview on the day and Tom for taking the time before his concert to talk to me!
Podcast published on 22 July 2019. Interview recorded on 18 July 2019 in the gardens of the Inner Temple, London.
Thomas Guthrie is an innovative and award-winning British director and musician working in theatre and music to tell stories in vivid, new and direct ways.
A former Jette Parker Young Artist Stage Director at the Royal Opera House in London, his revival of David McVicar’s Die Zauberflöte there won What’s On Stage Best Revival 2018. His own critically acclaimed productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte at Longborough Festival Opera led to an invitation to direct Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer there in 2018 (subsequently called ‘one of the best productions at this venue I have seen’, Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph).
With a reputation for stylish, unfussy, energetic, physical, theatrical and sometimes controversial work, the clarity of the storytelling, the commitment of the performers and a pre-eminence of musical values are at the heart of his productions.
In his own words, ‘great theatre depends more on engaging and inspiring the imagination of the audience than on telling them what to think’ (from a recent Q and A at Princeton University).
Tom also works with non-professionals of all ages and backgrounds. Some of his most thrilling projects have been in this field, including work with Streetwise Opera, the Prison Choir Project, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and the Royal Opera House, through whom he has inspired hundreds to connect with their inner Caruso and raise the roof. His production of Ludd and Isis, a new opera commissioned to launch the ROH’s new Production Park in Thurrock, involving a cast of hundreds, including professionals and amateurs of all ages, was acclaimed as ‘one of the Royal Opera House’s grandest achievements’ (Opera).
Thomas is the founder and artistic director of the charity Music and Theatre for All, Guest Artistic Advisor to the York Early Music Festival, was Belknap Fellow at Princeton University, New Jersey in 2017, and is proud to sing and play with Bjarte Eike’s Alehouse Boys.
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