Yuval Sharon

Artistic Director, The Industry

Artistic Director, Michigan Opera Theatre

(c) John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Described by the New York Times as “opera’s disrupter in residence,” director Yuval Sharon creates an unconventional body of work that seeks to expand the operatic form.

He is Artistic Director of Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre, a post he took up in 2020 presenting as his first production for the company Twilight: Gods, a recontextualising of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. He also founded, and continues to serve as Artistic Director of, The Industry in Los Angeles, an acclaimed company devoted to new and experimental opera that has brought the genre into moving vehicles, train stations and various ‘non-spaces’ such as warehouses, parking lots, and escalator corridors. Sharon conceived, directed, and produced the company’s acclaimed world premieres of Hopscotch, Invisible Cities and Crescent City. He also devised and directed the company’s two performance installations In C at the Hammer Museum and Nimbus in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

His stage productions in more conventional spaces have been described as “ingenious” (New York Times), “virtuosic” (Opernwelt), “dizzyingly spectacular” (New York Magazine) and “staggering” (Opera News) and recent work includes Wagner’s Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival; Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Deutsche Staatsoper; Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway for Oper Frankfurt; Peter Eötvös’ Three Sisters for the Wiener Staatsoper and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe (the latter winning him the 2014 Götz Friedrich Prize). Sharon has also directed a landmark production of John Cage’s Song Books for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and in Carnegie Hall featuring Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, and Jessye Norman and has staged performances of The Cunning Little Vixen for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Sharon recently completed a critically acclaimed three-year residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, where his projects included newly commissioned works, site-specific installations and performances outside the Hall. Highlights included a new staging of Meredith Monk’s Atlas, an original setting of War of the Worlds performed both inside and outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall simultaneously and a staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.

Sharon was honoured with a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant for Theater. He serves on the board of Opera America and on the Artist Council for the Hammer Museum,

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    05 Mar 19 MOZART Die Zauberflöte
    Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin

    “Sharon’s “Flute” is a hit.”
    Mark Swed, LA Times

    “Yuval Sharon is doing well in Germany…During the playing of Die Zauberflöte’s well-loved overture, a surprise was immediately handed out to members of the audience when they found themselves in another theatre, a puppet theatre, to boot, adorned with pastel-green Corinthian-fluted columns while gracefully being transported to a childlike dream-world conjuring up all sorts of weird and wonderful things…”
    Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 01 October 2019


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    12 Sep 18 OLGA NEUWIRTH Lost Highway
    Bockenheimer Depot, Oper Frankfurt

    “Die Künstlichkeit jener futuristisch angehauchten Welt mit ihren doppelten Böden und zeitlichen Loopings, die per Mausklick in jede beliebige Richtung manipulierbar ist, vermittelt ein Gefühl von Verunsicherung und Bedrohung, das sich im Verlauf der technisch brillant realisierten Inszenierung immer mehr steigert.”
    Silvia Adler, Allgemeine Zeitung

    “…so engrossing, so provocative in all the right ways…”… “Sharon and team were in sync with Neuwirth’s risk-taking dramaturgy”… “Sharon’s work with virtual reality in last season’s staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for the Los Angeles Philharmonic seemed like a preparatory study for his engagement here with a vocabulary of virtual reality projections fused with live performance. The achievement in Lost Highway was not only technically superb but astonishingly effective as theatre”
    Thomas May, Musical America, 25 September 2018

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    26 Jul 18 WAGNER Lohengrin
    Bayreuther Festspiele

    “…opening this year’s festival with a “Lohengrin” that overcomes conceptual troubles with breathtaking visuals and enthralling musicality…”
    David Allen, The New York Times

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    24 May 18 Creativity That Comes From the Heart and Lives in the Memory Yuval Sharon: Constant Motion and Experimentation
    New York Times

    “His version of “Lohengrin” will have costumes and set design by Neo Rauch and Rosa Loy, the married German artists. It reflects Mr. Sharon’s belief that all of the arts are moving toward a collaboration-centered approach.”

    Ted Loos, New York Times

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    13 Nov 17 War of the Worlds
    Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

    “The best way to write about “War of the Worlds” is not to write about it, which is why I’ve left the show’s secret weapon to the end, even though it should necessarily always be the first item of operatic business with a new work. It, though, is the greatest surprise of all.”
    Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, November 2017

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    20 Jul 17 Opera's Disrupter in Residence, Heading to Bayreuth

    “The invitation from Bayreuth, for a collaboration with the artists Neo Rauch and Rosa Loy into which he steps following the withdrawal of Alvis Hermanis, comes at a time when Mr. Sharon can do little wrong.”
    David Allen, New York Times, July 2017

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    16 Nov 15 Opera on Location The Industry

    “Whatever the reaction, “Hopscotch” triumphantly escapes the genteel, fenced-off zone where opera is supposed to reside.”
    Alex Ross, The New Yorker, November 2015


Read Yuval’s interview in the New York Times on becoming Artistic Director of the Michigan Opera Theater (September 2020): An Operatic Innovator Takes On Detroit