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Marc Astafan, Stage Director

Marc Astafan, Stage director of Die Fledermaus

Marc Astafan, Director of Central City Opera Apprentice Training Program, made his official debut on New Year’s Eve 1996 as director and choreographer of The Magic Flute at the Eugene Opera in Oregon.  Since then he has crisscrossed the United States directing productions from Florida to Alaska, Massachusetts to Nevada.  He made his New York debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York in 1999, again with The Magic Flute, on the site of the Egyptian Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  In 2000 Marc joined the directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera as assistant director on ten productions.  In 2008 his production of Summer and Smoke was a feature of the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Career highlights include critically acclaimed productions of Tosca at Virginia Opera, Cendrillon and Rinaldo at Central City Opera, Romeo et Juliette at Syracuse Opera and La Cenerentola at Nevada Opera and La Calisto at The New England Conservatory.

In 1994 Marc began a long association with Central City Opera in Colorado as an assistant director and was given his debut there with Tosca in 1998.  He has returned to stage acclaimed new productions of repertoire that has varied from Don Giovanni to Orpheus in the Underworld.  In addition to main-stage summer season engagements he has also directed and choreographed many pops concerts and semi-staged productions of Gilbert & Sullivan that were collaborations with the CCO and The Colorado Symphony in Denver.

Dedicated to the training of young opera artists since the beginning of his career Marc has taught and directed the apprentice artists at The Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Music Academy of the West, Bay View Music Festival, The Atlantic Coast Opera Festival and The Tanglewood Music Center.  He has been Artist in Residence at Florida State University, Temple University and The Juilliard School.  His longest association was with The New England Conservatory where, from 1994 to 2000, he taught acting, scene study, stage technique and eventually directed all main-stage productions.  He returned to NEC from 2002 to 2008 as Resident Stage Director and Director of Productions, as well as teaching acting and directing.  As Director of Production he produced the main-stage productions, hired and oversaw the design teams and crew, coordinated master classes and generated the weekly class and production schedules, and oversaw the production and class budgets.  In his twelve years at NEC he directed over 20 productions of operas that ran the gamut from Nino Rota’s The Italian Straw Hat to Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.

He is known for his versatility with repertoire that extends from Cavalli to Weill, Mozart to Britten, Offenbach to Puccini. He is one of the few directors in opera who has excelled in every style and period of opera.  His attention to detail, an eye for the visual effect and his ability to draw believable acting performances from his casts makes him a sought-after director and coach. Marc is respected not only by the performers in his productions, but by conductors, designers, colleagues and critics alike.  The press has called his work “intelligent”… “shocking”… “nuanced”… “riveting”… “brilliant” and “magical.”  His work has been compared to that of directors as varied as Bob Fosse, Alfred Hitchcock, Busby Berkley and Vincente Minnelli.