David Paul, Stage Director / Masterclasses http://davidpauldirector.com
David Paul is an award-winning director for opera, theater, and film. Born in Germany and based in Brooklyn, his work spans material from five centuries and all genres, and strives to make performance a medium for direct, human communication, regardless of the platform. His work has been praised by the New York Times and Washington Post for its energy, humor, and emotional depth, and has been seen across four continents in five languages.
As a director for opera, Paul is in high demand across the world. Recent credits include productions for LA Opera, the Metropolitan Opera / Juilliard, Washington National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, North Carolina Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Music Academy of the West. On the theatrical stage, he has directed at Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre, Columbia University, and served as Assistant Director on the Broadway production of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class”.
Driving innovation in the arts, Paul has been involved in several major genre-bending ventures. He developed, wrote, and directed the film “Dichterliebe: POETLOVE”, a cinematic adaptation of classical songs from the 19th Century by Robert Schumann, winning awards from the Hong Kong Art House Film Festival, Geneva Film Festival, and IndieFest, and screening at festivals around the world.
He also co-curated “The Romeo and Juliet Project”, a new retelling of the classic story through words, music, and dance, based on the various classic adaptations in different genres, which celebrated its triumphant premiere at the Chautauqua Institution during the 2013 season. Upcoming ventures include “Opera in VR”, a set of short films featuring operatic scenes shot in 360-degree virtual reality; “AfterWARds”, an 80-minute, 4-character reinvention of Mozart’s “Idomeneo”; “The Baron”, an adaptation of the life story of tennis legend Gottfried von Cramm; as well as various music-video related projects.
Equally passionate about training the next generation of singing actors, Paul has rapidly gained recognition as one of his generation’s most dynamic directors and acting teachers for young singers. He is on the faculty at the Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Development Program, while directing projects at educational institutions including the Lyric Opera Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, the Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program, Boston University’s Opera Institute, Juilliard, Berlin Opera Academy, the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Festival, and Westminster Choir College. He has also given master classes in Japan, China, Israel, and the United States.
David Paul studied acting and directing at Columbia University, and apprenticed with directors Robert Falls, Michael Kahn, and Stephen Wadsworth. Highlights of the 2018/19 season include his debuts with Arizona Opera and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, as well as return engagements at Pittsburgh Opera, North Carolina Opera, and the Washington National Opera.
LA CENERENTOLA AT MUSIC ACADEMY OF THE WEST
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the production was how fully and comfortably the young singers seemed to inhabit their roles, bringing a naturalness to their stage movements that is not always seen on the operatic stage. This is no doubt a tribute to both the talent of the cast and the skillful direction of David Paul. A member of the faculty at Juilliard School, Paul is now in his fourth year directing the Music Academy’s annual opera. He was also responsible for crafting the opera’s supertitles, which presented the libretto in an amusingly vernacular translation, while never straying so far from the spirit of the original as to be distracting.
“...The cast jumped into the piece with what seemed like second-nature ease, handling the music’s demands as naturally as the stage business. The latter element, under the direction David Paul, was brisk and clever, providing enough little twists to the familiar comic moments to keep things interesting.”
“Mozart can take some credit for the rapt audience attention and the guffaws that peppered the three hours of the Wolf Trap Opera’s opening-night performance of “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Barns on Friday but just some. The production itself floated on just the right balance of energy and delicacy, slapstick and pathos, and on the intimacy of a small stage and a chamber-size hall.
So Mozart has to share credit with Director David Paul and his sure sense of theater.”
“This familiar opera was entirely fresh in Wolf Trap Opera’s new, high-energy production… Under the direction of David Paul… the setting of this production in 19th century Spain makes this production feel fresh and innovative…The Spanish setting really comes alive and makes the production of a this very popular opera interesting and vivid, rather than familiar and bland…Paul’s direction had the singers taking advantage of every possible opportunity for humor, to great effect. Between the fun setting, the humor, and the superb skill of the singers, this production of The Marriage of Figaro was well worth the 30 year wait! What a way to bring the fun back into weddings!”
IN ‘IPHIGENIE EN AULIDE,’ A DAUGHTER’S ULTIMATE SACRIFICE The performance, presented by the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in partnership with Juilliard, was minimally staged by the director David Paul. The singers fully acted their roles in a clearing in front of the orchestra, minus sets and props though with some effective lighting touches by Paul Hudson. It could have been taken for a spare modern-dress production. Still, it is hard to imagine a full production pulling me more deeply into this great Gluck work than this concert performance did.
WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: AN AMERICAN SOLDIER Director David Paul was more a choreographer, shifting actors from scene to scene effortlessly and building the final moments to an impeccable denouement.
RAKE’S PROGRESS AT MUSIC ACADEMY OF THE WEST “The audience appeared to be quickly won over by the energetic cast and the skillfully executed production. The stage direction by David Paul was particularly effective during ensemble scenes, where the intricately planned movements of cast and chorus betrayed both thoughtfulness and attention to detail.”
WESTMINSTER OPERA THEATRE PRESENTS JACQUES OFFENBACH’S “THE TALES OF HOFFMANN “The resulting production was nothing short of remarkable. Stage Director David Paul made tremendous use of the limited space of the Playhouse”
ASH LAWN’S BARBER A CUT ABOVE “[...] David Paul has done a fine job with the stage direction, creating blocking as lyrical as the music and leading the cast into a solid, cohesive and funny production. “
Media"The Marriage of Figaro" WTO 2015 ~ Interview with Kathleen Kelly & David Paul
An American Soldier / Washington National Opera - Behind the Scenes
Carmen - "Chanson Boheme" - Granada Theater, Santa Barbara, August 2014
Carmen - "Toreador Song" - Granada Theater, Santa Barbara, CA - August 2014
The Seagull at Minor Latham Playhouse, Columbia University
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Biography 250 Words (.pdf)