David Paul - Stage Director / Masterclasses

David Paul, Stage Director / Masterclasses http://davidpauldirector.com

Twitter: @dpdirects

David Paul has worked as a director for opera, theater, and film throughout the United States and abroad. The New York Times hailed his recent production of Gluck's "Iphigenie en Aulide," calling it "a gift to opera lovers", while the Washington Post lauded his "sure sense of theater." Paul's wide range of work as a stage director and filmmaker has been praised by critics and audiences for its theatrical ingenuity, attention to musical and dramatic detail, and the powerful, nuanced performances he draws from his performers. 

The winter of 2015 marks the highly-anticipated release of POETLOVE, a film conceived and directed by Paul. A cinematic adaptation of Schumann's Dichterliebe, using the original music but set in modern-day New York and performed entirely in English, POETLOVE is a unique artistic endeavor bridging the gap between 19th Century classical song and 21st Century audiences. (Click here for more information). Paul begins his 15/16 directing season with a return to Westminster Choir College, where he mounts a new production of Handel's "Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno". Throughout the winter, he travels to Tokyo, Japan for another set of public coachings and master classes under the auspices of the Juilliard-IFAC competition, whose final round he will also judge, as well as La Crosse, Wisconsin for an artist residency and master class at Viterbo University. He also returns to Princeton, NJ for semi-staged performances of "Hansel and Gretel" with the CoOperative Program. Continuing his affiliation with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Program, Paul serves as dramatic coach and consultant for the Met+Juilliard production of "La Sonnambula." He concludes the season with his debut at Opera Saratoga, where he directs a new production of "Le nozze di Figaro."

The 2014-15 season began with a return to Columbia University, where he directed Chekhov's classic play "The Seagull". Continuing his affiliation with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Program, Paul staged performances of Gluck's "Iphigenie en Aulide" for the annual Met+Juilliard Coproduction at Lincoln Center in February 2015, as well as directed scenes and arias for the Program's annual winter Patron Concert. He made his debut at Wolf Trap Opera in June of 2015, directing a new production of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro", and returned for his fourth new production at Music Academy of the West, this time with Rossini's "Cinderella". 2015 also brought about a new type of venture for Paul: his debut as a film director on the short film POETLove, a film in song based on the "Dichterliebe" song cycle by Robert Schumann. 

Highlights of the 2013-14 season included a return to Washington National Opera, where he was integrally involved in the development of "American Soldier," a new opera by David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo, whose world premiere he directed in June of 2014. He also directed a new production of Tchaikovsky's "Iolanta" at Westminster Choir College, several scenes and arias under the guidance of James Levine for the Met's Lindemann Young Artists annual patron performance, semi-staged performances of Donizetti's "Fille du Regiment" for the CoOperative Program in Princeton, and several performances of scenes and arias at the Juilliard School. In September, Paul served as the School's envoy to Japan for the annual IFAC-Juilliard Prize, where he conducted several public master classes at the New National Theatre Opera Palace and served as judge in the final competition. He returned, in July of 2014, to the Music Academy of the West, where he directed a new production of "Carmen" in celebration of the 80th birthday of Marilyn Horne, Chair of the Academy's Voice department. 

The 2012-2013 season marked David Paul's return to North Carolina Opera for a production of Verdi's "Aida" featuring Angela Brown in the title role. He created a new production of Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" for Westminster Choir College, where he also gave a master class, and directed Sarah Ruhl's "Eurydice" for the Barnard College / Columbia University Department of Theatre. Continuing his affiliation with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he directed several operatic scenes for the program's annual performance in March, and coached members of the program in preparation for recitals. He also made his debut with the CoOperative Program in Princeton, NJ, directing semi-staged performances of Puccini's "La boheme" and Mozart's "Don Giovanni." Together with Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch, Paul co-curated "The Romeo and Juliet Project", a unique retelling of Shakespeare's tragedy through theater, opera, and dance that celebrated its premiere at the Chautauqua Institution this summer. His season concluded with a return to the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where he mounted a new production of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte". 

Highlights of the 2011-2012 season included a highly successful new production of Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" for his debut at Music Academy of the West. Opera News praised the "energetic cast" and "skillfully executed production," while the Santa Barbara Independent described the performances as "crisply paced and emotionally intense." He returned to the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, where he directed the company's production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." and made debuts with Ash Lawn Opera in Virginia, directing Rossini's "Il barbiere di Siviglia", and North Carolina Opera, directing "Il trovatore" by Verdi. Continuing his association with the Juilliard School, he directed a double-bill of Rossini operas in the school's Willson Theater, to great acclaim. In addition to his directing work, he served as Associate Director for North Carolina Opera's production of Philip Glass's dance/opera "Les Enfants Terribles" and Assistant Director for the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Terrence McNally's "Master Class," featuring Tyne Daly. 

Directing credits from recent seasons include a critically-acclaimed staging of "Le nozze di Figaro" for Washington National Opera, Walton's "The Bear" at the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Festival, "Così fan tutte" for Westminster Choir College, and "Die Zauberflöte" for the Intermezzo Festival in Belgium. In 2008, he was invited to serve on the artistic staff of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, the 2012 recipient of the Tony Award for Regional Theater. Under the leadership of Michael Kahn, he adapted and directed Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and assistant directed productions of "King Lear," "Julius Caesar," "Romeo and Juliet," and Euripides' "Ion". 

David Paul previously served on the artistic staff of Perseverance Theater, Alaska's flagship theater. While in Alaska, he adapted and directed Lorca's "Blood Wedding", devised and directed an original piece with the theater's Young Company, and served as music director on productions of "The People's Temple" (world premiere of new version), "Twelfth Night", "King Island Christmas", and "Hair". Additional credits as director or assistant director include productions at Atlanta Opera, California Shakespeare Theater, Chautauqua Theater Company, the Juilliard School's Drama Division, and the 110th Annual Varsity Show at Columbia University, among others. 

Outside of his directing work, Paul has gained useful experience on the administrative side of the arts. He spent two seasons in the Metropolitan Opera's Artistic Department as an Associate in casting. He also served for one season as an Assistant Artist Manager in the Vocal Division of Columbia Artists Management. 

David Paul was graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a degree in theater arts and a specialization in directing. He is a native of Hamburg, Germany. 

Opera Repertoire

Composer Opera Role

Press Acclaim


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.

Opera News

“...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.”

Full review here: http://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2015/9/Reviews/VIENNA,_VA__Le_Nozze_di_Figaro.html

Tim Smith/ Opera News

“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.”

Joan Reinthaler—Washington Post

“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!”

Tiffany Draught—DC Metro Theater Arts

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.

Anthony Tommasini / The New York Times 

Director David Paul was more a choreographer, shifting actors from scene to scene effortlessly and building the final moments to an impeccable denouement.

Jessica Vaughan / DC Metro Theatre Arts

“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.”

Edmond Johnson / Opera News

“The resulting production was nothing short of remarkable. 
Stage Director David Paul made tremendous use of the limited space of the Playhouse”

Nancy Plum / Town Topics

“[...] 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. “

Clare Aukofer / Charlottesville Daily Progress


"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

Press Kit

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Biography (.pdf)

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