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Mary Birnbaum


Mary Birnbaum has directed opera and music theater productions around the world, including staging critically acclaimed productions of Rossi’s L’Orfeo, Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up, and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, all at The Juilliard School, and Stucky’s The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) at Carnegie Hall. She was nominated as best newcomer at The European Opera Awards in 2015. In 2019 her production of Puccini’s La bohème opened Santa Fe Opera’s season, and her production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas toured to Opera Holland Park and Opéra de Versailles. Birnbaum has also directed productions at Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Bard Music Festival, Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, Ojai Festival, Montclair Peak Performances, and Boston Baroque in the US, as well as in Taiwan (with the National Symphony Orchestra), Central America (National Theatre of Costa Rica and Guatemala), Australia, and Israel.

In demand for her skills as a collaborator on new works, Birnbaum has created world premieres of works by contemporary artists including Jeremy Denk, Steven Stucky, Frank London, Elise Thoron, Kristin Kuster, and Megan Levad. She most recently directed the world premiere of In A Grove by Christopher Cerrone and Stephanie Fleischmann at Pittsburgh Opera. 

On the faculty of The Juilliard School since 2011, Birnbaum teaches acting to singers and serves as dramatic advisor to the master’s degree candidates. She also coaches acting in the Lindemann Young Artists Program at The Metropolitan Opera. She was named general and artistic director of Opera Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2023.  

A graduate of Harvard College, Mary Birnbaum trained professionally in physical theater at L’École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. 

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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