JOHN DEW – stage director

John Dew was born in Santiago, Cuba in 1944, to British diplomats. He studied Art History in New York and eventually moved to Germany in 1967, where he did his first set design at the Stadttheater in Ulm (RFA), followed by many productions in various towns within Germany.  One of these productions, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, performed in Krefeld/Mönchengladbach, gained international recognition. He accomplished his first staging at the opera house in Durban, South Africa (Die Zauberflöte).

From 1982 to 1995, John Dew became the Artistic Director at the Opera in Bielefeld, bringing to the theater, as well as staging, a significant number of world and local premieres of operas from the Twenties which were at that time prohibited by the national socialists, making Bielefeld one of the more interesting opera houses in Europe.  The rediscovery of such operas, as well as forgotten operas from the 1800’s and beginning of 1900’s, has become the distinctive mark of Mr. Dew.

Besides his work in Bielefeld, John dew has been invited to ensure the staging in many significant opera houses of Europe.  These operas include: Verdi’s Aida and Wolfgang Rihm’s Hamletmachine at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Mayerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Gounod’s Faust in Berlin, Pelleas et Melisande and a cycle of Mozart’s operas in Liepzig, Bellini’s I Puritani at the Wiener Staatsoper and Les Huguenots at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. Other opera houses include Stuttgart Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper am Reim (Düsseldorf), L’Opéra de Zurich, L’Opéra Comique (Paris) the Staatsoper in Prague, as well as Houston Grand Opera in the United States.

Between 1995 and 2002, John Dew served as the General Director of the Dortmund Theatre. Mr. Dew’s repertoire not only included known works, but also that of international and national premieres. Mr. Dew brought to Dortmund a cycle of rarely produced French Operas by Halévy, Chausson, Roussel, Berlioz, Meyerbeer and Bloch, the majority represented for the first time in Germany.  One such piece was Gustave Charpentier’s Louise et Julien, John Dew’s last staging at Dortmund, which was a spectacular success. Of John Dew’s run at Dortmund the theatre critic, Ulrich Schreiber (Opernwelt) wrote: “The courage to bring a repertoire of lesser known works and world premieres as well as a wonderful relationship with the opera audience, result in creating an exciting and engaging theater called Opera of Dortmund”.

John Dew is continuing his activities as stage director and producer with challenging productions scheduled throughout Europe over the next seasons. These include a new production of Donizetti's La Favorite at the Weiner Staatsoper, a new Sonnambula for Leipzig, the first modern staging of Albeniz's Merlin at the Teatro Real in Madrid, plus two major productions of Wagner's Ring Cycle: 2003-04 in Wiesbaden and 2005-06 in Liepzig.