James Darrah Reveals Cinematic Vision for the 2020-21 Opera Season

By Francisco Salazar

Director James Darrah is set to work in Boston, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Omaha, and his hometown of Los Angeles to guide, reinvent, and execute programming for the increasingly prevalent digital stage.

Darrah will collaborate alongside the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as its new Creative Director of Digital Content and will build an entire season out of his dream Digital Studio hub for artists/filmmakers in downtown LA’s Chinatown.

Darrah will also team up with the Boston Lyric Opera where he will devise and direct two projects for the company’s new operabox.tv. He will be in charge of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a stop-motion animated feature-length film adaptation of the opera by Philip Glass, and “Desert In,” an 8-part episodic TV series with co-creators Ellen Reid and Christopher Oscar Peña, built through a powerhouse TV-style writers’ room.

Darrah will also be a major part of Opera Philadelphia’s new Opera Philadelphia Channel, producing the film adaptation of “Soldier Songs” and directing “La Voix Humaine” starring Patricia Racette.

With the LA Opera, Darrah will direct two music videos for LAO’s new “Digital Shorts” initiative while at the Long Beach Opera he re-conceive his own production of Philip Glass’ “Les Enfants Terribles” as an outdoor drive-in cinematheque.

Finally, at the Santa Fe Opera, he will make his company debut directing the world premiere of John Corigliano and Mark Adamo’s The Lord of Cries starring Anthony Roth Costanzo as Dionysus.

“I feel this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for an entire generation of passionate artists to demonstrate power in new leadership, vocalize and take action on the boldest of ideas, solutions, and visions for the form that haven’t already been explored. I want to have an active part in that kind of growth for the form with others–push opera further into real cinematic content, but also generate work for artists who have lost all of their contracts in the last seven months. It involves action and not just talk: we are fostering new commissions that rewrite the rules and explorations of original visual mediums instead of just simulating or lamenting what we can’t have,” Darrah told OperaWire regarding this new step in his opera career.