Acclaimed as a director of “particular ingenuity”, Jennifer Williams has created innovative productions worldwide. Praise for her multi-media approach to opera has been effusive, and her extraordinary vision yields indelible results.
Site-specific and immersive productions have been a recent hallmark of her work, making Williams particularly sought-after for her impressive skills across many mediums. Where others have been unwilling or unable to work without customary theatrical infrastructure, Williams thrives on the unexpected. Her unique presentations have taken her to prestigious venues in New York, Berlin, Houston, Miami, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Washington, DC.
In 2021 she directed Carmen with MTM Hong Kong. The 2022 season has many exciting debuts: GROUNDS, a devised environmental installation for the Brooklyn Arts Council & New York State Council on the Arts, Kamala Sankaram’s The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace with New Camerata Opera, Inside the Director’s Mind: Regie, Theatre & Auditioning for Opera Programs Berlin, Fidelio with Austin Opera, Timothy Myers conducting, Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Sacramento Philharmonic, Così fan tutte for Opera North, Die Walküre, a new video adaption for the Dramatic Voices Program in Berlin, and a new immersive production of Menotti’s The Medium for Tri-Cities Opera.
With an eye toward enlarging the scope of vocal performance, Williams has received two coveted grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council to devise an immersive environmental installation that challenges the very concept of opera and our perception of it.
Traditional repertoire such as Rigoletto, La bohème and Les Contes d’Hoffmann have figured prominently in her career at theaters such as Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Teatro Municipal de Sao Paulo, among others, but Williams is also a passionate advocate of contemporary opera. Her direction of such works as Mary Motorhead with Beth Morrison Projects as well as Ainadamar, Dark Sisters, Sumeida’s Song and Backwards from Winter have been described as “extraordinarily beautiful” and “consistently imaginative”. In addition, she has created installations for concert repertoire including Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder, and Schubert’s Goethe-Lieder.
Jennifer Williams has served as a drama coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio as well as the young artist programs of the San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Glimmerglass and Wolf Trap Operas. Her apprenticeship as a Regiehospitantin at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt and Staatsoper Stuttgart forged the foundation of her unusually broad operatic and theatrical experience.
Her research in opera and theater history has been published by Nineteenth-Century Music Review (Cambridge University Press), Grove Music (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), Feminist German Studies, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Journal of Religion and Theatre. She also created the popular podcast Disruptive Stages: conversations about the ideas that disrupt and transform the performing arts.
As intellectually outstanding as she is original, Williams is a Fulbright Scholar and holds a PhD from Cornell University and an A.B. with honors from the University of Chicago. She is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and American Guild of Musical Artists.