Internationally acclaimed stage director James Marvel has been praised for his “brilliant stage direction” and his “unforgettable and visually stunning new productions.” James made his Lincoln Center debut in 2008 for the Juilliard Opera Center, directing a highly acclaimed new production. James made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 and directed the U.S. premier of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo for the Gotham Chamber Opera in NYC.
Since his professional directing debut in 1996, James has directed over 100 productions and was named Classical Singer Magazine’s “2008 – Stage Director of the Year.” Recent engagements include La Traviata for New Orleans Opera, Rigoletto for Opera Tampa, and Tosca for Opera Grand Rapids. Upcoming projects include La Traviata for Opera Carolina, Nabucco for Opera Grand Rapids, La Traviata for Teatro Del Lago in Chile, and La Rondine in Sulmona, Italy. In 2014, James directed the world premier of Larry Delinger’s new opera Amelia Lost, which was created for Marble City Opera and performed at The National Opera Center in New York. The production was named “Most Memorable Operatic Performance of 2014,” by Arts Knoxville.
Career highlights include groundbreaking new productions for the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Opera Boston, Opera Santa Barbara, Syracuse Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera, North Carolina Opera, Toledo Opera, Sacramento Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Indiana University, and the University of Southern California.
International credits include a new production of Carmen for Opera Africa in Johannesburg, which was hailed as “stupendous” by the local press and a new production of Die Zauberflote for the Seoul International Opera in South Korea. European credits include productions of La Boheme, Suor Angelica, L’elisir d’amore, and Cosi fan tutte in Sulmona, Italy. James made his Paris debut with the The Man of La Mancha at the Theatre des Varietes and returned to Paris a year later to direct The Beggar’s Holiday at Espace Pierre Cardin. His new production of La Voix Humaine and The Telephone premiered at the Alliance Francaise in New York City before traveling to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. Other international credits include work in Canada, Scotland, England, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
James received his MFA in Acting from the University of Tennessee and his BA in World Literature from Sarah Lawrence College and Oxford University, England. He conducted additional studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. James studied violin from the age of seven and played violin for the Wadham Chamber Orchestra in Oxford, England. He has composed original music for several professional theatrical productions and has had his poetry, fiction, and critical writing published in a variety of national, international, and online journals. As an arts advocate, James has appeared numerous times on NPR and other radio and television outlets to discuss the art form and its relevance in modern society.
In 2011, James was named Director of Opera at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and remains active directing in the United States and abroad.