Los Angeles based director, production designer, and visual artist James Darrah’s collaborative focus through varied mediums has quickly led him to be recognized as “the newest discovery… a gifted young American director” (Chicago Tribune) who “injects real drama” (New York Times) into productions that become “once-in-a-lifetime experience[s]” (Opera News). His uniquely collaborative and team-based approach to unconventional projects has also led to the creation of the new LA-based production and design company Chromatic: a collective of interdisciplinary artists who collaborate to create aesthetic theatrical events across blurring mediums. This season, his curation of Chromatic’s wide range of projects include everything from the creation and design of a large gala in an abandoned Omaha shopping mall, full-scale opera productions and original media/graphic designs, to a multi-media video installation with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and composer John Adams.
CURRENT PROJECTS include direction for new productions of the full Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy (Don Giovanni- 2014, Così fan tutte- 2015, Le nozze di Figaro– 2016 ) with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edo de Waart, a return to Chromatic’s annual residency with Opera Omaha in a new acclaimed production of John Adams’ A Flowering Tree conducted by Christopher Rountree, and direction for Handel’s Saul with Julian Wachner and Trinity Wall Street’s 12th Night Festival. He also continues his collaboration with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas as director of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, in a new staged co-production between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. Darrah andChromatic partnered in November 2014 with the genre-bending chamber orchestra wildUp for design installations in conjunction with their concert Pulp in Santa Barbara at Music Academy of the West. In January 2015, Darrah curated Chromatic’s debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic featuring the US premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s “Hommage a Klaus Nomi” and HK Gruber’s “Frankenstein!!” conducted by John Adams, and co-directed with Peabody Southwell in the inaugural season of Opera San Antonio with a new production of Poulenc’s La voix humainefeaturing soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci. He directs a production of Strauss’ Daphne with The Cleveland Orchestra and conductor Franz Welser-Möst in May, travels to San Francisco for the Bay Area premiere of the staged Missa Solemnis in June and direct/designs Jonathan Dove’s L’Altra Euridice with the Bay Chamber Festival in Maine in August. He will also direct the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s operatic adaptation of Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia in 2016.