Timothy Nelson leads a new generation of young directors. Most recently
he was honored as an awardee in the Opera Europa International
Directing Prize. In 2003 he founded American Opera Theater, an ensemble
incorporating his interests in movement, music, and design,
challenging audiences' ideas about opera as theater. Nelson has become
known for innovative productions of traditional repertoire, rarely heard
works of both opera and theater, and for the creation of new concept
works. He continues to develop approaches to expanding understanding of
opera as theater, concert, and ritual, to connect the art form with
contemporary social questions and dialogues.
Most recently Nelson directed “David et Jonathas” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a cabaret “Carmen” based loosely on Peter Brook's version, of which the Baltimore Sun said Nelson “out-Brooked Brook”, Philip Glass' “Hydrogen Jukebox” at Georegtown University as part of the 2009 presidential inauguration festivities, and “Songspiel”, an original Kurt Weill offering with soprano Sylvia McNair exploring homelessness in New Orleans at the time of hurricane Katrina. In August 2010 he opened the Grachtenfestival with a new production of "The Lighthouse" for the Nationale Reisopera. He served as stage director for “La Didone” with the Washington Early Music Festival, and stage director for the Bloomington Early Music Festival's production of “Il Re Pastore”. Nelson has pioneered the creation of new theater works such as “Las Cuerdas del Titiritero” with Fenix de los Ingenos, “Ground” for the Baltimore Theatre Project, and the multimedia “Fleury” and “Annunciation | Visitation” for Indiana University, which combined music of George Crumb and Francois Couperin in a meditation on female iconification and objectification. Upcoming projects include "La Boheme" for Opera York, "La Voix Humaine" for the Dutch National Opera Academy, and a production of Kurt Weill's “Lost in the Stars” with Baltimore city youth as a community exploration of race relations in the city. He has been the recipient of grants from Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, the Virginia Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
A committed educator Nelson leads workshops in opera as theater at Indiana University and at Georgetown University. He is Artistic Director of the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy at the University of Western Ontario. His work as a director and designer has been praised as at once "progressive" and "knowledgeable" - "propulsive" and "fluid". The New York Times calls his work “the future of opera” while the Baltimore Sun calls his productions “vivid, postmodern” with “striking stage pictures”, saying his work is “fresh, inventive, invigorating”.