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  Stage Directors: Stephen Lawless - Reviews

Katya Kabanova‚ Scottish Opera
The Stage (March 2019)

'Scottish Opera’s fine production of Katya Kabanova – directed by Stephen Lawless‚ vividly conducted by Stuart Stratford‚ and performed in the original Czech – is one of tremendous power.'

Roberto Devereux‚ San Francisco Opera
Opera News (September 2018)

'The Lawless production‚ first seen at Canadian Opera Company in 2014‚ features scenic designs by the late Benoît Dugardyn that place the action in a unit set modeled on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. During the overture‚ the staging offers a kind of whirlwind backstory: vitrines displayed the figures of young Elizabeth‚ flanked by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn‚ and Elizabeth sent Essex into battle amid maps and cardboard ships. The director’s scheme included a claustrophobic chamber for Sarah and Nottingham‚ and a metallic enclosure for the Tower scene. Lawless also proved effective in evoking the public nature of the opera’s events; Ian Robertson’s chorus sang with gusto throughout‚ serving as observers of the regime while courtiers Cecil (Amitai Pati) and Raleigh (Christian Pursell)‚ smirked and skulked and assumed watchful positions.'

Roberto Devereux‚ San Francisco Opera (September 2018)

'Above all‚ I loved the production by Stephen Lawless. The staging‚ which he created for Dallas Opera in 2009‚ and more significantly he revived for Canadian Opera Company in 2014 (also starring Radvanovsky)‚ was simple‚ quiet‚ yet very effective in my opinion.'

Roberto Devereux‚ San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Classical Voice (September 2018)

'Director Stephen Lawless uses his production to examine the narrative afterlives of real people. Benoît Dugardyn’s set is modeled on the Globe Theatre‚ emphasizing that what we’re seeing is a fiction. Characters from Elizabeth’s past make appearances as nineteenth-century diorama models encased in glass. At the end of the opera‚ Elizabeth steps into her own glass case. Lawless’s concept is coherent and adds a thought-provoking layer to a flimsily plotted opera.'

Roberto Devereux‚ San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Examiner (September 2018)

'San Francisco Opera has staged Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” just once‚ in 1979‚ but on Saturday‚ a new‚ glorious‚ instantly memorable production at the War Memorial Opera House more than made up for its long absence and rarity.

English director Stephen Lawless’ production raises the curtain on a set immediately recognizable as a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.'

Anna Bolena‚ Canadian Opera Company
Concerto Net (May 2018)

'Director Stephen Lawless has also created a silent role for Anna’s daughter‚ the red-haired Elizabeth‚ who becomes a pawn in the tug of war. Terrific singing and clever direction combine to create an involving evening...
The audience is treated to a mimed history lesson during the overture as the back story is explained (we also get to see the king’s first wife‚ the spurned and unhappy Katherine of Aragon). This works well‚ as does Lawless’s symbolic handling of the ever-present chorus.

Anna Bolena‚ Canadian Opera Company
Now Toronto (May 2018)

'Director Stephen Lawless gets some terrific effects from Benoit Durgardyn’s Globe Theatre-inspired set‚ particularly in the way the chorus of courtiers‚ beautifully helmed by Sandra Horst‚ get to gossip and comment on the action.'

Le Nozze di Figaro‚ Palm Beach Opera
South Florida Classical Review (March 2018)

'Stephen Lawless’s production manages to strike the perfect note between sex farce‚ social comedy and the darker overtones of servant verses master. Lawless’s staging is strongly character driven. In the best French farce tradition‚ rapid entrances and exits through doors and windows abound. '

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera (September 2012)

'However‚ none of these preliminary festivities could quite prepare us for Stephen Lawless’ production of conceptual‚ exquisite theatricality and superb singing.
Even though heavily abused by stage directors all around the world today‚ the “theater within a theater” device was right on the money in Lawless’ production...
Had Donizettti been present in the WNO’s audience Saturday night‚ he would probably repeat the words that he wrote to his wife back in 1830‚ after the opera’s premiere. “A triumphal success‚ delirium – it seemed as though the public had gone mad. Everyone said that they could not remember ever being present at such a decided triumph!” Whether you are into bloody thrillers set to great music or prefer a lighter entertainment‚ Lawless’ Anna Bolena is not the show to be missed.'