Rodula Gaitanou

Stage director

"Rodula Gaitanou’s thoughtful production brings insight and clarity to Verdi’s tragedy."

The Guardian, Tim Ashley, June 2018

"the characters are well defined, the chorus groupings perfectly handled, and every detail of the staging is a delight."

Financial Times, Richard Fairman, June 2018

Download full biography

London-based stage director Rodula Gaitanou was nominated in the Best Director category at the International Opera Awards for her stunning new production of La Traviata last summer at Opera Holland Park. In Season 2019/20, she returns to Wexford Festival Opera to direct her new production of Don Quichotte, and travels to Germany to direct Un ballo in Maschera at Oldenburgisches Staatstheater. At Bergen Opera she directs La Clemenza di Tito before traveling to Opera Theatre of St Louis to direct Carmen in her American debut.

Last season Rodula directed a widely acclaimed new production of L’oracolo/La Mala Vita on a double bill to open Wexford Opera Festival, and she returned to Gothenburg Opera as revival director of Pagliacci/Cavalleria Rusticana. Miss Gaitanou directed a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera at Opera Holland Park, generating exceptional reviews from critics and colleagues alike.

Previous highlights include new productions of Ariadne auf Naxos for Göteborgs Operan, Sweden, La traviata at Opera Holland Park, London, Guillaume Tell at Victorian Opera, Melbourne, Australia and Lucia de Lammermoor at Opera Hedeland, Hedehusene, Denmark.

Originally a violinist, Rodula Gaitanou studied the Mousikoi Orizontes Conservatory in Athens where she was born and continued her studies in Musicology at La Sorbonne University in Paris. She switched to Opera Staging at Université Paris 8 and undertook Physical Theatre studies at the International Theatre School Jacques Lecoq.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Un ballo in maschera, Opera Holland Park

June 2019

Holland Park’s mini-Glyndebourne is now open for business, and in Rodula Gaitanou’s production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera it has a winner. The big directorial decisions have been spot-on…

Michael Church, The Independent, 9 June 2019

Rodula Gaitanou’s thoughtful new production for Opera Holland Park treads a delicate line between heart and horror, keeping its feet even as the story and its protagonists start their dizzy whirl into the climactic final dance-to-the-death… Gaitanou’s direction is sensitive and sympathetic, capturing the opera's widescreen spectacle and its intimate awfulness.

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, 10 June 2019

The Greek director Rodula Gaitanou has made OHP’s intractably wide stage seem like a walk in the park. Her staging of Un ballo in maschera is one of the company’s finest, so much so that last year’s memorable La traviata now seems like a dress rehearsal for the main event. This is a director who understands how to use three dimensions, how to energise characters, how to create convincing stage logic from improbable situations and how to guide the eye of her audience through a busy expanse of space. None of these things happen by chance…They require an eye that’s steeped in operatic stagecraft and the kind of aesthetic sensibility that enables her, for example, to think of masks as recurring symbols of human secretiveness, from fencing helmets to travelling disguises to the faces at a masked ball.

Mark Valencia, Bachtrack, 10 June 2019

Set in what appears to be the 1940s (as opposed to 1792 Sweden), Rodula Gaitanou’s Un ballo in Maschera is a brilliant take on Verdi’s opera. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the appearance of a hospital in the second act, instead of at the gallows outside of the town at midnight. In Gaitanou’s reading, Amelia is being given a ‘cure’. Gaitanou sets the opening scene as a fencing class…It all works well. Ballo is a difficult work to stage persuasively, and Gaitanou’s thought-provoking insights will withstand many a viewing, revealing layer upon layer of depth.

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 15 June 2019

Rodula Gaitanou's direction generally focused proceedings to the middle of the viewpoint. Her placing of the work to about 1940 worked well, and blended tradition with some neat ideas – not least casting Oscar as a feisty and charming young woman rather than the usual annoying teenager. Gaitanou’s handling of the cast was exemplary, and the characters totally believable as they became increasingly mired in their complex relationships.

Opera Now, Francis Muzzu, September 2019

L’oracolo & Mala vita, Wexford Festival Opera

October 2018

Both operas, though, were punchily staged by Rodula Gaitanou and skilfully designed by Cordelia Chisholm. Keeping the setting as San Francisco — Chinatown in 1900 gave way to 1950s Little Italy — made thematic sense, suggesting two equally claustrophobic worlds, and Gaitanou’s violent embellishments to both denouements rang true.

Neil Fisher, The Irish Times, 22 October 2018

Director, Rodula Gaitanou’s approach to the opera’s relentless sensationalism was to ramp it up and make the ending even more shocking and gory. In the libretto Uin-Scî, the learned doctor and father of murdered Uin-San-Lui, merely strangles the villain, props him on a bench and pretends to talk to him to avoid detection by the passing policeman. Not content with exacting revenge, Gaitanou’s Uin-Scî starts performing a gruesome surgical removal of the villain’s heart which he bears aloft in gloating triumph before the policeman catches him in the act at the end. It had the audience gasping audibly...Gaitanou’s modernisation was tasteful and clever and even the changed ending…

Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack, 21 October 2018

Director Rodula Gaitanou made the final revenge killing even more bloodthirsty than intended by the composer and librettist, though in broad terms her punchy production remained close to the spirit of the piece... a corner of Little Italy, the site of Gaitanou’s equally accomplished production of Mala vita (Wretched Life, 1892), the second half of the evening’s double bill.

Opera Now, George Hall, December 2018

Rodula Gaitanou's staging of the two pieces was often guileful.

Opera, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, January 2019

Guillaume Tell, Victorian Opera

July 2018

Top marks, then, to Richard Mills...Together with director, Rodula Gaitanou, he has shorn the work of its ballet music to “achieve clear storytelling, strong drama and unfussy, lucid staging”. To a large extent, they have succeeded in their aim. The resulting length of this production is a bit over three hours, but time passes quickly as the dramatic pacing rarely flags.

Limelight, Tony Way, 15 July 2018

Rodula Gaitanou directs in a way that is paradoxically restrained and bold, an attitude that filters into every aspect of the production. She encourages her villains to push into the grotesque but then reins in some of the opera’s most melodramatic turning points. It’s a tricky balancing act, executed with great skill...Gaitanou and Mills have tapped into the work’s magnetic power, and unleashed something truly resonant. Lovers of the form are going to rush from all corners of the nation to join this fight.

Timeout, Tim Byrne, 16 July 2018

La traviata, Opera Holland Park

June 2018

The direction of the third act is flawless.

The Independent, Michael Church, June 2018

This is the most distinguished new Traviata to reach London in years.

WhatsOnStage, Mark Valencia, June 2018

a remarkably complete depiction of the work’s central themes.

The Stage,George Hall, June 2018

A highly successful and engrossing production by Rodula Gaitanou.

Bachtrack​, Dominic Lowe, June 2018

Rodula Gaitanou’s La traviata is an exceptionally intelligent affair.

MusicOMH, Sam Smith, June 2018

Ariadne auf Naxos, The Göteborg Opera

February 2018

Gothenburg Opera's dazzling production

The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning , February 2018

Pure Magic!...If I could only use one word to describe this new production the word would be “inspired”. Director Rodula Gaitanou was an inspired choice for the Gothenburg Opera and together with a superb team she created one of the most memorable and beautiful opera productions I have ever seen.

Seen and Heard International, Niklas Smith, February 2018

These photos are available to be downloaded.
Right click on a desired image and select the "Save Link As" option.