Stephen Langridge is represented by Rayfield Allied General Management.

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Stephen Langridge

Stage director

  • the theatrical experience is the thing: it is overwhelming
    Colin Anderson, The Opera Critic
  • a brilliantly conceived achievement...the stagecraft of this production is stunning
    Betty Mohr, South Town Star Chicago
  • a visually enthralling production by Stephen Langridge
    Hugh Canning, Opera
  • Stephen Langridge studied drama at Exeter University. Particularly noted for his work in the field of opera, he has directed numerous productions worldwide, including at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Salzburg Festival, Stockholm Royal Opera, Tokyo Opera City, Bregenz Festival, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos Lisbon, Den Norske Opera Oslo, Opera di Roma, Grange Park Opera, Greek National Opera, Volksoper Wien and at the operas of Bordeaux, Malmö and Angers-Nantes.

    A strong advocate of contemporary music, he has directed several world premieres, including productions of major new works for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Aldeburgh Festival, Nationale Reisopera, and for Glyndebourne.

    He is also well known for his large-scale theatre work in unusual settings - including Bernstein’s West Side Story and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in UK Prisons, and Ngoma, a multi-racial music and theatre project in South African townships - and for his work with integrated groups of disabled and non-disabled young people with Share Music Sweden. He regularly leads training, development, and education projects for opera companies and orchestras across Europe.

    Stephen Langridge is Artistic Director for Opera and Drama at Göteborgsoperan where his first production, Le Nozze di Figaro, opened the 14/15 season to critical acclaim.
    Other recent engagements include a new production of Parsifal for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

    2015/16 included a new production of Thomas’ Hamlet at Göteborgsoperan, as well as Theodora at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Carmen for Greek National Opera. In 2016/17, Stephen directs Elektra in Gothenburg, where further plans also include a full Ring cycle 2018-2021.

    • Hamlet
      Gothenburg Opera (April 2016)

      Langridge has found canny ways around some of the score’s minor weaknesses: he had the chorus sniff cocaine before one unlikely modulation in Act I; and he plays Hamlet’s drinking song in Act II as something darkly desperate (for many it’s Thomas’s biggest act of sacrilege). The best bits (the end of the second act, the trio at the start of Act III and Ophelie’s demise) can, with the right direction, astonish. Langridge provided the right direction, both for these highpoints, and elsewhere. His contemporary Danish setting succeeds in banishing Shakespeare while his vision of Hamlet’s psychological demise broadens the limited emotional range of the opera by tapping the play (but not obviously). ... Langridge’s transferral of the gravediggers’ scene to a mortuary points up the tragedy that the score can’t quite project, and his directing of Ophelia’s drowing is spellbinding.
      Andreas Mellor, Opera Now ****
      Stephen Langridge ... transferred the plot skilfully into the present tense without losing the horrid activities at the Danish court in the past: during the dark orchestral intro, the audience became a silent observer of the murder of the Danish king by his brother Claudius, using a lethal injection. A cold-blooded murderer such as this considers himself safe and relies on a surveillance state. ... The climax of this impressive production was the theatrical company who, prompted by Hamlet, re-enacts the murder of the previous king in front of the entire court.
      S. Martens, Opernglas
      In Langridge’s staging, the story has been moved to modern Denmark. The delirious royalists stand against the anti-nationalist street rallies. Fear is everywhere, as well as delusion and aggression. The thriller atmosphere in the scene with the Ghost almost reaches the chill of horror master David Cronenberg. To bring him up on a screen at a security gate is really good. It is one of the sophisticated staging solutions that make this Hamlet extremely tension-charged and Langridge’s most impressive production in Sweden so far.
      Martin Nyström, DN kultur
      At the Gothenburg Opera director Stephen Langridge, who is also head of the opera in Gothenburg, tried to bring back the policies of the drama again purely scenic. He has placed the production in contemporary Denmark’s monarchy, politics and barricades. The aesthetic is very much one of hoodies, jeans, corrugated sheets, spray cans and plastic. The ghost appears in a surveillance camera in a security gate. It was successfully gripping.
      Ella Petersson, SVT
      Stephen Langridge’s production emphatically marks that we are in Denmark. The chorus of fickle people are at first happily waving Danish flags to King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. The people soon discover, however, like Hamlet, that something is “rotten” in the state of Denmark, as it says on the placard while Hamlet is hiding in the crowd with the help of a cap and hooded jacket. Properly entertaining - but Langridge’s Danish politicized modernization becomes a most poignant observation, where Thomas’ opera is in the first place a chamber play about a timeless and gruesome family history.
      Lennart Bromander, Aftonbladet
      Under Stephen Langridge’s direction, the historical Denmark has become an extremely contemporary, and at the same time both an ugly and a beautiful country, with its police force and the red-white flags, the X-ray screenings for the royal visit, with memorials, flowers and candles in the streets, and gravediggers who have been turned into pathologists; here we first see Hamlet’s father’s ghost through surveillance cameras. The story-telling is clear and unmissable.
      Per Feltzin, Sverige Radio
      This update to our time is edgy. And it’s impressive.
      Gunilla Brodrej, Expressen
    • Theodora
      Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (October 2015)

      At the Theatre des Champs Elysees, Stephen Langridge devised a staging of Handel’s oratorio that is more meditative than explicitly descriptive. [A] fine and worthy production. [Langridge’s] work also communicates more by ellipse than by representation... Theodora and Didymus could very well evade their fate by submitting to the Roman law. But they resist and forget earthly life, determined to unite for eternity in death, like Tristan and Isolde. It is this renouncement that has obviously interested Stephen Langridge. So he hides the displays that others would be eager to show, such as the execution and violation of prostitutes, by the discreet movement of panels.
      Philippe Venturini, Les Echos
      The staging by Brit Stephen Langridge is one of finesse and luminous simplicity. Using a timeless stage design with movable walls, playing with open or closed spaces, … he places the singers and choir in the mental space of their psychological deliberation or their sentimental energy.
      Hélène Kuttner, Artistik Rezo
      Simple and uncluttered, [Langridge’s staging] focuses on the definition and the psychology of the characters. … The question is, how far where can we fight? Terror, torture, murder, and threats of rape as a political weapon of totalitarian power are at the centre of the piece. Timeless though terribly current, as Stephen Langridge makes no specific contemporary references.
      Lorenzo Ciavarini Azzi, France TV Info
      [Langridge’s] clever minimalist staging
      Olivier Brunel, Concertonet
    • Le Nozze di Figaro
      Gothenburg Opera (September 2014)

      A Figaro could not be more perfect. ... Mr Langridge keeps the action in the same location but moves it forward to the final years of the Franco regime in Spain in the 1970s. This involves no violence to the plot and allows some lovely comic touches, in particular Cherubino’s rock-star act in “Voi che sapete” and Figaro’s sky-blue wedding suit (and disco steps!). The direction and choreography are particularly fine in the ensemble scenes where the interaction between the characters is perfect, as is the elegant choreography of the chorus scenes. Moving the Countess’ “Dove sono” to straight after the Count’s “Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro” was inspired – thanks to the set the Countess sings of her determination to regain Almaviva’s love while the audience sees him presiding over the rigged hearing which will force Figaro to marry Marcellina in the room behind.
      Niklas Smith, Seen and Heard International
      Artistic director of Gothenburg Opera Stephen Langridge moves the abstruse and muddled plot of Lorenzo Da Ponte's libretto from the late eighteenth century into a timeless setting. ... Figaro in Gothenburg: this is how to do opera!
      Waltraut Anna Kautz, bachtrack
    • Parsifal
      Royal Opera House (November 2013)

      The triumph of this new interpretation, directed by Stephen Langridge and designed by Alison Chitty, is that it de-sanctifies Parsifal : all trace of pseudo-sacred mumbo-jumbo is removed. What we get instead is a visual shorthand, contemporary but timeless, that illuminates the opera’s philosophical complexity while keeping the narrative both straightforward and continually mesmerising. Across a five-hour span, that is no mean feat... The bottom line is that Langridge has divined a Parsifal of intellectual fibre and visual eloquence, matched to a musical performance of exceptional sensitivity under Antonio Pappano. His is not a slow Parsifal, but a spacious, urgent reading with oodles of sensuousness in Act Two and disarming tenderness in the Good Friday music.
      Andrew Clark, Financial Times *****
      Stephen Langridge’s new production confronts this troubled and troubling piece unflinchingly... It’s certainly a dramatically consistent world, dominated by the intensive-care cubicle in which Amfortas is contained, and hardly altering even for the deliberately unexotic realm – flower maidens in headscarves – that Willard White’s Klingsor rules in the second. And instead of ignoring or sidestepping the more unsavoury aspects of the libretto, Langridge does attempt to tackle many of them, sometimes in lurid detail, so that the disjunction between them and Wagner’s sublime music is often disturbingly clear.
      Andrew Clements, The Guardian ****
      He (Langridge) justifies it in the two long hours of the first act, establishing the narrative superbly in a clear way that builds steady tension through extended time-spans and adopts a cool, considered line on Wagner’s pseudo-Christian ritualism — one of the divisive issues in the piece.
      Michael White, The New York Times
      Stephen Langridge’s new production of Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal, grapples intelligently with the big issues of this problematic work.
      Barry Millington, Evening Standard ****
      What is Wagner trying to tell us about Christianity, Buddhism, race, blood, sin, redemption? In Langridge's production, laden with signposts and visual rubric, there was plenty of opportunity to ponder these questions.
      Fiona Maddocks, The Observer ****
    • The Minotaur
      Royal Opera House - Revival

      First performed in 2008, Stephen Langridge’s exemplary production of The Minotaur returned, with mostly the same cast and greater clarity and force.
      Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
      Stephen Langridge’s production is stylish, playing out in the wan sunlight and oppressive darkness of Alison Chitty’s set.
      Erica Jeal, The Guardian *****
      Stephen Langridge’s production, designed by Alison Chitty, is as sure-footed as ever.
      Barry Millington, The Evening Standard
      Awesome, forbidding, an opera of unremitting dark power… Birtwistle’s voice is so compelling, and the production so arresting, that the slowly unfolding drama never lets go. Stephen Langridge’s simple but striking production skillfully blends ancient and modern, placing the Minotaur in a circular lair, like the orchestra of a Greek theatre (or a bull-ring) and overseen by a masked Chorus.
      Richard Fairman, Financial Times
      Birtwistle’s visceral piece has lost none of its immediacy since it first appeared at Covent Garden. In fact, although the shock value is as high in Stephen Langridge’s skilful production, the relationships between its major characters seem more intense, and the opera’s psychological message hits harder.
      Neil Fisher, The Times
    • The Damnation of Faust
      Lyric Opera of Chicago

      Hector Berlioz never meant his légend dramatique, La Damnation de Faust, to be staged, but modern directors cannot resist the challenge. Stephen Langridge took up the daunting task with his brilliant new production for Lyric Opera of Chicago at the Civic Opera House. The Lyric’s first staging of any Berlioz work was striking in its edginess, wit and unabashed theatricality. Langridge downplayed the work’s inherent Romantic sentimentality, and the result was a contemporary gloss on the Faust legend of the sort the sardonic devil might have dreamt up for the amusement of guests at a hip soirée in Hades.
      John von Rhein, Opera Magazine
    • The Minotaur
      Royal Opera House - World Premiere

      Entirely in keeping with Birtwistle’s music, Stephen Langridge’s production unfolds the drama unfussily, with clarity and directness.
      Christopher Ballantine, Opera Magazine
      The taut splendour of Stephen Langridge's production, brilliantly conducted by Antonio Pappano and inoffensively designed by Alison Chitty, gives it a succes d'estime.
      Andrew Clark, Financial Times
  • Timeline

    Stephen Langridge
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