Nominated for Best Newcomer of 2015 at the International Opera Awards in London, Mary Birnbaum has been singled out as a stage director to watch.
Her recent production of The Rape of Lucretia at Juilliard garnered a rave from Anthony Tommasini at The New York Times who called it “viscerally overwhelming”. Other New York credits include Die Zauberflöte (Juilliard), the premiere of Jeremy Denk and Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style at Carnegie Hall in December 2014, and a 9-singer chamber version of Eugene Onegin, also for the Juilliard School, co-led by conductor Matt Aucoin.
Internationally, her work has taken her to Taiwan, Melbourne, Costa Rica, and Tel Aviv. In the summer of 2016, she directed Otello at the National Symphony Orchestra, Taipei.
Regionally, she has directed at Seattle, Santa Fe, Houston TX, Ojai and Berkeley, CA, Columbus, OH, and Charlottesville, VA. Her production of Hänsel und Gretel in Houston was #2 on a list of ‘Best Operas in 2014’, following only the Ring Cycle at HGO.
Ms. Birnbaum has produced and developed new plays and theatrical events in New York. From 2009-2012, Birnbaum founded/ran a theater company, Art Party, which produced story-specific events that engaged the audience in creative ways. STARBOX, a performance installation in Bryant Park, involved the audience lining up for a face-to-face meeting with a star. However the real play happened while the audience waited, as over 40 actors performed scenes all over the park. She has also worked with playwrights to develop new work, most notably in the Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab and at Ars Nova. She co-wrote/directed a feminist pop-concert called Baby No More Times with Melissa Lusk and Caroline V. McGraw.
Teaching and working with young singers is another important part of Ms. Birnbaum’s career. She was invited to teach acting at Juilliard at age 26 and now holds the position of Associate Director of the Artist Diploma Program. In addition, she has worked with singers from the Lindemann program in acting class and scenes. She has also taught master classes at Mannes and Opera Workshop at Bard.
Ms. Birnbaum holds an AB in English Language and Literature with a minor in French from Harvard College and a certificate in movement and design from Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Recent projects include the premiere of Kristin Kuster and Megan Levad's opera Kept at the Virginia Arts Festival, Double Exposure at Opera Philadelphia and As One at Lyric Opera Kansas City.