Francesca Zambello (Director for Two Women/La Ciociara) began her long association with San Francisco Opera in 1983 as an assistant stage director for Ariadne auf Naxos and has since been involved in more than fifty productions here, including La Traviata, La Voix Humaine, La Bohème, Prince Igor, Jenůfa, the West Coast premiere of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince, Porgy and Bess, Show Boat, a new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2011, and the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier. She served as the company’s Artistic Advisor from 2005-2011.
Zambello currently serves as General and Artistic Director of the Glimmerglass Festival and Artistic Director of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. Her work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera; Milan’s Teatro alla Scala; the Bolshoi; London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Munich’s Bavarian State Opera; the Paris Opera; New York City Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; and English National Opera, among others. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway and at the Royal National Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Vienna's Raimund Theater, Disneyland, Berlin's Theater des Westens, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Her extensive awards and credits include the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture and the Russian Federation's medal for service to culture, three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French Grand Prix des Critiques, the Helpmann Award, the Green Room Award, the Palme d’Or in Germany, and the Golden Mask in Russia. She began her directing career as Artistic Director of Milwaukee’s Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.