Jean Pierre Ponnelle

World-renowned designer and director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932–1988) began his long relationship with San Francisco Opera designing the Company productions of Orff’s Die Kluge in 1958 and designed both sets and costumes for the U.S. premiere of Die Frau ohne Schattenin 1959. Ponnelle’s additional productions here include La Cenerentola (the first American project in which he served as both director and designer), Carmen, Falstaff, Rigoletto, Der Fliegende Holländer, Così fan tutte, Lear, Otello, Gianni Schicchi, Tosca, Turandot, La Bohème, Il Prigioniero, and Idomeneo. The Paris native studied at the Sorbonne and in 1952 created the scenery for the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s first opera, Boulevard Solitude. During the 1950s, he designed productions for the principal German theaters and made design debuts at the Vienna State Opera, the Rome Opera, and the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Televised productions included Idomeneo and Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met and Die Zauberflöte at the Salzburg Festival, as well as filmed versions of Madama Butterfly, Carmina Burana, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Clemenza di Tito, and the three extant Monteverdi operas.