SFOpera - 3 Things You May Not Know About Francesca Zambello

3 Things You May Not Know About Francesca Zambello

Director Francesca Zambello. Photo: Claire McAdams.Ring Director Francesca Zambello is no novice when it comes to directing Wagner's masterpiece: She directed the 2011 San Francisco Opera production and has since brought the Ring to Washington National Opera. The intricacies she weaves into her artistry stem from her varied artistic background and intriguing international upbringing. Here are three things you may not know about Director Francesca Zambello.

1. She got her start in theater.

In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, Zambello revealed where she got her start. "I’m in the family business. My mother is an actress. My father started as an actor. So many of their friends were people in the theater. If my parents were working, I was backstage watching. Of course, I started to mimic them, but I was most interested in the stage manager. From about age five, I loved to sit with that person as they would say, 'Move this here, move that there.' When I was still a child I started a theater company in my basement with kids from around the neighborhood. So the directing gene, which is a leadership gene, started early on."

2. She speaks five languages.

Zambello grew up in Europe, where she studied at Moscow University and began her career as Assistant Director to late French opera director, Jeane Pierre-Ponnelle. Through the years, she has picked up a variety of languages and can speak English, French, German, Italian and Russian. This command of language, no doubt, is essential to her international success.

3. She's worked on over 50 productions at San Francisco Opera.

Zambello began her long association with San Francisco Opera in 1983 as assistant stage director for Ariadne auf Naxos and has since been involved in more than 50 productions, including Luisa Miller, Show Boat, Porgy and Bess, the 2011 Ring cycle, La Traviata, La Voix humaine, La Bohème, Prince Igor, Jenůfa, the West Coast premiere of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince and the world premieres of Heart of a Soldier and Two Women.

Learn more about Francesca Zambello here.

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