Ellen Jackson is an opera and theatre director based in the US. She has worked with such companies as The Atlanta Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Arizona Opera, Opera San Antonio, OperaDelaware, Westminster Opera Theatre, and Opera Ithaca.
In the 2019-20 season, Ellen served as Studio Stage Director at The Atlanta Opera, where she assistant directed each production on the company’s season, including Tomer Zvulun’s new production of SALOME, Francesca Zambello’s production of PORGY & BESS, and Joan Font’s LA CENERENTOLA. During her time as a member of the Studio, she also wrote and directed BEYOND THE SEA, a new adaptation of MADAMA BUTTERFLY for radio, and served regularly as a dramatic coach to her Studio colleagues. Prior to arriving in Atlanta in the fall of 2019, Ellen joined Opera San Antonio to assist E. Loren Meeker on a production of TOSCA.
In the fall of 2020, Ellen makes her debut at Pittsburgh Festival Opera, directing the World Premiere of VIRGULA DIVINA (Brown + Lanay).
The 2018-2019 season saw Ellen immersed in new and contemporary works. She began the season as a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, where she assisted Tomer Zvulun’s production of SILENT NIGHT, as well as BEYOND LIBERTY, a new staged work featuring excerpts from the American songbook, starring Thomas Hampson and directed by Francesca Zambello. While at Glimmerglass, she also directed a staged reading of Stravinsky’s A SOLDIER’S TALE, as well as concerts for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In the fall, she joined Arizona Opera for the first time to assist Fenlon Lamb on a new production of CHARLIE PARKER’S YARDBIRD. In the spring, she directed an evening of four contemporary works for Westminster Opera Theatre in Princeton, NJ, including A FLOURISH OF GREEN (Mazzoli + Campbell), AVOW (Adamo), SERVICE PROVIDER (Weiss + De Los Santos), and TROUBLE IN TAHITI. She made her OperaDelaware debut, directing MAKE A SCENE, a devised game-show featuring excerpts from the inherited repertoire, OperaDelaware’s Young Artist corps, and a participatory audience.
In the summer of 2019, Ellen returned to the Glimmerglass Festival to assistant direct the world premiere of BLUE (Tesori + Thompson). She remained immersed in new works throughout her time at the festival, collaborating closely with composer-in-residence Nicholas Lell Benavides and librettist Marella Martin Koch to direct a reading of their opera PEPITO and a workshop of their new work, GILBERTO.
Ellen began her work as a director in Ithaca, NY, serving as Apprentice Stage Director for Opera Ithaca’s 2016-17 season, and continuing on as Resident Assistant Director and Associate Producer for the 2017-18 season. During her time with the company, she directed a semi-staged production of TOSCA, new productions of BULLY PULPIT (Hevner + Vavrek) and ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, wrote and directed new adaptations of LA CENERENTOLA and CARMEN for Young Audiences, created and operated supertitles for main stage productions, and assistant directed productions such as THUMBPRINT (Sankaram + Yankowitz), PAGLIACCI, and SONG FROM THE UPROAR (Mazzoli + Vavrek). During her time in Ithaca, Ellen was active within the broader community. She worked closely with the Ithaca New Music Collective, creating A GHOSTLY GATHERING, an immersive event featuring contemporary works for Halloween, and VOICES IN PROGRESS, a scenes program featuring new operatic works by female composers. She created her first-ever production with Savoyards Ithaca—a reverse-gender production of TRIAL BY JURY, presented at the Moot Courtroom at Cornell Law School.
Originally from Cleveland, OH, Ellen’s love of opera is rooted in a childhood filled with music. She earned a B.M. in Vocal Performance at Ithaca College, with a minor in French. While at Ithaca College, she developed a passion for musicological research, presenting a paper on John Adams’s THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER at the National Council on Undergraduate Research in 2015. She speaks fluent French, proficient German, and basic Italian. Her love of music, devotion to research, and linguistic curiosity inform her work as a stage director.
Ellen Jackson is represented by Stratagem Artists.