DIRECTOR | PRODUCER

 
"Thanks to James' vision this novel production offered a deeply moving experience." -ITHACA TIMES
 
"Director, Zachary James pulled some rabbits out of the hat, proving our point that singers (he's a well-known bass) make the best directors."
-VOCE DI MECHE
"Opera Ithaca made chorus, circus performers and the leads a vast social unit in James’ startling imagining of a spell-binding Pagliacci that glowed with rough magic and crooked charm."
-ITHACA TIMES
In addition to being a sought after international opera singer, Zachary James is devoted to arts leadership in many capacities and is deeply committed to ensuring the future of opera as a living, evolving art form. Zach began his work as a producer and director in 2007 when he founded the Metropolis Opera Project in NYC whose home was the Medicine Show Theatre on West 52nd Street. From 2007 through 2012 Zach served as the General Director of Metropolis Opera Project where he produced dozens of operas, concerts and community events. With a primary focus on commissioning, developing and producing new operatic works, Zach was responsible for the world premieres of One Hot Kitchen by Kristin Hevner, Daniel Wyatt and David Caudle, Bully Pulpit by Kristin Hevner Wyatt, Daniel Wyatt and Royce Vavrek, The Nightingale and the Rose by Benjamin Scheuer, Obesa Cantavit by Larry Lees, Crossing the Straits by Christopher Sahar and the USA premiere of Il Sogno by Kristin Hevner Wyatt and Vittorio Rosetta. Zach directed the NYC workshop of Bonnie Montgomery and Britt Barber's Billy Blythe, a folk opera about President Bill Clinton as a boy, which received international attention from the BBC, CNN and the New Yorker, an opera which he curated for Opera Ithaca's second season in a world premiere production. For Metropolis Opera Project Zach directed Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Grammy Award winning Sheldon Harnick's rarely performed opera, Frustration, with the composer in attendance and continues to serve the company as Founding Director and Producer. Additional Metropolis Opera Project directing credits include Kristin Hevner Wyatt and Royce Vavrek's The Wednesday Before Last and Unsaid in a Field of Wildflowers. For Opera Ithaca, where Zach served as General Director from 2014 to 2018, he produced Bluebeard's Castle, directed and produced the professional company premiere of Il Sogno, produced Don Giovanni, Die Fledermaus, the world premiere of Billy Blythe, directed and produced Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, directed and produced a gala event entitled Masquerade which combined aerial circus arts and opera, produced the second production ever of Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz's Thumbprint and for the 2017/2018 season directed The Pirates of Penzance and a new production of Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci.​ in an environmental production at Circus Culture with an ensemble of circus artists including Cirque du Soleil’s Sean Blue. For the 2018/2019 Opera Ithaca season Zach conceives and directs a new production of Hamlet to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Ambroise Thomas opera. 
 

EDUCATOR

Zach served on faculty of Ithaca College School of Music in 2015 where he taught Opera Workshop and directed a program of opera scenes from contemporary American composers Missy Mazzoli, Kamala Sankaram, Kristin Hevner, Christopher Sahar, Conrad Cummings and more. Zach has taught master classes in performance practice and audition technique and has guest lectured for Yale University, Ithaca College, Virginia Tech, Drake University, College of Western Idaho, Stetson University, Arizona State University, Cornell University, University of Maryland, University of Delaware, Opera Philadelphia’s Voce Teen program, Des Moines Performing Arts’ Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards program and NYC's Broadway Classroom and A Class Act. 

DIRECTING CREDITS

 
Hamlet
OPERA ITHACA
 
Masquerade
OPERA ITHACA
 
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
OPERA ITHACA
 
I Pagliacci 
OPERA ITHACA
The Pirates of Penzance
OPERA ITHACA
Frustration
METROPOLIS OPERA PROJECT
 
Imbecile d'amour
BIRDLAND, DON'T TELL MAMA, GORILLA TANGO
 
Unsaid in a Field of Wildflowers
METROPOLIS OPERA PROJECT
 
The Wednesday Before Last
METROPOLIS OPERA PROJECT
 
Billy Blythe (Workshop)
METROPOLIS OPERA PROJECT
 
Il Sogno (Professional Company Premiere)
OPERA ITHACA
 
New Opera Scenes Program
ITHACA COLLEGE
Doctor Atomic (Apprentice Scenes Program)
DES MOINES METRO OPERA

PRODUCING CREDITS
 

METROPOLIS OPERA PROJECT, NYC
Imbecile d'amour 
The Black Swan Theory
Il Sogno (USA Premiere)
Feast in Time of Plague
Bully Pulpit (World Premiere)
Two Blind Beggars
Frustration
Crossing the Straits (World Premiere)
Obesa Cantavit (World Premiere)
The Nightingale and the Rose (World Premiere)
One Hot Kitchen (World Premiere)
Tosca
OPERA ITHACA, ITHACA NY
Bluebeard's Castle
Il Sogno (Professional Company Premiere)
Don Giovanni
Die Fledermaus
Billy Blythe (World Premiere)
Masquerade
Thumbprint
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
La Cenerentola
I Pagliacci
The Pirates of Penzance
Bully Pulpit
Tosca
Carmen
Song from the Uproar

Pirates of Penzance

Pagliacci

Abduction from the Seraglio