With his work recently being described as "pure poetry" (Boston Globe), stage director, choreographer, and dancer Zack Winokur is recognised as one of the most innovative and exciting talents working in opera today. Future highlights include directing The Black Clown at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde – the centrepiece of Santa Fe Opera’s 2020 season.
Highlights from this season include his “darkly captivating” (New York Times) production of Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine, with music by Tyshawn Sorey, text by Claudia Rankine, and starring Julia Bullock on the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Black Clown, an adaptation of the Langston Hughes poem starring Davóne Tines with music by Michael Schachter at the American Repertory Theater; Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Nederlandse Reisopera in collaboration with design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero and visual artist Cynthia Talmadge; and a new production of Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón starring Davóne Tines, also at the Met Museum. Recent highlights include, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea starring Anthony Roth Costanzo at the Cincinnati Opera; an immersive pairing of Gluck’s Orfeo and Matthew Aucoin’s Orphic Moment at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater; Monteverdi’s Il ballo delle Ingrate with William Christie, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Lotte de Beer at the Dutch National Opera and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with Stephen Wadsworth at Juilliard.
In 2017 Winokur founded AMOC (American Modern Opera Company). AMOC, which Winokur co-directs with composer Matthew Aucoin, is an ensemble of singers, musicians, and dancers committed to creating a body of new, discipline-colliding music-theater works. Described by the New York Times as “blindingly impressive” and “preternaturally talented,” AMOC’s productions are collaborations between its core members that range from operatic stage work to creatively curated chamber events. In its first 18 months, AMOC launched an annual Run AMOC! Festival at the American Repertory Theater, held its first major teaching and performance residency at Harvard University, was Artist-in-Residence at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, performed a new version of John Adams’ El Niño arranged specially for the company at the Met Cloisters, and made appearances at the Big Ears Festival, Clark Art Institute, and Rockport Chamber Music Festival.
In the press Winokur has been described as being “behind some of the most interesting productions we have seen on stage and concert halls anywhere lately”(WQXR). His most recent award-winning production of The Black Clown, a sold-out three week run at the American Repertory Theater, was described as “an exquisite show… precisely why we have and need theater” by WGBH. Of CAGE, a staged version of John Cage’s complete Sonatas and Interludes conceived by Winokur and AMOC’s pianist Conor Hanick for Run AMOC! Festival, the New York Times said it was “ probably the best instrumental concert I have seen all year by virtue of its rethinking of the basics of what a recital might be”. His original production of Were You There was described by the Los Angeles Times as “stagerring… astonishing… bringing overwhelming humanity to exactly the place where it is needed”. His production of Cavalli’s Venetian baroque masterpiece La Calisto for The Juilliard School was hailed as “one of the most elegant and imaginative shows seen in New York this season” in Opera News, garnered rave reviews in a plethora of other publications including the New York Times and Vogue, and received a nomination for Best Production of the Year in Opernwelt – the only American production to be nominated.
A truly multi-disciplinary artist, Winokur has collaborated with a diverse group of artists in a range of media, including Academy Award-nominated director Mike Figgis, pianist Rosey Chan, fashion house Boudicca, grime artist Pepstar, DJ crew A Tribe Called Red, artists Gerard & Kelly in venues from David Lynch’s Club Silencio, the Centre Pompidou, the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House, the Royal Opera House and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Additional productions include the The New Prince (Dutch National Opera, world premiere), Svadba (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Grand Theatre de Luxembourg, European premiere), Dido and Aeneas (La Nuova Musica at St John’s Smith Square), A Flowering Tree (Opera Omaha), Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, La Monnaie, Aldeburgh Music, DNO), Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Central City Opera, Juilliard Opera), Most of the Boys (Royal Opera House, world premiere), Mesh (International Contemporary Ensemble, world premiere), Triptych (Museum of Arts and Design), and a restaging of Episode 31 by Alexander Ekman for the Joffrey Ballet.
Winokur was born in Boston, Massachusetts and is a graduate of The Juilliard School.
One of the most elegant and imaginative shows seen in New York this season.
New York Times
"...probably the best instrumental concert I have seen all year by virtue of its rethinking of the basics of what a recital might be."
Sometimes you watch a production and experience total perfection. Yesterday evening was such a night. Sondheim’s A Little Night Music performed by the Nederlandse Reisopera, an opera company which chose to work on Sondheim musicals (Sweeney Todd was their earlier production), next to classic opera repertoire. And my oh my, what an excellent choice to do so.