Stage Door News

Stockholm: Michael Cavanagh of Western University named new Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Opera

Monday, November 30, 2020

It has been announced that the international stage director Michael Cavanagh will be the new artistic director of opera at the Royal Opera in Stockholm from summer 2021.

He succeeds Birgitta Svendén, who has been in the post for 11 years and who will remain as CEO until 2022.

Michael Cavanagh has been one of Canada’s busiest and most successful opera stage directors for more than 20 years. He has directed well over 150 productions at companies all over North America and Europe. Recent career highlights include new productions at Royal Swedish Opera (Aida), San Francisco Opera (Susannah, Lucia di Lammermoor, Svadba-Wedding), and Vancouver Opera (Otello). His hugely successful production of Nixon in China by John Adams was first produced in Vancouver to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. He has remounted it several times, notably in San Francisco, Dublin, Ireland, and the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.

Former artistic director of Edmonton Opera, he has directed multiple productions there and throughout Canada, including Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, and Calgary Opera. He debuted at L’Opéra de Québec with Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi in 2016.

In the United States, he has directed productions at Opera Philadelphia, Boston Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Austin Opera, Kansas City Opera, Minnesota Opera, and many others. Mr. Cavanagh made his Covent Garden debut in 2006, directing a new chamber opera, The Midnight Court, by Ana Sokolovic. He has developed and staged many new pieces, and is in high demand as a dramaturge and teacher. As a librettist, he has enjoyed critical and popular success with seven chamber operas with 3 different composers.

Upcoming highlights include return engagements with the opera companies of Montreal, Quebec City, and Calgary, as well as his debut with San Diego Opera. Beginning in fall of 2019, he will embark on a major project, directing new productions of all three Mozart-DaPonte operas in San Francisco.

Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mr. Cavanagh now lives in London, Ontario where he is on faculty at Western University.

Photo: Michael Cavanagh. © 2020 Anita Watkins.