The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director
“Emmanuel Villaume’s conducting is intense, passionate, and detailed, yet always considerate of the singers…”—The Guardian, London
French conductor Emmanuel Villaume has been The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director of The Dallas Opera since 2013. Formerly Music Director of Spoleto Festival USA (2001-2010) and Chief Conductor of both the Slovenian (2008-2013) and Slovak Philharmonic (2009-2016), he has been the Music Director of the PKF-Prague Philharmonia since 2015.
During TDO’s 2020/2021 Season, Villaume conducted the May 7, 2021, Viva Diva! concert marking the return to the company of Joyce DiDonato. Villaume led the company’s acclaimed 2019/2020 productions of The Magic Flute and The Golden Cockerel. Highlighting other previous TDO performances have been Don Giovanni, Samson et Dalila, Eugene Onegin, Norma, Faust, Le nozze di Figaro, and Carmen; the company premieres of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Der Ring des Polykrates, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Show Boat; and the much-acclaimed 2016 revival of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick.
Villaume appeared at the Metropolitan Opera most recently in 2018, confirming once again his brilliance in French repertoire with The Pearl Fishers. Earlier that year he led Sir David McVicar’s new Met production of Tosca, including a broadcast and HD simulcast.
In addition to the Met (where he has conducted eight operas since 2004), Villaume has been widely acclaimed throughout America. Closely associated with Lyric Opera of Chicago, he has also triumphed at the major companies of San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Santa Fe.
Equally successful internationally, Villaume has earned critical praise worldwide, from London’s Covent Garden and all the major French and German houses to Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Vienna’s Klangbogen Festival, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. Widely regarded as one of today’s premier interpreters of the gamut of 19th- and 20th-century French repertoire, he has also excelled in operas of Bellini, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Puccini, and Menotti.
Villaume’s guest-conducting of symphonic repertoire brings him annually to distinguished orchestras throughout the world. Among his performances in North America have been concerts with the Montreal Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the major orchestras of San Francisco, Houston, and Boston. Appearances with European ensembles include the Royal Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bonn’s Beethovenhalle Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Further afield, Villaume has led performances with the major orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, as well as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, China National Opera Orchestra (the latter for the 2008 Olympic Games), and the Royal Opera House Muscat.
Additional recent orchestral performances include return engagements at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall (Richard Tucker Gala) and Alice Tully Hall (Juilliard Orchestra), as well as concerts with Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, the Mariinsky Theater’s White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia), and a European concert tour of Iolanta with performances in Lucerne, Copenhagen, Monte Carlo, and London’s Royal Albert Hall, featuring Anna Netrebko.
Recent special projects on CD include Villaume’s collaborations with Netrebko and Benjamin Bernheim for Deutsche Grammophon, and with Andrew von Oeyen, Angela Gheorghiu, and Bryan Hymel for Warner Classics. Among Villaume’s performances on DVD are Meyerbeer’s Il crociato in Egitto, Massenet’s Chérubin, Puccini’s La rondine, and Menotti’s Goya.
The conductor studied music at the Conservatoire in Strasbourg, his hometown. He continued his education at the Sorbonne in Paris, receiving degrees in literature, philosophy, and musicology, before his appointment as Dramaturg of Strasbourg’s Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg at the age of 21. Villaume resides in Paris and Dallas.
Photo: Kyle Flubaker