Faculty & Staff Profiles

Matthew Ozawa

Assistant Professor and Opera Director

American stage director Matthew Ozawa has an international career spanning all artistic disciplines, having worked for prestigious companies worldwide including Canadian Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Siam, Macau International Festival, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Additionally, Ozawa is the founder and artistic director of Mozawa, a Chicago-based incubator advancing collaborative art and artists.

His most recent acclaimed productions include: Celebrating Placido Domingo (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Don Quichotte (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Romeo and Juliet (Minnesota Opera), L’Opera Seria (American Premiere – Wolf Trap Opera), A Little Night Music (Des Moines Metro Opera), Sweeney Todd (Skylight Music Theater), Le Nozze di Figaro (North Carolina Opera), Madama Butterfly (Arizona Opera), Frankenstein (West Edge Opera), and After The Storm (World Premiere – Houston Grand Opera).

Other recent directing credits include: Nabucco (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Hand Eye (Eighth Blackbird/Carnegie Hall), Arizona Lady (American Premiere – Arizona Opera), Second Nature (World Premiere – Lyric Unlimited – Lyric Opera of Chicago),  Snow Dragon (Opera Siam), Tsuru (World Premiere – Houston Ballet/Asia Society), Porcelain (Prologue Theater Company), Snow Dragon (World Premiere – Skylight Music Theater), Les Mamelles de Tiresias/Le Pauvre Matelot (New Production – Wolf Trap Opera), Don Giovanni (Lyric Opera of Chicago – Ryan Opera Center), Canciones y arias (Lyric Unlimited), A Little Night Music (Houston Grand Opera), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Lyric Opera of Chicago – Ryan Opera Center), and the world premiere of The Memory Stone (Houston Grand Opera – HGOco).

Additional directing and choreography credits include scenes for the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Scenes, a site-specific Act III of Crowded House: The Winter’s Tale for The State Theater, The Pride for Prologue Theater Company, the electro-theatre piece Radio Ghosts for New Leaf Theater, La Boheme for Opera North, several student matinee performances and second casts for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Falstaff for Opera in the Heights in Houston, and A Son at the Front at the Athenaeum Theater in Chicago. Ozawa made his New York directorial debut, directing/ choreographing, writing, conceiving and producing Bound Shadow. In addition, he has directed numerous theater and opera productions for Oberlin College and Conservatory, including Tales from OvidSuddenly Last Summer, and The Crane Wife (world premiere opera) among others.

In 2013, Ozawa created Mozawa, a company devoted to the art of collaboration that provides a diverse array of artists the opportunity to break boundaries through the act of synthesizing their art with others. He has conceived and directed the world premieres of several Mozawa collaborations including: A Dream Play (an interdisciplinary production in collaboration with Bow & Hammer, sponsored by High Concept Laboratory), Y Portraits: Origins and Y Portraits: Awakening (an art gallery experience, featuring over 50 international artists from all mediums, in collaboration with Chicago Harp Quartet & Ho Etsu Taiko Ensemble), and Fallen (a theatrical adaptation of Akutagawa’s In A Grove featuring collaborative composition by Koto musician Yumi Kurosawa and electronic sound artist Mike Vernusky).

As an associate and assistant director, Ozawa has worked for Canadian Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Opera Theatre of St Louis, Opera Colorado, Macau International Festival, Indianapolis Opera, and Off-Broadway. He has worked with world-renowned directors including Peter Sellars, Robert Carsen, Francesca Zambello, David Alden, Bob Falls, Rob Ashford, Gary Griffin, Francisco Negrin, and James Robinson.

Besides working professionally in opera and theater, Ozawa is equally comfortable in the world of music and dance, having studied with world-renowned composer/director/choreographer Meredith Monk as well as dancer Simone Forti.

A proponent of arts education, Ozawa is an assistant professor of music at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In addition, he has acted as a lecturer for the School of Music at DePaul University and stage director of opera for the School of Music at North Park University. As an acting and movement coach, Ozawa has worked with young singers at the Santa Fe Opera, Ryan Opera Center (Lyric Opera of Chicago), DePaul University, Rider University, and North Park University.

Ozawa has received numerous awards, honors, and fellowships. In 2012, Ozawa was the Judges’ Winner of the 24hr Opera Competition for Atlanta Opera. In 2011, he studied with Anne Bogart during the SITI Summer Theater Training Program at Skidmore College. In 2010, he was a Charles MacKay Career Development Honoree at Opera Theatre of St Louis. He was awarded a directing fellowship with Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2007, followed by a dramaturgy fellowship in 2008. Ozawa was also awarded the James S. McLaughlin Memorial Prize in Theater for his work at Oberlin (BA in Musicology and Music Theory), as well as being honored Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Lambda.

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