Douglas Horton is a graduate of MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY, and a director of, and writer for, theatre, opera and hybrid works. While directing numerous freelance projects, he is probably best known for his work with the contemporary opera and music-theatre company which he founded in 1988, CHAMBER MADE OPERA, where he was Artistic Director until 2009. He was the recipient, in 1995, of a YOUNG AUSTRALIAN CREATIVE FELLOWSHIP and has been a recipient of THE MYER GROUP ARTS AWARD, THE AGE THEATRE AWARD and numerous GREENROOM and HELPMANN AWARDS.
He began his professional career as assistant to stage director Jean-Pierre Mignon at AUSTRALIAN NOUVEAU THEATRE working on Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD in 1984 and then with Mignon at THE VICTORIAN STATE OPERA in 1985 and 1986 he worked on Bizet’s CARMEN, Puccini’s MADAM BUTTERFLY and Beethoven’s FIDELIO. In 1987 he worked with David Freeman at the ZURICH OPERA FACTORY in Switzerland on Handel’s THEADORA, and with Anthony Besch, head of opera studies at the GUILDHALL OF MUSIC AND DRAMA in London.
His own first production was Monteverdi’s THE CORONATION OF POPPEA in a ‘bonsai’ opera version for LAMAMA THEATRE in 1983 and then in an expanded version for AUSTRALIAN NOUVEAU THEATRE in 1984. He went on to direct THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI for ST MARTINS THEATRE in 1985, SAFE HOUSE by Ron Elisha for PLAYBOX THEATRE in 1986, and THE WOODEN CHILD for HANDSPAN THEATRE in 1987.
Other freelance projects include staging Ionesco’s THE CHAIRS for the MELBOURNE THEATRE COMPANY in 2000, and four opera productions for Antwerp-based chamber opera company MUSIEKTHEATER TRANSPARANT: Bernstein’s TROUBLE IN TAHITI and Menotti’s THE MEDIUM in 1997, and in 2000, and two operatic works by baroque Czech composer, Brixi.
As the Artistic Director of CHAMBER MADE OPERA from 1988 to 2009 Douglas Horton produced over thirty world and Australian premieres of contemporary opera, music-theatre and hybrid works, presented by the major international arts festivals and leading venues in Washington, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Gronigen, Leiden, Brugge, Brussels, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Singapore, Caracas, Bogota, and San Jose, as well as by the major Australian arts festivals.
For the company he commissioned, developed and/or directed seasons of Donald Hollier’s THE HEIRESS after Henry James in 1988; Philip Glass’ THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER after Edgar Alan Poe; RECITAL which he wrote himself after material derived in collaboration with Helen Noonan and with music by David Chesworth and which has been presented in subsequent seasons at the COVENT GARDEN SUMMER FESTIVAL, the CARACAS INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, and at the Wellington, Hong Kong, Perth and Edinburgh international festivals; LACUNA, again which he wrote himself and with music composed by David Chesworth; THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS after Peter Weir; Andree Greenwell and Abe Pogos’ SWEET DEATH after Claude Tardat; ARIAS written and composed by Caroline Wilkins; Gordon Kerry and Justin Macdonnell’s MEDEA after Seneca which went on to a season at the JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTRE in Washington DC; Mark-Anthony Turnage’s GREEK after Steven Berkhoff of which THE BULLETIN wrote, Horton creates moments which are nothing less than stunning. He directed Robert Ashley’s IMPROVEMENT (DON LEAVES LINDA); Jacqui Rutten’s TRESNO; Michael Smetanin and Alison Croggon’s THE BURROW, he adapted Arrabal’s THE TWO EXECUTIONERS to music composed by David Chesworth; Brian Howard’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA after Jean Rhys of which THE AUSTRALIAN wrote, Once again Chamber Made has had the courage and imagination to challenge and delight its audience. We are very much the richer for its presence.; He directed TRANSFIGURED NIGHT (aka DR FORBES WILL SEE YOU NOW) composed by Stephen Ingham; Julian Yu and Glenn Perry’s FRESH GHOSTS after Lu Xun of which THE AUSTRALIAN reviewer said, …another startling success., and THE AGE wrote, Chamber Made’s finest., and …one of the most stylish and dramatic productions on offer. He directed Andrew Ford and Rodney Hall’s WHISPERS; Peter Maxwell-Davies’ and Randolph Stow’s EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING; Michael Smetanin and Alison Croggon’s GAUGUIN, Giorgio Battistelli’s TEOREMA after Pasolini; Richard Murphet’s SLOW LOVE with music by Stevie Wishart; Dominque Probst and Le Quy Duong’s MOTHERLAND; Julian Yu and Glenn Perry’s FRESH GHOSTS after Lu Xun; Julian Yu and Glenn Perry’s THE POSSESSED after Liu Heng and Richard Frankland’s THE CHARCOAL CLUB. He wrote PHOBIA with music and sound by Gerry Brophy which also appeared at the CROSS-OVER FESTIVAL in Gronigen, Holland and at the SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL; and he directed Nick Vines and Sam Sejavka’s THE HIVE for which he was the winner of a HELPMANN AWARD for Best Direction in 2000 and of which EUREKA STREET wrote, Every production by Douglas Horton offers immediately accessible theatrical pleasures.
As Artistic Director of CHAMBER MADE OPERA he also commissioned and oversaw the productions of Richard Frankland’s WALKABOUT; Elena Katz-Chernin and Kathleen Fallon’s MATRICIDE: THE MUSICAL; Bryony Marks and Matt Saville’s CROSSING LIVE; and Andrew Schultz and Helen Garner’s THE CHILDREN’S BACH.
Current projects include a new work as conceptualiser/ writer/director of BENEATH (A FORENSIC INVESTIGATION IN SOUND) with Berlin-based artists Rufus Didwizsus, Schneider TM, Jo Dudley, and Sri-Lankan Australian artist Menik Gooneratne.
© Weaver Artist Management 2017
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