Jonathan Eaton has served as artistic and general director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera (formerly Opera Theater of Pittsburgh) since 1999, and has led the company in presenting varied and unusual repertoire as well as reimagined classics. Notable productions have included the world’s first Eco-opera A New Kind of Fallout by Lyons and Ryan, Weill’s Lost in the Stars conducted by Julius Rudel, a historic revival of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday, and Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, an opera about Frank Lloyd Wright, which was performed on the terraces of the architect’s iconic house, Fallingwater. Among the forty or more productions he has directed for Pittsburgh Festival Opera are Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle in Jonathan Dove’s reduced orchestration with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Weill’s Die Bürgschaft/The Bond, which was subsequently chosen to open the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau Germany in 2003. In 2010 he spearheaded the company’s transition into becoming a summer festival, also founding a summer Young Artists Program and International Voice Competition.
Eaton has also directed widely in opera houses throughout North America and Europe. His work was seen at the Lincoln Center every year for fifteen years at New York City Opera with Turandot, Carmen, and celebrated productions of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci; these were televised for nationwide broadcast on “Great Performances Live from Lincoln Center.” He has also directed for the Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego, Kentucky, Indianapolis and Memphis opera companies, and the Santa Fe and Spoleto festivals. In Canada he has directed for the Canadian Opera and Vancouver Opera; in Britain, he has directed at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera and Opera North; in Germany, he has directed for the Hannover, Würzburg and Bielefeld operas and the Bochumer Symphoniker. He has also directed at The Netherlands Opera, and in France for the opera companies of Nantes, Lyons and Nancy.
In addition to his work for UNT Opera, Eaton served as artistic and stage director of !SING - DAY OF SONG for Ruhr 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe. He led a series of projects over three years related to singing, which culminated in June 2010 with more than a million people singing in 53 cities simultaneously, and a fully-staged mega-concert with 58,000 singers in the Schalke football stadium in Gelsenkirchen. This project was televised by WDR and broadcast across Europe.
Eaton has also directed plays and musicals at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Actors Theater Louisville, Repertory Theater of St. Louis and Pittsburgh Playhouse.
Eaton has also enjoyed an extended teaching career and served as professor of opera at CCM in Cincinnati, and director of opera at Carnegie Mellon University and at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has given masterclasses at many universities and conservatories in America and Europe.