English director John Copley is The Royal Opera's former Principal Resident Director. His many Royal Opera productions include his acclaimed 1974 production of La bohème, The Royal Opera’s longest-running production of its most-performed opera.
Copley first appeared with The Royal Opera at the age of 15 as an actor. Following training at The Royal Ballet School, he returned to The Royal Opera to work in stage management, moving into directing in 1960. As Principal Resident Director for The Royal Opera, he worked with such conductors as Grorg Solti, Colin Davis and Charles Mackerras. His productions for The Royal Opera included Le nozze di Figaro (which ran for 21 years), Così fan tutte (which ran for 24 years), Don Giovanni, L’elisir d’amore, Alceste, Faust, Werther, Maria Stuarda, Ariadne auf Naxos and Semele.
He has also worked widely in the USA, including for the Metropolitan Opera, New York, San Francisco Opera and Dallas Opera, and in Europe. In 2008 he directed a new production of The Merry Widow for English National Opera and in 2011 directed an acclaimed Die Fledermaus for Welsh National Opera. He works regularly at the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, at the National Opera Studio and for many international young artists’ programmes.
News and features
17 July 2014
The wide variety of props in John Copley's classic production is intended to create an engrossing and believable world.
12 February 2013
From La bohème to Tristan und Isolde, a look at musical representations of famous final moments.
13 December 2012
The Korean bass on his experiences with The Royal Opera so far, and adapting to opera in the UK
2 July 2012
The choirmaster gives us a preview of his latest in a long line of projects with The Royal Opera House.
11 June 2012
Canadian conducts in place of Italian Maestro due to inflamed shoulder.
23 May 2012
Winners of this years Design Challenge announced.
Opera director John Copley picks up his CBE © Press Association
John Copley, Joseph Calleja and Carmen Giannattasio in rehearsals for La bohème © Yuri Vorobiev/ROH 2012
John Copley in rehearsals for La bohème © Yuri Vorobiev/ROH 2012
Carmen Giannattasio as Mimì in La bohème © Mike Hoban/ROH 2012
Antonio Pappano, John Copley, Dame Janet Baker and Tony Hall after the opening night of La bohème © Neil Gillespie/ROH 2012
John Copley and Dame Janet Baker after the opening night of La bohème © Neil Gillespie/ROH 2012