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 Georg 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
Over 41 years, all the greats – including Plácido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti – have performed in John Copley’s classic production.
John Copley's iconic production of La bohème to be given send off with special farewell event on 23 May 2015
Celebration on first night of final run will look back at a production that has seen performances by many opera greats.
The wide variety of props in John Copley's classic production is intended to create an engrossing and believable world.
John Copley and Dame Janet Baker after the opening night of La bohème
Antonio Pappano, John Copley, Dame Janet Baker and Tony Hall after the opening night of La bohème
John Copley in rehearsals for La bohème
Carmen Giannattasio as Mimì in La bohème
Opera director John Copley picks up his CBE
John Copley, Joseph Calleja and Carmen Giannattasio in rehearsals for La bohème