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Due to the ongoing effects of closure at the Royal Opera House, information about artists is only updated periodically during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Jonathan Kent



Director Jonathan Kent made his Royal Opera debut in 2006 with Tosca and has since returned to direct Manon Lescaut for The Royal Opera.

Kent was born in South Africa. He came to London in the 1970s to study acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama. After working for some years as an actor, including for the BBC TV Shakespeare series, he switched focus to directing. From 1990 to 2002 he was joint artistic director with Ian McDiarmid of the Almeida Theatre. His many productions there included Richard II (also Broadway), Coriolanus, King Lear, The Tempest, Phèdre, Britannicus, Dryden’s All for Love, Medea (also West End and Broadway), Tartuffe, Ivanov and Wedekind’s Lulu (also Washington). His other theatre work includes the three early Chekhov plays, Emperor and Galilean, Le Cid, The False Servant and Oedipus (National Theatre), Peer Gynt (National Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), a full season at the Haymarket 2007–08, including the musical Marguerite, Hecuba (Donmar Warehouse), Man of La Mancha (Broadway), Slaves of Solitude and Good People (Hampstead Theatre), A German Life (Bridge Theatre), The Height of the Storm (West End). Long Day’s Journey Into Night (American Airlines Theatre, Tony Award) and Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, A Month in the Country and Private Lives (West End and Chichester).

Kent’s other opera credits include Hippolyte et Aricie, Don Giovanni, The Fairy (Glyndebourne Festival), Der fliegende Holländer (English National Opera and Royal Danish Opera), Kát’a Kabanová, Adès’s The Tempest and Le nozze di Figaro (Santa Fe) and Die Frau ohne Schatten and Elektra (Mariinsky Theatre). He was made a CBE in 2015.

News and features

Contemporary truths in Manon Lescaut: a powerful glimpse into modern slavery

25 November 2016
Contemporary truths in <em>Manon Lescaut</em>: a powerful glimpse into modern slavery

Puccini’s opera offers a rare and nuanced glimpse into exploitation and the complexities of one woman’s indecision between servitude and freedom.

Opera Essentials: Puccini’s Manon Lescaut

22 October 2016
Opera Essentials: Puccini’s <em>Manon Lescaut</em>

A quick guide to Puccini's first triumph.

Nominations announced for International Opera Awards 2016

1 March 2016
Nominations announced for International Opera Awards 2016

Nominees include Kasper Holten, Anna Netrebko and Ermonela Jaho.