Conductor Stephen Lord, named one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera" by Opera News, turns his attention to the comprehensive education of young singers as Artistic Advisor of New England Conservatory's opera studies program, where the leadership team includes Vocal Arts Chair Luretta Bybee and Opera Studies Chair Joshua Major. Since joining NEC, Lord has conducted the Boston premiere of Benjamin Britten's Paul Bunyan, as well as Jordan Hall performances of Bernstein's Candide and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.
Opera News included Lord as one of four conductors in its "25 Most Powerful" pantheon, alongside James Conlon and James Levine of the powerful Los Angeles and Metropolitan Opera companies, respectively.
Currently the music director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and continually praised for conducting both traditional and contemporary operatic works, Lord has also visited or had primary affiliations with many other opera companies in the U.S. and overseas. He was music director at Boston Lyric Opera for 16 seasons.
Lord's 2009–2010 season included two major debuts, the first with English National Opera to conduct Rigoletto, with which he also recently made his San Francisco Opera debut, the second with Lyric Opera of Chicago to conduct Tosca, which he also conducts for Opera Colorado. The summer of 2010 sees him at the Santa Fe Opera conducting Les contes d'Hoffmann. He returns to the English National Opera in September 2010 for La bohème, directed by Jonathan Miller, and in 2012–2013 a re-engagement with Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In 2008–2009, Lord conducted productions of La traviata with Portland Opera, Madama Butterfly for Opera Colorado, Macbeth with Opéra de Montréal, and L'Elisir d'amore with Michigan Opera Theatre. In summer of 2009 he conducted Salome for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and returned to Wolf Trap Opera to conduct La bohème with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Stephen Lord made his New York City Opera debut in 2004 conducting La rondine and his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting a nationally broadcast concert of National Council winners. Other career highlights as guest conductor include five appearances at Wolf Trap Opera with the National Symphony Orchestra and with other North American companies such as the Canadian Opera (where he returns in 2013 for Lucia di Lammermoor), Opera Colorado, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florentine Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Minnesota Opera, etc.
The opera world also recalls Lord's past work as music director of the Banff Festival Opera and Boston Lyric Opera. Boston audiences were treated to a broad spectrum of the opera canon, including premieres of critical editions, revivals of neglected operas, and a first look at Rachel Portman's setting of The Little Prince in a production that prominently featured NEC-trained young singers.
Outside of traditional opera subscription seasons, Lord has been a guest with the Boston Pops and first appeared in San Francisco leading the Merola Grand Finale Concert for the opera company, which he has repeated alongside other concert activities with the company.
Before making the transition to conductor, Lord had a highly successful career as accompanist and coach of opera, counting among his clients such singers as Renata Scotto, Neil Shicoff, Rockwell Blake, Evelyn Lear, Thomas Stewart, etc., etc.
In addition to the masterclasses at NEC that preceded the announcement of his joining the faculty, Lord has offered masterclasses at numerous educational and performing institutions such as Yale, University of Toronto, University of Colorado, L'Opéra de Montréal, and McGill University. A frequent adjudicator, Lord regularly has judged for the Metropolitan Opera and the Richard Tucker Foundation, on whose advisory board he sits.
B.M. in piano performance, Oberlin Conservatory.
photo by Andrew Hurlbut