Charles Edwards graduated as a designer from the Central School of Art and Design in London.
He is known for both directing and designing productions, most recently directing Pagliacci (The Clowns) for Opera North as part of their ‘Little Greats’ season, for which he also designed and lit all six productions. In 2016 he directed the prologue of Tales of Hoffmann, designed and directed alongside directors Christopher Alden, Inga Levant und Nigel Lowery in a composite production for Wuppertaler Buhnen und Sinfonieorchester. Other productions directed by Charles include Elektra (Royal Opera House), Don Quichotte and Idomeneo (Grange Park), Joshua, Rigoletto and Oedipus Rex (Opera North), Cosi fan Tutte (Mid-Wales Opera), the song-cycle The Sea and its Shore by John Woolrich (Almeida Opera Festival), and Maria di Rohan (Wexford).
His designs in the UK include: for the Royal Opera House Adriana Lecouvreur (also Metropolitan Opera, Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, San Francisco and Bastille), Faust (also Monte Carlo, Lille, Trieste and Australia), Elektra and Werther (and Paris-Bastille); for English National Opera Norma (also Bordeaux), the Olivier-nominated A Midsummer Night’s Dream (also Moscow), Lucia di Lammermoor (Göteborg, Washington and Canadian Opera), Jenufa and Makropulos Affair (also Prague); for Opera North Gianni Schichhi and Tosca (also Australia).
International designs include: Faust (Teatr Wielki in Poznan, Poland); Katia Kabanova (Liceu Barcelona); Tristian (Coro do Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon); Lucia di Lammermoor (Theater der Bundesstadt Bonn, Den Norske Opera & Ballet), Kiss Me Kate (Luxembourg, Paris Châtelet) Falstaff (Vienna Staatsoper), La Gazza Ladra (Frankfurt), Verdi Triple Bill (Hamburg); Jenufa (Houston, ENO); Wozzeck (Dallas, Chicago); Katya Kabanova and Macbeth (Houston, Chicago); Il Trovatore (Metropolitan Opera, Chicago, San Francisco); Der Freischütz (Metz); Le Nozze di Figaro (Genoa, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Champs Elysées Paris, Tel Aviv, Long Beach); Die Tote Stadt (Paris Châtelet) and Attila (Strasbourg, Liège, Tel Aviv).
Upcoming projects include designing I Masnadieri for Fondazione Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Jenůfa at Santa Fe Opera.
Praise for Adriana Lecouvreur:
“A rotating replica of a Baroque theater (a dominant element of Charles Edwards’s set) reveals the actors and dancers readying themselves in cluttered dressing rooms, then spins around to show us the performance as viewed from the wings.”
– Anthony Tommasini, NY Times (Metropolitan Opera, 2018)
“Played out in Charles Edwards’ intricate sets – which begin with a lifelike representation of the backstage area of the Comedie-Francaise in the 1720s, and then develop the notion of artifice and reality merging in the life of the artist herself – David McVicar’s broadly traditional production maintains narrative clarity in a piece whose manifold twists and turns need and here receive careful exposition. Visually the result is as entertaining as the opera itself.”
– George Hall, The Stage (Royal Opera House, 2017)