Charles Edwards was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and graduated as a designer from the Central School of Art and Design in London. He has an exceptional in-depth knowledge of performance and design history, and for the operatic recorded repertory, that informs all his work, both as a director and designer.
Productions that he has both directed and designed include, most recently Pagliacci (The Clowns) for Opera North as part of their ‘Little Greats’ season, for which he also designed and lit all six productions, Tristan und Isolde for Teatro Nacional São Carlos; 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 and designed 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 (also Teatro Real Madrid, Bonn, Norweigian Opera, Göteborg, Washington and Canadian Opera), Jenufa (also Santa Fe and Houston) and Makropulos Affair (also Bonn and Prague); for Opera North Greek Passion, Gianni Schichhi and Tosca (also Australia).
International designs include: I Masnadieri (Fondazione Teatro alla Scala, Milan), Faust (Teatr Wielki in Poznan, Poland); Katya Kabanova (Liceu Barcelona, Hosuton and Chicago); Kiss Me Kate (Oper Graz, Luxembourg and Paris Châtelet); Falstaff (Vienna Staatsoper and Beijing); La Gazza Ladra (Frankfurt), Verdi Triple Bill (Hamburg); Wozzeck (Dallas, Chicago); Macbeth (Houston andChicago); 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 productions include Giorno Di Regno for Garsington Opera, Norma for Teatro Real, Madrid, Il Trittico for Scottish Opera, and productions for the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, Milan.
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)