Stage Director Chas Rader-Shieber is known both for his bold and inventive productions and for his acute musical instincts. Reviewing his staging of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM praised Mr. Rader-Shieber’s “daring and visionary approach to staging” and declared him “a force to be reckoned with in the opera world.”
Mr. Rader-Shieber’s 2023-2024 season begins with a company debut as he directs Le nozze di Figaro with New Orleans Opera. He then returns to Curtis Institute of Music for Handel’s oratorio, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, where he serves as both stage director and costume designer. During the summer, Chas continues his long-standing relationship with Des Moines Metro Opera directing a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.
Last season featured a debut for Mr. Rader-Shieber with Orpheus PDX, directing a new production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, followed by a return to Curtis Institute of Music for Dangerous Liasons, rescheduled from the 2021-22 season. He also traveled to the Rocky Mountains for a new production of Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt with Opera Colorado.
In the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Rader-Shieber returned to Des Moines Metro Opera for a new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, collaborating with frequent design partner Jacob A. Climer. During the COVID-19 impacted 2020-2021 season, his engagements included a film entitled Mercy, inspired by Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, which he co-directed with Alek Shrader for the Curtis Institute of Music, a new production of Rameau’s Platée at Des Moines Metro Opera, and a reprisal of his acclaimed production of Orfeo ed Euridice at The Dallas Opera (cancelled).
Mr. Rader-Shieber has enjoyed a long relationship with the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, where he has directed over 30 operas, among them Il barbiere di Siviglia, La clemenza di Tito, Capriccio, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Zauberflöte, Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers, Idomeneo, Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, Antony and Cleopatra, Dido and Aeneas, and Alcina. He has also established lasting relationships with multiple other companies, such as Des Moines Metro Opera (Rameau’s Plateée, Rusalka, Gluck’s Orfeo, Die Entführung aus dem serail), Portland Opera (La finta giardiniera, Die Fledermaus, Rinaldo, Gluck’s Orfeo), and Pinchgut Opera (Hasse’s Artaserse, Cavalli’s Giasone, Charpentier’s David et Jonathas, L’amant jaloux).
In addition, his productions have been seen around the world, at houses such as Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and many more.
Highlights from previous seasons include his debuts with Kentucky Opera for Ariadne auf Naxos, Pittsburgh Opera for La traviata, the Macau Festival for Faust, and Boston Lyric Opera for a new production of La traviata. He also joined Indiana University for Alcina, debuted with Utah Opera with his production of Die Entführung aus dem serail, New York City Opera for Handel’s Flavio and Orlando, Opera Theatre of St. Louis for Una Cosa Rara, Washington National Opera for Tamerlano, and Houston Grand Opera for Cunning Little Vixen.
Among his many other Handel credits, he directed lavish and modern stagings of Semele for the Arizona Opera and the Skylight Opera Theatre, Alcina at the Curtis Institute of Music, Giulio Cesare at the Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Edmonton Operas, and Tamerlano at the Spoleto Festival USA. He has also directed other Baroque operas, including Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea for Pittsburgh Opera Center and the Curtis Institute, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Curtis Institute.
Mr. Rader-Shieber has also become well known for his interpretations of Mozart operas. Among others, he has directed Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte at companies including Opera Pacific, Opera de Montreal, Santa Fe Opera and the Juilliard Opera Center. The Toronto Globe and Mail said of his La clemenza di Tito: “Rader-Shieber is a talent to watch, given his brilliant, economical illumination of Metastasio’s text, which focused on character revelation like a psychological thriller.”
Mr. Rader-Shieber’s work also includes repertoire ranging from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Skylight Opera Theatre, to Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Music Academy of the West, and the operas of Britten, Giancarlo Menotti and Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute of Music. Mr. Rader-Shieber has served as Artistic Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre, and on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Music Academy of the West.