Robert Neu

Robert Neu

Known for his “distinctive staging style” and for being “the most inventive opera director in town” (St Paul Pioneer Press), Robert Neu is challenging the norms by becoming a pioneer in the field of semi-staged operas with symphony orchestras. Sought after for his highly theatrical and musically sensitive work, Neu has directed more than 100 productions of opera, musical theater, and plays throughout the country.  In Spring of 2021 he returned to Pacific Symphony to directed a filmed version of La Traviata, and will return in Spring of 2022 to direct Otello.

Robert Neu was recently named Vice President of Artistic Planning at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and will assume the post November 1, 2021. A leader in artistic planning and operations for orchestras, Neu was Consultant/Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning with the Colorado Symphony from 2014 to 2016, Vice President & General Manager of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1995 to 2014, and Orchestra Manager of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 1995.

Calendar

Event Date
Apr 7
to
Apr 12
Otello
Director
Pacific Symphony
Orange County, California

Artist Bio

Known for his “distinctive staging style” and for being “the most inventive opera director in town” (St Paul Pioneer Press), Robert Neu is challenging the norms by becoming a pioneer in the field of semi-staged operas with symphony orchestras. Sought after for his highly theatrical and musically sensitive work, Neu has directed more than 100 productions of opera, musical theater, and plays throughout the country.  In Spring of 2021 he returned to Pacific Symphony to directed a filmed version of La Traviata, and will return in Spring of 2022 to direct Otello.

Robert Neu was recently named Vice President of Artistic Planning at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and will assume the post November 1, 2021. A leader in artistic planning and operations for orchestras, Neu was Consultant/Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning with the Colorado Symphony from 2014 to 2016, Vice President & General Manager of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1995 to 2014, and Orchestra Manager of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 1995.

Recent engagements include St. John’s Passion with Shreveport Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Lyric Opera of the North; Le Nozze di Figaro with Inland Northwest Opera and Orlando Opera; La bohéme and The Barber of Seville with Opera Orlando; As One and Cosí fan tutte with Skylark Opera Theatre; West Side Story with Central City Opera in collaboration with the Boulder Philharmonic; Don Giovanni for Steamboat Springs Opera; and L’enfant et les Sortileges and The Magic Flute with Pacific Symphony.

His fully-staged productions include Così fan tutte with Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, La bohème with West Virginia Opera and Gulf Coast Symphony, Trouble in Tahiti for the Minneapolis Fringe Festival, and Le nozze di Figaro for Bellevue Opera. Over the past decade, Neu established an on-going relationship with Skylark Opera for which he has directed a wide variety of operettas, operas and musicals including Naughty Marietta, Don Pasquale, The Merry Widow, On the Town, Wonderful Town, The Fantasticks, Candide, and Putting It Together. Also an audience favorite with Lyric Opera of the North, he has directed its productions of Don Pasquale, The Face on the Barroom Floor, Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia. In the theatre genre, he helmed productions of Oliver, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Patience, Becky’s New Car, Death of a Salesman, Art, Godspell, Blithe Spirit and The Laramie Project for theatre companies throughout the United States.

With his vast experience of bringing semi-staged operatic repertoire to symphony orchestra stages, Robert Neu has worked closely with the Minnesota Opera presenting critically acclaimed productions of Candide, Fidelio, Hänsel und Gretel, Tosca, Carmen, Peer Gynt, La bohème, La traviata, Bernstein’s Mass, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, and Carousel. With the Colorado Symphony, he has directed Tosca and The Music Man. Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops audiences have seen his productions of The Music Man, Die Zauberflöte, Peer Gynt, and The Sound of Music.

As an innovator who seeks to combine symphonic music with theater in unique ways, Neu has adapted a version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for four actors and orchestra which has been produced by orchestras across the country including Minnesota Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony, Eugene Symphony, and Wintergreen Music Festival.

He has also co-written and produced a series of programs that seek to introduce orchestra audiences to the joys of opera. His production company, Angels & Demons Entertainment, focuses on working with orchestras in producing theatrical and operatic offerings.

In the past ten years, nine of Neu’s productions have received “Best of the Season” citations from various media including Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cincinnati Post, St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio. His production of The Laramie Project received awards for Best Ensemble and Outstanding Theater Event of the 2014 season from Broadway World.

Neu teaches masterclasses in audition techniques for the University of Minnesota’s opera department, and he is a Resident Director at Lyric Arts Theater in Minneapolis. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

Updated November 1, 2021.

Press

“...the movements involved in stage director Robert Neu’s conception were designed to enhance the narrative..." – Daily Camera News

St. Matthew Passion – “The movements involved in stage director Robert Neu’s conception were designed to enhance the narrative. The absence of sets and costumes kept things from veering too far from the work’s conception as a concert oratorio, and the soloists actually did act their parts expressively. The interactions between Jesus, the Evangelist, and the four aria soloists were particularly affecting and appropriate. A few boxes were the only props, and they were used with extreme economy.”

"...psychologically probing direction..." – Star Tribune

The Tragedy of Carmen – “Pulling the show together was Neu’s intelligent, psychologically probing direction, every movement seemingly linked to some tremor of inner emotion in the characters.”

“... a terrific staging . . . an outstanding production..." – St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Fantasticks – “. . . a terrific staging . . . an outstanding production . . . the performance was unimpeachable. Director Robert Neu has pulled together a terrific cast and shaped them into an excellent ensemble. The most well-crafted production that Skylark has offered . . . an unqualified success.”

"...director Robert Neu does so much more with the concept of love than the boy-meets-girl plotline at the heart of the story..." – Orlando Sentinel

La bohème – “In Opera Orlando’s superb — and sold-out — production at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, director Robert Neu does so much more with the concept of love than the boy-meets-girl plotline at the heart of the story. But Neu gives us laughter that is genuine because we understand the emotional attachments of this ragtag group of bohemians. And surely life has as many laughs as tears, right?”

"...distinctive staging style..." – St. Paul Pioneer Press

Die Fledermaus – “The most fun I’ve had at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall in several years, or maybe ever. A production that set this year’s standard for summer entertainment. Much of the credit is due director Robert Neu. His distinctive staging style was all over this production. This was a ‘semi-staged’ opera with so much theatricality in its character that scenery seemed to be the only thing missing.”