× Upcoming Events Dean's Circle Donate Email Sign-up Staff Shenandoah Conservatory Past Events
Ella Marchment

Widely acclaimed as one of Europe’s most original and progressive auteur directors and lauded as the founder of the global Opera Harmony movement, Ella Marchment has led a number of international arts organisations and spoken and lectured at world-renowned companies and conservatoires, including Opera Europa in the Netherlands, The Royal Opera House in London, The Juilliard School in New York and The Royal College of Music in London.

Marchment is currently the artistic director of The Opera Festival of Chicago and the director of opera (and professor of opera) at Shenandoah Conservatory, one of America’s most eminent universities for music.

In direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marchment founded Opera Harmony, an international arts collective of more than 100 composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, designers, musicians, singers, actors, dancers, sound engineers and film-makers. While isolated in different continents and time zones, the artists wrote and filmed twenty original short operas, developing a range of trailblazing production techniques while they worked. The critically acclaimed operas attracted record-breaking viewing numbers worldwide when they premiered on OperaVision in the summer of 2020.

Ella has been the director of the International Opera Awards since 2017, and she was a member of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama vocal faculty from 2019 to 2021. She is also a co-founder and member of the senior management team of SWAP’ra, a charity that supports women and parents working in opera.

Ella is currently writing a book on arts management; is an artistic associate of the Opera in the 21st Century programme at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada; and is co-writing a screenplay with the songwriter Daisy Boulton.

Ella is represented by Day Macaskill of Cruickshank Cazenov in London.

Ella has worked throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and America, and her directing credits include L’inganno felice (Wexford Festival Opera); The Turn of the Screw and Mad King Suibhne (Bury Court Opera); International Opera Awards Ceremony (ENO London Coliseum and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, for the International Opera Awards); Operatic Mass Actions (European City of Culture, AUT DK); SWAP’ra Gala (Opera Holland Park); Tryl / Magic Flute (Copenhagen Opera Festival); Sideshows (Sadler’s Wells Studio); Il Letto and Hathaway (Buxton International Festival, Copenhagen Opera Festival, Grimeborn); L’occasione fa il ladro (CCF Glasgow, Teatro Signorelli, Teatro di Cortona); Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Teatro Tuoro sul Trasimeno); King Roger (a film for Random Acts / Channel 4); Salon Russe (National Portrait Gallery); Il Tabarro (LSO St Luke’s); Macbeth and Un ballo in maschera (Opera Integra); María De Buenos Aires (The Vaults London, for a A Curious Invitation); Louise and Otello (Buxton International Festival); An Evening with Lucian Freud (Leicester Square Theatre); Stand and Deliver (King’s Head Theatre); Rock Tosca (Tête à Tête Festival); Façade and Eight Songs for a Mad King (Rose Theatre Kingston, Arcola Theatre, St Petersburg Philharmonia); Triptych (Mariinsky II); and a triple-header production of The BearRed as Blood, and Bare (Rose Theatre Kingston, Sage Gateshead, Greyfriars Kirk, St Cyprian’s).

In 2015 Ella became the first opera director to receive an International Opera Awards bursary. In 2018 she was both an arts-and-culture nominee in the Women of the Year awards and a semi-finalist in the European Opera-Directing Prize. She has also been a principal speaker at events held at the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, the Wiener Institute, Opera Europa (Netherlands), Arts Council England, Chetham’s Music School, and the Southbank Centre.

Shenandoah University professor Ella Marchment has a first-class honours degree in music — with German and Italian — from King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music, as well as a scholarship for academic excellence awarded by King’s College London. Ella also has postgraduate qualifications in set design from Central St Martins in London, and in teaching drama from City Lit in London.