John Copley

John Copley


Representation: General Management (excl. North America)


John Copley first appeared with the Royal Opera at the age of 15 as an actor and later became their Principal Resident Director.   He has directed opera throughout the world during a career that spans over 50 years.   John has worked with all the great singers and conductors and continues to share his expertise with young singers in his productions for the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music.


Full Biography

John Copley has directed opera in most of the world’s major opera houses.  He was Resident Director at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where he worked on many new productions with the world’s greatest conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Sir Colin Davis, Carlos Kleiber, Sir John Pritchard and many other distinguished colleagues.   Among his greatest successes there were Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte which remained in the repertoire for 21 years and 24 years respectively.  His acclaimed production of La Bohème is still in repertoire after more than 30 years. He has acted, choreographed and designed regularly throughout his long and varied career.

John Copley has staged many new productions at English National Opera, several with Sir Charles Mackerras and Dame Janet Baker, including the award-winning Julius Caesar which went on to San Francisco, Geneva and finally the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where it has been recently revived (as Giulio Cesare). He works regularly with all the major American opera companies including the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Dallas and San Diego and was for many years a regular director with the Canadian Opera Company. In Australia he has directed more than 25 productions for both the Australian Opera in Sydney and the Victoria State Opera in Melbourne.  European productions include Greek National Opera Macbeth (Athens Festival), Madama Butterfly and Otello.  He returned to Athens in 2001 for a new production of Il Corsaro.  John has also directed in Munich, Berlin, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Drottningholm, Stockholm and Gothenburg.

John enjoys a close relationship with many of the colleges and training programmes, including the RAM, the RCM, the National Opera Studio, and Covent Garden’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. In 2010 John was awarded San Francisco Opera’s prestigious ‘Opera Medal’.  His credits there include three previous productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, and more than 15 titles including Peter Grimes, the U.S. premiere of Tippett’s A Midsummer Marriage, Manon, Anna Bolena and Don Giovanni.

His recent productions include La Traviata for San Francisco Opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Aida for Dallas Opera and Norma for the Metropolitan Opera. Many of his productions can be seen on video, including Mary Stuart and his celebrated Giulio Cesare from English National Opera, as well as La Bohème and Lucrezia Borgia from Covent Garden and L’elisir d’amore from the Metropolitan Opera.  In 2017 John directs a new production of Albert Herring in The Grange Festival’s inaugural season.

John was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to opera.

Promoters please note:
if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Evie Parker



Return to WNO

October 12th, 2017

Judith Howarth returns to Welsh National Opera to sing Rosalinde DIE FLEDERMAUS

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Albert Herring at The Grange Festival

June 23rd, 2017

John Copley directs and Adrian Thompson and Kitty Whately are in the cast of this new production

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La Bohème – The end of an era

May 19th, 2015

John Copley’s iconic production staged for the last time at Covent Garden

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Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Assistant Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414