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

British Stage Director John Copley has held a reputation as one of the most influential figures in theatre and opera for over the last 40 years, directing across the world’s major opera houses, as well as acting, producing, choreographing and designing regularly throughout his long and varied career. Originally a dancer with the Royal Ballet, John began his career behind the scenes as a Stage Manager and Producer with the Sadler’s Wells Opera and Ballet, and at Covent Garden. Moving to directing in 1960, he was Resident Director at the Royal Opera House, 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 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 premiered in 1974 and ran for 41 years.

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 Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, 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.

John recently won critical acclaim for his production of Albert Herring at the inaugural season of The Grange Festival alongside conductor and Benjamin Britten’s former musical assistant, Steuart Bedford. Last season he returned to The Grange Festival to direct Die Entführung aus dem Serail alongside designer, and frequent collaborator Tim Reed. Further 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.

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



Summer Opera 2018

May 31st, 2018

Hazard Chase artists in the 2018 summer opera festival season

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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

Associate Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414