STEVEN DAIGLE, professor of opera and artistic director of Eastman Opera Theatre for the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Director of The Ohio Light Opera, has served as part of the artistic staff for more than 300 lyric theater productions.
Daigle’s experience as a stage director encompasses over 180 productions and a wide range of lyric theatre repertoire: Les enfants terribles, Madama Butterfly, Our Town, Manon, Silk Stockings, Serse, La traviata, Zip! Goes A Million, Hydrogen Jukebox, To Hell and Back, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni, Oh, Lady! Lady!!, Carmen, La rondine, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Norma, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Susannah, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Claudia Legare, La finta giardiniera, Il turco in Italia, Così fan tutte, Transformations, La bohème, Suor Angelica,The Goblin Market, Le nozze di Figaro, Candide, The Turn of the Screw, Albert Herring, The Tender Land, Porgy and Bess, L’elisir d’amore, The Merry Widow, Angélique, Gianni Schicchi, Trouble in Tahiti, Christopher Sly, Signor Deluso, Riders to the Sea, and Pelléas et Mélisande, among others. Productions include collaborations with legendary Broadway composer Charles Strouse, Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Robert Ward and Carlisle Floyd, and conductors Louis Lane, Robert Spano, and Evan Whallon.
While at the Eastman School of Music, Daigle created a lyric theater stage directing curriculum and MM in Opera Directing degree track. Students who have been enrolled in the directing courses, as well as those who have completed the MM in Opera Directing, have become successful teachers in higher education and are currently directing professionally. The opera theatre program at Eastman has included residency and collaborations with Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, Robert Ward, Carlisle Floyd, and Charles Strouse.
With the Ohio Light Opera, Daigle served as stage manager, assistant director, and general manager under the guidance of company founder James Stuart, and in 1999 was appointed artistic director. His first year with the company was in 1990. At OLO he has called over 300 performances as a stage manager, served on the technical or artistic staff for over 150 productions, and directed 90 titles, including producing and directing many American premieres in original versions: Lehár’s Der Czarevitsch (The Zarevitch), Friederike, Cloclo, Künneke’s Der Vetter aus Dingsda (The Cousin from Batavia), and Kálmán’s Der Zigeunerprimás (Sari), Ein Herbstmanöver (Autumn Maneuvers), Das Veilchen vom Montmartre (The Violet of Montmartre), Der gute Kamerad (A Soldier’s Promise), Marinka, Die Faschingsfee (Miss Springtime), Der kleine König (The Little King), Das Hollandweibchen (The Little Dutch Girl), Kern's The Cabaret Girl, and Gershwin’s Primrose.
As artistic director with the OLO, he has created seven English performance translations for Kálmán and Lehár operettas, expanded the offerings to include traditional musicals (including early American shows of Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, Lerner & Loewe, and Rodgers & Hammerstein), and introduced over 70 new titles to the company’s vast and unique repertoire. Daigle has also supervised OLO’s highly acclaimed series of CD and DVD recordings on the Newport Classic, Operetta Archives, and Albany Records labels, including historical reconstructions and world premiere audio and video recordings of Friml’s The Firefly, Romberg’s Maytime, Herbert’s Naughty Marietta, Sweethearts, and Dream City and the Magic Knight, Kern’s The Cabaret Girl, and six operettas of Emmerich Kálmán. As artistic director, he has added to the repertoire works of the following composers: Benatzky & Stolz, Berlin, Bernstein, Bock & Harnick, Friml, Gershwin, Kern, Künneke, Leigh, Lerner & Loewe, Loesser, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, Schubert & Berté, Sousa, Styne & Sondheim, and Willson. The company’s unique mission and service to the traditional lyric art form (Viennese, French, German operetta, G&S, Edwardian and early American operetta and musical theater) have been recognized internationally through scholarly publications.
Daigle has served on the faculty of Kent State University and as assistant director and acting director of the Opera Theater program at the Oberlin Conservatory. In the summer of 1998, he served on the faculty of the Oberlin in Italy program in Urbania, Italy. In September 2003, The Ohio Light Opera was given an Award of Achievement by Northern Ohio Live for its role in preserving operetta for the past 25 years. In the spring of 2006 he received the Outstanding Alumnus award from Southeastern Louisiana University. From 2008 – 2013 & 2017 - 18, he served as Chair of the Voice and Opera Department at the Eastman School of Music. He presently serves as Co-Chair of the Eastman Voice and Opera department. In the spring of 2015, Daigle was awarded the Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Eastman School of Music.