J A M E S   B O N A S

T H E A T R E   A N D   O P E R A   D I R E C T O R



Director James Bonas has chosen to frame the piece in a fifties setting, including the checkered suit of conductor Stephen Higgins, the Witch Ingunn Kilen's huge hair and red American diner outfit… The set design and costumes were unconventional and creative. The idea of changing the witch's house to "Rosina's candy" - with a fifties style portrait of the witch - was a stroke of genius.

Hordaland, Hansel and Gretel, Bergen National Opera


Having gained a first class honours degree from Oxford in psychology and philosophy and performed as a classical pianist, James trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, prior to developing a career as a director in theatres and opera houses around the world. Interests vary from classical theatre and contemporary opera to innovation in the use of video design and animation working with 59 Productions and Finn Ross amongst others. Recent work has taken James from the Metropolitan Opera to Los Angeles Opera, from the Hong Kong International Festival to Teatro Real Madrid, and from the Spoleto Festival in Charleston to the National Theatres in London and Seoul.







Highlights of the 2017-18 Season included a touring version of Hänsel und Gretel with the Bergen National Opera, L’Enfant et les sortilèges in Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos and an outreach production of Bernstein’s West Side Story in Manchester, in collaboration with the Royal Northern College of Music. Projects in the latter part of 2018 will see staged versions of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale at the Lincoln Drill Hall for BBC Proms, Bernstein’s Mass in Lisbon and a new production of Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole for Opéra de Lyon featuring projections by animator Grégoire Pont, with whom he created an innovative L'Enfant et les sortilèges in 2016.


Previous seasons saw The Tempest with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, a critically-acclaimed The Tales of Hoffmann for English Touring Opera, Ariodante and Giove in Argo for the London Handel Festival, as associate to Rufus Norris Wonder.land for the National Theatre in London and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Jessica Swale’s play Blue Stockings for Babcock Theatre Utah, Ravel’s L’heure espagnole / L’Enfant et les Sortilèges and the UK premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Seven Angels for the Royal College of Music and The Mikado and Hänsel and Gretel for Co-Opera Company.  


As associate director James has regularly worked alongside directors including Rufus Norris, Terry Gilliam, Tom Morris and Simon McBurney in projects including The Death of Klinghoffer (ENO and the Metropolitan Opera), A Dog’s Heart (Complicité) and Benvenuto Cellini for ENO, Hänsel und Gretel for Glyndebourne and Teatro Real Madrid and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Bristol Old Vic and world tour. Other work includes the world premiere of Damon Albarn’s first opera Dr Dee for Manchester International Festival and ENO, The Damnation of Faust, The Magic Flute, Tosca and La Clemenza di Tito for ENO, Pinocchio and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Opera North and Minnesota Opera, Don Carlos and Roméo et Juliette for LA Opera and Carmen Jones for the Royal Festival Hall.