R.B. Schlather is an American artist and opera director, associated with immersive installations and unconventional stagings that push the boundaries of traditional operatic performance. His work has been praised for creating new and engaging experiences for audiences, while also challenging the norms of the operatic art form. In 2023 he was profiled in the New York Times as one of the American opera directors bringing “fresh visions to Europe’s opera stages.” He made his European debut at Oper Frankfurt in 2019 with a critically acclaimed production of Handel’s Tamerlano, followed by productions of Cimarosa’s L’Italiana in Londra (recorded for DVD by Naxos) in 2021, and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in 2022. In 2017, his site-specific, community-cast production of Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein’s The Mother Of Us All for the historic Hudson Opera House was named among the Best Musical Performances 2017 by the New York Times. Hudson Hall has since commissioned a series of Handel operas from Schlather, beginning with Rodelinda in October 2023. Additional future productions include Handel’s masterwork Giulio Cesare in Egitto at the Spoleto Festival USA and a double bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Rice University at their newly opened Brockman Hall for Opera.

Career highlights include Cosi fan tutte at The Santa Fe Opera (“Revelation of the summer season” – Wall Street Journal), Fluxconcert for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (New Yorker Magazine Best Performances 2018), the world premiere of composer David Hertzberg’s The Wake World, conceived for The Barnes Foundation as part of the inaugural Opera Philadelphia O Festival (Best New Opera 2017 Music Critics Association of North America), John Adams’ Doctor Atomic at Curtis Opera Theater, Philip Glass’ Madrigal Opera at National Sawdust, Philip Glass’ In The Penal Colony at Boston Lyric Opera (New York Time’s Best Performances 2015), Salome at Fisher Center Bard, and Der Freischütz at Wolf Trap Opera. In 2014 Schlather conceptualized and produced a series of Handel’s operas as process art installations for alternative spaces in NYC. Alcina (2014) and Orlando (2015) were both in galleries on the Lower East Side, and called in the New York Times a fascinating “species of performance art,” “a valuable project that deserves enthusiastic support,” and “a gift given to the NY cultural scene.” Upcoming: return to Oper Frankfurt for 2024/25 season, and debut with Spoleto Festival USA.

Schlather has directed performances for Oper Frankfurt, The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gran Theatre del Liceu, National Sawdust, Fisher Center Bard, Tanglewood Music Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha, Wolf Trap Opera, Curtis Institute of Music, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, IlluminArts, and at the Perez Art Museum Miami, The School | Jack Shainman Gallery, Barnes Foundation, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bockenheimer Depot, Hudson Opera House, Bemis Center for the Arts, White Box Art Center, Boston Center for the Arts. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, and profiled in Out Magazine, New Yorker Magazine, Huffington Post, Upstate Diary, I Care if you Listen, Clyde Fitch Report, VAN Magazine, WQXR Radio, and podcasts for Basilica Hudson and IndieOpera. He was an Artist-in-residence at National Sawdust for 2016/17 season, and an Emerging artist at Boston Lyric Opera in the 2014/15 season. He has taught at Curtis Institute of Music, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, and Ithaca College, where he received a BA in Art History and minor in drama. He is a member of AGMA, and was represented by Columbia Artists from 2015 – 2020. He is now represented by Magnum Opus Artists. His studio is at Foreland Catskill, and he lives in Hudson, New York.