Artistic Director

Kathleen Clawson, Artistic Director

Kathleen Clawson begins her third season as Artistic Director of Dayton Opera, having worked with the company for over thirteen years as Stage Director for seventeen performances. For the 2022-2023 season she will direct a brand-new production of the holiday favorite Amahl and the Night Visitors and Dayton Opera’s first ever production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. In addition, she’ll produce the Dayton Opera premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and a tribute to the soprano Maria Callas. Long dedicated to nurturing the next generation of opera singers, she will oversee an expansion of the Dayton Opera Artist in Residence Program.

In the 2021-2022 Season, Kathleen directed a lively production of The Elixir of Love. No stranger to the development of new works, she served as dramaturg and stage director for last season’s world premiere of Finding Wright (music by Laura Kaminsky, libretto by Andrea Fellows Fineberg) as well as producing the season ending concert Epic Opera and presenting countertenor John Holiday in Concert. As Artistic Director Designate Kathleen was the Producing Director of the Virtual Streams programs Postcards from Dayton and Libiamo! A Celebration of Dayton Opera. She began her association with Dayton Opera in 2009, directing L’elisir d’amore and has been back every season since, directing productions of La Traviata, The Telephone (AIR Tour), Faust, Fidelio, La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Great Wagner Concert, Aida, The Magic Flute, Otello, The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Salome, A Cinderella Trilogy (AIR Tour), and La Cenerentola. Clawson directed the world premiere of Shoes for the Santo Niño (music by Stephen Paulus, libretto by Andrea Fellows Fineberg) for the Santa Fe Opera in 2011 and served as stage director and dramaturg for the 2016 world premiere of UnShakeable for the Santa Fe Opera.

She has worked for the Santa Fe Opera for over twenty seasons and is the Associate Director of their Apprentice Singer Program. She served on the faculty of the University of New Mexico Department of Theatre and Dance for twenty-four years, where she taught courses in musical theater.

Kathleen performed nationally as a classical singer in a wide range of repertoire from Bach and Janácek to Verdi and Wagner. She first came to Dayton in 1998 as mezzo-soloist for Alexander Nevsky with the Dayton Philharmonic. Her opera credits include productions with The Dallas Opera and The Santa Fe Opera. She recorded De Falla’s El Amor Brujo for a United States tour by Maria Benitez’ Teatro Flamenco and sang the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music with Debby Boone across America and Japan. She made her New York début at Lincoln Center as soloist in A Herbert Centennial with The Little Orchestra Society, with whom she later starred in a rare performance of Herbert’s Cyrano de Bergerac and as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Clawson holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of New Mexico (Vocal Performance) and a Bachelor of Music from the University of New Mexico (Vocal Pedagogy, Vocal Performance).