Stage Director, Interpretation Coach
With an encyclopedic knowledge of the art form and expert communicative abilities, Simón Saad has worked with opera companies in three continents always in search of maximizing the expressive output of opera singers. Whether in his role as regisseur, or as a coach, his contribution has always centered in enhancing the character definition in the mind of the performer and finding ways for the singer to convey this definition, and detonate it in the minds of their audience. The exploration of the dramatic character as expressed in song (regardless of genre, both in classical, or in popular singing) has been the focus of his career for more than three decades. Historical background, socio-cultural implications, and psychological detailing are all brought together in the pursuit of rounded and impactful performance, always with the specificset of skills of singers in mind. Acting and movement, and their specific relationship with the art of song, as well as the adroit projection of the words—skills that often remain by the wayside in contemporary operatic training are some of the abilities he seeks to help performers develop, in order to serve their singing.
After studying medicine, Simón focused on his operatic passion, attending the National School of Dramatic arts in his native Colombia, and then the Stage Production Development Program started in Florence, Italy, by the Accademia Filodrammatica and the Teatro Communale, and the Theater Department of the State University of New York, both in Purchase and Stony Brook. Since then, he has assisted, collaborated, and conferred with some of the greatest figures in operatic production: Michael Hampe, Willy Decker, Piero Faggioni, Franco Zeffirelli, Patrice Chereau, Karen Stone, and Peter Sellars, are among the ones that most influenced his career and his work. He was named Head of the Stage Production department by the Opera Company of Colombia, which brought him in close relationship to theaters as far apart as the Colón, in Buenos Aires, and the Teatro Nacional de la Zarzuela, in Madrid. He has been a docent and a lecturer, with both Ansonia Music Outreach, where he is also the Docent Program Director, and the 92nd Street Y, where he is engaged in the challenge of creating new audiences, both young and adult, for the classical performing arts, and opera in particular. During the years, Mr. Saad has worked with a veritable constellation of operatic luminaries, from Carlo Bergonzi, Martina Arroyo, and Shirley Verrett, to his close association with Veronica Villarroel, with whom he has worked steadily, over the years, and advanced a fruitful, tandem exploration of the vibrant relationship between word and music.
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