Zambello, Francesca, American opera producer; b. N.Y, Aug. 24, 1956. She was educated at Colgate Univ. (B.A., 1978) and received training in opera production from Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. After serving as asst. director at the Lyric Opera in Chicago (1981-82) and the San Francisco Opera (1983-84), she was co-artistic director of the Skylight Opera Theater in Milwaukee from 1985 to 1990. With Ponnelle, she collaborated on a staging of Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro in Pesaro in 1987, a production later mounted at Milan’s La Scala in 1989. Her Beatrice di Tenda was produced in Venice in 1987. She staged the U.S. premiere of Stephen Oliver’s Mario and the Magician in Milwaukee in 1989. In 1990 she secured her reputation as one of the leading opera producers of her era with a staging of War and Peace in Seattle. In 1991 she produced Les Troy ens in Los Angeles, and, that same year, became the first American producer to work at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow where she staged Turandot. In 1992 she produced Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. She was engaged to stage the premiere of Goehr’s Arianna at the English National Opera in London in 1995. After producing Iphigénie en Tauride at the Glimmerglass Opera in N.Y. in 1997, she mounted Tristan und Isolde in Seattle in 1998.
—Nicholas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire