Stephen Barlow was born in Melbourne, Australia. He studied Music and Drama at the University of Melbourne before moving permanently to London. He made his directing debut staging “Trial by Jury” in the Bow Street Magistrates Court for the Covent Garden Festival. Stephen began his directing apprenticeship at both Glyndebourne and Covent Garden where he worked as an assistant/associate director on over twenty productions including the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s opera “1984” directed by Robert Lepage. He also worked as assistant director on Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Albert Hall, and on two Olivier award winning productions at the Royal National Theatre “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Anything Goes”, assisting Trevor Nunn. Stephen worked closely with Jonathan Kent on new productions of Puccini’s “Tosca” (Covent Garden), Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” (Glyndebourne), Strauss’ “Elektra” (Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg) and was his Associate Director on the new West End musical, Legrand’s “Marguerite” at the Haymarket Theatre.
Subsequently, his productions have included: Verdi’s “Rigoletto” (Chicago Lyric Opera) and “La traviata” (Singapore Lyric Opera), Puccini’s “Tosca” (Santa Fe), Bizet’s “Carmen” (Opera Theatre Saint Louis), Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana”, Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”, Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” and “La bohème” as well as Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” (Opera Holland Park), Mozart’s “Idomeneo” with Peter Sellars (Glyndebourne Touring Opera) and “The Magic Flute” (Royal Acadamy of Music), and an unanimously acclaimed production of “Tosca” for Opera Holland Park among others. This production was revived at the Richmond Theatre, London and was described by The Guardian as “the most brilliantly original production of “Tosca” to be seen in this country for decades.”
In 2014 Stephen directed a major new staging of “Rigoletto” for the Bucharest National Opera, the first new production of this piece for the company in 60 years, and the following year was invited back to Bucharest to stage an all new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” for the Bucharest National Operetta company in a purpose built new theatre. Stephen also directed the London professional premiere of Jonathan Dove’s “Flight” for Opera Holland Park, which was nominated for the What’s On Stage Opera Event of 2015 Award and which was reimagined for Scottish Opera where it played in both Glasgow and Edinburgh in 2018.
In 2018, Stephen made his debut with the Grange Festival in Hampshire staging a new production of “The Barber of Seville” and directed the Norwegian premiere production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” in a new staging at the old Oslo Opera House, Folketeateret. In 2019 and 2020, Stephen will make a number of return engagements to the Santa Fe Opera, the Grange Festival, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia.