Barbara Gaines


“What I love about opera,” says the renowned American director, “is being immersed in its music. Swimming inside Mozart’s soul is life-giving. Learning the music and feeling the music has been a great gift. When Anthony Freud asked me to direct Figaro, not an opera previously on my ‘wish-list,’ I found a story all about character and human foibles – exactly what I love so passionately in Shakespeare – and so I have Anthony to thank for giving me the joy of creating this production.” Founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Gaines has directed more than 30 of Shakespeare’s plays there, most recently last season’s King Lear. The 2014|15 season also included her world-premiere production of Paul Gordon’s musical, Sense and Sensibility. Among Gaines’s many honors are the 2008 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre; the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her contributions strengthening BritishAmerican cultural relations; and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Director and Best Production for Hamlet, Cymbeline, King Lear, and The Comedy of Errors. She has also received the Public Humanities Award from the Illinois Humanities Council, the Spirit of Loyola Award, and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. She serves on the Shakespearean Council of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University.

Previously at Lyric Opera: The Marriage of Figaro (2015|16); Macbeth (2010|11).

Last updated: September 26, 2015