Matthew Ozawa


Matthew Ozawa is a stage director, artistic director, and educator whose international career spans all artistic disciplines including opera, theater, musical theater, dance, video, world music and visual art. Ozawa is a master storyteller, whose “strikingly spare productions” (New York Times) are “a vivid demonstration of what opera is all about” (Opera News). His productions consistently “deliver brilliance on all fronts” (Chicago Tribune) and are filled with “breathtaking imagery” (Broadway World).

Currently, Ozawa is the Interim Director of Lyric Unlimited at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Previously, Ozawa served three years as an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In addition, Ozawa also spent five years as the Founder and Artistic Director of Mozawa, a Chicago-based incubator advancing collaborative art and artists.

Passionate about collaborative interdisciplinary performance, new work, and reigniting classics, Ozawa’s “relevant” (Opera Today) and “inventive” (Cincinnati Business Courier) productions have been seen at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Opera Colorado, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Kentucky Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Siam and Asia Society among many others.

In opera, Ozawa divides his time between directing classics, rarely performed works, world premieres and musical theater. Recent productions of classic and rarely performed repertory includes: Madama Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera / Arizona Opera), Don Quichotte (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Romeo and Juliet (Minnesota Opera / Cincinnati Opera), Nabucco (Lyric Opera of Chicago), L'Opera Seria (Wolf Trap Opera), Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Colorado / North Carolina Opera), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Kentucky Opera), Arizona Lady (Arizona Opera), La Bohème (Opera Colorado / Opera North), and Les Mamelles de Tiresias / Le Pauvre Matelot (Wolf Trap Opera).

Committed to new and modern work, recent new production highlights include: Ruo / Hwang’s An American Soldier (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Perla / Murphy’s An American Dream (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Aucoin’s Second Nature (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Hanlon / Fleischmann’s After The Storm (Houston Grand Opera), Sucharitkul’s Snow Dragon (Skylight Music Theatre / Opera Siam), Larsen’s Frankenstein (West Edge Opera), and Regan / Fries’ The Memory Stone (Houston Grand Opera).

Ozawa’s skill at working across artistic boundaries has led him to collaborate with: the Grammy award winning contemporary music ensemble Eighth Blackbird (Hand Eye and Ghostlight), Sondra Radvanovsky (The Three Queens),Houston Ballet & Asia Society Houston (Tsuru), Mariachi Aztlon (Canciones y arias), Alexa Grae / Jon Wes (music video – Sur La Nuit), and visual performance designer Candystations (Hand Eye) among others. 

Ozawa was raised in California and Singapore. He is a graduate of United World College of South East Asia and Oberlin Conservatory. 

Previously at Lyric: Five operas since 2015|16, most recently The Three Queens (2019|20), An American Dream (2018|19); Don Quichotte (2016|17).

Last updated: February 12, 2021