Faculty - Hero - Condemi
  1. Faculty

Jose Maria Condemi

Carol Franc Buck Endowed Chair, Opera and Musical Theatre; On sabbatical

Carol Franc Buck Endowed Chair

“Condemi effectively froze the action in the ‘Te Deum’ scene, making Scarpia’s monologue vowing to win Tosca all the more menacing. The drama gripped from beginning to end.” —Cincinnati Enquirer


  • MFA, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
  • Opera Regisseur, Teatro Colon Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina


  • Undergraduate Opera Workshop
  • Opera Workshop I
  • Opera Workshop II
  • Graduate Opera Workshop
  • Chamber Opera
  • Fall Opera Theatre
  • Spring Opera Theatre


  • Adler Fellow, San Francisco Opera, 2001–2002
  • Fulbright Fellow, 1998–2000
  • Argentina National Endowment for the Arts Award

What is your hometown?

Buenos Aires, Argentina

What are your favorite recordings?

Ariadne auf Naxos (Jessye Norman), Il Trittico (Renata Scotto), Tosca (Maria Callas), Nostalgia (Annie Lennox), Ragtime (Original Cast Recording), ABBA/The Gold Collection

What are you passionate about outside of music?

NPR, current events, travel, and languages.

Who was your major teacher?

Malcolm Fraser.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
—Albert Einstein

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"How is school different from the real world of the profession I am training for?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Hearing the final duet of Carmen for the first time.

What was a turning point in your career?

Being chosen as the first Adler Fellow Director of the San Francisco Opera.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would be a scientist, either particle physics or stem cell research.

What is your daily practice routine?

I am a stage director, so my daily practice routine is honing storytelling skills (by watching others, doing research on a project, looking at art, etc.)

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Richard Strauss, Puccini, and Mozart.

What are your most important collaborations?

Ainadamar (opera by Osvaldo Golijov), which I directed for Cincinnati Opera with Dawn Upshaw; A new production of Verdi's Ernani for Lyric Opera of Chicago, which featured soprano Sondra Radvanovsky; Tosca for San Francisco Opera with a double-cast led by Angela Gheorghiu and Patricia Racette; Tristan und Isolde at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Deborah Voigt.

Who have you had the privilege of teaching?

Mario Rojas, Jarrett Porter, Evelyn Shreves, Mariya Kaganskaya, and Elena Galvan.

What is your unrealized project?

Directing Strauss's Salome. (And writing a musical featuring songs by Pink Martini!)