Opera Director & Designer
About Gilbert Blin
Gilbert Blin was born in 1960 in Guérande, France. During his international training years, Gilbert Blin has been intern or staging assistant for Robert Altman, Patrice Chéreau, Göran Jarvefelt, Nicolas Joël, Jorge Lavelli, Ariane Mnouchkine, Helmut Polixa, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Vittorio Rossi and Volker Schlöndorff among others. With a state scholarship, he studied in Paris at Institut d’Études Théâtrales of Université de Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle with a syllabus centered on theater History and stage direction. After a Diplôme d’Études Théâtrales (1982) and a Licence d’Études Théâtrales (1983), he completed a Brevet d’Aptitude à l’Animation Socio-éducative (1985), before obtaining his Maîtrise d’Études Théâtrales with a mémoire titled « Les opéras de Rameau: pour un Théâtre des Enchantements » (1986, Mention Très Bien). His research has since broadened to encompass French opera and its relationship to Baroque theater, his fields of exploration as historian, stage director, and designer.
For his staging début in 1991, Gilbert Blin directed Massenet’s Werther for the Opéra de Nancy, a production revived in 1994, with Laurent Petitgirard conducting, for Opéra-Comique in Paris. In 1995 he directed Delibes’s Lakmé for the same house. In 1996, he was dramaturg for Bizet’s Carmen, directed by David Radok, at the Royal Opera of Copenhagen. In 1999, Gilbert Blin was the first French stage director to be invited by the Prague State Opera for a new production of Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable, with musical direction by Vincent Monteil.
Gilbert Blin has worked extensively with the Drottningholms Slottsteater. He was French adviser for Arnold Östman’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride (1990) and stage director for Orfeo ed Euridice (1992). In 2000 he founded the Académie Desprez, Association Française pour le Rayonnement du Théâtre du Château de Drottningholm with the goal to study this 1766 theatre. In 2002, the Friends of Drottningholms Slottsteater acknowledged his international contribution to the activities of the theatre, when he received the stipendium Henrik Nordmark from the hands of HRH Princess Victoria of Sweden.
His staged realizations of operas of the seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries include a designed and directed 2001 production of Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso for the State Opera of Prague, and a 2003 reconstruction of Vivaldi’s Rosmira fedele for the Opéra de Nice. Returning to the latter house in 2007, Gilbert Blin directed and designed Handel’s Teseo, and in 2012, Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane, conducted by Gilbert Bezzina. For the Ensemble Baroque de Nice, he also recreated a Roman performance of Scarlatti’s oratorio La Giuditta in 2009. Since 2006, Gilbert Blin has been also working on the original sets and costumes of Mozart operas. With Czech stage director Lubor Cukr, he presented Le nozze di Figaro at Opéra de Nice in 2008, and Don Giovanni at the Prague Estates Theatre in 2006 and 2016.
Gilbert Blin made his American début with the Boston Early Music Festival in 2001 by directing a production of Lully’s Thésée presented at the Tanglewood Festival. He became Boston Early Music Festival’s Stage Director in Residence in 2008 and joined as Opera Director the permanent artistic team of the Boston Early Music Festival in 2013.
Gilbert Blin has been invited to give lectures and/or coaching at the Ecole Centrale de Paris, Kulturama in Stockholm, the Schola Cantorum in Basel, the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, The Juilliard School of Music in New York, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. Gilbert Blin is also the Founder and Director of the Young Artists Training Program of the Boston Early Music Festival.