The National Opera Studio is excited to announce the appointment of American coach, pianist and conductor Eric Melear as Artistic Director, effective July 2024.

Melear brings a wealth of experience from his distinguished career conducting, coaching and performing all over the world. Currently on the music staff of the Vienna State Opera, helping to prepare and conduct the world-class ensemble and orchestra for 40-50 productions per year, Melear has long been a champion of young singers and pianists having led renowned talent development programmes at both Houston Grand Opera and Wolf Trap Opera, as well as serving as a guest coach for programmes and universities in the U.K., Italy and the U.S.

Working alongside with National Opera Studio’s Executive Director Nicholas Simpson, Melear will provide inspirational artistic direction, building on the National Opera Studio’s renowned reputation as the UK’s leading opera training organisation.

His responsibilities will include overseeing and delivering its world-class training programmes, ensuring they respond effectively to the evolving needs of the opera profession, and managing the organisation’s strong relationships with the sector, including its partnerships with the UK’s six leading opera companies. He joins a highly skilled and diverse team of staff and coaches from a variety of disciplines who nurture the National Opera Studio’s outstanding Young Artists. 

Melear says: “I am thrilled to join the National Opera Studio's excellent team and rich history to recruit and guide the next generation’s opera stars. NOS is uniquely positioned to creatively connect a diverse group of artists with our partner companies, and I look forward to building on its already strong foundations to fully prepare artists for their international careers.”

Eric Melear replaces David Sulkin OBE, who steps down from his position in June 2024, and takes on an expanded role along with Executive Director Nicholas Simpson, seeing a new joint leadership structure for NOS.

Nicholas Allan, Chair of the National Opera Studio, said: “The Studio is excited to welcome Eric Melear as Artistic Director. Under his leadership, we are confident in our ability to reach new heights in developing world-class opera talent. I’d like to thank David for his many contributions to artist development at NOS over the last six years, not least his leadership and innovation in our initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion in our sector.”

About Eric Melear

Based in Vienna, Austria, Eric Melear enjoys a diverse career as a conductor and pianist, working regularly on multiple continents and with a wide variety of singers and companies. A member of the music staffs at both the Vienna State Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, he has guest conducted at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival and at numerous U.S. opera houses, including Houston Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, among others. Melear has also long been a champion of young artists, having led Studios at both Houston Grand Opera and Wolf Trap Opera, as well as serving as a guest coach for programmes and universities in the U.K., Italy, and the U.S. 

Since returning to the Vienna State Opera full-time in 2015, Melear has conducted performances of Die Entführung ins Zauberreich, Wagner’s Nibelungen Ring for Children and Pünktchen und Anton and assisted Zubin Mehta, Peter Schneider, Simone Young, among many others. Sharing the duties of preparing the 45-50 operas a season, he also conducts the full-time stage orchestra, regularly coaches the ensemble of singers and the newly created Studio programme and can be seen in recitals and featured on continuo.

This season Melear is again on the podium for performances of Das verfluchte Geisterschiff and assisting and conducting stage music for productions of Le grand macabre, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Pasquale, Lohengrin, Die Frau ohne Schatten, among others.