Zachary Gordin (he/him) is a critically acclaimed artist, praised for his “arresting musical insights” and a voice that is “commanding and intense.” As one of opera’s new cadre of visionary leaders who got his start on the stage, Gordin is a fierce arts advocate and entrepreneur. He brings a proven track record of outstanding casting, highlighting current social issues with operatic storytelling while staying deeply rooted in community and audience building.
On the operatic stage Gordin is well known for his performances of Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, a role that won him critical acclaim when he premiered it at Dayton Opera in 2015. Other role highlights include Manfred in For a Look or a Touch, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo in Carmen, Silvio in Pagliacci, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Germont in La Traviata. A veteran of the concert and recital stage, recent engagements include performances with San Francisco Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, YOSA Philharmonic, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, and many others. His debut disc: Amour sans ailes - Songs of Reynaldo Hahn was named "Best Lieder Recording of 2017" by Voix des Arts.
Gordin began his administrative relationship with FO as an Artistic Advisor in 2018 and was appointed Artistic Director the following year. Of his first production at the helm, San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “A gripping production of Carlisle Floyd’s tragedy Susannah this past weekend made it clear that Festival Opera has returned to full production in high gear. After several years of reduced offerings, the Walnut Creek-based company, with newly appointed artistic director Zachary Gordin, brought this lush American opera to the Lesher Center with savvy stage direction and first-class music from singers and orchestra.” His promotion to General Director in 2020 was a harbinger of many more artistically uplifting seasons for this treasured Bay Area cultural asset. Since then, he has created the Artist Recital Series, MIXTAPE Digital Stage, and the interview series Behind the Mask. In 2021, Gordin minted the World Premiere of A Jake Heggie Triptych - a trio of Heggie’s song cycles fully-staged as an operatic event - with the composer among the performers. Bellini’s powerhouse opera Norma was the highlight of FO’s 2022 season, marking the return of grand opera with a full cast, chorus, and orchestra to the Lesher Center for the Arts.
An Oakland native son, Gordin grew up amid the multi-cultural artistic offerings that the Bay is famous for. During his early childhood, he was inspired by his Great-Grandfather, an organist, and began training on keyboard instruments. His own experience being from a diverse cultural background, and as a participant in once-robust public school music programs underscores his dedication to increasing access to education and performance. Gordin has served on the voice faculties of the Oakland School for the Arts, Santa Clara University, and Sonoma State University, and through his own vocal studio has trained artists who have performed on the world’s great stages. Gordin continues his work as a sought-after performer and presenter. His passion for fitness, community engagement, and mentoring makes him a positive influence in media spaces. He continues to collaborate in ways that uplift and lead the opera world toward a more innovative, accessible, and equitable position. With his reverence for musical tradition, his passion for excellence, and his modern and socially progressive vision, Festival Opera will be in skilled and restorative hands for years to come.
Board of Directors
Susie Hanson, Chair
David Baer, Secretary
Timothy Evans, Treasurer
Nina Bancroft Dickerson
Michael Morgan, Artistic & Music Director Laureate
Diane Farrell Mauch
Frederica von Stade
Philip J. Terry
Ted Weis, MD, Founder
Artistic & Production Staff
General & Artistic Director: Zachary Gordin
Director of Production: Frederic O. Boulay
Orchestra Personnel Manager: Carole Klein
Chorus Manager: Kate Sterns
Director of Marketing: Dick Brundage
Director of Social Media: Keegan Dwyer
Press & Media Relations: Jon Finck, Encore Communications 2.0
Media and Marketing Consultant: Blake Hill-Saya
Executive Assistant: Kristen Campbell
Bookkeeper: Lori Howard
Graphic Design: Temerity Design