Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Principal Opera Conductor
Music Academy of the West
Conductor Daniela Candillari brings her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times) to opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and internationally. Recognized for her “powerful and breathtaking performances” (Review STL), she enters her third season as both Principal Conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Principal Opera Conductor at Music Academy in Santa Barbara.
After Summer 2023 performances of Tosca with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, four separate programs with Classical Tahoe, and La bohème with Music Academy, Candillari’s 2023-24 season opens with the world premiere of composer Rene Orth and librettist Hannah Moscovitch’s 10 Days in a Madhouse at Opera Philadelphia, where she makes her company debut. The production stars Kiera Duffy as trailblazing reporter Nellie Bly, plus Raehann Bryce-Davis and Will Liverman. Immediately following, Candillari conducts the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded with Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. With a libretto based on the stage play by George Brant, Grounded is commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and stars Emily D’Angelo.
Possessing a “fine combination of fire and attention to detail” (KDHX), Candillari’s season continues with her return to Arizona Opera for Don Giovanni, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis for Julius Caesar and Center Stage, plus appearances at Yale School of Music for Stravinsky’s A Rake’s Progress as well as at Manhattan School of Music.
In the previous season, Candillari made her New York Philharmonic debut in their inaugural season inside the new David Geffen Hall conducting cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Elgar’s Cello Concerto, for which she was praised for her “enthusiastic, energetic yet sensitive direction” and “perfect control over the orchestra” (Broadway World). She also made her Carnegie Hall debut conducting The Choir of Trinity Wall Street in the concert Notes from Ukraine featuring contemporary choral works and a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston. She returned to Carnegie Hall later in the season to lead the American Composers Orchestra in a program of premieres. Other symphonic performances included engagements with the Orchestre Métropolitain Montreal, Symphonic Orchestra of Slovenian National Theater in Maribor, and Toledo Symphony Orchestra. On the operatic stage, she debuted with Deutsche Oper Berlin for performances of Lakmé, and conducted Hansel and Gretel at New Orleans Opera, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Arizona Opera, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at Juilliard Opera, plus the world premiere of Arkhipov by Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
During the 21-22 season, Candillari made her Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice. She also led a new production of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Detroit Opera, and workshopped the composer’s Grounded with Washington National Opera and the Met Opera. Other engagements included leading Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Carmen at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the North American premiere of Caroline Shaw, Andrew Yee, and Asma Maroof’s Moby Dick; or The Whale at The Shed with members of the New York Philharmonic; Eugene Onegin at Music Academy; and a concert with the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony. She led the made-for-film world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera, released in 2021 and later screened by Opera Philadelphia in 2022, as well as the film of Ana Sokolović’s Svadba with Boston Lyric Opera that came out in early 2022.
Other previous season highlights include debuting with the New York Philharmonic conducting Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, co-produced by The Juilliard School; Lyric Opera of Chicago for the Chicago premiere of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers in 2018 and Jack Perla’s An American Dream in 2019; and LA Opera for Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, prism. Candillari also conducted the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at Music Academy; a new production of Rene Orth’s Empty the House; made her mainstage debut at Arizona Opera conducting Spears’ Fellow Travelers, which she also led in a previous season with Minnesota Opera; helmed acclaimed performances of Acquanetta with PROTOTYPE Festival, which was later recorded and released on Cantaloupe Music; and made her Asian debut in Hong Kong conducting Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, Angel’s Bone. She additionally appeared in concert with Trinity Wall Street’s NOVUS NY Festival to open their 2018 season in celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial.
As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by established artists including instrumentalists from the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the three resident orchestras of Lincoln Center: the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York City Ballet. An avid educator, she is deeply involved with Music Academy’s programming for young artists, and has recently participated in master classes and discussions at DePaul University, Chicago Humanities Festival, and Valissima Institute.
Daniela Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a Master of Music and Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the Universität für Musik in Graz. A Fulbright Scholarship recipient, she was also awarded a TED Fellowship.