An actor and director of plays and musicals for over 20 years before focusing her career on opera, Helena Binder has earned praise for her direction of Ermione, Il ritorno d’Ulisse, and Madama Butterfly for New York City Opera, and for her productions of Minnesota Opera’s L’italiana in Algeri, and Tales of Hoffmann. Her production of The Barber of Seville for The Dallas Opera was named one of the Top Ten Classical Performances of 2006 by the Dallas Morning News.
She has directed Fidelio for Pittsburgh Opera, Madama Butterfly for Opera Toledo, L’italiana in Algeri and La Boheme for Opera Saratoga (formerly Lake George Opera), La Boheme, Madama Butterfly and Magic Flute for Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, La Traviata and Hansel and Gretel for Opera Roanoke. This spring, she directed L’Italian in Algeri for The Atlanta Opera.
Elsewhere, she has staged productions for The New York State Theatre Institute, Leatherstocking Theatre, Lake George Dinner Theatre, Union College and Home Made Theater among others which include Noises Off, Greater Tuna, Foxfire, Wait Until Dark, A Life in the Theatre, Equus, Ten Little Indians, Charlotte’s Web and A Little Night Music.
Most recently Ms. Binder directed La Cenerentola for Opera North, The Marriage Contract, Opera for the Cure, and Brundibar for Opera Omaha, Rodelinda and Fidelio for Portland Opera and her production of Madama Butterfly for Opera Saratoga was hailed as the “best thing the company has done in recent memory. She returns there to direct The Mighty Casey.
Helena Binder has been director of the Legislative Correspondents Association Show at the New York State capitol, the oldest political satire revue in the country, for the past 27 years. A choreographer as well, Ms. Binder created dances for Frank Corsaro’s Die Tote Stadt at New York City Opera, Queen of Spades, Luisa Miller and Le nozze di Figaro for The Dallas Opera, and Bluebeard and La Calisto for Glimmerglass Opera where she also went on for an ailing countertenor.
As an actor she has performed in regional theatre in the United States and abroad in roles ranging from Peter Pan to Shakespeare’s Juliet, and was singer in the rock n’ roll group Blotto that recorded the hit I Wanna Be A Lifeguard.
A committed arts educator, Ms. Binder taught acting at Union College and founded The Acting School, a studio for children and adults in Schenectady, New York. Along with coaching singers and actors across the country, she is an image consultant who has worked with the young artist programs of Minnesota, Portland, Saratoga and Glimmerglass Operas. She has served as Lecturer in Acting in the Opera Institute of Boston University’s School of Music and is a visiting teacher in Improvisation at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.