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, L’Elisir d’Amore, 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 and La Boheme for Pittsburgh Opera, Rodelinda and Fidelio for Portland Opera, L’Italiana in Algeri for The Atlanta Opera, Madama Butterfly for Opera Toledo, L’italiana in Algeri La Boheme. L’Elisir d’Amore, and The Mighty Casey for Opera Saratoga (formerly Lake George Opera), La Boheme, The Marriage Contract, Opera for the Cure, and Brundibar for Opera Omaha, Madama Butterfly and Magic Flute for Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, La Traviata, La Cenerentola for Opera North, Hansel and Gretel for Opera Roanoke and Glory Denied for Syracuse Opera. This season, she directed Madama Butterfly for Chattanooga Opera and for First Coast Opera, Glory Denied for Anchorage Operam The Magic Flute in Shreveport, Madama Butterfly in Boise, Idaho, and Cosi fan tutte for Opera on the James. This summer she will return to Opera North to direct Verdi’s Macbeth.
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.
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.