Opera Neo Founder and Artistic Director Peter Kozma’s philosophy “has been applied rigorously to his company,” writes Pam Kragan of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Opera is theater,” Kozma believes. “We need people who can capture the audience. But we have systematically removed the opportunities for young performers to develop individuality — to display a persona.”
Along with a few like-minded collaborators, Kozma set out in 2012 to build a company where artistic individuality is identified, nurtured, and showcased in innovative productions that speak directly to today’s audiences. Since its founding, Opera Neo has grown from a scenes program into a fully-fledged opera company and professional training program, presenting three fully staged operas each summer, drawing over 600 young artist applicants, and receiving local and national media recognition as an innovator in the field.
Kozma’s work has been hailed as “free-spirited and inventive, showing an excellent grasp of the drama and the space." He has studied voice, conducting, and directing at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Mayer-Lismann Opera Centre, and additionally has performed and trained professionally in flute and baroque recorder. His background has allowed him to bring a diverse range of experience, as well as a broadly-informed musical perspective into his innovative and energetic productions.
His directing credits at Opera Neo include Eugene Onegin, Idomeneo, Don Giovanni, The Fairy Queen, Rinaldo, Agrippina, and L’incoronazione di Poppea. Other directorial credits include The Merry Widow (Szeged Open-Air Festival, Hungary), Don Giovanni (Sarasota Opera), Le nozze di Figaro and Eugene Onegin (Opera San José), Rossini's Il Signor Bruschino and the American premier of Mercadante’s Orazi e Curiazi (Minnesota Opera), as well as L’Orfeo (Budapest Chamber Opera). He directed the American premiere of Handel’s Faramondo and productions of L’elisir d’amore, La Calisto, The Magic Flute, and Le nozze di Figaro, while serving as director of the The Ohio State University Opera Theater.
Kozma’s conducting credits at Opera Neo include Eugene Onegin, La Cenerentola, The Merry Widow, Idomeneo, Armide, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Carmen, Der Schauspieldirektor, Die Zauberflöte, and Le nozze di Figaro. He conducted the American premiere of Handel’s Faramondo at Ohio State University. He has also conducted performances with the Johann Strauss Symphony Orchestra Budapest, the Sandor Frigyes Chamber Orchestra, Ars Classica Chamber Orchestra, and Monor Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Kozma has worked with such directors and conductors as Michael Cavanagh, John Adams, David Angus, Doug Varone, Garnett Bruce, Thor Steingraber, Balazs Kovalik, Daniel Helfgot, and Francesco Maria Colombo. He has worked with opera companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and Des Moines Metro Opera. He served as artistic director for the Ars Classica Chamber Opera in Hungary, where he produced and directed numerous opera productions as well as several education and outreach performances. He also worked at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest as a resident director, as well as the Hungarian State Television TV2, and the Miskolc Summer Opera Festival.
A sought-after clinician, Peter has presented master classes at the Boston Conservatory, University of Hawaii, Southwestern University, Bel Cantanti Opera Summer Opera Festival, Opera Columbus Education and Outreach Program, Point Loma Nazarene University, and San Diego State University, among others.
This summer, in addition to music directing and producing, Kozma has taken on the role of director of photography and video editor for Opera Neo’s virtual Magic Flute. He has enjoyed collaborating on the project with director David Radamés Toro, and is excited to share this pioneering production. He is extremely proud of the work of the Opera Neo team.