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 in our industry 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 in Budapest, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Mayer-Lismann Opera Centre in London. Additionally he 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 Serse, Le nozze di Figaro, 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. A
Kozma’s conducting credits at Opera Neo include Le nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, La Cenerentola, The Merry Widow, Armide, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Carmen, and Der Schauspieldirektor. He conducted the American premiere of Handel’s Faramondo at Ohio State University. He has also led performances with the Johann Strauss Symphony Orchestra Budapest, the Sándor Frigyes Chamber Orchestra, the Ars Classica Chamber Orchestra, and the Monor Youth Symphony.
Mr. Kozma has worked with such directors and conductors as Michael Cavanagh, John Adams, David Angus, Doug Varone, Garnett Bruce, Thor Steingraber, András Almási-Tóth, Balázs Kovalik, Daniel Helfgot, and Francesco Maria Colombo. He has also worked with opera companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Des Moines Metro Opera. Mr. Kozma served as artistic director for the Ars Classica Chamber Opera in Hungary, where he produced and directed numerous opera productions to critical acclaim. He also worked at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest as a resident stage director, as well as the Hungarian State Television TV2 and the Miskolc Summer Opera Festival.
A sought-after clinician, Mr. Kozma 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.