Robert Lyall is the Artistic Director of New Orleans Opera and Opera Grand Rapids. In the past, he has served as General Director of the Knoxville Opera, Mississippi Opera, and as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and as Principal Guest Conductor of the Istanbul State Opera in Turkey.
He is a frequent guest of opera companies, orchestras, and ballet companies throughout the world. Notable guest engagements include the Rostov (Russia) State Opera for Madama Butterfly, Bulgarian State Opera (Nabucco), Istanbul State Opera for Nabucco, Don Carlo, and The Abduction from the Seraglio (in celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire), Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Akron Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. Symphonic engagements abroad include the Verona (Italy) Philharmonic, Las Palmas Symphony, Guadalajara Symphony, Guanajuato Symphony. In the U.S.A., he has conducted the Asheville Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, New World Symphony, Prince George Philharmonic, Pueblo (CO) Philharmonic, Southeast Kansas Philharmonic, and Victoria Symphony. He made his debut in Carnegie Hall leading the New England Symphony. He has led ballet performances for the Dallas Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet, San Antonio Ballet, Corpus Christi Ballet, Chattanooga Ballet, and Oak Ridge Ballet.
Recent seasons have seen him conduct Faust for Chautauqua Opera, La Traviata, Les Contes Hoffman and Siegfried in New Orleans, and Porgy and Bess and Die Fledermaus in Grand Rapids. He also led the company following Hurricane Katrina an internationally acclaimed opera gala for the New Orleans Opera that include luminary singers including Placido Domingo, Frederica von Stade, Paul Groves and Denice Graves and productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Madama Butterfly. He also returned to the Rostov State Theater to conduct Madama Butterfly.
This season, he will conduct Le Nozze di Figaro, Lucia di Lammermoor, and La Boheme for New Orleans Opera, Madama Butterfly, Romeo et Juliette and Don Giovanni for Opera Grand Rapids.
Notable highlights during Mr. Lyall's tenure in New Orleans include his debut production of La Boheme, two Big Easy awards for their productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Die Walküre, and their world premiere of Thea Musgrave's Pontalba, commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. He also garnered considerable acclaim for his "grand arena" style productions of Aida and Carmen for Opera Grand Rapids and Knoxville Opera.
A native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, Mr. Lyall studied at the University of North Texas where he earned a Ph.D. in Musicology and Composition and a Masters of Music in Composition. He has served on the music faculty of the University of Houston and as a guest lecturer in Music at the Institute Allende in Mexico and for a number of opera tours under the auspices of the International Council for Cultural Exchange. He was a winner of the American Symphony Orchestra League's National Conducting Competition and was a Conducting Fellow with that organization. He was also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in recognition for his work in composition.
Opera Carolina Performances:
Don Giovanni (2007–2008)