Jonathan Dean first joined Seattle Opera for a post-college internship in the summer of 1995. In July 2015, Aidan Lang asked him to become Seattle Opera’s first-ever Dramaturg. In addition to his work writing and overseeing the company’s supertitles, he connects artists, staff, opera-goers, and radio audiences with historical, literary, musical, and contextual information in support of Seattle Opera’s programming.
Skilled in four languages, Dean translates libretti into the English captions that appear above Seattle Opera’s stage. Since 1997, he has created captions for more than 70 operas. His translations of Italian, French, and German operas, as well as captions for operas in English, have been seen at Seattle Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, and many other theaters.
Dean was Seattle Opera’s Director of Public Programs and Media from 2010 to 2015 and a member of the Education Department before that. He created two hour-long English adaptations for children of Wagner’s Ring
operas: Theft of the Gold
and Siegfried and the Ring of Fire
. From 2005 to 2011, performances of these operas introduced thousands of children all over Washington to the passion and fascination of opera. For three seasons, he produced and was Quizmaster for “OperaMania!” on Classical KING FM 98.1, a trivia game show featuring teenage opera enthusiasts.
A pioneer in online opera education, Dean helped build Seattle Opera’s extensive online presence and continues to contribute to the company’s blog, SoundCloud channel, YouTube channel, and social media. He has given hundreds of pre-performance talks before Seattle Opera performances and has lectured and taught for other opera companies and arts organizations around North America. Seattle Opera patrons eagerly await his Spotlight Guides
each season, which take opera-goers on a witty tour through the main points of each opera’s story, the history behind its composition, and the life of the composer. Dean was editor-in-chief of 50 Years of Seattle Opera
and helped create the book’s companion website, seattleopera50.com.
Jonathan will share some of his favorite recordings including Janácek' Sinfonietta, Dvorák's "American" Quartet, Lully's "Marche pour la Cérémonie Turque", Vaughan Williams' Mass in G minor, Sibelius' Symphony No.5, Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte", and Zhao Jiping/Zhao Lin's "Distant Green Valley."