Jonathon Field

  • Associate Professor of Opera Theater
  • Director, Opera Theater Productions

Areas of Study


  • BA, University of Washington, 1973
  • MFA, University of Washington, 1977


Jonathon Field has become one of America’s more versatile and popular stage directors.

From 2000 through 2006 he served as artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland, where he presented the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, and the Ohio premieres of works by John Adams, Mark Adamo, and Philip Glass. Field received a Northern Ohio Live Award for his work on Don Giovanni in Cleveland, which was called “an electrifying production that has come to be the hallmark of Field’s tenure.”

Field directed the American premiere of Lost Highway, an opera based on the David Lynch film that played to sold-out performances at the Miller Theater in New York. He directed the world premiere of the jazz opera Leave Me Alone in a partnership between Oberlin Conservatory and Real Time Opera, which was one of the first operas to broadcast live on the internet. His productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago of Trouble in Tahiti, Gianni Schicchi, The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Spanish Hour were successfully revived at the Illinois Humanities Festival.

He directed touring productions of La Cenerentola and Die Fledermaus for San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theatre, which played in more than 20 states. In recent years Field directed 10 productions with Arizona Opera, being deemed by the press “their most perceptive stage director.”

Field has been praised for his international work, having directed The Riverboat Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dido and Aeneas at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and Suor Angelica and Menotti’s Amalia al Ballo at the Urbania Festival in Italy. He has collaborated with such esteemed artists as Teresa Zylis-Gara, Jerome Hines, Pablo Elvira, Giorgio Tozzi, and Angelina Reux. 

Considered a trailblazer in the world of opera, Field is fascinated with traditional as well as modern stage techniques. He has developed and used video-projected scenery for more than 25 years in productions that have been called “brilliant,” “dazzling” and “riveting.” Field’s expertise extends from the avant-garde to musical comedy. In 1996, he introduced computer-generated scenery to the opera world in a production of Candide at West Bay Opera in Silicon Valley with assistance from Apple Inc.

The press called the show “virtual Voltaire—the backgrounds are as varied as the story.” He pioneered the use of video-projected scenery in productions of The Turn of the Screw, Tales of Hoffmann, and Der Freischütz. In the realm of operetta and musical theatre, Field staged H.M.S. Pinafore for Opera Omaha, Trial by Jury for Lake George Opera, Bernstein’s Wonderful Town in Chicago, and Merry Widow and Countess Maritza in San Francisco. For the Oakland Symphony he translated and choreographed Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, using members of the Oakland Ballet.

Spring 2023

Performance Project — OPTH 400
Seminar in Opera — OPTH 405
Seminar in Directing — OPTH 407
Advanced Seminar in Opera — OPTH 501
Research Project in Opera — OPTH 503
Opera Chorus — APST 704


Field Finds His Pasture

March 3, 2023

After 26 years at Oberlin, innovative director Jonathon Field trades higher ed for Mister Ed.

Oberlin Opera Theater Presents "Candide" March 9-12

March 1, 2023

“ Candide is one of Leonard Bernstein's finer works. It’s a piece that transmits both hope and irony, and shows us the remarkable strength of the human spirit. It is a piece that is more of a musical than an opera, and it’s brought to life by our remarkable cast and production staff,” says director Jonathon Field.

Oberlin Opera Theater to Present Offenbach and Rossini Double Bill

November 7, 2022

Oberlin Opera Theater will present a double bill of operas not seen on Oberlin stages previously—Offenbach’s operetta Le mariage aux lanternes ("The Wedding by Lantern Light") and Rossini’s burletta L'occasione fa il ladro ("Opportunity Makes a Thief")—in Hall Auditorium November 10-13.