"Displaying theatrical ingenuity and artistic taste, Lamb's staging captures the essence of bubbly opera buffa."
-Palm Beach Daily News
"well-honed theatrical sensibility"
-Seen and Heard International
Fenlon Lamb is continually praised for her dynamic and engaging productions in leading regional houses across the United States. She directed Arizona Opera’s world premiere and the subsequent remount of Riders of the Purple Sage which Broadway World called “epic” and “memorable...literally and figuratively blazing trails.” She recently returned to the company to mount a new production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. In previous seasons, Fenlon staged a “grand and gripping” Rigoletto and a “classic and stylish” Lucia di Lammermoor for her debut with the company in 2012.
A house favorite at Palm Beach Opera, Fenlon led a “fizzing and delightful” Il Barbiere di Siviglia for their 2013 International Season and her debut with the company. She has since directed La Bohème which highlighted her “superb theatrical instincts” and “an attractive and well-timed staging” of Don Pasquale which was hailed as “one of the companies best efforts” by Palm Beach News. Subsequent seasons included “a spiced up” Tosca and the Papermoon Opera Production of Hansel and Gretel for PBO’s family series at the Crest Theater.
Other notable productions include La traviata for her Madison and Toledo Opera debuts and a new production for Finger Lakes Opera. Fenlon directed a new production of Scalia/Ginsburg for Opera Delaware, Tosca with Jennifer Rowley in the title role, and The Pearlfishers for Dayton Opera. She has directed Carmen for North Carolina Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, Dayton Opera, Bar Harbor Music Festival and Annapolis Opera. She directed Werther and Hänsel und Gretel for Nightingale Opera Theater, Le nozze di Figaro for Orlando Philharmonic and Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn with Lexington Symphony. Fenlon led a new production of Der Fliegende Holländer with Greer Grimsley in the title role for Opera Carolina that “balanced operatic polish, romantic beauty and feminist critique” and a “sympathetic production” of Werther for Mobile Opera starring Gran Wilson.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR + PRODUCER
As the co-creator of Papermoon Opera Productions, Fenlon has produced and directed imaginative, new productions with her artistic partner, Jefferson Ridenour and the rest of her fantastic design team. Papermoon is a cohesive design and production company that partners with opera companies, arts organizations and academic institutions to explore alternative mediums and elevate artistic value while energizing community involvement.
Recently, Papermoon collaborated with Pensacola Opera for an Art Deco Don Giovanni, Inland Northwest Opera for Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel at Palm Beach Opera for their new family series, Carmen with Annapolis Opera and La Bohème with Bar Harbor Music Festival. Papermoon’s production of La voix humaine won 1st place in the NOA Competition in 2017-18. The one act was paired with L’enfant et les Sortilèges and part of a season crafted entirely out of paper. The Hänsel und Gretel production of that season has been remounted at Ball State University, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Palm Beach Opera and Amarillo Opera. Papermoon’s production of The Juliet Letters was a critical success as the series opener for Lyric Opera of Kansas City Explorations.
As the Director of Opera and Vocal Programming for Bar Harbor Music Festival, Fenlon designed and directed engaging productions of Carmen, L’Elisir d’Amore, Madama Butterfly, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Le nozze di Figaro, La Bohème, La Cenerentola, and Don Giovanni while programming innovative recitals and pops concerts each summer. More recently, she brought productions of Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen and Don Pasquale to Maine audiences. After ten years of leading the festival’s vocal department towards higher production values and acclaim, Fenlon is handing the position to her assistant to pursue a variety of projects farther afield.
During her tenure as Director of Opera at UMKC Conservatory of Music, Fenlon raised the level of performance with thoughtful, “well-crafted” productions \including Cendrillon, Little Women, Die Zauberflöte, The Turn of the Screw, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Hänsel und Gretel, and a double-bill of La voix humaine and L’enfant et les Sortilèges. The Kansas City Star took note: “The Opera Department of the University of Missouri, Conservatory of Music and Dance has become one of the most creative forces in Kansas City. Under its director, Fenlon Lamb, the department has been presenting satisfying and ingenious productions.” KCMetropolis.com lauded Cendrillon as “splendid” and praised her work on Little Women saying, “Lamb staged the opera with sensitive intelligence.”
Fenlon built a comprehensive performance curriculum at UMKC Conservatory and directed several productions for Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Exploration Series featuring young artists from both institutions. The Juliet Letters was a sold-out success as the series inaugural event. The Kansas City Star remarked, “with smart, compact staging...it was a successful, intimate show, and the excellent musicians and crew delighted the audience in this noteworthy production.” She also directed two sold-out Cabaret programs in collaboration with Mark Markham and the Resident and Young Artists of Lyric Opera Kansas City: Mack the Knife is the Man I Love and In the Mood for Love.
As the Resident AD for Palm Beach Opera Fenlon directed One Opera in One Hour productions and the Family Series matinees to critical acclaim. These productions featured the Young Artists of the company and included Iphigenie en Tauride, Our Town, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Alcina, Cenerentola and the workshop for PBO’s world premiere of Enemies, a Love Story. Fenlon also resurrected the opera department at Kent State University and has taught masterclasses at Arizona State University, Ball State University and for the young artists of Arizona Opera and Wolftrap Opera. Fenlon recently designed and implemented an online role preparation and training course for young singers to bridge the gap left in acting curriculums across the US as a result of the pandemic. The Papermoon Study Series includes two weekly lectures on acting techniques and exploring the new normal of performing on the small screen, individual dramatic coachings while integrating yoga as a tool for taking direction, improving focus and as a much needed stress relief component.
riders of the purple sage
Skip ahead to minute 2:37 to hear Fenlon discuss preparing for the World Premiere of 'Riders of the Purple Sage.'
"Stage director Fenlon Lamb, much like the character Jane Withersteen, is the woman who drives the action of the documentary towards its climax. Interactions with the costume designer, scenic designer, and singers all reflect the ‘unseen hand’ of the director’s impact on the show. When Fenlon experiences a personal loss while staging the show’s graveyard scene her vulnerability and power fiercely illustrate the intimacy between life and art."
-Kristin Atwell Ford, director of the award winning documentary “The Making of a Western Opera.”
Prior to her directing career, Fenlon was a mezzo-soprano with over 40 roles to her credit. As a flexible and collaborative singing actress, she performed at many regional houses in the US and toured throughout Southeast Asia. Fenlon consistently garnered critical acclaim for her “dynamic, rich vocal sound” and “polished acting abilities.” Highlights include these favorite roles and productions: Dorabella Cosí Fan Tutte at Opera Santa Barbara which she gave a “charismatic characterization, deliciously vulnerable, flirtatious and impulsive,” Rosina in Il Barber di Siviglia for Sacramento Opera hailed as “every inch the saucy rebel [who] navigated the highly ornamented passages with creamy ease,” Agrippina for Baltimore Opera Vivente “In the title role, Fenlon Lamb revealed a bright, flexible voice, ever-brilliant phrasing and theatrical flourish,” and Zerlina in Don Giovanni in John Hoomes’ production at Opera Cleveland.
Other memorable performances include the Wife “abounding with sympathy” for the world premier Come To Me In Dreams with baritone Sanford Sylvan, her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra as Angelina La Cenerentola, her Seattle Opera debut as Enrichetta in I Puritani, her role debut with Berkshire Opera singing Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the Countess de Coigny in Andrea Chénier, for which The Washington Post wrote, “Lovely mezzo, Fenlon Lamb, sang the self-centered Contessa to perfection.” She has sung the title role in Carmen, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Flora in La Traviata, Stephano in Roméo et Juliette, the title role of Ionlanthe, Ilona in She Loves Me, Mrs. Grose in Turn of the Screw, and the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd. Opera News took notice, saying: “Fenlon Lamb was a moving and convincing Beggar Woman.”
Fenlon received her training as a singer through several of the finest apprentice programs in the United States. She was a Santa Fe Opera Apprentice, a member of the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and a Baltimore Opera Studio Artist. She is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music (MM-Opera Performance) and University of California at Santa Cruz (BA-Music).