Matthew Barclay has staged over forty operatic productions for companies in Australia and overseas. As Senior Resident Director for Opera Australia, he regularly directs productions for performance at the Sydney Opera House and The Arts Centre, Melbourne.
For audiences young and old, Matthew directed Mozart's The Magic Flute based on Julie Taymor's original Metropolitan Opera production in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. His recent revivals for Opera Australia include productions of Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra and Syzmanowski's King Roger. For West Australian Opera's 50th Anniversary year he directed a revival of Verdi's Lucia di Lammermoor featuring Emma Pearson in the title role, conducted by the company's artistic director Brad Cohen.
As a freelance director, Matthew recently teamed-up with designer Hui Chen to create two new productions for Kaohsiung International Spring Arts Festival in Taiwan - Puccini's La bohème featuring Inna Dukach and Massimo Giordano, and Bizet's Carmen featuring Riccardo Massi and Kirsten Chavez, with Maestro Chih-chin Yang and the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, he directed a new production of Puccini's La bohème for the Hennessy Music Festival at the Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam featuring cast of Australian artists. For Operasmith & Co. together with the Sirius Chamber Ensemble, he directed William Walton & Edith Sitwell's Facade: An Entertainment starring Silvia Colloca and Simon Lobelson.
As an educator and teaching artist, he has directed and lectured at Sydney Conservatorium, NIDA and Victorian College of the Arts. In 2015, Matthew was invited to work on the iSing! International Young Artist's Festival in Suzhou, China, as stage director working with artistic director Hao Jiang Tian on a series of performances in Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. In 2017 he returned to the festival to direct Puccini's Gianni Schicchi - the first fully staged opera production to be presented at the newly-opened Nanjing Opera House.
For Pittsburgh Opera, Matthew was invited to direct Opera Australia's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and a year later for Opéra de Montréal working with French Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. For Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra he directed Francesca Zambello's Royal Opera House production of Carmen featuring Kirstin Chavez and Richard Troxell. At the invitation of artistic director Warren Mok, he directed Verdi’s Il trovatore at the 2010 Macau International Music Festival and travelled to Beijing in 2011 to direct Opera Australia's presentation as part of the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival.
Other production highlights include assisting Francesca Zambello with innovative stagings of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges. As a result, Matthew was able assist with Zambello's large-scale production of Show Boat at Royal Albert Hall, London.
His interest in baroque music was developed by way of association with Francisco Negrin's landmark production of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Sydney, that took Matthew to Los Angeles Opera as Associate Director and Choreographer.
Matthew took over the direction of Goran Järvefelt's production of Don Giovanni, successfully re-staging the opera featuring Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Jonathan Lemalu at the Sydney Opera House, conducted by Simone Young. Also for Opera Australia, he assisted former artistic director Moffatt Oxenbould with his cycle of Mozart operas La clemenza di Tito, Idomeneo and Die Zauberflöte, on Jim Sharman's Cosi fan tutte, as well as rare presentations of Monteverdi's Il coronanazione di Poppea, and a double bill of Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Purcell's masterpiece Dido and Aeneas directed by Patrick Nolan.
Matthew was part of the original creative team led by Moffatt Oxenbould that brought the award-winning production of Madama Butterfly to the Sydney Opera House in 1996, as Choreographer and Assistant Director. He worked as part of the same team on Puccini's La bohème with soprano Cheryl Barker as Mimi, followed by Verdi's Simon Boccanegra for the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, starring Elena Prokina and Jonathan Summers. Other Italian works include directing revivals of Il trovatore, L'elisir d'amore and Elijah Moshinsky's timeless interpretation of Verdi’s La traviata. In 2014, Matthew staged the La Fura del Baus production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera at The Arts Centre, Melbourne, directing Csilla Boross to a Green Room Award winning performance in the role of Amelia, for Opera Australia.
French operas include directing Francesca Zambello's Royal Opera House production of Bizet's Carmen for Opera Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane; as well as productions of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann and Berlioz' Beatrice and Benedict.
Matthew has also been involved with German repertoire, including Christine Mielitz's controversial production of Weber's Der Freischütz, the late Australian director Elke Neidhardt's production of Wagner's Tannhaüser and Lehar's Die Lustige Witwe for Opera Australia.
Matthew served as the assistant director on two Australian opera world premieres at the Sydney Opera House - Madeleine Lee, composed by John Haddock and Bliss, composed by Brett Dean, and he toured with Neil Armfield's production to the Edinburgh International Festival in 2010.
For state companies, Matthew Barclay has directed Faust, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni and Lucia di Lammermoor for West Australian Opera; L'elisir d'amore, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni and Carmen for the State Opera of South Australia, Julius Caesar and Carmen for Opera Queensland, La clemenza di Tito for VCA Opera and Don Giovanni and Die Fledermaus for Sydney Conservatorium Opera.
He produced and directed two consecutive presentations of The Australian Dance Awards, a major national event celebrating achievement in dance.