Viswa Subbaraman, conductor

Beth Lytwynec

Internationally acclaimed American conductor, Viswa Subbaraman, is currently Artistic Advisor to the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee. During his tenure as Artistic and Music Director at the Skylight, he has expanded the company’s repertoire and placed it at the forefront of the industry in producing contemporary opera and reimaging traditional works. His most recent production was Thomas Ades’ Powder Her Face, directed by Robin Guarino, which was declared “a triumph for Skylight’s artistic leader” ( and he was praised for his “sublime control of this music, and the singers” ( Other highlights include Beethoven’s Fidelio, set in a Bollywood production, which he conducted and stage directed; the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s Snow Dragon which traveled to Bangkok, Thailand; Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox; and acclaimed mountings of Puccini’s iconic Tosca and Rossini’s La Cenerentola, modified for Skylight’s unique, 200-seat Baroque theater. Recognition during his time at the Skylight include being selected by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of Milwaukee’s 40 Under 40 for 2015, receiving an invitation to speak at INKTalks in India as a 2014 INK Fellow and being named by Dave Begel as one of Milwaukee’s 14 most influential people.

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In addition to his duties at the Skylight in the 2015-2016 season, Subbaraman makes his debut with the Opera Saratoga leading the American Premiere of Philip Glass’ The Witches of Venice and collaborates with Milwaukee Opera Theatre on a production of Missy Mazzoli’s Songs from the Uproar. In the 2016-2017 season, he will make his Fort Worth Opera debut in the World Premiere of Voir Dire.

Previous to his time with the Skylight, Subbaraman was the Artistic Director/Founder of Opera Vista, Houston’s innovative contemporary opera company. In his time with Opera Vista, Subbaraman was selected by the HoustonPress as a 100 Creatives 2012: one of the one hundred most creative people in Houston. Opera Vista and Subbaraman were also honored with the 2010 Mastermind Award from the HoustonPress for artistic creativity and innovative outreach.  Performance highlights during his tenure with Opera Vista include the world premiere of James Norman’s Wake…, the world premiere of Line Tjørnhøj’s Anorexia Sacra (marking Subbaraman’s stage directing debut), the Texas Premiere and historic New Orleans premiere of Amy Beach’s Cabildo, the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Silent Prince, and the creation of the annual Vista Competition for new opera.

Equally comfortable in the orchestral realm as with opera, Subbaraman served as Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre National de France where he assisted Kurt Masur and visiting guest conductors, including such distinguished artists as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, and Sir Colin Davis. Highlights of his tenure with the Orchestre National de France include the world premiere of the Overture du Roi Lear by Paul Dukas, a performance of the Stravinsky Octet with soloists of the orchestra in Paris’ famed Théatre des Champs-Elysées and the French premiere of the Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra by Ernst Bloch, which has been recorded and released under the title Tranquille through the districlassic label.   Subbaraman has been featured as a guest conductor of the Orchestre National de France, and he was invited to conduct a New Year’s Day concert with the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy.

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