Matt Cooksey, director, baritone, writer
Matt Cooksey is the Resident Assistant Director for Indianapolis Opera for the 2018-19 season. While in Indianapolis, he will serve as the assistant director to their mainstage programs (La bohème and Camelot), as well as the head direction and design of Star-Cross’d Lovers. His educational projects will include restaging two children's operas written by Briana Sosenheimer, called The Not-So Ugly Duckling and The Three Little Hoosier Pigs. He will also serve as an Assistant Director for Opera NEO in San Diego for productions of Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky and La calisto by Cavalli.
Cooksey is an alumni of Indiana University [BM - Vocal Performance] and Florida State University [MM - Performance (Voice) and Opera Production (Directing)]. He studied direction under Matthew Lata, but took full advantage of the wonderful instructors from FSU's College of Music, School of Theatre, School of Dance, Department of Art History, and English Department. His coursework included opera literature, production, direction, music history, music theory, history of directing, dramaturgy, pilates, art of Hollywood's Golden Era, and Victorian novels. During his direction degree, Cooksey staged a middle school outreach production of Béatrice et Bénédict, a self-adapted version of Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor, and the US premiere of Michael Williams's The Prodigal Child. He also directed scenes for FSU's Opera Workshop program, which included excerpts from Werther, Roméo et Juliette, La clemenza di Tito, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Le nozze di Figaro.
As a singer, Cooksey performed a variety of roles in mainstage and outreach productions. Some of his fondest roles include KoKo from The Mikado, Papageno from The Magic Flute, and The Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood (Barab). He performed at Florida State University, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Indiana University, Bay View Music Festival, and the Nashville Opera (chorus). One of his highest profile performances came in 2018, when he sang as a featured soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra during their spring choral concert. He is also due to appear on an unreleased CD of musical theatre songs by Madeleine Dring. A full list of roles and major appearances is available here.
Cooksey has written a variety of adapted works, including the previously mentioned Béatrice et Bénédict and Der Schauspieldirektor. He has also written a musical revue called Liaisons, which loosely borrows from the plot of Così fan tutte and uses music from Golden Era Broadway shows. He authored an unperformed revue called Unelectable, which featured a plot ripped from the headlines paired with songs from the Great American Songbook. He is currently preparing research for a larger original project.
Cooksey is originally from Nashville, TN and is currently based in Tampa with his wife and dog.
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