An internationally recognized director of opera and theatre, as well as the General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival since 2010, and the Artistic Director of The Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. She has also served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005–2011 and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theatre from 1987–1992.
She has since staged new productions at major theatres, festivals and opera houses in Asia, Australia, South America, Europe and the USA. Collaborating with outstanding artists and designers and promoting emerging talent, she takes a special interest in new music theatre works, innovative productions, and in producing theatre and opera for wider audiences.
Francesca Zambello has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture and the Russian Federation's medal for Service to Culture. Other honours for her work include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theatres and two Evening Standard Awards. The French Grand Prix des Critiques was awarded to her twice for her work at the Paris Opera. She has received the Medallion Society Award from the San Francisco Opera recognizing 30 years of work for the company.
For Opera Australia, Francesca Zambello directed the 2012 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production of La Traviata, as well as The Love for Three Oranges in 2016, and West Side Story on Sydney Harbour in 2019, for which she received the Helpmann Award for best direction of a musical.
Ms. Zambello has also served as an adjunct professor at Yale University. An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She began her career as an Assistant Director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Francesca Zambello lives in New York with her wife, Faith Gay, a founding partner of Selendy & Gay and son, Jackson.