STEPHEN KITSAKOS is an opera librettist, stage director and teacher. With the American composer, Sheila Silver, he wrote librettos for A Thousand Splendid Suns, adapted from the bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini (Seattle Opera, World Premiere February 25, 2023), Nominee 2023 Best New Opera World Premiere International Opera Awards, Warsaw, Poland, The Wooden Sword (Sackler Prize, World Premiere October 2009) and The White Rooster: A Tale of Compassion (Smithsonian Institution, World Premiere, June, 2010).

With the composer Martin Hennessy he wrote The Pleasing Recollection, a Cabaret Opera (NYC premiere, April, 2022 Feinstein’s 54 Below) the opera-theatre one-act operas, An Incident in Sutton Place, finalist 2023/24 Dominic Argento Chamber Opera Prize of the National Association of Opera, & The Woman in Penthouse A (The Studios of Key West, premiere 2020) and Swimming in the Dark, adapted from the novel by Tomas Jedrowski, for the Jacobs School of Music, Ballet & Opera Theater at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Other opera & music projects include The Other Voice with Robert Starer & Gail Godwin, Ashokan with Greg Allen, and The Woodstock Cycle for the Episcopal Diocese of NY.

Kitsakos is the recipient of grants or commissions from the Seattle Opera, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Commission on the Arts, the Florida Council on the Arts, the Catskill Watershed Commission, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NYFA, the American Opera Project, and the Majors Downs Fund. 

His work as a stage director concentrates on new and unfamiliar works with established and emerging playwrights. These include playwright Drew Larimore’s The Thing About Pipecleaner People and Smithtown, starring Michael Urie, Ann Harada, Colby Lewis & Constance Shulman, Anne by Adi Eshman, Red Masquerade by Jack Wade, Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry? by Eric Weinberger and the experimental one-act plays of Tennessee Williams, including Lifeboat Drill, Kingdom of Earth, Green Eyes & The Traveling Companion for the Key West Art & Historical Society Tennessee Williams Museum. 

A graduate of New York University & the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, he was a member of the Theatre Arts Faculty at SUNY New Paltz in New York’s Hudson Valley from 1999-2013 teaching courses in performance & theater studies. Additional teaching includes work at Shantigar, the spiritual retreat of Jean-Claude van Italie, Kripalu, The Studios of Key West and UCLA Osher. Other experience includes his work as a contributing writer for The Sondheim Review and ABC-CLIO’s Music in American Life. Professional affiliations include Opera America, the Dramatists Guild, and ASCAP. 


To contact Stephen, please write to stephen@stephenkitsakos.com.