Taylor Rachel Carnes is currently the first stage director in the Graduate Artist Certificate Program in Opera at the University of North Texas under the direction of Jonathan Eaton. Taylor directed Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti in March 2022 and she will direct A Streetcar Named Desire in 2023 for UNT Opera. Carnes is a 2022-23 recipient of the National Opera Association's JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship.
This summer, Taylor joins the Young Artist Program at The Glimmerglass Festival, where she will serve as Assistant Director to Denyce Graves and Fight Captain on a new production of Carmen. She will also assist Francesca Zambello and Brenna Corner on the premiere of The Jungle Book by Kamala Sankaram and Kelley Rourke.
Carnes served as the 2019 Aspen Opera Center Assistant Director for the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she was a staff member for three consecutive seasons. While in Aspen, she worked as a guest director for opera scenes in collaboration with music directors, Kenneth Merrill and William Billingham.
Beyond her work in opera and musical theater, Ms. Carnes directed, wrote, and produced the short film Almost Charming in 2019. Taylor was nominated "Best Director" for the film at the London International Motion Picture Awards in 2020. Almost Charming won “Best Romantic Comedy” at the Top Shorts Film Festival, “Honorable Mention: Romantic Comedy” at the Los Angeles Film Awards, and "Award of Distinction" at the Canada Shorts Film Festival. The short film was an "Official Selection" in thirteen film festivals, recognized both nationally and internationally.
Carnes has a background in stage management and supertitle design, working with companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Opera UCLA, Pasadena Opera, and West Edge Opera. In 2020, she served as an Assistant Stage Manager and Projection Caller for the world premiere of Eurydice at LA Opera.
Taylor advocates for strong leadership in all industries, especially the arts. For two years, she was a Live Facilitator and Team Leader for the leadership company, Simon Sinek, Inc, whose bold vision is creating a more inspired, safe and fulfilled world of work. She led the development of a workshop for artists and creatives titled Start with WHY for Artists, in an effort to promote purposeful career and leadership development amongst artists. Start with WHY for Artists has reached hundreds of global participants to date, including sessions facilitated for the Merola Opera Program.
Taylor Carnes is currently a Graduate Artist Certificate student at the University of North Texas. She received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, magna cum laude, from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in 2019.