Dejan Miladinović was born on 2 December 1948, in Belgrade, into a family of prominent opera artists (his mother Milica, a mezzo soprano, now retired, was a leading singer in the Opera Company of the National Theatre in Belgrade and his late father, Dušan, was the Principal Conductor and Manager in the same company). After finishing the Belgrade Classical Grammar School, he graduated from the Department of Theatre Direction at the Academy of Theatre Film Radio and Television in Belgrade, in the class of Professor Vjekoslav Afrić (graduation production Jelisaveta’s Love Plight, Theatre Atelier 212). He obtained the title of Master of Theatrical Arts from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade (with the thesis “Development of Opera Direction in Belgrade and Novi Sad in period 1919-1975”).
Miladinović has served as first Director at Opera and Drama companies as well as the Artistic Director of the Opera Company, two terms in office, in the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad. He has also served as an artistic consultant for grand stage projects in Convention Centre “Sava” in Belgrade. He moved from Novi Sad to Belgrade, where he assumed the position of Director in Opera Company of the National Theatre in Belgrade and, then at the proposal and invitation of the whole company of the Belgrade Opera, he became the Artistic Director in the same company. He remained in this position during the NATO aerial bombing, although he had numerous invitations from abroad. Several years later, he transfers, again at the invitation, to become the Artistic Director at Opera & Theatre Madlenianum in Zemun.
For five years, he has worked as an Associate Professor and Artistic Director of Opera Theatre at Meadows School of Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. For seven years, he served as an Associate Professor of acting and in Opera Theatre at the Faculty of Music Arts, Belgrade, and Associate Professor of acting and directing at Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Afterwards, following the invitation of the National Theatre in Belgrade, he assumed the position of a Director and Professor of Acting at “Borislav Popović” Opera Studio.
While an Associate Professor at the Meadows School of Arts, he staged several productions, which were performed within the regular annual repertoires of the university theatre:
• J. Strauss – THE BAT
• Mozart – THE MAGIC FLUTE
• Puccini - GIANNI SCHICCHI and SUOR ANGELICA
• Menotti: The CONSUL
• Mozart – THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO.
While an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Music Arts in Belgrade, together with his students, he staged Puccini’s opera SUOR ANGELICA in Bitef Theatre, for Belgrade Festival “Airplane without an engine”
During the NATO aerial bombardment, he staged, together with students of FMA, Mozart’s opera THE MAGIC FLUTE, which was, due to exceptional situation at the time, performed in parts in the large rehearsal room of the National Theatre in Belgrade.
The following year, he staged the premiere of the first Serbian opera AT DAWN by S. Binički, at the National Theatre in Belgrade. The production premiered within the LEMEK Festival. Students of FMA (singers and instrumentalists), Faculty of Applied Arts (creation and adaptation of set design and costumes according to designs of Prof. M. Berberović) and a student of Faculty of Drama Arts (assistant to the director) participated in the production.
While an Associate Professor at Thornton School of Music, he staged several productions, which were performed within the regular annual repertoires of the university theatre:
• Rossini - CINDERELLA
• Ward: THE CRUCIBLE
• Mozart – THE MAGIC FLUTE
Due to disagreement with artistic and organizational policies of the then management of the Opera Company of the National Theatre in Belgrade, and to the National Theatre’s management persistence, the cooperation was terminated. The termination followed a very successful staging of opera IL TABARRO by Puccini, with members of the Studio (12 February 2011), after almost five months as a director and Professor of Acting in "Borislav Popović" Opera Studio (February-June 2011).
Dejan Miladinović directed 157 productions, mostly operas (starting from Monteverdi to modern national and international composers) in professional theatres in former Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Skopje, Zagreb, Split, Osijek, Sarajevo) and abroad.
Selection of his productions in former Yugoslavia:
• THE PIT, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, LA BOHEME, SAMSON AND DELILAH, NABUCCO, THE POWER OF DESTINY, CATHERINE ISMAILOVA - (Serbian National Theatre, Novi Sad)
• THE FATHERLAND, THE PRINCE OF ZETA, ATTILA, PRINCE IGOR, AIDA, NABUCCO, THE CRUCIBLE, MADAMA BUTTERFLY - (National Theatre, Belgrade)
• HOFFMAN’S STORIES, MADAMA BUTTERFLY – (Madlenianum Opera & Theatre, Belgrade)
• CARMEN, NABUCCO - (National Theatre, Sarajevo)
• THE VILLAGE PHILOSOPHER, THE RETURN OF ODYSSEY, PROMETHEUS - (Yugoslav Festival of Chamber Opera and Ballet, HNK Osijek)
• ANDREA CHENIER - (HNK Split)
• THE POWER OF VIRTUE, EQUINOX, RICHARD THE THIRD - (HNK Zagreb)
• LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR - (May Opera Evenings, MNT Skopje)
His directing debut in the USA was the production of PRINCE IGOR by Borodin in Dallas Opera House, Texas. In opera houses throughout the USA, he directed the following productions:
• Tchaikovsky - EUGENE ONEGIN (Dallas Opera; Baltimore Opera; Hawaii Opera; Atlanta Opera House – set was designed according to his idea);
• Verdi - AIDA (Florentine Opera, Milwaukee; San Diego Opera House; Dallas Opera House; Atlanta Opera House);
• Verdi - DON CARLOS (version in 5 acts, in French - Seattle Opera, Seattle),
• Wagner – THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (Dallas Opera; Florentine Opera, Milwaukee; Opera Columbus – set design as well);
• R. Strauss - ELECTRA (Florentine Opera, Milwaukee);
• Puccini - MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Austin Lyric Opera, Austin; Florentine Opera, Milwaukee);
• Donizetti – THE ELIXIR OF LOVE (Summer Opera Festival, New Jersey);
• Bizet - CARMEN (Pacific Opera, California);
• Verdi - RIGOLETTO (Florentine Opera, Milwaukee; Pacific Opera, California; Detroit Opera, Michigan);
• Ponchielli – LA GIACONDA (Baltimore Opera, Baltimore);
• Giordano – ANDREA CHENIER (Florentine Opera, Milwaukee);
• Puccini - TOSCA (Summer Opera Festival, New Jersey; Winnipeg Opera, Winnipeg, Canada; Florentine Opera, Milwaukee);
• Puccini - TURANDOT (Michigan Opera, Detroit; Atlanta Opera; Florentine Opera, Milwaukee),
• Verdi - OTHELLO (Atlanta Opera, Atlanta - set was designed according to his idea);
• Puccini - LA RONDINE (Atlanta Opera);
• Mozart – THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Atlanta Opera);
• Verdi – IL TROVATORE (Michigan Opera, Detroit; Pacific Opera, California; Florentine Opera, Milwaukee - set design as well);
• Wagner - SIEGFRIED (New Orleans Opera),
• Beethoven – FIDELIO (Florentine Opera, Milwaukee; Vancouver Opera, Canada – designed videos, set and costumes);
• Mozart – ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO (Atlanta Opera),
• PRINCE IGOR (New York City Opera).
Dejan Miladinović has cooperated with numerous renowned opera artists:
• Soprano: Renee Fleming, Ghena Dimitrova, Sumi Jo, Erika Sunnegardh, Mary Dunleavy, Stefka Evstatieva, Alessandra Marc, Frances Ginzer, Zvetelina Vassileva, Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Stella Zambalis, Michele Crider, Indra Thomas, Brenda Harris...
• Mezzo-Soprano: Florence Quivar, Eva Podles, Irina Mishura, Marianne Cornetti, Joyce Castle, Nina Terentieva...• Tenor: Richard Margison, Anthony Dean Griffey, Jon Fredric West, Fabio Armiliato, Wieslaw Ochman, Vincent Cole, Vladimir Grishko, Michael Sylvester, Gary Lakes, Hugh Smith, Lando Bartolini, Eduardo Villa...
• Baritone: Sergei Leiferkus, Justino Díaz, Timothy Noble, Dwayne Croft, Mark Delavan, Louis Otey, Mark Rucker, Donnie Ray Albert, Vladimir Alekseyev...
• Bass: Hao Jiang Tian, Paul Plishka, Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Eric Halfvarson, John Cheek, Victor von Halem, Aleksander Anisimov, Richard Bernstein...
Dejan Miladinović has cooperated with numerous renowned conductors:
• Julius Rudel, Nicola Rescigno, Yuri Simonov, John Mauceri, Thomas Fulton, Michelangelo Veltri, Anton Guadagno, Christian Badea, Robert Lyle, Christopher Keene, Giuliano Carella, Andreas Delfs, Jonathan Darlington, Graeme Jenkins, Stephen Mercurio, Fred Scott, John DeMain, Louis Salemno, Stephen Lord, Guido Ajmone-Marsan, Uroš Lajovic...
Dejan Miladinović is a director who, when compared to other Yugoslav colleagues, has produced the highest number of first premieres of national composers’ pieces.
Besides direction, he has written librettos (The Power of Virtue, by Kuljerić, Prometheus by Bruči, Mandragola by Jevtić, Merry Priests of Banat by Despić), composed music (Sophocles - EMPEROR OEDIPUS, Labiche- An Italian Straw Hat, Schnitzler- THE GREEN PARROT INN, Dostoyevsky – THE POSSESSED, Hing – THE CONQUEROR, etc.) and designed sets for drama productions(Donizzeti – LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Kalman - The Csardas Princess, Konjović – THE FATHERLAND, Puccini - TOSCA, Wagner - THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, Verdi – TROUBADOUR, Beethoven – FIDELIO, Puccini – MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Shostakovich – KATARINA IZMAILOVA).
Miladinović has won numerous professional recognitions and awards for his productions (he is the only triple laureate for direction by the Jury of Yugoslav Music Reviewers at the Chamber Opera and Ballet Festival – Osijek Annual for the following productions: Galuppi - THE VILLAGE PHILOSOPHER, Monteverdi - THE RETURN OF ODYSSEY, Bruči – PROMETHEUS; two awards of the National Theatre for opera directions: Konjović – THE FATHERLAND, Verdi – ATTILA).
Yugoslav Music ENCYCLOPAEDIA (Zagreb) describes Dejan Miladinović as “an artist of imaginative, bold and unconventional conception. He has directed numerous operas with resounding success. Both audiences and critics unanimously and with delight favour his productions for their obvious theatrical quality and modern direction”
In his book The Art of Direction (Novi Sad), the author Radoslav Lazić, PhD, wrote, “…Josip Kulundžić, PhD Branko Gavela, PhD Erih Hecel, as well as Mladen Sabljić, Jovan Putnik and Dejan Miladinović have given foundation to modern Serbian opera theatre. They are the creators of Serbian opera theatre of the twentieth century and its aesthetics”
A very successful opening of Verdi’s Aida, directed by Miladinović, took place at the end of October 2012, in Edmonton, Canada.
Productions in current Repertoire of the National Theatre:
• „Il Tabarro“
• „Madame Butterfly“
• “In hoc signo”