Thereafter she attended many theatre and opera performances and started envisioning how she would herself stage the work she was seeing. Yet most of the productions she knew of had been staged by male directors, and in France there hardly existed a training in stage direction. How a woman could become a stage director was puzzling to her. Eventually, she identified the conceptual and practical skills she needed as a stage director and looked for the most appropriate training places to hone them.
Her university education gave her the opportunity to go deep into the roots of the scenic art and develop her own conceptual approach as well as exploring the world and becoming fluent in several foreign languages. In Paris she was a philosophy scholar of the École Normale Supérieure and completed a Master’s degree in comparative literature at the Sorbonne. Abroad she studied philosophy as an Erasmus Mundus master student at the UCLouvain in Belgium, the Hosei University in Tokyo and the LMU in Munich, and as a visiting student at the Scuola normale superiore in Pisa, the Collegio superiore in Bologna and the FU in Berlin. In 2018 she completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge (German Department).
Concomitantly to these studies, she trained as an actress and a singer. With the aim of learning how to direct performers, she attended the professional acting class of the Studio Muller in Paris and took part in acting and directing workshops at which she practiced the methods of Stanislawski, Grotowski, Laban, Lecoq and the likes. She studied singing with Sophie Hervé and took master-classes by Rockwell Blake, Graeme Danby, Yvonne Howard, Della Jones, Josef Loibl, David Mason, Joseph Middleton, Nelly Miricioiu, Joan Rodgers, Amanda Roocroft, Christophe Rousset, Gerd Ücker, Regina Werner-Dietrich and Janet Williams, among others.
Her passion for singing led her to take on operatic roles such as Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Dafne in Cavalli’s Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne, Junon in Charpentier’s Actéon, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cherubino and Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, the Rose in Schumann’s Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Micaëla in Carmen, Masha in Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki, Erika in Barber's Vanessa and Thetis in the creation of Stephan Crayton's Threads. As a singer and performance artist she has also worked at non-standard venues, exploring alternative ways of interacting with audiences and with artists from various contemporary fields.
One of her most long-standing aims has been to tap into the full potential of lighting for stage productions. Upon settling in the UK, she trained in lighting design and created the lights for seventeen shows including Don Giovanni, Carmen, Richard II, Mother Courage and Her Children, Merrily We Roll Along and several creations. She did internships as the assistant of lighting designer Christophe Forey for productions at the Opéra de Lille, the Theater an der Wien, the Salzburg Festival and the Royal Opera House.
Her first staging was Hofmannsthal’s Elektra 2012 in Paris. Further working with actors of diverse nationalities on a text foreign for most, she directed Racine’s Andromaque and Musset’s Les Caprices de Marianne in Cambridge. In 2015 she joined the international AJASO collective to stage the performance Barat(h)a at the Bâtiment d'Art Contemporain in Geneva. For the IAMBE music-theatre company she co-founded with conductor Naomi Woo, she directed Mozart’s Idomeneo, Barber’s Vanessa and Holst’s Sāvitri. At the West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge she staged Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore.
Brexit put an end to her time in the UK. In search of spaces for daring, engaged, vibrant forms of scenic art, she moved to Germany.
In 2017 she was a dramaturgy intern by Johanna Wall at the Komische Oper Berlin on Tobias Kratzer's staging of Rameau's Zoroastre.
From 2018 to 2021 she worked as a staff director at the Staatsoper Stuttgart on revivals and new productions by Calixto Bieito, Barbara Frey, Peter Konwitschny, Andrea Moses, Sebastian Nübling, Christiane Pohle, Felix Rothenhäusler, Árpád Schilling, Marco Štorman, Monique Wagemakers, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito.
She has written award-winning articles on opera and a theatre play.
As an expatriate, she much enjoys the fact that internationality is an evidence in the field of opera. Yet during the Corona time, her engagement for experimental work, sustainable means of production and innovative writing has brought her back to spoken theatre and to alternative forms of scenic art as well as sustaining her commitment to break new grounds for opera.
She now looks forward to staging projects in the fields of opera, theatre and performance.
Judith Lebiez grew up in Paris.
At age 17 she came across a video recording of Richard Wagner’s Ring in Patrice Chéreau’s revolutionary staging. Wagner’s intense and multi-layered work, Chéreau’s socio-political engagement, the true-to-life embodiment of mythical characters on stage, the insights opened by the production into abysses of the human psyche, the winds of freedom and fantasy, the fascinating beauty of the stage technics deeply struck her and awakened her calling for the performing art.