John Macfarlane was born in Glasgow in 1948, and trained at Glasgow School of Art. He regards Wales as his home having lived here since 1975.
John pursues parallel careers in theatre and painting and printmaking.
Opera designs include Peter Grimes, Die Zauberflöte, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung and L’Heure espagnole/Gianni Schicchi (Royal Opera), Hansel and Gretel (Welsh National Opera, Metropolitan Opera, New York), The Queen of Spades (Welsh National Opera), War and Peace (Opéra Bastille), La Clemenza di Tito (Paris Opéra), Agrippina (La Monnaie, Brussels), The Trojans (English National Opera), Don Giovanni (La Monnaie, San Francisco), Idomeneo (Vienna), Elektra and Rusalka (Chicago), The Rake’s Progress (Scottish Opera) and Maria Stuarda (Metropolitan Opera). His most recent opera designs are for Tosca, together with Flying Dutchman and Agrippina (all for Metropolitan Opera, New York). Dance designs include Tetley’s La Ronde and Scarlett’s Frankenstein, Asphodel Meadows, Sweet Violets and The Ageof Anxiety (Royal Ballet); Hummingbird (San Francisco Ballet) and The Nutcracker, Le Baiser de la fée and Cinderella (Birmingham Royal Ballet) and most recently the acclaimed 2018 production of Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award.
In 2015 he received a laureate from Benois de la Danse. He is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and a judge of the Linbury Prize.
He has exhibited his design drawings and paintings internationally and has had regular solo exhibitions with Martin Tinney Gallery since 1995.
National Museum and Galleries of Wales; Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; Albertina, Vienna; V & A Theatre Museum, London; Kunstshalle, Nuremberg; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Arts Council of Wales; Contemporary Art Society for Wales; Archive of de Lâ Opera, Paris; Metropolitan Opera House Collection, New York.