Opera and Musicaltheatre director Lee Blakeley has died at the age of 45, according to his publicist.

Yorkshire born, Blakeley’s breakthrough role came with the 2010 French premiere of Stephen Sodheim’s A Little Night Music which starred Leslie Caron, Lambert Wilson and Greta Schacci.

He began his career in Opera, assisting David McVicar at the Royal Opera in his new production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte as well as Gounod’s Faust.

Blakely worked extensviely in the US, UK and Europe and was known for his visually stunning productions of classic musicals and operas, including the King & I, Kiss Me Kate and multiple Sondheim revivals such as Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.

His many productions included Madame Butterfly, The Pearl Fishers, The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein and Rigoletto for the Santa Fe Opera; Falstaff for Los Angeles Opera and The Tales of Hoffmann for Canadian Opera Company

Lee Blakeley is survived by his husband Jonathan Foster, his parents Carol and Richard, his sister Lisa.