After studying at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle in Brussels and at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan with Giorgio Strehler, Gilbert Deflo directed his first productions at the National Opera of Belgium. His international career began in Frankfurt with The Love for Three Oranges and the success of that production opened the doors for him to some of the most renowned opera houses in Germany. In 1976, he directed The Barber of Seville in Hamburg, followed by Pelléas et Mélisande and the German premiere of Ligeti’s Grand Macabre. He is invited regularly to Karlsruhe (Ariadne auf Naxos, Salomé, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, Don Giovanni) and Nuremberg (La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor). He made his Italian debut with Auber’s Fra Diavolo in Palermo and then directed several productions at the Sferisterio di Macerata (Carmen, Falstaff, Tosca, Faust), the Verona Arena (La Traviata, Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci) and Milan’s La Scala (a production of Rigoletto restaged in Tokyo in 2013 with Gustavo Dudamel conducting).
He has worked at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (The Queen of Spades, Il Trovatore), the Welsh National Opera (Die Frau ohne Schatten) and the Scottish Opera (Aida). Between 1982 and 1986, he was the principal director at the National Opera of Belgium in Brussels (Don Carlo, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Der Freischütz, The Flying Dutchman, Tristan und Isolde, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Cunning Little Vixen, Der Rosenkavalier) and, since 1994, he has been invited regularly to the Paris Opera (Manon, Don Quichotte, Un ballo in Maschera, Luisa Miller, The Bartered Bride, The Love for Three Oranges).
He directed Nabucco (in 2013, with Placido Domingo) and Der Rosenkavalier (2015) at the Beijing Opera. He was responsible for staging the baroque operas L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria in Montpellier, Kaiser’s Croesus at the Staatsoper in Berlin, Serse at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in Barcelona (with René Jacobs, Jordi Savall and William Christie). He also directed the world premiere productions of Zemlinsky’s Der Traumgörge in Nuremberg (1980), Jan Van Gilse’s Thijl in Amsterdam (1980) and Rolf Liebermann’s La Forêt in Geneva (1982). He was recently made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
La Sonnambula at the NCPA in Beijing.