© Ruth Walz
Peter Sellars has become famous for reinterpreting the works of the repertoire, involving himself in the political and social events of the times and focusing on creation. He has been the artistic director of several festivals (Los Angeles, Adelaide, the Venice Biennale, and the New Crowned Hope in Vienna). He has directed operas for the Glyndebourne Festival, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, the Paris Opera (Saint-François d’Assise, Tristan et Isolde, Adriana Mater), the Salzburg Festival, the San Francisco Opera, and the Teatro Real in Madrid. His staged works include many from the contemporary repertoire (Olivier Messiaen, Paul Hindemith, György Ligeti, Kaija Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov, Tan Dun) and in particular, by the composer John Adams (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, The Gospel According to the Other Mary).
His most recent productions include The Saint Matthew Passion with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Salzburg and Berlin, Handel’s Hercules in Chicago, Vivaldi’s Griselda in Santa Fe, Desdemona, a collaborative work with the novelist Toni Morrison and the singer-composer Rokia Traoré, presented in Europe and the United States, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Stravinsky’s Perséphone at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Michelangelo Sonnets, a work based on compositions by Shostakovich and Bach at the 2013 Manchester Festival, The Indian Queen, a combination of music by Purcell with text and dance at the Perm Opera and in Madrid, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex at the 2016 Aix Festival, La Clemenza di Tito at the 2017 Salzburg Festival, and John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West (world premiere) at the San Francisco Opera. He teaches art and world cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles and he is the director of the Telluride Film Festival. He has been honoured by the MacArthur Fellowship, and rewarded the Erasmus Prize, the Sundance Institute Risk-Takers Award, the Gish Prize, and the Polar Music Prize.
He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, he was named “Artist of the Year” by Musical America.
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