Alexander Neef was born in Germany in 1974. He studied Latin Philology and Modern History at the Eberhard Karl University in Tübingen.
In 2000, he began his career as production manager at the Salzburg Festival for two seasons, before joining the artistic administration of the RuhrTriennale, a multidisciplinary festival in Germany, where he was responsible for opera, theatre and dance productions as well as concerts and events.
At the request of Gerard Mortier, then Director of the Paris Opera, he joined the latter institution from 2004 to 2008 as Casting Director. Alexander Neef then assisted Gerard Mortier in preparing his programming schedule for the New York City Opera.
From 2008 to 2020, he was General Director of the Canadian Opera Company where he developed co-productions with, among others, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, London's Royal Opera House, Madrid's Teatro Real, the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. In Toronto, he welcomed world-renowned singers, conductors, directors and artists. Alexander Neef also enabled the Canadian Opera Company to return to the world-famous BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in March 2011 with Igor Stravinsky's The Nightingale & Other Short Fables, directed by Robert Lepage.
In Canada, he presented the world premieres of Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe in autumn 2015 and Rufus Wainwright's Hadrian (libretto by Daniel MacIvor) in October 2018. During his tenure as Director of the COC, Alexander Neef commissioned two new operas: The Old Fools by Ana Sokolović (libretto by Paul Bentley) and Julien Bilodeau's La Reine Garçon (libretto by Michel Marc Bouchard).
Finally, he brought new energy to the COC Ensemble Studio, a training programme for young opera professionals, in particular by scheduling specific stage productions, and in 2011 he launched the Ensemble Studio Competition, inviting the public to attend singers' final auditions for the Ensemble Studio.
Alongside his management of the Canadian Opera Company, in 2018 he was appointed the first Artistic Director of Santa Fe Opera in the United States.
In July 2019 Alexander Neef was appointed Director Designate of the Paris Opera by Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic. He took up his duties as Director General ahead of schedule on 1 September 2020.
Alexander Neef was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in September 2018.
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