Born on January 23rd 1953 in Paris, Stéphane Lissner has directed theatres, festivals and opera houses throughout his career. He staged his first play at the age of sixteen before creating his own theatre, aged eighteen, at the Théâtre Mécanique in Paris's 7th arrondissement. He worked there between 1972 and 1975, in particular with Alain Françon and Bernard Sobel. During that period he exercised every profession: stage manager, electrician, author and stage director. He was then appointed company secretary at the Centre dramatique national in Aubervilliers (1977-1978) before co-directing the Centre dramatique national in Nice until 1983. In 1984 and 1985, he lectured in cultural institution management at Paris-Dauphine university. Between 1984 and 1987, he directed the Printemps du Théâtre festival in Paris.
As of 1983 he became administrator of the Théâtre du Châtelet (Théâtre musical de Paris) before taking over as general manager in 1988. He remained there for ten years, occupying the post of general manager of the Orchestre de Paris (1993-1995) at the same time. From 1998 to 2006, he was director of the Festival international d'art lyrique in Aix-en-Provence. It was there that he created the Académie européenne de Musique, an extension of the festival intended to nurture educational activities and promote young talent.
At the same time, along with Peter Brook, he co-directed the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord between 1998 and 2005. In 2002, in partnership with Frédéric Franck, he took over the Théâtre de la Madeleine which he left in 2011.
From 2005 to 2014, he was general manager and artistic director at Milan's Teatro della Scala. He was the first non-Italian director in the theatre's history. From 2005 to 2013,he was also musical director of the Wiener Festwochen in Austria. In the course of his career he has worked with the greatest conductors, stage directors and choreographers including: Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, William Christie, Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen…; Luc Bondy, Stéphane Braunschweig, Patrice Chéreau, Klaus-Michael Grüber, Claus Guth, Mario Martone, Peter Sellars, Peter Stein, Dmitri Tcherniakov, Robert Wilson…; Pina Bausch, William Forsythe… Appointed director designate of the Paris Opera in October 2012, he took up his functions on August 1st 2014. Stéphane Lissner has received the following honours: "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur", "Officier de l'Ordre National du mérite" and "Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana".