Lucas Artists Fellow

Get Flash to see this player.

RSSPeter Sellars podcast

  • FROM : USA

A renowned director of theater, opera, and festivals throughout the world, Peter Sellars is known for his reinterpretations and modern stagings of classical works. Born in Philadelphia in 1957, Sellars attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts before studying at Harvard University, where he nurtured his creative talents for theater through innovative performances of well-known works such as his puppet version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, his minimalist production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and his swimming pool rendition of Antony and Cleopatra. Sellars’s creative trajectory continued after graduation when he took a position as director of the Boston Shakespeare Company. In 1983 he received a MacArthur Foundation award and in 1984 he became director and manager of the American National Theater in Washington, DC.

In addition to his work directing theater and opera companies all over the world, Sellars has been instrumental in the production and direction of several international festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals, the 2002 Adelaide Festival in Australia, the 2003 Venice Biennale International Festival of Theater, and most recently the 2006 New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria.

Sellars’s has made his reputation, however, by bringing 20th century and contemporary operas to the stage, including works by Olivier Messaien, Paul Hindemith, György Ligeti, Kaija Saariaho, and Osvaldo Golijov. He has also been instrumental in the creation of new pieces that have done much to expand the repertoire of modern opera. Working with composer John Adams, Sellars has been the driving force behind original operas such as Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, and recently, Doctor Atomic and A Flowering Tree. Other recent projects include the production of a Chicano version of Stravinsky’s The Story of a Soldier, For an End to the Judgment of God/Kissing God Goodbye, staged as a press conference on the war in Afghanistan, and a contemporary version of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in collaboration with video artist Bill Viola and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. In 1998 Sellars was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his work combining European and American cultural traditions in opera and theater. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.