Peter Sellars


The director Peter Sellars, who was born in 1957, is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While still studying literature and music at Harvard University (1976–80), he staged some 40 productions. In 1981 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Boston Shakespeare Company, and from 1984 to 1986 he served as Director of the American National Theatre in Washington, D.C. Since then Sellars has worked as a freelance director in both musical and spoken theater, and his imaginative, unconventional, and at times provocative stagings have caused a sensation. Whether dealing with Mozart or Handel, Shakespeare or Sophocles, Sellars illuminates well-known material from the perspective of the present, exposing its explosive social and political impact. He has staged operas at such venues as the Chicago Lyric and Nederlandse Opera, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Opéra National de Paris, and San Francisco Opera. Sellars accords a significant place to composers of the present. He has immersed himself in the work of Messiaen, Hindemith, and Ligeti and has premiered new stage works by Kaija Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov, and Tan Dun. Sellars enjoys an especially close association as a librettist and director with John Adams and has been a driving force in the creation of his operas Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic and his oratorios El Niño and The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Among his most recent projects are productions of the two great Bach Passions for the Berlin Philharmonic and stagings of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanthe (2012) and Purcell’s The Indian Queen (2013) for the Teatro Real in Madrid. Sellars is a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 3 April 2001 in two stagings of Bach cantatas in the Luzerner Saal.

August 2014