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LIVE from the NYPL: Cognitive Theater: An Evening with Peter Gelb, Bartlett Sher & Patrice Chéreau

October 8, 2009

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Over the past few seasons, Met General Manager Peter Gelb has enlisted some of the world's greatest directors to heighten the theatricality of Met productions. Two of the finest, Bartlett Sher and Patrice Chéreau, will join Gelb for a conversation on opera, theater, and the art of directing. Sher, who won a Tony Award for his direction of South Pacific, made his Met debut in 2006 with an acclaimed new staging of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He returns to the Met this season with a new production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Chéreau makes his long-awaited U.S. opera debut this season with a new production of Janácek's From the House of the Dead the staging caused a sensation when it premiered in Europe in 2007. Paul Holdengräber instigates a conversation with these two visionary directors and the man who brought them to the Met.

About Peter Gelb
Since taking over as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in 2006, Peter Gelb has launched a host of initiatives to revitalize opera and connect it to a wider audience. Under his leadership the company has recruited increased numbers of the world's great theater directors, secured more performances from top singers, and launched the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series . The Met: Live in HD,. which presents live performance transmissions in movie theaters around the world. Other initiatives launched by Mr. Gelb include a round-the-clock satellite Met radio channel; free open houses for the public; a $20 rush-ticket program; and a new contemporary art space in the Met lobby.

 



About Bartlett Sher
Bartlett Sher made his Met debut with Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia during the 2006-07 season and returns during the 2009-10 season to direct a new production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. He received the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for the current Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater. Also for Lincoln Center, he directed Awake and Sing! and The Light in the Piazza, receiving Tony Award nominations for both productions. He made his operatic debut in 2003 at the Seattle Opera with Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, a production that was presented by the New York City Opera in 2004. Last summer he directed Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Salzburg Festival. Sher won the 2002 Joseph A. Callaway Award for his staging of Shakespeare'ss Cymbeline and more recently received the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York. He has been the Artistic Director of the Intiman Theatre in Seattle since 2000.

About Patrice Chéreau
At a young age Patrice Chéreau became well-known to Parisian critics as director, actor, and stage manager of his high-school theatre. In 1964, at the age of 19, he began directing for the professional theatre and in 1966 he created a very busy Public-Theatre at the Parisian suburb of Sartrouville. 1969, Chéreau staged his first opera. The following year he established a close relationship with the leadership of the Piccolo-Teatro in Milan, Paolo Grassi and Giorgio Strehler. In 1975 he worked in Germany for the first time directing Edward Bond's Lear. He often collaborated with Claude Stratz. Chéreau's most discussed production was his 1976 centennial staging of Richard Wagner's tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Pierre Boulez. Polarizing fans and critics, Chéreau chose to set the operas during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, and was thought to have emphasized the dramatic rather than the musical elements of the works. Patrice Chéreau's influence on opera productions around the world was increasingly visible ever since that milestone production, having substantial impact on concepts of other directors and designers who had chosen to follow similar path of "modernization" of many traditional (in style) operatic presentations in opera houses around the world.

About Paul Holdengräber
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of Public Programs known as "LIVE from the NYPL" for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.