Peter Sellars

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

2017–18 Season: Librettist/Director of Girls of the Golden West

Peter Sellars is one of the most powerful forces in the performing arts, known for groundbreaking interpretations of classic works. Whether it is Mozart, Handel, Shakespeare, Sophocles, or the 16th-century Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, Peter Sellars strikes a universal chord with audiences. Sellars has staged operas at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Netherlands Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Salzburg Festival, the San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera, among others, establishing a reputation for bringing 20th-century and contemporary operas to the stage, including works by Olivier Messiaen, Paul Hindemith, and György Ligeti. Inspired by the compositions of Kaija Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov, and Tan Dun, he has guided the creation of productions of their work that have expanded the repertoire of modern opera. Sellars has been a driving force in the creation of many new works with longtime collaborator composer John Adams, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, and The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Recent projects include a production of The Indian Queen, combining Purcell music, text, and dance, and a concert staging of Pélleas et Melisande with the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2015 Sellars collaborated with flex dance pioneer Reggie Gray and a group of 21 dancers from the New York City flex community to create Flexn, a powerful work confronting issues of social injustice in America. Projects in 2016 included the 70th anniversary of the Ojai Music Festival for which Sellars was Music Director, and a concert staging of Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Sellars is a professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA and Resident Curator of the Telluride Film Festival. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize, the Sundance Institute Risk-Takers Award, and the Gish Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He was recently honored by the American Academy in Rome and Opera News magazine.