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Patrice Chéreau
Born November 2, 1944 (1944-11-02) (age 65)
Lezigne, France
Occupation director, screenwriter, actor, producer
Years active 1975–present

Patrice Chéreau (born 2 November 1944) is a French opera and theatre director, filmmaker, actor, and producer.



The 1976 centenary production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, conducted by Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau.

Patrice Chéreau was born in Lézigné, Maine-et-Loire, and went to school in Paris. At a young age he became well-known to Parisian critics as director, actor, and stage manager of his high-school theatre. At 15, he was enthusiastically celebrated as a theatre prodigy. In 1964, at the age of 19, he began directing for the professional theatre. In 1966 he created a very busy Public-Theatre at the Parisian suburb of Sartrouville. In 1969, he 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.

Chereau'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, Chereau 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[1].

His influence on opera productions around the world was increasingly visible ever since that milestone production, having substantial impact, for good or bad, on concepts of other directors and designers who had chosen to follow similar path of so called "modernization" of many traditional (in style) operatic presentations in many opera houses around the world. Elements of that modernization are particularly visible in using symbolic scenery or novelty in costumes (notably violating original intention of creators of the work's time and place, say, by using on the stage our contemporary items and dresses in action which was supposed to take place in historical past).

Theatre (directed)

Opera (directed)




(for his company "Azor Films")



  • Freedom to speak (2004)
  • Patrice Chéreau, Pascal Greggory, une autre solitude (1995) (TV)
  • Il était une fois dix neuf acteurs (1987) (TV)
  • Chéreau - L'envers du théâtre (1986)

Notable TV guest appearances

  • Claude Berri, le dernier nabab (2003) (TV)
  • Bleu, blanc, rose (2002) (TV)
  • Thé ou café 14 September 2003


  1. ^ That premiere performance of the Ring erupted scandal and laud protests of criticism from the audience, but booing being, characteristically, directed against Chereau and his associate stage designer, but going in parallel with enthusiastic acclaim for most of performers
  2. ^ Tim Ashley (4 June 2007). "From the House of the Dead". The Guardian.,,2094571,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-07.  
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Queen Margot". Retrieved 2009-08-27.  

External links

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