Robert Carsen

Current as of July 2024

Born in Canada, Robert Carsen trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before moving into directing, lighting and set design.

His opera productions include: Aida, Falstaff and Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Peter Grimes, Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West and Giorgio Battistelli’s CO2 at La Scala, Milan; Mefistofele, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff and Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera; Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo, Wozzeck, Agrippina, Platée and The Turn of the Screw at the Theater an der Wien; Jérusalem, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Manon Lescaut at the Vienna State Opera; Il trovatore at the Bregenz Festival; Pique Dame, Hänsel und Gretel and Arabella at the Zurich Opera House; 13 productions for the Paris Opéra, including Ariodante, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Rusalka, Capriccio, Les Boréades and Die Zauberflöte; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Orlando, Die Zauberflöte, Semele and Rigoletto at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and most recently Werther in Baden-Baden and Detlev Glanert’s new opera Die Jüdin von Toledo at the Semperoper Dresden. In 2004, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival with Der Rosenkavalier, where he returned in 2021 for Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. Most recently, he staged Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito at the 2024 Whitsun Festival.

Other productions include Ariadne auf Naxos in Munich; Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Die tote Stadt at the Komische Oper Berlin; Der Ring des Nibelungen in Cologne, Venice, Shanghai, Barcelona and Madrid; Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana, Carmen, Fidelio and Dialogues des Carmélites in Amsterdam; Rinaldo and L‘incoronazione di Poppea in Glyndebourne; La traviata for the reopening of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice; Idomeneo and Battistelli’s Julius Caesar at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome; Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Elektra and Fidelio at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Platée and André Campras Les Fêtes vénitiennes at the Opéra Comique as well as Lully’s Armide, Orfeo ed Euridice and Iphigénie en Tauride at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. He also staged a Puccini cycle at the Opera Vlaanderen and a Janáček cycle in Strasbourg.

His productions in the field of spoken theater and musicals include Oedipus Rex (awarded the Le Maschere del Teatro Italiano 2023 and the Premio della Critica 2022) as the first part of an Oedipus trilogy at the Teatro Greco in Syracuse; Cabaret for Lido 2 Paris; The Tempest at the Comédie-Française; Mother Courage and Her Children at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Roundabout Theater in New York; Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Bristol Old Vic; the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game in London’s West End and Sunset Boulevard for a UK tour as well as Candide, My Fair Lady and Singin’ in the Rain at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and on tour.
Robert Carsen has also worked as artistic director and designer of exhibitions at the Grand Palais, the Musée d’Orsay, the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and the Musée Galliera in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Royal Academy in London. For Chanel and Fendi, he conceived, staged, designed and filmed Karl For Ever – a celebration of Karl Lagerfeld’s life – at the Grand Palais.

He is an Officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Officer of the Order of Canada. Among the numerous awards he has received are the International Opera Award 2021 for “Best Director”, the Prix du Syndicat français de la critique (three times), the Italian Premio Abbiati (five times) and the Spanish Premio Ópera XXI. In 2023 he received the first Grand Prix de l’Académie des beaux-arts.

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