Pierre Audi (1957) grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France. At the age of seventeen he moved to the United Kingdom, where he studied history at the University of Oxford. During his last year at Oxford he directed Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. In 1979, he founded the Almeida Theatre in London, which developed into an important place for contemporary music theatre. Audi was to lead Almeida for almost ten years, and there played host to several prominent guest directors.
As Director of Dutch National Opera, Audi – up until early 2014 – has been responsible for the programming of approximately 180 new productions, which were generally characterised by their provocative and unique signature. Since he took office at Dutch National Opera, he has premiered twenty new operas. Audi established his reputation and garnered international responses with, among others, the Monteverdi cycle, the Mozart cycle, and particularly with Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, a production that, thanks to him, was seen in its entirety for the first time in the Netherlands. He gave the Baroque repertoire special attention. During the years at Dutch National Opera he managed to engage many prominent artists (including Karel Appel, George Baselitz, and Anish Kapoor), composers (Alfred Schnittke, Wolfgang Rihm, Manfred Trojahn, Louis Andriessen, Rob Zuidam, and Michel van der Aa), conductors (Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Simon Rattle, Ivor Bolton, and Marc Albrecht) and stage directors (among others Klaus Michael Gruber, Willy Decker, Peter Sellars, and Simon McBurney).
Starting from 2012, under Audi 's leadership, Dutch National Opera has taken on a leading and coordinating role in the Netherlands in developing young artists and professionals in all the rich and varied disciplines related to opera. To achieve these aims, Dutch National Opera works together with professional artistic training programmes, especially within the conservatories and the Dutch National Opera Academy, and with such opera companies as the Dutch National Touring Opera (formerly Nationale Reisopera), Opera Zuid, Vocal LAB and others.
Pierre Audi has been artistic director of the Holland festival between 2005 and 2014. The success of Pierre Audi at Dutch National Opera owes a lot to his close cooperation with Truze Lodder, who was Business Director of Dutch National Opera from 1988 to mid-2012. From October 2015 he has the artistic leadership of Park Avenue Armory, a relatively new cultural initiative in the center of New York. Audi is currently also director of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
The prominent position that Dutch National Opera occupies in the world today is thanks to a large extent to Audi. As a stage director at Dutch National Opera, he enjoyed great triumphs with the Monteverdi cycle (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, L’incoronazione di Poppea, L’Orfeo and Madrigalen), Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and such Mozart operas as Mitridate, Re di Ponto, Il Re Pastore, Die Zauberflöte and La Clemenza di Tito.
Pierre Audi participated in the world premieres of numerous Dutch operas: Rosa - a Horse Drama and Writing to Vermeer by Louis Andriessen, Gassir by Theo Loevendie, Noach and HIER by Guus Janssen and Raaff by Robin de Raaff. Further, he directed such operas as Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, La Juive by Fromental Halévy, Saint François d´Assise by Olivier Messiaen, Tea by Tan Dun and Rêves d'un Marco Polo by Claude Vivier.
Pierre Audi is frequently active as guest director at major opera houses and festivals such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, USA, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan, the Dresdner Musikfestspiele in Germany and the Drottningholm Slottsteater in Stockholm, Sweden. Audi also enjoys a reputation as a stage and film director, and has directed for Toneelgroep Amsterdam (Timon of Athens, Oidipous and To Damascus) and at Het Zuidelijk Toneel (Measure for Measure and Bérénice).
2009, Johannes Vermeer Prize (the Netherlands)
2001, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund Theatre Prize (the Netherlands)
2000, Knighted in the Order of the Dutch Lion
1996, Critics' Prize (the Netherlands), for his directing of Shakespeare’s plays and Monteverdi operas
1992, BMW Music Theatre Prize for his direction of Param Vir's Snatched by the Gods+Broken Strings
1990, Leslie Boosey Award (United Kingdom)
Drottningholm (Sweden), Medal of Honour
Chevalier de la Légion d Honneur (France)
Photo by Sarah Wong