French-born Laurent Pelly is one of France’s most sought after directors of both theatre and opera. He directs and designs costumes for productions that are detailed, satirical, often surreal, exquisite in taste and wonderfully imaginative in both concept and execution. Whilst he has a particular skill for revealing the serious side of comedy, he is increasingly in demand as a director of more weighty musical dramas, including the operas of Richard Strauss, Debussy and Bartók. He underlines his interpretation of characters through his skilful and inspired costume designs.
Laurent Pelly enjoys a distinguished career in theatre – in 2007 he was appointed Director of Théâtre National de Toulouse, having previously been Director of the Cargo-Centre Dramatique National des Alpes in Grenoble from 1997–2007. Highlights in Toulouse include Victor Hugo’s Mille cents francs de récompense, Carlo Goldoni’s Le Menteur and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads as well as a staged recital of songs by Michel Legrand featuring Natalie Dessay. Other theatre plans include The Threepenny Opera for the Comédie Française in 2011.
Current and future new productions include Massenet’s Don Quichotte at La Monnaie, Manon at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (also in Japan in September 2010), the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro alla Scala and the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Mahagonny for the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Handel’s Guilio Cesare for the Opéra National de Paris, Bellini’s I Puritani for the Opéra National de Paris and the Metropolitan Opera and a double-bill of Ravel’s L'Enfant et les sortilège and L'Heure espagnole for Glyndebourne and the Saito Kinen Festival.
Recent work includes Verdi’s La traviata at Santa Fe and the Teatro Regio in Turin (also in Japan in July 2010), Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Saito Kinen Festival and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel at Glyndebourne and a highly-acclaimed production of Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment (Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera). He has also staged Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Mozart’s La finta semplice at the Theater an der Wien, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges (Netherlands Opera), L’elisir d’amore (Opéra National de Paris and Covent Garden) Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Weill’s Les Sept péchés capitaux (Opéra National de Paris), Offenbach’s La Vie parisienne and Poulenc’s La Voix humaine and Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Opéra National de Lyon), Rameau’s Platée (Opéra National de Paris and Santa Fe) and Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène (Théâtre du Châtelet, Santa Fe, English National Opera). He regularly works with Santa Fe Opera, where productions include Massenet’s Cendrillon (2006), Platée (2007) and Verdi’s La traviata (2009).
Pelly’s productions enjoy many and frequent revivals; current plans include Cendrillon at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona, La Fille du régiment at the San Francisco Opera, the Opéra National de Paris and in Barcelona, Chabrier’s Le Roi malgré lui for the Opéra National de Lyon and the Opéra Comique, Hänsel und Gretel in Lyon and a new version of Les Contes d’Hoffmann for San Francisco Opera and the Gran Teatre de Liceu.
He has also enjoyed many conspicuous successes in operetta, in partucular the works of Offenbach, beginning with Orphée aux enfers at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and continuing with Rameau’s Platée for the Opéra National de Paris and Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène at the Théâtre du Châtelet.