Gluck: Alceste, Ruhrtriennale 2016 (detail) View full image

Johan Simons

© Edi Szekely

This new Ruhrtriennale production was a gripping experience thanks to Johan Simons' personenregie. Simons directed a staging that put the focus not only on the dilemma of the protagonist but also on the moral consequences of this choice. 

Opera, Alceste, Ruhtriennale
  • Artistic Director, Ruhrtriennale
  • Artistic Director, NTGent
  • Artistic Director Designate, Bochum Schauspielhaus

Johan Simons was born in 1946 and grew up in the Netherlands. Aged 7, he lived through the disastrous floods of 1953, an experience which has influenced his entire artistic career. After training as a dancer at the Rotterdam Academy and as an actor at the Theatre Academy in Maastricht, he became an actor of The Hague Comedie in 1976. It was there he directed his first production.  

Simons is Artistic Director of the Ruhrtriennale 2015-2017. In 2016 he directed Alceste with René Jacobs, as well as Die Fremden, a musical theatre piece based on Camus’ L’étranger and including music by György Ligeti and Claude Vivier. 

Other work in Ruhr includes the world première of Accattone (Pasolini text and the music of J S Bach placed in a new relation to each other) with Philippe Herreweghe and Das Rheingold with Teodor Currentzis. He is also Artistic Director of NTGent, and from the 2018-19 season takes up the position of Artistic Director of Bochumer Schauspielhaus.

Other operatic productions to date include Simon Boccanegra in Paris, Boris Godunov in Madrid, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Dutch National Opera and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle for the Salzburg Festival. He is also in demand as a guest director at German-language theatres, including the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, the Munich Kammerspiele and the Vienna International Festival. 

Gluck: Alceste, Ruhrtriennale, 2016

Pasolini: Accattone, Ruhrtriennale, 2015

Wagner: Das Rheingold, Ruhrtriennale, 2015

Shakespeare: King Lear, Münchner Kammerspiele, 2013

Jelinek: Winterreise, Münchner Kammerspiele, 2011

4 publicity photos