The Info List - Giorgio Strehler

Giorgio Strehler (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒordʒo ˈstrɛːler]; German: [ˈʃtʁeːlɐ]; 14 August 1921 – 25 December 1997) was an Italian opera and theatre director.


1 Biography 2 Influences 3 Famous opera productions 4 Famous theatre productions 5 Honors 6 References 7 External links

Biography[edit] Strehler was born in Barcola, Trieste;[1] He became suddenly fatherless at the age of three, his grandfather, Olimpio Lovrich, becoming his father figure. Olimpio was one of the finest horn players of his day and the impresario of the Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste's Opera
House. When he was seven, his grandfather died and he moved to Milan
with his mother and grandmother. Milan
was to become Giorgio's home until the end of his life. As a child, Giorgio was not impressed by theater. He found it "false" and decided it did not have the power to stir one's emotions as film did. His opinions changed one hot summer night while on his way to the cinema. He noticed a sign advertising the Air-Conditioning posted by the Odeon theater. He walked in for some relief from the weather to see a performance of Carlo Goldoni's Una delle ultime sere di Carnevale being given by a company from Venice. He went every evening for the next few days to see more plays by Goldoni. Newly inspired by the theater, he applied and was accepted to the theater school Accademia dei Filodrammatici. Giorgio won all the prizes at the academy and completed his normal education with the help of private tutors. During the war he went into exile in Switzerland. With Geneva's Compagnie des Masques he directed the world premiere of Albert Camus’ Caligula. After the war he became a theater critic for Milano Sera but he preferred making theater rather than writing about it. It was at this time that he started the Piccolo Teatro di Milano with Paolo Grassi. It opened on 17 May 1947 in the auditorium of the Broletto cinema with Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths. Few days later they gave Carlo Goldoni's long forgotten Arlecchino: Servant of Two Masters commedia dell'arte, which would go on to become the longest running play in Italian theater. In that same year he also directed La traviata at La Scala, the first of many opera productions he would direct. Giorgio Strehler focused on theater which was culturally relevant. He did not want to "pay an abstract homage to culture" or "to offer a mere distraction... passive contemplation". Instead both Giorgio and Paolo agreed that theater was "a place where people gather to hear statements that they can accept or reject". Influences[edit] In the 1950s he directed several plays by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
with whom he would become close friends sharing his political beliefs. In 1956 Brecht attended a production of his Threepenny Opera. Back in Berlin he wrote "... thank you for the excellent performance of my Threepenny Opera
which you have realized with a great director. Fire and freshness, ease and precision distinguish this performance from many others I have seen... it would be a joy and an honor for me if your theater could perform... at the Berliner Ensemble's Theater... which witnessed the first performance of this work". His love for William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
(Coriolanus, The Tempest, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Macbeth), Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello
(Enrico IV), and Anton Chekhov (The Cherry Orchard, Platonov) was unmistakable; but he always returned to Goldoni repeating the same plays decades later. He created the role of theater director (regista was actually coined in 1929) in Italy all by himself. Until he came plays were for the most part still put on by traveling companies that were a microcosm unto themselves. They directed themselves. They had never heard of a director. He also gave prominence to Italian authors, though few in number. Strehler used to say that "Italian theater has produced few important dramatic authors - Niccolò Machiavelli, Carlo Goldoni, Luigi Pirandello
Luigi Pirandello
- but an enormous number of actors. Between 1500 and 1700, every self-respecting court in Europe had to have a company of Italian actors". He originally had not intended to become an actor. He enrolled in fact in the law school at the University of Milan
planning to become a criminal lawyer. He said "a profession as I imagined it was very close to the theater". But then war came and it changed everything. He has influenced three generations of actors and inspired many around the world. His influence in the English speaking world is less felt since he spoke little English and did not direct many plays in this language. However he was given the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
by the French government and was named director of the "Union of the Theatres of Europe" in Paris in 1985. The first Pan-European theater project. He was President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
in 1982. In 1990 he was the recipient of the Europe Theatre
Prize.[2] The visual impact of his productions always concerned Strehler. The stage designers Luciano Damiani and later Ezio Frigerio closely collaborated with Strehler for many years, both for theatrical and operatic productions. He died in Lugano, Switzerland. The funeral in Milan
was attended with great participation of citizens and politicians. His ashes were deposited in the cemetery of Trieste. Famous opera productions[edit]

Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher
Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher
(Arthur Honegger) La Scala, Milan
(1946) Lulu (Alban Berg) Venice
(1949) La favola del figlio cambiato (Gian Francesco Malipiero), Venice (1952) The Fiery Angel (Sergei Prokofiev) Venice
(1955) L'histoire du soldat (Igor Stravinsky) Piccola Scala, Milan
(1957) Un cappello di paglia di Firenze (Nino Rota) Piccola Scala, Milan (1958) Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
(Kurt Weill) Piccola Scala, Milan
(1964) Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
(Mozart) Salzburg Festival
Salzburg Festival
(1965) Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
(Pietro Mascagni) La Scala, Milan
(1966) Fidelio
(Beethoven) Florence (1969) Simon Boccanegra
Simon Boccanegra
(Verdi) La Scala, Milan
(1971), Vienna State Opera (1984) Le nozze di Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro
(Mozart) Paris (1973), Milan
(1980) The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
(Mozart) Salzburg Festival
Salzburg Festival
(1974) Macbeth
(Verdi) La Scala, Milan
(1975) Falstaff (Verdi) La Scala, Milan
(1980) Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
(Mozart) La Scala, Milan
(1987) Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte
(Mozart), Piccolo Teatro, Milan
(1998) (note: Strehler died during the final rehearsals)

Famous theatre productions[edit]

Richard II, Shakespeare
(1948) Julius Caesar, Shakespeare
(1953) Coriolanus, Shakespeare
(1957) Power Games (an adaptation of Shakespeare's first Henriad) (1965) Re Lear, Shakespeare
(1972) The Tempest
The Tempest
(play) Shakespeare
(1978) Harlequin
in all its version, the oldest and most famous Italian show (beginning from 1947) The Trilogy of Holiday (1954) Servant of Two Masters
Servant of Two Masters
by Goldoni (1964) Il campiello
Il campiello
(1975) by Goldoni Platonov by Chekhov (1959) The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
by Chekhov (1955, 1974) The Mountain Giants (1947, Piccolo Teatro, Milan; 1966, Teatro Lirico/Piccolo Teatro, Milan; 1994 both in Milan
and in Vienna at the Burgtheater), Pirandello As You Desire Me (1988 to present) by Pirandello El nost Milan
(1955 and 1979) and Egoist by Bertolazzi (1960) The House of Bernarda Alba
The House of Bernarda Alba
by García Lorca (1955) The Storm, Strindberg, Piccolo Teatro, (1980) The Visit of the Old Lady by Dürrenmatt
(1960) The Great Magic by Eduardo De Filippo
Eduardo De Filippo
for drammaturgia contemporary (1985) Three Penny Opera
by Bertold Brecht
Bertold Brecht
(1956) The Good Person of Setzuan
The Good Person of Setzuan
by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
(1958, 1981 and 1996) Saint Joan of the Stockyards by Bertold Brecht
Bertold Brecht
(1970) Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
(1963) Das Spiel der Mächtigen, Salzburg Festival, 1974; Burgtheater, Vienna, 1975 Trilogie der Sommerfrische (Trilogia della villegiatura), Carlo Goldoni, Vienna, Burgtheater, 1974

On October 10, 2005, a stretch of road in front of the Politeama Rossetti in Trieste
was dedicated to Giorgio Strehler. Honors[edit]

Honorary degree, University of Pavia, 1992.


^ Giorgio Strehler e il mantello delle magie, by Danilo Ruocco (it) ^ III Europe Theatre
Prize / Reasons Europe Theatre

External links[edit]

Giorgio Strehler on IMDb Giorgio Strehler Memorial Site (in Italian)

v t e

Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
jury presidents


Georges Huisman (1946) Georges Huisman (1947) Georges Huisman (1949) André Maurois
André Maurois
(1951) Maurice Genevoix
Maurice Genevoix
(1952) Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau
(1953) Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau
(1954) Marcel Pagnol
Marcel Pagnol
(1955) Maurice Lehmann
Maurice Lehmann
(1956) André Maurois
André Maurois
(1957) Marcel Achard (1958) Marcel Achard (1959) Georges Simenon
Georges Simenon
(1960) Jean Giono (1961) Tetsurō Furukaki (1962) Armand Salacrou (1963) Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang
(1964) Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
(1965) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
(1966) Alessandro Blasetti (1967) André Chamson
André Chamson
(1968) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1969) Miguel Ángel Asturias
Miguel Ángel Asturias
(1970) Michèle Morgan
Michèle Morgan
(1971) Joseph Losey
Joseph Losey
(1972) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1973) René Clair
René Clair
(1974) Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau


Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
(1976) Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
(1977) Alan J. Pakula
Alan J. Pakula
(1978) Françoise Sagan
Françoise Sagan
(1979) Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
(1980) Jacques Deray (1981) Giorgio Strehler (1982) William Styron
William Styron
(1983) Dirk Bogarde
Dirk Bogarde
(1984) Miloš Forman
Miloš Forman
(1985) Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
(1986) Yves Montand
Yves Montand
(1987) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1988) Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders
(1989) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
(1990) Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski
(1991) Gérard Depardieu
Gérard Depardieu
(1992) Louis Malle
Louis Malle
(1993) Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
(1994) Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
(1995) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
(1996) Isabelle Adjani
Isabelle Adjani
(1997) Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
(1998) David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
(1999) Luc Besson
Luc Besson


Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(2001) David Lynch
David Lynch
(2002) Patrice Chéreau
Patrice Chéreau
(2003) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
(2004) Emir Kusturica
Emir Kusturica
(2005) Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-wai
(2006) Stephen Frears
Stephen Frears
(2007) Sean Penn
Sean Penn
(2008) Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
(2009) Tim Burton
Tim Burton
(2010) Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
(2011) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(2012) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(2013) Jane Campion
Jane Campion
(2014) Joel and Ethan Coen (2015) George Miller (2016) Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar
(2017) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 64012185 LCCN: n85341149 ISNI: 0000 0001 2136 3693 GND: 118619225 SUDOC: 027150356 BNF: cb11925653q (data) NLA: 35821802 NDL: 00684358 NKC: jn20000701729 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV12914 BNE: XX915844 TLS: Giorgio_Strehler SN