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27 April 1965
Alvis Hermanis (born 27 April 1965 in Riga) is a Latvian actor, theatre director and set designer. Since 1997 he works at the New Riga Theatre. Hermanis was one of the establishers of the theatre in 1992 and since 1997 has worked as the artistic director of the theatre. His style of direction is often associated with postdramatic theatre.[by whom?]
Hermanis was born in Riga and in his early teens he played hockey in Dinamo Riga sports school. He was forced to leave sport at the age of 15 due to health reasons. He obtained his first theatre and stage experience when he attended Riga pantomime studio under Roberts Ligers. From 1981 until 1982 Hermanis attended the Riga Peoples artist studio. He continued his education from 1984 until 1988 in the Theatre department of Latvian State conservatory.
Aside from New Riga Theatre, Hermanis has directed several plays in Austria, Germany, Russia, Switzerland among others. A number of New Riga Theatre plays have toured the whole of Europe.
In 2003, Hermanis and his Jaunais Rigas Teatris won the Young Directors Award at the Salzburg Festival with Nikolai Gogols The Government Inspector. This unexpected success paved his way for a long lasting career in German speaking theatre, starting in Frankfurt and at the Ruhrtriennale, then in Berlin, Zürich and Vienna. He continuously works at the Burgtheater, Austria's national theatre, where he presented Arthur Schnitzler's Das weite Land in 2011 and a new version of Gogol's The Government Inspector in 2015.
In 2012 Swiss culture magazine du surveyed theatre experts from 20 different countries and included Hermanis on the list of the ten most influential European theatre personalities of the past decade.
Since 2012, Hermanis also directs and creates sets for opera productions – first being invited by the Salzburg Festival to stage Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Die Soldaten conducted by Ingo Metzmacher. The following year, again in Salzburg, Hermanis presented Harrison Birtwistle's opera Gawain.
In 2014 he was responsible for a production of Il trovatore with Anna Netrebko, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Francesco Meli and Plácido Domingo. Hermanis transformed the Great Festival Hall into a gigantic museum with moving walls and the singers into museum custodians and personalities from the paintings shown.
In 2015 Hermanis cancelled a production with the Thalia Theater planned for spring 2016. In a statement, he also mentioned the theatre's position as a "Refugees-Welcome-Center" as one of the reasons.
- Media related to Alvis Hermanis at Wikimedia Commons
- Hermanis profile, New Riga Theatre homepage (in Latvian)
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