Born in Erlenbach, near Zurich, Christoph Marthaler studied flute and oboe before turning to theatre. Music remains a strong presence in his stagings, not only in the case of the many operas he has directed (including his influential Tristan und Isolde at the Bayreuth Festival in 2005), but also in the preponderance given to work on rhythm and the duration of moments in his theatre work, as well as the importance – not to mention the hilarious eclecticism – of music in his stage plays.
In 1991, he began working with the set designer Anna Viebrock, who creates “play areas”, rejuvenating unloved spaces, such as humdrum waiting rooms and down-at-the-heel cafés, where he deploys his destabilizing stage poetry. The works by this prolific artist – he has directed over 70 pieces – include Faust, A Subjective Tragedy based on the Pessoa version of the tale (1992), his school for politicians Die Stunde Null oder die Kunst des Servierens (1995), Kasimir und Karoline, by Ödön von Horváth (1996), Riesenbutzbach, A Permanent Colony (2009), Papperlapapp (2010, when he was an associate artist at the Avignon Festival) and Meine Faire Dame, ein Sprachlabor (My Fair Lady, A Language Lab), 2012. He has received numerous awards, including the Prix Europe: New Theatrical Realities in 1998 and the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial in 2015.
''Revered and acclaimed, distinguished with the most important European awards for theatre and opera, Christoph Marthaler receives a star on the Sibiu Walk of Fame for being an unrivalled artist through the uniqueness of his challenging and emotional creations that build a successful alliance between comedy and nostalgia.''