Saying that he "took the starch out of the Bugs Bunny version of opera," director Peter Sellars was honored at the Opera News Awards on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh-born Sellars accepted the award at the Plaza in Manhattan, sounding appropriately like an evangelist for the art form in his acceptance, where he described opera as "the deep end of the pool, where we get real."
Among Sellars' memorable works are his collaborations with composer John Adams that include the Grammy-winning "Doctor Atomic" and the recently staged "Desdemona," a collaboration with Toni Morrison and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré performed in Berkeley last year that Times Music Critic Mark Swed described as "a great, challenging, haunting and lasting work."
Last year Sellars directed the Los Angeles Philharmonic production of Shostakovich's "Orango" and in 2013 will direct Adams' new opera, "The Gospel According to the Other Mary," also with the L.A. Phil. He is a professor in the department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.