Chen Shi-Zheng is a China-born, New York-based director. He studied traditional Chinese opera at a young age, and had become a leading actor before he moved to the US. While attending graduate school in NYU, he performed as a singer in contemporary music theatre and opera. He began his directing career with The Bacchae in 1996, and has since directed for the world’s leading opera houses and festivals. He was decorated with the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Chen’s recent stage works include: contemporary opera Matsukaze at Lincoln Center Festival, Nixon in China for Théâtre du Châtelet; Misfortune for Royal Opera House and Bregenz Festival; A Chinese Home with Kronos Quartet; The Bonesetter’s Daughter for San Francisco Opera; a circus opera Monkey: Journey to the West at the Manchester International Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet, Royal Opera House, and the Lincoln Center Festival; Orfeo for English National Opera; Vespers of 1610 and Dido and Aeneas at Handel & Haydn Society; Mercury Light at Berlin Festival; The Flying Dutchman at Spoleto Festival USA; La Traviata at Lithuanian National Opera; Night Banquet at Festival d’Automne à Paris; Alley at New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Così fan tutte at Aix-en Provence Festival and Théâtre des Champs Elysées.
Chen’s theatre credits include My Life as a Fairytale at Lincoln Center Festival and Aarhus Festival; a trilogy based on Chinese classics : Orphan of Zhao at Lincoln Center Theater, Snow in June at American Repertory Theatre, and Peach Blossom Fan at the RedCat Theater. Chen’s long association with Lincoln Center Festival began in 1999, when he made his landmark 20-hour Kunqu opera, The Peony Pavilion, which was hailed as one of the most important cultural events of the 20th century.
Chen made TV documentary Madame Mao’s Warriors for TV France 3, his film directorial debut Dark Matter, starring Meryl Streep won Sundance Film Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award. He has also directed a Disney movie, High School Musical China.