François Rochaix founded the Atelier de Genève in 1963. He began there his career as director and actor. In 1975, he became the General Director of the Théâtre de Carouge. In 1981, he decided to be a freelance director and began his work also in opera. His opera credits include The Turn of the Screw, Death in Venice, The Rake’s Progress, Pelléas et Mélisande, Dialogues des Carmélites, La Traviata, Aida, Nabucco, Carmen, Idomeneo, Cosi fan tutte, La Clemenza di Tito, Parsifal at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Scottish Opera, Opera North, the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Cleveland Opera, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Seattle Opera, where he directs Wagner’s complete Ring cycle. His theatre credits include Richard II and Henry IV, Mother Courage, Arturo Ui, Baal, In the Jungle of the Cities, and a lot of new plays in Switzerland, A Doll’s House, The Wild Duck, The Game of Life, Woyzeck, The Bourgeois Schippel and The Thunderstorm in Norway, Vitrac’s Victor and The Event by Nabokov in Moscow, and a Swiss, Norwegian and Russian co-production of The Oresteia, presented in Norway, Switzerland and Russia in 1991.
From 1996 to 1901 he is Director of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and Associate Director of the American Repertory Theatre. There he directs The Oresteia, Tartuffe, The Wild Duck, The Bacchae and Antigone. At the Institute he presents the American premieres of Michel Vinaver’s Overboard and The Interview, Dario Fo’s Mistero buffo, Goldoni’s Villegiatura Trilogy, and an original production called Cher Molière. He is the conciever and artistic director of the Vevey Wine Growers Festival 1999 (La Fête des Vignerons) in Switzerland, an event of national and international importance, which takes place only five times a century. He is the conceiver and director of the Opening Ceremony of the Swiss National Exhibition Expo.02, in May 2002, a show that happened in four cities at the same time, linked together by four television channels.
From 2002 till 2008 he is back at the Théâtre de Carouge as general director. His productions include Savitri by Holst, Trouble in Tahiti by Bernstein, Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, Les Qui pro quo by Rodolphe Töpffer, Dürrematt’sPhysicists, Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and more recently Oleanna by David Mamet, The Works and the Days by Michel Vinaver,Molière by Bulgakov, Aldjia, the divided woman by Jacques Probst, État de piège by Dominique Caillat and his own play Une étrange soirée. In the summer 2003, he is back at the Seattle Opera directing Parsifal for the opening of the new Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.
He works now again as a free-lance director. His most recent productions are : Offertorium magorum by Guy Bovet, Calvin Genève en flammes by Michel Beretti (for the 500th anniversary of Calvin), L’Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi (presented at the Festival of Ambronay), Darwin en finit avec les Cirripèdes by Michel Beretti and La Confession de Darwin by Dominique Caillat (celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin).
Rochaix has directed more than 100 plays and 70 operas. He got several awards: the Médaille Beaumarchais in 1982, the World Prize Nessim Habif en 1988 (together with Jean-Claude Maret), the Hans Reinhart Ring in 1989, the Prize of the City of Geneva, the Prize of Belles-Lettres in 2000 and the Prize of the City of Carouge in 2008. Rochaix became citizen of honor of Mies (Switzerland) in 1999 and of Pădureni (Roumania) in 2011.
As an actor, he performed more than 50 parts. Recently he was the old spy in Opération métastases by Dominique Ziegler the inquisitor in Brecht’s Galileo directed by Manfred Karge, Marx in Darwin en finit avec les Cirripèdes, Léon in Michel Viala’s S.D.F. At the moment, he is performing Franz Liszt : le Pèlerinage à Fribourg with the organist Guy Bovet, and A Pretty Dinner (together with Samuel Pepys).