Internationally, Chereau was best known for films including "La Reine Margot" and his production of Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" at Bayreuth, the German festival Wagner founded.
In his natal France, he was known for his stage productions, especially during stints as co-director of the Theatre National Populaire and the Theatre des Amandiers.
His works offered social critiques that made them provocative and influential.
Chereau was born in western France to parents that were both painters. From childhood he had a passion for theater and became manager of his high school theater when he was 15.
At 19, Chereau directed a production of Victor Hugo's "Intervention," which was so successful he left to start his own theater company in Paris. He continued his career from there, picking up several awards and further work as director.
Chereau said that to him, there was no difference between theater, opera and film.
“For me they are exactly the same -- telling stories with actors,” he once told the journalist Stephen Moss.
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