Jerome Savary, champion of popular theatre, dies in France

5th March 2013, Comments 0 comments

French-Argentine director Jerome Savary, who dedicated his career to popularising the appeal of French theatre, has died at the age of 70, his family said Tuesday.

The founder of the Grand Magic Circus passed away on Monday in a hospital on the outskirts of Paris following a battle with cancer, relatives told AFP.

Over nearly half a century Savary staged more than one hundred plays and operas throughout Europe, ranging from serious performances to musical comedy, from Shakespeare to a play about comic book hero Asterix, to share his message that theatre was a celebration.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1942, Savary, whose father was French, settled in France as an adult. While he was admired abroad for his avant-garde approach to the stage, he was shunned by France's intelligentsia who looked down on his attempts to attract wide audiences with popular shows.

He was the director of the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris from 1988 until 2000, before becoming head of the capital's Opera Comique until 2006.

French President Francois Hollande paid tribute to the "passionate" director on Tuesday, saying Savary had shown that high-brow culture "was compatible with popular spectacles".

"He had a sense of the spectacular, of celebration," said Hollande.

© 2013 AFP

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