A graduate of the Piccolo Teatro School in Milan and a graduate in Philosophy from the University of Pavia, he has been active since 1988 as a director of theatre, opera and video in the main Italian and international theatres.
Among his first productions are Aleksandr Nevskij Video by Prokof'ev (Konzerthaus in Vienna, Festival RomaEuropa, Teatro Massimo in Palermo) and Golem by and with Moni Ovadia (Rome, Milan, Paris, Teatro La MaMa in New York).
His opera productions include: Verdi's Don Carlo (Staatsoper, Vienna), Rigoletto (Teatro La Fenice, Venice) and La Traviata (Teatro Municipal, São Paulo), Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Bari, Venice, Beijing, Seoul), Weber's Oberon (Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse), Rossini's Ermione and Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra (Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro), Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (Reggio Emilia, Edinburgh Festival), Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bari and Reggio Emilia), Beethoven's Fidelio, Wagner's Tannhäuser, Berg's Wozzeck and Mozart's Così fan tutte (Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome), Britten's The Rape of Lucretia (Genoa and Teatro Real in Madrid), Puccini's Tosca (Osaka), Berio's Laborinthus II, Henze's Pollicino and Battistelli's Experimentum Mundi (Salzburg Festival). His staging of Dallapiccola's Il prigioniero and Il volo di notte (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino production) won the Abbiati Prize as the best performance staged in Italy in2004.
From 2002 to 2012 he was artistic director of the "I Teatri" Foundation in Reggio Emilia.
In 2012 he received the Academy Award for opera as best director.
In recent years he has directed operas such as Verdi's Don Carlos at the Wiener Staatsoper, Puccini's Tosca (Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Regio di Torino, Seoul Arts Center), Così fan tutte at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, new productions of Verdi's Traviata for the Teatro Coccia di Novara (2014) and Debussy's Pelléas et Melisande for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2015). In 2016 he made new productions for Nabucco (Lyric Opera of Chicago, and then at the Royal Opera House in London), Verdi's Attila at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, and a revival of Falstaff at the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari. In 2017 he returned to the Wiener Staatsoper with Il Trovatore and Don Carlos, to the Teatro Regio di Torino with Falstaff and to the Teatro Comunale di Bologna with Tosca. Recent engagements include Macbeth at the Verdi Festival in Parma and in Cagliari, Rigoletto at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome Turandot at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Nabucco in London.