Yannis Kokkos was born in Athens. Since 1963 he has lived in France. Studied scenography at the Ecole Superieure d’Art Dramatique in Strasbourg. One important stage in Kokkos’ career was his collaboration with the theatre director Antoine Vitez which lasted thirty years (1960–1990), together with whom he staged productions at the Comedie Franзaise, the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, the Theatre National de Chaillot and the Festival of Avignon (Le Soulier de Satin, Elektra and Hamlet). As a set designer, Kokkos has worked with major music theatres throughout the world, among them the Opйra de Paris (Macbeth), La Scala and Covent Garden (Pellйas et Melisande), the Wiener Staatsoper (Die Zauberflote), the San Francisco Opera (Elektra) and the Hamburg Staatsballett (Ondine).
Since 1987 he has also worked as a stage director of operas and dramas. Kokkos’ opera productions have met with great acclaim from critics and the public, among them Gotterdammerung, Iphigenie en Aulide, Der Fliegende Hollander and Assassinio nella cattedrale (La Scala), La clemenza di Tito, Tristan und Isolde (Theatre de la Monnaie), Medea (Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse), Hдnsel und Gretel, La Damnation de Faust, Outis, The Bassarids (Theatre du Chatelet) and Die Frau ohne Schatten (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Welsh National Opera).
Recipient of numerous awards, among them the Laurence Olivier Prize, two Moliere prizes, the golden medal at the Prague Quadrennial, the Critic Prlze for his production of the first integral version of Les Troyens. Chevalier of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.