Since 1988, opera director Pierre Audi's artistic vision has been the defining one at the Dutch National Opera (also De Nederlandse Opera or DNO) in the Netherlands. A native of Lebanon, Audi was exiled along with his family to England at the age of 17. Audi studied at Oxford and in 1979 founded the Almeida Theater, an experimental theater group in London. Audi's work gathered a great deal of attention, and in 1988 he was asked to assume the position of artistic director of the DNO. At that time, the DNO was in terrible financial shape and its productions poorly attended; with the collaboration of administrator Truze M. Lodder, Audi rebuilt the DNO into one of the most cutting-edge and powerful opera companies in Europe, and in pretty short order. Among Audi's acclaimed productions with the DNO include the Netherlands' first complete Ring cycle, Mozart's Da Ponte operas, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, Peter Greenaway and Louis Andriessen's Rosa and Writing to Vermeer, Alexander Knaifel's Alice in Wonderland, and Claude Vivier's Rêves de Marco Polo. Audi commissioned the opera Life With an Idiot from Alfred Schnittke in addition to several other projects. He is strongly devoted to the cause of contemporary opera; as he has said, "there is no doubt that opera is of absolutely no interest unless it is searching to justify its future." Audi has also famously created a cycle of the three Monteverdi operas, including his acclaimed staging of Il ritorno de l'Ulisse in Patria. Madrigals, a fourth opera contrived from some of the more theatrical works found among Monteverdi's music for vocal ensembles, featured a staged rendition of Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. The DNO performs Audi's productions all over the world, including the United States, and some of them are available on video.