Trained in Paris with the theatre teacher Jacques Lecoq, he received a job in 1969 as an assistant at the Hamburg Thalia Theatre. In a surprise, he took over in 1985 after the resignation of Peter Stein at the Schaubühne in Berlin. He also worked as a producer of both plays and operas at the Salzburg Festival, and in 1985 as a director at the Vienna Festival. He was the director of the most recent version of Tosca, by Puccini, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Both the opera, as well as the director, were greeted by loud boos on opening night though the reception was not generally negative. James Levine, the music director at the Metropolitan Opera likened the production to a 'Hitchcock movie' and the cultural critic for the New York Times, Charles McGrath, felt that the new production was a part of Gelb's mission to transform the Met by emphasizing theatricality.
In an interview after the premier of Marc-André Dalbavie's opera Charlotte Salomon, Bondy was asked whether his being Jewish had anything to do with his having directed the production. "So I said to her this is a production about a Jewish artist...the subject is the story of Charlotte Salomon" said Bondy, who then walked out on the interviewer. He died in Zurich on 28 November 2015.
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