Žagars, born October 16, 1958, led the Latvian National Opera from 1996 to 2013.
An actor by trade, he worked at the Dailes Theater until 1994. He was an actor in a number of feature films, the chief of which was the TV drama Long Road in the Dunes.
In 2002 Žagars made his directorial debut with Wagner's Flying Dutchman at the Dalhalla Opera festival. He continued to direct operas, and, from 2015, plays at the Dailes Theater.
In 2016 a foundation was established in his name to promote music and arts projects.
Žagars was also active in politics, most recently partaking in the 2017 municipal elections.