Klaus Zehelein (born 5 September 1940) is a German dramaturge. He was president of the Munich Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding. Zehelein is also president of the association of German theatres, Deutscher Bühnenverein. For fifteen years, from 1991 until 2006, Zehelein was artistic director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart. Critic Gerhard Rohde, summing up Zehelein's theatre work at the Stuttgart opera, says "Zehelein does not view opera as a culinary phenomenon. For him opera is an extremely complex matter, where all arts – as well as social, philosophical, historic, utopic and other aspects – unite. This complexity of opera merits being perceived, being seen, being experienced; thus all works that end up performed on stage, are rigorously analyzed beforehand. He who says this results in thinned-out, merely sophisticated opera performances, missed out substantially in the Zehelein-Era in Stuttgart."[1]

Klaus Zehelein
Born (1940-09-05) 5 September 1940 (age 83)
Frankfurt, Germany
Alma materGoethe University Frankfurt
SpouseMarianne Weigmann

Education and professional activity edit

Zehelein studied German literature, musicology and philosophy in the Goethe University Frankfurt. Among his teachers were the philosophers Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Although not a composer himself, Zehelein participated in the Darmstädter Ferienkurse from 1959 to 1966. Here he met composers Luigi Nono and Karlheinz Stockhausen, which would influence Zehelein's future artistic development.[2] Zehelein began his professional activity at the theater in Kiel in 1967, then became chief dramaturge in Oldenburg.

From 1977 to 1987 he worked at the Oper Frankfurt, starting as chief dramaturge and becoming opera director.[3][4] In Frankfurt Zehelein developed a practical but intellectually supported manner of interpreting and staging opera.[5] He worked with the stage director Hans Neuenfels on Busoni's Doktor Faust and Neuenfels' production of Verdi's Aida – known as "Aida as cleaning-lady production".[6] With director Ruth Berghaus and her designer Axel Manthey, he worked on Parsifal[7] and Wagner's Ring.[8] Zehelein moved to Hamburg in 1989 as artistic director of the Thalia Theater before being offered the position of artistic director at the Stuttgart opera.

Stuttgart Opera 1991–2006 edit

During Zehelein's directorship, the Opernwelt magazine awarded the title Opera House of the Year to the Stuttgart Opera. Six awards were given, in the years 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 und 2006.[9][10] Zehelein's era in Stuttgart is documented in the book Anders, ein Arbeitsbericht.[11]

Zehelein brought in Pamela Rosenberg as co-opera Intendant between 1991 and 2000[12] and Eytan Pessen as casting director from 2001 to 2006.[13] His Chief dramaturge was Juliane Votteler.

Zehelein worked with stage directors Ruth Berghaus,[14] Martin Kušej, Nicolas Brieger, Christof Nel, Neuenfels,[15] Peter Konwitchny, Joachim Schlömer, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito.

Under Zehelein's direction the Stuttgart Opera was an ensemble based opera company. The sopranos Catherine Naglestad and Eva-Maria Westbroek were members of his permanent ensemble, tenor Jonas Kaufmann a frequent guest artist. Music directors were Gabriele Ferro and Lothar Zagrosek. The conductor Nicola Luisotti conducted frequently during Zehelein's era.[9][16][17]

In his fifteen years Zehelein explored most of the 20th century's opera standard repertoire, such as Berg's Wozzeck and Lulu, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, Busoni's Doktor Faust, and Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore and Intolleranza 1960. The work was performed over numerous seasons in a total of 29 performances.[18] Zehelein performed works of the composers Lachenmann, Jungy Pagh Pan, Hans Zender and Rolf Rihm.[19]

Zehelein argued that as Richard Wagner wrote the four music-dramas of the Ring over many years, changing dramaturgical ideas in the process, each opera could be treated as a stand-alone work. Zehelein invited four directors for his Ring, thus giving each opera dramatic independence. The resulting Stuttgarter Ring brought much discussion and recognition to the Stuttgart Opera.[20][21]

Zehelein created the Forum Neues Musiktheater, an institute attached to the Stuttgart Opera. "Here new compositions were not only studied and presented," sayd the critic Gerhard Rohde, "but more important was the work-nature of the institute: a laboratory, in which young, and not so young composers develop their ideas, and together with musicians, singers, dancers, and new media realize these ideas into a scenic reality"[1] Zehelein also founded the Junge Oper (an institute dedicated to performing opera for young audiences).[22][23]

Numerous CD and DVD productions document Zehelein's interest in modern works and new staging concepts. Stuttgart CD productions include Nono's Intolleranza 1960(1995) and Al Gran Sole Carico D'Amore (2001), as well as Lachenmann's Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (2003); Zehelein's productions on DVD: Handel's Alcina (1999), Hartmann's Simplicius Simplicissimus (2005), Mozart's La finta giardiniera [2006) and Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen,(2003).[24]

Teaching edit

Zehelein taught Sociomusicology at the Oldenburg university. He was also guest professor at the Minnesota state university, the Collège international de philosophie in Paris, the Institute for Theater arts at the University of Giessen and from 1986 to 1992 in the University of Applied Arts Vienna. As of 2006 he directs the dramaturgy division of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Bavarian academy of Theatre in Munich.[25] His ideas about music theater dramaturgy are published in the book Music theater today[26]

Current activity edit

As of May 2003, Zehelein is president of the association of German theatres (Deutscher Bühnenverein). His political and moral influence is crucial in times of heavy cuts in public financing of the arts.[27][28] As of August 2006 Zehelein is also president of the Munich Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding (Bavarian theatre academy) located in the Prinzregententheater. The Theaterakademie is a university level academy offering BA and MA courses in directing, acting, musical theatre, singing, opera, make up, dramaturgy, theatre- film- and television criticism, set and costume design.[29]

Awards edit

Zehelein received the German critics prize for his dramaturgical work at the Frankfurt opera in 1983. He also received the Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg in 2001, for his work in the state. The Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany was granted him in the summer of 2006. In 2007 he became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Arts (Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste) .[30] In 2023, he received Der Faust award for lifetime achievement.[31]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Gerhard Rohne, Oper und Tanz, April 2006, [1]this quote is translated into somewhat simplified English.
  2. ^ Teresa Pieschacón-Raphael, Crescendo magazine Interview (in German)retrieved July, 2013
  3. ^ Michael Gielen describing work with Zehelein, in: Michael Gielen »Unbedingt Musik«: Erinnerungen, Insel Verlag,(2012), ISBN 978-3-458-35830-5
  4. ^ Axel Dielmann, Schafft Neus! ...: Richard Wagner in Frankfurt ( 2013), ISBN 978-3-86638-025-7
  5. ^ Work with Zehelein as dramaturge, in: Gottfried Knapp, Hans Diether Schall's Stage sets, in Hans Dieter Schaal: Stage Architecture, Edition Axel Menges (Juni 2002), ISBN 978-3-930698-86-8, pp. 6–10
  6. ^ Clemens Risi, Shedding Light on the Audience: Hans Neuenfels and Peter Konwitschny Stage Verdi (And Verdians), Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, Primal Scenes: Proceedings of a Conference Held at the University of California, Berkeley, 30 November – 2 December 2001, (2002), pp. 201–210
  7. ^ Opera Quarterly, Parsifal: A Workshop Conversation with Ruth Berghaus, Michael Gielen, Klaus Zehelein, and Axel MantheySpring 2006, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p349
  8. ^ Barry Millington, "The Ring according to Berghaus", The Musical Times, Vol. 128, No. 1735, (1987), pp. 491–492
  9. ^ a b Johanne Tremblay, "Klaus Zehelein and the Stuttgart State Opera: When tradition and innovation go hand in hand", International Journal of Arts Management, vol. 6, no. 3, V631, ISSN 1480-8986, 2004
  10. ^ Carola Meusel, "Explore Stuttgart's cultural heart: the opera house", The Citizen, January 27, 2011 Archived 10 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine retrieved July 2013
  11. ^ Klaus Zehelein (editor) Fünfzehn Spielzeiten an der Staatsoper Stuttgart 1991–2006: Ein Arbeitsbericht, raumzeit3, (2006), ISBN 978-3-9811007-6-1
  12. ^ San Francisco classical voice, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), retrieved July 2013
  13. ^ Cheryl North, The Oakland Tribune, 22 October 2004, Review for Tristan and Isolde
  14. ^ Numerous mentions of Zehelein, in: Corinne Holtz, Ruth Berghaus. Ein Portrait, Europäische Verlagsanstalt(2005), ISBN 978-3-434-50547-1
  15. ^ Hans Neuenfels describing work with Zehelein, in: Hans Neuenfels, Das Bastardbuch: Autobiografische Stationen, btb Verlag (2012), ISBN 978-3-442-74496-1
  16. ^ Television documentary. Nobert Beilharz, Una Cosa rara – Klaus Zehelein und die Stuttgarter Oper (2003)
  17. ^ Juliane Votteler, Musiktheater heute. Klaus Zehelein. Dramaturg und Intendant, Europäische Verlagsanstalt/Rotbuch Verlag, Hamburg 2000,
  18. ^ Joachim Knape, editor, Medienrhetorik, Attempto (2004),ISBN 978-3-89308-370-1, p.78
  19. ^ Susanne Fontaine, "Tutzing, 7. bis 9. Juli 2006: 'Schweigen die Sirenen? Zur Aktualität des Mythos im zeitgenössischen Musiktheater'", Die Musikforschung, 59. Jahrg., H. 4 (October–December 2006), p. 383
  20. ^ Larson Powell, Review, Narben des Gesamtkunstwerks: Wagners Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Klein, Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Nov. 2005), pp. 303–308
  21. ^ Reviews in the Opera Quarterly: 1)The Stuttgart Ring, 1999–2000.Opera Quarterly; Spring/Summer2007, Vol. 23 Issue 2/3, p321; 2)Moravcsik, Andrew Everyday Totalitarianism: Reflections on the Stuttgart Ring. Opera Quarterly; Winter 2010, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p131; 3)Ashman, Mike, "The Stuttgart Ring". Opera Quarterly; Winter 2010, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p. 149; 4) Papaeti, Anna, "Stuttgart Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen on DVD". Opera Quarterly; Winter 2010, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p. 152
  22. ^ Andreas Hauff, Tristan und Isolde sind jungZehn Jahre Junge Oper Stuttgart, March 2006, oper und tanz
  23. ^ "Junge Oper Stuttgart" Archived 21 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine on reseo.org. Retrieved 28 July 2013
  24. ^ David J. levin Richard Wagner, Fritz Lang, and the Nibelungen Princeton University Press, (1999), ISBN 978-0-691-04971-7.
  25. ^ Anke Roeder, Klaus Zehelein, Die Kunst der Dramaturgie: Theorie – Praxis – Ausbildung, Henschel Verlag, (2011), ISBN 978-3-89487-655-5
  26. ^ Juliane Votteler, Musiktheater heute. Klaus Zehelein. Dramaturg und Intendant, Europäische Verlagsanstalt/Rotbuch Verlag, Hamburg 2000
  27. ^ Daniel Ris,Unternehmensethik für den Kulturbetrieb: Perspektiven am Beispiel öffentlich-rechtlicher Theater (VS College) VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2012, ISBN 978-3-531-19232-1
  28. ^ Elaine Kelly (Editor), Amy Wlodarski (Editor) Art Outside the Lines: New Perspectives on GDR Art Culture. (German Monitor) [Paperback] p. 142, Rodopi (2011), ISBN 978-90-420-3341-2
  29. ^ Theaterakademie Website (partially in English)
  30. ^ Web site of the German national culture foundation (German: Kulturstiftung des Bundes), [2] Archived 16 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved July 2013
  31. ^ "Klaus Zehelein wird mit Theaterpreis für Lebenswerk ausgezeichnet". neue musikzeitung (in German). 24 October 2023. Retrieved 24 October 2023.

Further reading edit

Articles in English
Articles in German

External links edit