Artistic directors of the opera and musical theatre divisions of the VBW appointed
Christian Struppeck: international expert in musicals has tenure as artistic director of musicals extended
As of the 2022/2023 season, the Norwegian opera director Stefan Herheim will take over as artistic director of the Theater an der Wien. The present artistic director, Roland Geyer, will stay in place at the stagione opera house until Herheim takes over. The artistic director of musicals for the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW), Christian Struppeck, has had his contract extended for a further five years as of the 2020/21 season. This appointment reaffirms the VBW’s commitment to an innovative programming concept for its opera house and to continuity within the nationally and internationally successful musicals division.
Future VBW management stands for innovation and continuity.
Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, City Councillor for Culture and the Arts in Vienna: “The future VBW management stands for innovation and continuity. I am very pleased that in Stefan Herheim we have acquired one of the most successful opera directors in the world for the Theater an der Wien. He is someone capable of developing opera as a total work of art. The veteran Viennese opera audience deserve nothing less than someone who is utterly commited to this city and to the genre. Like no one else, Herheim pulls off the tightrope walk between maintaining the highest level of musical standards while also making opera accessible for future generations. I am particularly pleased that Roland Geyer, the man responsible for the Theater an der Wien’s current success, is willing to continue as artistic director for a further two years before Herheim takes over. Musical theatre in Vienna enjoys the highest of reputations, both nationally and internationally. With Christian Struppeck, Vienna will continue to write history as a city of musicals. We are delighted to be able to retain such an insightful authority on musicals for a further five years at the Raimund Theater and the Ronacher. It is to him we owe one of the most extraordinarily successful years in the history of musicals.”
Renate Brauner, City Councillor for Commerce in Vienna, whose remit includes Wien Holding, is delighted that “with the appointment of Stefan Herheim and the extension of Christian Struppeck’s tenure, we now have two first-rate artistic directors who will continue to ensure the outstanding artistic quality of our theatres as well as their economic stability. I am confident that both artistic directors will enhance Vienna’s global reputation as a city of music.”
World-renowned opera director to be new artistic director of operas
Stefan Herheim, an opera director in demand all over the world, will take over the running of the Theater an der Wien as of the 2022/23 season. Born in Oslo, he originally trained as a cellist and now regularly directs productions at Europe’s biggest opera houses. His repertoire ranges from baroque opera to contemporary musical theatre. Opernwelt magazine’s critics’ survey voted him “Director of the Year” three time, among other things for his production of Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival. His most successful productions include Giulio Cesare, Tannhäuser and La Bohème in Oslo, Don Giovanni in Essen, Lohengrin and Xerxes in Berlin, Der Rosenkavalier in Stuttgart, Rusalka in Brussels, Graz, Dresden and Barcelona, Eugen Onegin in Amsterdam, Salome at the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Lulu in Copenhagen, Oslo and Dresden.
Stefan Herheim on his appointment: “Opera is my life. The Theater an der Wien offers a unique workshop for developing musical theatre as a total work of art. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work at this particular opera house, which is the youngest in Vienna and yet of great historical significance. In years to come, it will be the focus of my life. It is vitally important to continue the search for meaning, a search which offers audiences and artists a kind of home ground from which to both re-examine old worlds and explore new ones, with open minds and senses. In a world that is turning ever faster and more wildly, it is more crucial than ever for artists to feel they have a local, social and cultural home.
The opera house’s international reputation, built up under Roland Geyer, offers a wonderful starting point for establishing this theatre as a cultural bridge between Vienna and the world, between artistic ideals and keeping reality under observation, between the most diverse range of people. The stage of the Theater an der Wien is one the most fertile cultural soils in Europe, from which the most magnificent fruits can be harvested. The seed is a fundamental faith in artistic integrity. Opera is my life. "
Stefan Herheim is currently scheduled to be introduced to the public in January.
Roland Geyer, the current artistic director of the VBW’s opera division, congratulates Stefan Herheim on his appointment: "I have known and admired Stefan Herheim for many years and am delighted to be able to continue - until he takes the helm – running the Theater an der Wien opera house and further raising its profile. My thanks go to Vienna City Council, and especially to Councillor Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, for their confidence in the Theater an der Wien, and I congratulate them on their decision to appoint a world-renowned, passionate man of the theatre like Stefan Herheim to continue the Theater an der Wien’s success story."
During Roland Geyer’s tenure, the Theater an der Wien has established itself as a leading international stagione opera house with a focus on baroque opera and opera of the of the 20th and 21st centuries. It has been honoured several times at the International Opera Awards, and in 2016 won an Opera Award in London for the best new production worldwide (Peter Grimes). The Vienna Kammeroper, at which the Theater an der Wien has also been performing since its 2012/13 season, has also successfully positioned itself on the Viennese opera scene during Geyer’s tenure with the founding of a young ensemble of singers, which is re-cast every two years.
International expert in musicals has tenure as artistic director extended
The artistic directorship of those VBW theatres dedicated to musicals – the Raimund Theater and the Ronacher - remains in the capable hands of Christian Struppeck. Thanks to Struppeck’s programming, the launch of the VBW’s current season resulted in record ticket sales from the world premiere of I Am From Austria and the revival of Dance of the Vampires on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. Having proved such a hit, I Am From Austria’s run will be extended by another season. Struppeck has been in charge of the musicals division of the VBW since 2012. His programming concept revolves around a successful mix of international hits like Mary Poppins, Evita and Mamma Mia! and in-house productions. He has developed musicals like I Am From Austria, The Visit, Don Camillo and Peppone and Schikaneder especially for the VBW. Christian Struppeck has also successfully licensed many productions internationally, including The Visit, Dance of the Vampires, Elisabeth and Rebecca. He has also brought a VBW musical, Elisabeth, to China for the first time, followed by the Raimund Theater’s new production of Mozart!, which celebrated its Belgian premiere at the same time. As part of his remit, Struppeck has brought top international creative talent to Vienna. During his directorship so far, more in-house productions have been developed than ever before in a comparable period.
Artistic Director of Musicals, Christian Struppeck: "I am delighted to be able to continue as artistic director of the Raimund Theater and the Ronacher. I would like to continue to bring internationally known musical hits to Vienna for our audiences and our city, as well as to present original productions especially developed for Vienna. I thank Vienna City Council for their confidence and I am delighted that my work and creative activity will continue to lead the VBW’s musicals division into a successful future."
High-powered leadership team takes the VBW into the future
VBW Managing Director, Franz Patay: "With the greatest care, and after in-depth discussions with the numerous, very high-calibre candidates, we have chosen, together with our shareholder representatives and Vienna City Council, the best people for the positions of artistic director of the VBW opera and musicals divisions. In the musicals division, the extension of Christian Struppeck’s tenure allows us to continue our current successful course with a programming mix of international hit musicals and our own first-class in-house productions developed here in Vienna, as well as continuing to successfully market our productions worldwide. In the opera division, Roland Geyer has built an impressive foundation and has made the Theater an der Wien an opera house of world renown. In Stefan Herheim, we have found an innovative theatre practitioner who will do justice to the unique position of the Theater an der Wien."
Managing Director of Wien Holding, Peter Hanke: “Stefan Herheim’s appointment and the extension of Christian Struppeck’s tenure, together with Franz Patay as managing director of the VBW, means we now have a strong, high-powered team to take the VBW into a successful future. Together we will continue the VBW’s path, which has been so successful both in here Austria and internationally, with a particular focus on international marketing in both divisions.”