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Director Peter Konwitschny was born in 1945 in Frankfurt am Main, and grew up in Leipzig. His father was a conductor, and his mother was a singer. He studied opera direction in Berlin, and worked for ten years as an assistant director at the Berliner Ensemble, under artistic directors Ruth Berghaus and Manfred Wekwerth. During the period 1980-85 he was the director of opera, operette and theatre productions in Budapest, Berlin, Rostock, Greifswald, Anklam, Altenburg and Halle. He was director at the Landestheater in Halle from 1986 until 1990. Through his new, conceptual approach to Händel-operas, Konwitschny made musical history there.
Since 1990, Peter Konwitschny has worked as a freelance director in many European opera houses: Basel, Graz, Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tokyo and Zürich. His interpretations of Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde (Munich), Tannhäuser (Dresden), Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Hamburg), Götterdämmerung (Stuttgart) and Der fliegende Holländer (Moscow) marked a new phase of Wagner productions. Konwitschny also contributed to contemporary interpretations of Verdi, in his productions of Aida, Macbeth and Falstaff (Graz). For his Verdi cycle, the Graz opera was awarded the 2001 title of ‘Opera House of the Year’ (Opernwelt). During that same Verdi Year, Konwitschny directed Don Carlos in Hamburg. Other important productions include: Al gran sole carico d’amore (Hannover), Moses und Aron, Elektra (Copenhagen), Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Das Land des Lächelns (Komische Oper Berlin), König Lear (Graz), Salome at the Nationale Opera (Amsterdam) and La traviata at the Graz Opera. In 1988, Konwitschny was awarded the Kunstpreis by the former DDR; he was given the 1993 Könrad-Wolf-Preis by the Berliner Akademie der Künste, the 2005 Berliner Theaterpreis and the 2007 Welttheaterpreis. He was chosen ‘director of the years’ six times by the opera magazne Opernwelt. During the 2008-2009 season, he was head director at the Leipzig Opera. In these past years, he directed a.o. From the House of the Dead (Janáček) at the Zürich Opera, Verdi’s Atilla at the Theater an der Wien, Jenufa at the Graz Opera, and Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexiko at the Salzburger Festspiele.