Hans Neuenfels, Opera Director with a Pointed View, Dies at 80

Mr. Neuenfels studied on the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen from 1960 to 1964, and on the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna, the place he met the actress Elizabeth Trissenaar. Frequent stage collaborators, they married in 1964, the yr Mr. Neuenfels made his debut as a theater director in Vienna. He had constructed a major fame by the point they collectively started an affiliation with the Schauspiel Frankfurt in 1972, and he continued to favor working freelance; a spell answerable for the Volksbühne, a outstanding theater in Berlin, from 1986 to 1990 was troubled by monetary issues.

Mr. Neuenfels knew little about opera earlier than his debut directing one (“Il Trovatore” in Nuremberg in 1974), he wrote in a 2011 autobiography, “Das Bastardbuch.” However throughout his cigarette-and beer-fueled preparations, he wrote, Verdi’s music “enveloped me, penetrated me, wove itself into me in order that I used to be satisfied it will run by way of my veins.” He noticed no related ardour within the stagings he started to observe; they made opera a “mindless and purposeless endeavor,” he surmised, aiming for no broader relevance.

Mr. Neuenfels resolved to alter that. 4 productions adopted for the Frankfurt Opera, a hotbed of radicalism within the Seventies and ’80s, together with the notorious 1981 “Aida.” He additionally directed Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten” and Busoni’s “Doktor Faust,” exhibiting an early style for in any other case ignored dramas.

As sympathetic critics noticed, there was a sure integrity to a lot of Mr. Neuenfels’s work, which turned extra obvious as youthful generations of administrators turned extra excessive nonetheless. Mr. Rockwell wrote in 2001 {that a} “Die Fledermaus” on the Salzburg Competition was “in poor style” and a “seething nest of hypocrisy, cruelty, sexual perversion and incipient Nazism,” however granted that it was “at the least severely meant.”

Maybe no manufacturing made Mr. Neuenfels’s underlying sincerity plainer than his rat-infested “Lohengrin” for the Bayreuth Competition in 2010, which, just like the Patrice Chéreau “Ring” a long time earlier than it, was booed vigorously at its premiere however finally turned a beloved basic. At its final look in 2015, the Instances critic Zachary Woolfe called it a “mannequin of operatic path.”

Even when Mr. Neuenfels didn’t intentionally court docket controversy, although, it tended to search out him.

His manufacturing of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” on the Deutsche Oper precipitated little stir at its premiere in 2003, regardless of his addition of an epilogue through which the title character pulled out the decapitated heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/09/arts/music/hans-neuenfels-dead.html Hans Neuenfels, Opera Director with a Pointed View, Dies at 80

Fry Electronics Team

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