Scintillating imagination and playful nonchalance – Tobias Kratzer
Born in Munich in 1980 and winner of the 2008 Ring Award in Graz, he is a far cry from earlier generations of stage directors: a jack-of-all-trades among directors and master of multiple styles.
Tobias Kratzer’s astounding career begins with a story which describes him better than biographical data could: at the 2008 RING AWARD in Graz, the most important competition for young opera directors, the 28-year-old competed twice under different pseudonyms – under the names of Ginger Holiday and Nedko Morakov, he submitted different concepts for a production of RIGOLETTO. This allowed him not only to win the competition, but even to deceive the jury with his disguises. The story is so characteristic because it illustrates the scintillating imagination with which this native of Munich, born in 1980, has approached the great plots of opera literature, making them his own. It also demonstrates a playful nonchalance which is far from the earnest, almost confessional, and certainly theory-heavy methods earlier generations of directors favoured. Furthermore, it shows that Kratzer believes not only in any single truth when staging a work, but many different points of departure, all of which may lead to exciting theatrical experiences. Although he has directed everything but the operatic kitchen sink during the past decade, one cannot speak of THE ONE Kratzer style. He might tell a story in psychological depth and detail, as he did with Zemlinsky’s DER ZWERG at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; he might develop a crash course on the oppression of Black people in the USA using Verdi’s LA FORZA DEL DESTINO as a blueprint; or he might show a traditional, classical opera staging, as he did in the first act of his London FIDELIO, which he suddenly catapults into the present day. Small wonder that this jack-of-all-trades of opera has no problem developing a TANNHÄUSER for his celebrated Bayreuth debut which looks totally different from his version of a few years earlier. This time, mind you, under his own name.