Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Benjamin Schad - winner of the 2012 Götz Friedrich Award

In honor to Götz Friedrich --the man who was the most inventive opera director during an era stretching from the 1960 to well in the 90's--  the Prize carrying his name is been attributed every year since 2000 to a young, talented, inventive opera director for his/her recent work.

For example, Sebastian Baumgarten won it in 2001 for his production of Tosca presented in Kassel (2000-2001), Stefan Herheim got one for his staging of I Puritani  at the Aalto Theater in Essen (2002-2003). Benedikt von Peter was awarded for Chief Joseph presented at Theater Heidelberg (2006-2007). Last among the better known directors to have won this prize is Johannes Erath -- for his Cendrillon given at the Staadttheater Bern (2007-2008).

Not every winner had a brilliant career after the Götz Friedrich Prize, but many did, and I believe this is a good radar for detecting brilliant young talents. It will be interesting to see what the last two winners will do in the future, two girls (!), Eva-Maria Höckmayr and Tabea Kranefoed.

This year's winner is Benjamin Schad for his production of The Turn of the Screw premiered on  February 2011 at the Trinity Church in Cologne.

Benjamin is a 30 years old director who studied in Frankfurt with Hans Hollmann and Christof Loy, before moving to Cologne where he was assistant to Uwe Eric Laufenberg, Tilman Knabe, Robert Carsen, Katharina Thalbach... In the current season he's for the first time working as a free-lancer.

The critique was gushing over this production and I believe the Götz Friedrich distinction prompted the artistic management of the Köln Oper to insert the revival of the Schad's show to their 2012-2013 program.

Below are the production pics and the video clip [all ©Oper Köln].

The Turn of the Screw [dir- Benjamin Schad, cnd- Raimund Laufen (Gürzenich-Orchester Köln), cast: John Heuzenröder (Quint), Claudia Rohrbach (Governess), Helen Donath (Mrs. Grose),  Adriana Bastidas Gamboa (Miss Jessel), Carlo Wilfart (Miles), An Hi-Hyun (Flora)]

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