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date: 14 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the meaning and history of the German term for “Director’s Theater,” which, since the 1950s, has been a favorite term of the German-speaking feuilleton and later was adopted by the international press. For the audience, not for the reviewers, it has in many cases a negative, even an aggressive meaning. The first well-known protagonists were the opera directors Wieland Wagner (Bayreuth/Stuttgart) and Walter Felsenstein (Komische Oper Berlin). The social and artistic context is presented with many details and important examples; the chapter also defines modern Regietheater as a visualization of different subtexts, including even the individual personal problems of the director. A final case study is dedicated to Joachim Herz, one of the most influential German opera directors, who “invented” several methods of interpretation that are very common today but also fiercely polemicized against opera productions that deconstructed plot and action.

Keywords: opera production, Wieland Wagner, Walter Felsenstein, Joachim Herz

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