Posted August 27, 2015

It has been reported that famed director Nikolaus Lehnhoff died Saturday after a long illness at the age of 76.

Lehnhoff began his career in Bayreuth as an assistant Wieland Wagner and Karl Böhm in the 1960’s. He made his directoral debut in 1972 in Paris with Strauss’ Die Frau Ohne Schatten.

He is famous for his Wagner productions, notably the  Ring – San Francisco (1983-1985) and Munich (1987) and productions which are captured on DVD Parsifal (Baden Baden – also seen at ENO and San Francisco), Lohengrin (Baden Baden), Tristan und Isolde (Glyndebourne) and Tannhäuser (Baden Baden). Other renown performances were Salome – Met Opera (1989), Idomeneo – Salzburg (1990), Flying Dutchman (San Francisco 2004 and Los Angeles) and Die Meistersinger – La Scala (1990).

Lehnhoff was a very private person, he let his work speak for him, here is a rare quote:

“Parsifal is an existential drama about the dilemma of our human existence. Under the guise of a religious drama, Wagner’s music mercilessly tells of total loneliness, of living in an empty world stripped of all its former meaning. It is a world where everybody is an outsider, where lost souls wander aimlessly through time and space. By joining the world of the Holy Grail, Parsifal breaks a taboo. His entry is an invasion, an impulse of nature into a decadent and dead world, whose rituals have become meaningless and where all missionary consciousness has been lost.”