Michael Sturminger

Stage Director


Michael Sturminger studied direction and screenwriting at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Since 1990, he has been a freelance writer and director of films, theatre productions and operas. Highlights of his career have included prouductions at the Opernhaus Zürich, Wiener Staatsoper, Volksoper Wien, Stadttheater Klagenfurt, and the opera houses of Graz, Cologne, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Gelsenkirchen and Innsbruck.  He has been invited to several festivals, including Wien Modern, Ruhrfestspiele, Toronto Luminato, St Petersburg White Nights, Sydney, Bregenz and Salzburg.

The works of Mozart have played a major role in Michael’s career. After staging Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Così fan tutte, he directed Il sogno di Scipione at the Salzburg Festival in 2006 for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. In 2007, he directed La clemenza di Tito at Graz Opernhaus and in 2009 collaborated with maestro Valery Gergiev on a new production of Idomeneo at the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg.  This was followed in early 2011 by a new production of Ariadne auf Naxos, again under the musical direction of Gergiev. In 2006, his experiences with Mozart led to the creation of the opera I Hate Mozart at the Theater an der Wien, with his own libretto and music by Bernhard Lang.  A new production of I Hate Mozart was presented in the city of Augsburg, Germany in May 2010.

Michael Sturminger has also devoted much of his career to contemporary musical theatre, including new productions of works by Ligeti, Zimmermann, Penderecki, Gormenghast by Irmin Schmidt, Jedem das Seine by Peter Turrini and Der Herr Nordwind, composed and conducted by HK Gruber and with libretto by HC Artmann.  With HK Gruber, Sturminger is currently working on a new opera project to be presented at a major festival in 2013.

In early 2008, Sturminger started a project with Martin Haselböck, who was looking for a new connection between classical music and contemporary acting. The Infernal Comedy had its world première in Los Angeles, directed by Sturminger and performed by John Malkovich.  After this success, the work was produced and directed by Sturminger in 2009 at the Ronacher Theatre, Vienna and the Pera Lada Festival, Spain. In summer 2010 the production went on a tour to cities including Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, Hamburg, Athens, Saloniki, Malaga, Bilbao, Ravello, St Petersburg and Toronto and in 2011 to North and South America.

Alongside his work in opera, Sturminger regularly directs at Vienna’s Volkstheater (Peer Gynt, Hiob and Du bleibst bei mir).  He has also directed several operetta productions, including Die Fledermaus with Franz Welser-Möst at Opernhaus Zürich (2008) and The Czardas Princess with conductor Stefan Soltesz at the Aalto Theatre Essen (2010).

Michael Sturminger has also worked in cinema. His 2004 film Hurensohn, starring Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova, received several awards. In 2008, his documentary Malibran Rediscovered with Cecilia Bartoli was broadcast on Arte TV and released on DVD.  A DVD of The Infernal Comedy has been released on the Arthaus label.
Malkovich, Haselböck and Sturminger’s second opera project The Giacomo Variations, has recently been released DVD and performed in many European cities including Vienna, Sydney, Moscow, Brussels, Hamburg, Paris, Turku and St Petersburg.