Christian Räth

Renowned throughout Europe, Japan and the USA, Christian’s most recent work includes an acclaimed new production of Verdi’s rarely-performed Un Giorno di Regno (King for a Day) for the 2013 Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the design and direction of a new Tristan & Isolde for The Dallas Opera using 21st century video-technology.  Christian is a regular collaborator with several of the world’s leading directors, and current projects include Le Comte Ory for Opéra National de Lyon and Teatro alla Scala Milan (Pelly),  La Pique Dame for Opernhaus Zurich (Carsen), as well as revival stagings of Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Lyon,  La fille du régiment and Manon at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Staatsoper Wien and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.   Christian Räth is senior associate director for Zambello’s Ring Cycle (San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera.) 

Christian Räth collaborates with Robert Carsen in Zürich

07 Apr 2014

Christian Räth collaborates with Robert Carsen at Opernhaus Zürich on his new production of Tchaikovsky’s last and most successful opera besides Eugen Onegin -  Pique Dame....

Christian Räth revives La fille du régiment at Covent Garden

05 Mar 2014

Laurent Pelly’s acclaimed production of Donizetti’s comic opera La fille du régiment is currently being revived at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden by stage director Christian Räth.  This...

Le Comte Ory in Lyon

21 Feb 2014

Christian Räth is associate director for Laurent Pelly’s new creation at Opéra de Lyon of Rossini’s comic opera Le Comte Ory  - a co-production with Teatro alla Scala (where it will...

Christian Räth stages Manon revival at Covent Garden

10 Jan 2014

Christian Räth returns to the Royal Opera House to revive Laurent Pelly’s highly acclaimed production of Massanet’s Manon.  This co-production with Teatro alla Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera...

Opéra de Lyon stages Les Contes d’Hoffmann

13 Dec 2013

Following a highly successful run at San Francisco Opera and Teatro del Liceu Barcelona earlier this year, Laurent Pelly’s stunning production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann premiere’s at...

Christian Räth revives La fille du regiment at Wiener Staatsoper

24 Oct 2013

Stage director Christian Räth returns to Vienna with Donizetti’s comic opera for a second run after a hugely successful revival in May 2013.  This worldwide acclaimed production from director...

Christian Räth, Laurent Pelly and Agathe Melinand revive Massenet’s Manon for Théâtre du Capitol, Toulouse

30 Sep 2013

Following the highly acclaimed co-productions at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala Milan and the Metropolitan Opera New York, Théâtre du Capitol now plays host to Massanet’s...

Christian Räth directs Verdi’s rarely-performed Un Giorno di Regno for Glimmerglass Festival

12 Jul 2013

Following great success directing Tristan & Isolde for The Dallas Opera in 2012, Christian Räth returns to the US to stage a new production of Verdi’s rarely-performed comic opera...

Les Contes d’Hoffmann at San Francisco Opera

05 Jun 2013

Following a highly successful run at Teatro del Liceu Barcelona earlier this year, Laurent Pelly’s  acclaimed production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann opens this week in San Francisco. ...

Christian Räth revives La fille du regiment at Wiener Staatsoper

30 Apr 2013

Donizetti’s comic opera of patriotic sentiment is currently being revived in Vienna by stage director Christian Räth.  This celebrated production was created in 2007 by  Laurent Pelly,...

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“Christian Rath’s revival-direction provides all the pace and preposterousness this charmingly wacky opera requires.”

The Independent (La fille du regiment, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) - Mar 2014

“Revived by Christian Rath, Laurent Pelly’s staging of Massenet’s romantic classic - a significant success when new in 2010 - returns to the Covent Garden stage and once again delivers a convincing realisation of the story...”

The Stage (Manon, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) - Jan 2014

“ The scene with the mechanical doll Olympia (played by very, very high, idiosyncratically voiced soprano Hye Jung Lee) has so many delights, both visually and musically – including two interpolated high Fs – that it left the opening-night audience cheering…if you want to spend your evening delighted, amazed, and touched, don't miss SFO's Les Contes d'Hoffmann  ”

Bay Area Reporter (Les Contes d'Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera) - Jun 2013

“History has been unfair to a work marred only by a muddled libretto and unripened compositional resources. Prudently trimmed, the work emerges as a Rossinian lark with a handful of limpid arias that aspire to Donizetti. The clever, quirky libretto, easy to follow and hard to resist, tidies up some of the original opera’s messy bits. Christian Räth, the director, embraces camp and slapstick, down to the whimsically askew sets and natty 1960s business attire by Court Watson. Eric Sean Fogel provides antic choreography; Joseph Colaneri, recently named the Glimmerglass Festival’s music director, secured buoyant accompaniment from the orchestra. The cast embraced the undertaking, every role conveyed with pizazz.”

The New York Times (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Jul 2013

“…director Christian Räth treats it as the silly comedy that it is. …. Räth is imaginative and inventive in his movement and positioning of the characters, and keeps a brisk pace. When the King unmasks himself as Belfiore, he wears an Elvis Presley mask – a good joke in a silly opera.”

Bachtrack (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Aug 2013

“Christian Räth’s inventive direction provides an excellent counter-argument against anyone who maintains that Germans cannot be funny. He has seized upon any and every opportunity for some sort of surprising bit of action and all of this is supported by the witty sets and costumes of Court Watson. Contributing to the fun is Eric Sean Fogel’s choreography which has the chorus at times doing Macarena-style moves.” (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Aug 2013

“The heroes of the Glimmerglass production of Verdi's rare - really rare - second opera, Un Giorno di Regno (King for a Day), are director Christian Räth, choreographer Eric Sean Fogel, and set and costume disigner Court Watson.  This trio has taken a work with a threadbare, unfunny plot, and only intermittingly inspired music, and transformed it into an afternoon of zaniness that delighted the audience in the Alice Busch Opera Theatre in Cooperstown.”

Opera Today (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Opera) - Jul 2013

“In an inspired choice, the Verdi is sung in English, based on a clever new libretto by Kelly Rourke. The story is utterly silly, so by putting the text in English, one can follow the amusing antics more clearly. The opera is certainly worth staging because it is filled with glorious melodies that are the harbinger for the great Verdi operas that follow….. Kudos to German director Christian Räth, who has found ways to make the staging funny and witty without lapsing into excess. For example, one hilarious highlight has mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson as the Marchesa singing her florid lament to her miniature poodle.”

The Globe and Mail (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Aug 2013

“My introduction to this year’s Glimmerglass Festival featured a moving kaleidoscope of “pop” bubbles projected on the theatre’s curtain. The cheerful light show accompanied the overture, which, from its opening notes, raced like a cat-and-mouse chase, musically reminiscent of Rossini, and set the tone for a new, splendidly buoyant production of Giuseppe Verdi’s King for a Day. Think Marx Brothers meets Mad Men…….. Rourke and director Christian Räth have excised much of the repetitive passages that dragged the original work down. They also seized the day, wresting the opera from a musty shelf, giving it an immediate accessibility by setting the work in the swinging sixties. ….. these performers delivered the goods with such confidence and physical abandon that I found myself weak from laughing.” (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Jul 2013

“What is more surprising is that the assembled artistry can also be both intimate and gossamer-light. Take for example, Giuseppe Verdi’s all-but-forgotten comic confection, King for a Day, sure to be the most talked-about production this season. Under Christian Räth’s quicksilver direction, the breath-stopping visual legerdemain wins over audiences without even thinking of the music. Verdi’s score surprises, as well, on what he borrows from the previous generation and how he foretells of things to come.”

Syracuse New Times (Un Giorno di Regno, Glimmerglass Festival) - Aug 2013

“ This new production for SFO brilliantly demonstrates that efforts of intense and thoughtful scholarship can still arrive at a theatrically stunning evening”

San Francisco Examiner (Les Contes d'Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera) - Jun 2013

“ was pure pleasure to sit back and enjoy San Francisco Opera’s quirky, vocally superb production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann  ”

The Classical Review (Les Contes d'Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera) - Jun 2013

“Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde poses more than the usual challenges of opera presentation. The new production by the Dallas Opera, which opened Thursday night at Winspear Opera House, answers all of those challenges, rendering that masterpiece from the 19th century as meaningful as ever in the 21st… In this production, designed by Christian Räth, brilliant computer projections on large, frequently moving panels constantly pulled the viewer through hyper-realistic and boldly abstract landscapes…And, in Räth’s version of the final scene, wonderfully realized by Forbis and Charbonnet, Isolde—already emotionally unstable in Act I—and Tristan have both clearly succumbed to madness as well as a higher, transcendent wisdom. The result of these elements is, in short, an unforgettable and thrilling operatic experience.”

Dallas Daily Review (Tristan & Isolde, The Dallas Opera) - Feb 2012

“Tristan and Isolde is a problematic opera. First of all, finding a cast that can sing the demanding roles is a world-wide challenge. Secondly, there are long stretches in which nothing much happens except for ecstatic love duets of sublime music and intimate arguments between two characters, interspersed with an occasional murderous conflict. Christian Räth, as stage director and overall creative conceptualizer, has managed to put a production on the stage at the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Winspear Opera House for The Dallas Opera that addresses both problems in an impressive manner…. What we have, in short, is a surreal, or maybe hyperreal, production of one of the most passionate operas ever composed. It is beautifully sung and visually stunning.” (Tristan & Isolde, The Dallas Opera) - Feb 2012

“What this opera has is brilliant visual projections under the direction of stage director Christian Räth. Räth has created a visual design via projections and sliding scrims that were at times literal, metaphorical, and surreal. The night sky and stars are show dramatically as well as the moon; forests appear and disappear; ocean waves lap against the backdrop, run across the stage, and give the illusion of cascading into the orchestra pit. This merger between technology and stage design has been elevated to a level that makes the need for a physical set superfluous. The images not only create the space but also reflect the psychology of the characters and become visual expressions of the score simultaneously. To describe this new technique in theatre is nearly impossible. It has to be seen and experienced to fully comprehend it. If this is the new direction for stage design, I welcome it. It gives the director and the designer the ability to create anything conceivable. You want to see the stage explode in a fireball? It can be done, and it does happen in Tristan & Isolde. To be able to work such a technological complexity into a production requires the imagination and the acute staging of a master director, and Räth truly comprehends the power of this new technology. There wasn’t one false moment in staging. It also requires him to push his performers to a level of performance that can compete with this visual wizardry, and the performances given by the singers were stunning. Regardless of the spectacle, for us to be satisfied with this opera, we must emotionally connect. This is perhaps some of the best acting I’ve seen on this stage. The entire cast is flawless.”

Pegasus News (Tristan & Isolde, The Dallas Opera) - Feb 2012

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A native of Hamburg, director Christian Räth is renowned throughout Europe, Japan and the USA. His work takes him to many of the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera New York, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, The Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, Bregenzer Festspiele, Mariinsky Theatre St Petersburg, Opéra national de Paris, Opéra de Lyon, Teatro del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Wiener Staatsoper and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  He directs a large and diverse repertoire, ranging from Wagner, Strauss, Janácěk, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, Britten and Bartok through to musicals and contemporary creations. 

Recent stagings include highly-acclaimed new productions of Verdi’s rarely-performed comic opera Un Giorno di Regno (King for a Day) for  the 2013 Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the design and direction of Tristan und Isolde for The Dallas Opera in 2012.  Other recent work includes Falstaff at the Washington National Opera, Roméo et Juliette at Houston Grand Opera, Fidelio and Luisa Miller at The Dallas Opera, Die Zauberflöte at Cairo Opera House and Carmen at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. 

Plans include several returns to Dallas, including a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta in the 2014/15 season, as well as projects with the Wiener Staatsoper, Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opéra national du Rhin and Teatro Real Madrid.

Christian collaborates with several of the world’s leading directors and regularly works alongside Laurent Pelly - he has been associate director and revival director for many of his productions all over the world, including La fille du régiment, Manon, Les contes d’Hoffmann, La Traviata, La vie parisienne, La grande-duchesse de Gérolstien and L’élisir d’amore.  Their most recent collaboration, in 2014, is Rossini’s Le comte Ory for Opéra de Lyon and Teatro alla Scala Milan.

This season Christian has also collaborated with Robert Carsen as associate director for Tchaikovsky’s
La Pique Dame at Opernhaus Zürich, a co-production with Opéra national du Rhin, where it will be staged in 2015.  Other work with Carsen includes Il Trovatore in Bregenz, Mitridate for La Monnaie Brussels, Ariadne auf Naxos at Deutsche Oper Berlin and ROH Copenhagen and JJR – Citoyen de Genève at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. 

Christian Räth is senior associate director for  Francesca Zambello’s complete Ring Cycle for San Francisco Opera  – a co-production with Washington National Opera, where it will be repeated in 2016.  Other productions with Zambello include Billy Budd (Opéra national de Paris, Royal Opera Covent Garden) and Salome (Saito Kinen and West Side Story, Bregenz, Of Mice and Men (Bregenz, Washington, Houston).   

Christian Räth obtained a masters degree in Musiktheater-Regie from the Hochschule fϋr Musik und Theater in Hamburg.  He studied musicology, literature and psychology at the University of Hamburg, and also participated in several masterclasses on opera directing with Harry Kupfer. In 1995 he was invited to join the Grand Théâtre de Genève, where he held the position of staff director until 2001.

July 2014