Harry Kupfer

German opera director Harry Kupfer (84) has died

31 December 2019

German director Harry Kupfer has died at the age of 84 in his hometown Berlin. Kupfer, one of the greatest German opera directors of the 20th century, created no less than 10 productions for Dutch National Opera.

In 1977, Kupfer made his directorial debut with the company with a production of Richard Strauss' Elektra. This was followed by Fidelio, Der Schuhu und die fliegende Prinzessin, Boris Godoenov, LEAR (guest production of the Komische Oper), Giustino (also a guest production of the Komische Oper), Salome, La damnation de Faust, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Harry Kupfer started his career in 1958 in Stralsund in the former GDR. Via Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz), Weimar and Dresden, he rose to the position of principal director of the Komische Oper in Berlin, a post he held for 21 years from 1981 onwards. For the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Kupfer created legendary productions of Der fliegende Holländer (1978) and Der Ring des Nibelungen (1988; together with conductor Daniel Barenboim). Harry Kupfer remained active as an opera director until the end. In the spring of 2019 he created his latest production, Handel's Poro, at 'his' Komische Oper in Berlin.

Photo: Sören Stache/dpa