Friedrich, Götz

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Friedrich, Götz

Friedrich, Götz, notable German opera producer and administrator; b. Naumburg, Aug. 4, 1930. He was educated at the Deutsches Theaterinstitut in Weimar (1949–53). In 1953 he became an assistant to Walter Felsenstein at the Komische Oper in Berlin, where he was a producer from 1959 to 1968, and then its chief producer from 1968 to 1972. In 1972 he gained wide notoriety with his highly controversial staging of Tannhauser at the Bayreuth Festival, and then returned there to produce Lohengrin in 1978 and Parsifal in 1982. In 1973 he became Oberspielleiter at the Hamburg State Opera, and then was its Chefregisseur from 1977 to 1981. His first Ring cycle was staged at London’s Covent Garden from 1974 to 1976, and from 1977 to 1981 he served as director of productions there. In 1981 he staged the 3-act version of Lulu there. In 1981 he became Generalintendant of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, where he produced the Ring cycle in 1984–85, a staging later seen in many opera houses. In 1982 he staged Wozzeck at the Houston Grand Opera. He produced the premiere of Berio’s Un re in ascolto in Salzburg in 1984. From 1984 to 1993 he was artistic director of the Theater des Westens in Berlin while retaining his position at the Deutsche Oper. After staging Otello in Los Angeles in 1986, he returned there to produce Kát’a Kabanová in 1988. In 1987 he oversaw the premiere of Rihm’s Oedipus in Berlin. He produced the premiere of Matthus’s Desdemona und ihre Schwestern at the Schwetzingen Festival in 1992. After staging Faust at the Zürich Opera in 1997, he produced Samson et Dalila at the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv in 1998. In 2000 he retired from his position with the Deutsche Oper.

Friedrich’s productions reflect his humanistic ideals and commitment to the Left. His writings include Die humanistische Idee der Zauberflöte (Berlin, 1954), Die Zauberflote in der Inszenierung Walter Felsensteins an der Komis-chen Oper Berlin (Berlin, 1958), Walter Felsenstein: Weg und Werk (Berlin, 1961), Musiktheater: Beitrage zur Methodik und zu Inszenierungs-Konzeptionen (Leipzig, 1970; 2nd ed., 1978), Wagner-Regie (Zurich, 1983), and Musik-theater: Ansichten, Einsichten, Konzepte, Versuche, Erfahrungen (Frankfurt am Main, 1986). He married Karan Armstrong.

Bibliography

D. Kranz, Der Regisseur G. F. (Berlin, 1972); P. Barz, G. K: Abenteur Musiktheater (Bonn, 1978); N. Ely, Richard Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen in der Inszenierung von G. F.: Deutsche Oper Berlin (Vienna, 1987); Zeit fur Oper: G. F.s Musiktheater, 1958–90 (Frankfurt am Main, 1991); J. Krogoll and D. Steinbeck, eds., Musik, Musiktheater, Musiktheater-Regie: Festschrift anlässlich des 60. Geburtstages von G. F. sowie des zwanzigjährigen Bestehen des Studienganges Musiktheater-Regie der Universität Hamburg und der Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Frankfurt am Main, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire