De Beer becomes the first female director of the Volksoper Vienna

Opera song

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Vienna (AFP) – Dutch opera director Lotte de Beer takes over as artistic director of the Volksoper opera house in Vienna on Thursday, the first woman to hold the position.

De Beer, 41, won the International Opera Award in the Newcomer category in 2015 and has been wanted ever since.

She co-founded Amsterdam-based company Operafront, which seeks to introduce young people to opera, and told AFP in 2021 that she hoped to use her five-year stint at the helm of the Volksoper to “establish my own rules”.

“I want to build bridges,” she wrote on the opera’s website.

“I want to leave behind this strange distinction between high art and entertainment and instead make musical theater that connects.”

The art, she said, was more relevant than ever.

“Musical theater that touches the head, heart and stomach all at once plays an important role in dealing with the turbulent times we are all living in right now.”

De Beer plans to stage several projects a year, including, this fall, a fusion of Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanthe and his Nutcracker ballet.

The Volksoper opened in 1898 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph I’s accession to the throne.

It is less intellectual than the Vienna State Opera and offers operetta and musicals in addition to opera and dance.

He had 23 artistic directors in 124 years.

De Beer succeeds German Robert Meyer, who ran the theater for a record 15 years.