|Photos by © Teresa Zötl
Studied direction and screenwriting at the Universitat fur 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 works at the Opernhaus Zurich, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Volksoper Wien, the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, and opera houses in Graz, Cologne, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Gelsenkirchen and Innsbruck. He has been invited to a number of festivals, including Wien Modern, Ruhrfestspiele, Toronto Festival, White Nights Festival, Sydney Festival, Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. The works of Mozart have played a major role in his career. After staging «Die Entführung aus dem Serail» and «Cosi 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 he collaborated with maestro Valery Gergiev on a new production of «Idomeneo» at the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, wich was followed early 2011 by an new production of «Ariadne auf Naxos» again under the musical direction of Valery Gergiev.
In 2006, his experiences with Mozart led to the creation of an original opera «I hate Mozart» at the Theater an der Wien, with his own libretto and music by Bernhard Lang, who is one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation. There was a new production of «I hate Mozart» presented at 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, Penderecky and first performances of «Gormenghast» by Irmin Schmidt, «Jedem das Seine» by Peter Turrini and «Der Herr Nordwind», written by H.C. Artmann and composed and conducted by H.K.Gruber. Together with this celbrated composer and conductor, Sturminger is working on a new opera project, which will be presented at a mayor festival in 2013.
In early 2008, Sturminger started a project with the renowned organist and conductor Martin Haselböck, who was looking for a new connection between classical music and contemporary acting. «The Infernal Comedy» a piece for orchestra, two sopranos and one actor, had its world premiere in Los Angeles, directed by and performed by John Malkovich. Since the production turned out to be successful «The Infernal Comedy» was produced and now directed by Sturminger in 2009 at the Ronacher Theatre, Vienna and Pera Lada Festival, Spain. In may and june 2010 the production went on a tour including Luxemburg, Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, Hamburg, Athens, Saloniki, Malaga, Bilbao, Ravello, St. Petersburg and Toronto and is continued to North and South America in 2011.
Alongside his opera productions Sturmingers is regularly directing drama at Vienna's Volkstheater («Peer Gynt», «Hiob» and «Du bleibst bei mir» and also dircted several operetta productions including «Die Fledermaus» (2008) with Franz Welser-Möst at Zürich Opera House and « The Czardasprincess» with conductor/intendant Stefan Soltesz at 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 shown on Arte TV and released on DVD. A DVD of the «Infernal Comedy» was published by «Arthouse» and Malkovich, Haselböck and Sturminger have just opened are a second opera project «The Giacomo Variations», which will be published on DVD as well as shown in many european cities including Vienna, Sydney, Moscow, Bruxelles, Hamburg, Paris, Turku, St.Petersburg later this summer, while «The Infernal Comedy» will be touring to London, Prague, Warsaw, San Francisco, Bogota, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janero and New York.