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Klaus Bertisch
Dramatist

Klaus Bertisch studied English and German literature, education theory and artistic training in Frankfurt. Between 1979 and 1987, he was a dramaturg at the Frankfurt Opera and he subsequently assumed the same role at various operas in Germany and Belgium. In 1987, he began working as a dramaturg and independent writer for the Siemens Cultural Programme in Munich and for a number of theatres and festivals in Germany and France. He was the dramaturg at Munich’s Volkstheater for the world premiere production of Franz Helm’s Kaktus (1989)—a play in which he himself performed a role. He directed Verschollen (a cycle of lieder by Janáček and Argento) in collaboration with Marcel Sijm at a former mine in Essen, as well as The Rake’s Progress in Amstelveen. He also staged Die Lustige Witwe and Dmitri Shostakovich’s unfinished opera The Gamblers at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
As a dramaturg, he has collaborated with Willy Decker on several projects, including the Ring Cycle at the Dresden Semperoper, Die Tote Stadt and La Traviata at the Salzburg Festival, as well as Death in Venice at the Liceu in Barcelona. He has staged recitals based on the texts of Heine (The Spirit Double with Olaf Bär), Goethe (Goethe’s Vrouwen with Marlis Petersen) and Mörike (Homesickness with Wolfgang Holzmair and Michael Autenrieth). He was also the dramaturg for the Dale Duesing production of Chabrier’s L’Étoile at the Berlin Staatsoper. He has worked with Pierre Audi on the dramaturgy of numerous productions at the Amsterdam Opera, including Die Zauberflöte. He also worked on the world premiere production of Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos at the Salzburg Festival, Hans Werner Henze’s Gisela! at the Ruhrtriennale, György Kurtág’s Samuel Beckett: Fin de partie at Milan’s La Scala, Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride at La Monnaie in Brussels, La Conquête du Mexique at the Teatro Real in Madrid and Parsifal at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. He also worked as a dramaturg for the Floris Visser production of Così fan tutte at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The collection Schwanenmärchen together with a work on Ruth Berghaus feature among his most important publications. His biography of the Dutch composer Leo Smit was published in Germany in the autumn of 2014. Since 1990, Klaus Bertisch has been director of dramaturgy at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam.